Lisa M. Hendey offers suggestions for family-suitable TV viewing.
I’ve lived most of my life in a home where my entertainment choices were dictated by the men with whom I watch television. This means that as a wife who's been married for almost 34 years, and a mom of two now-grown sons, my knowledge of programming such as Frozen, Dora the Explorer and the Gilmore Girls is woefully inadequate. Ask me about our family’s favorite viewing options over the years and I automatically have a “boy mom” bias. That being said, I’d stand by any of the following TV shows as some great family-friendly favorites that have stood the test of time.
When it debuted in the Fall of 2004, LOST immediately became “must see” television for our family. We loved it so much that we’d often rewatch episodes to look for hidden clues. It was actually LOST that helped me to discover a new technology called the “podcast,” where we could listen to viewers of the show dig into all of the secrets of the island.
Some of the episodes in the middle of the six season run were less than stellar, but LOST taught our family about the art of storytelling, how to battle a “smoke monster,” and the fact that lots of people have secrets that may or may not be obvious.
All of LOST is available to stream for free on Amazon's ad-supported IMDB TV streaming service, available on IMDB and Fire TV. For a fee, episodes are available on Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and Hulu.
We discovered the Hornblower series, based on the British Maritime novels by C. S. Forester, not when they originally aired on television but rather when the moved to DVD. Some might call the stories of Horatio Hornblower “movies,” but actor Ioan Gruffudd’s naval officer Hornblower sees his life’s story play out across the totality of the series. So they deserve to be binged in their proper order. While the boys in my home introduced us to Hornblower -- and I don’t typically like military content -- I loved every minute of this hero’s journey.
I doubt any of my “guys” would add Little House on the Prairie to their list of family favorites, but this pick is a nod to my family of origin. I’m the eldest of five children, so I naturally related to Mary Ingalls and her many adventures with her sister in and around Walnut Grove, Minnesota, during the last decades of the 19th Century. Little House taught us that even families who had little materially could be rich in love. I believe the series has withstood the test of time.
I’ve saved the best for last. While my children wouldn’t say Survivor is their favorite television show, they sat with me weekly to watch Mom’s favorite. Having just watch Season 40 Winners at War with my husband, I will still say that Survivor is my favorite viewing option.
The game challenges castaways to “outwit, outplay and outlast” to earn a cash reward. But what’s clear on every season of Survivor is the fact that those who participate in the grueling 39-day experience almost always walk away with an enhanced appreciation for the things that matter most in life: family, friends and a sense of purpose.
And just in case he’s reading this blog post, I’ll remind executive producer and best-host-ever Jeff Probst that my audition tape has been submitted, and that I’m ready to go to the island whenever you need me!
Here's the trailer for the current season, Survivor: Winners at War:
Copyright 2020 Lisa M. Hendey
Image: Shutterstock; licensed for use by Family Theater Productions, where this article was originally published.
About the Author
Lisa M. Hendey is the founder of CatholicMom.com, a bestselling author and an international speaker. A frequent radio and television guest, Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and communications. Visit Lisa at LisaHendey.com or on social media @LisaHendey for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish, school or organization. Visit Lisa's author page on Amazon.com.