When it comes to your entertainment options, there’s plenty of family-friendly fare to choose from this year. We’ve rounded up our favorite 2016 TV shows and movies the whole family will enjoy:
On the small screen
Netflix reboots Full House. The beloved Tanners from the juggernaut Full House (1987-1995) recently returned to TV in the new Fuller House on Netflix. Yes, D.J., Uncle Joey, little Stephanie and the entire clan (sans the Olsen twins) are back to deliver more classic one-liners like “How rude” and “Have mercy.” This time, D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) is a new widow with a house full of kids, so sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and BFF Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) decide to move in and help her. Although the show will focus on the adult kids, all the characters are back, and that means instant nostalgia for original viewers and those who have followed the show on Nickelodeon (where it remains a staple).
Freeform brings us Recovery Road. ABC Family recently changed its name to Freeform in an effort to lure more eyes to popular shows like Pretty Little Liars and Bunheads. One of the network’s new hits is Recovery Road, centered around a teen who goes to rehab to treat her drug and alcohol addiction. If it’s like the book it’s based on, viewers can expect to see her mature into a young woman who eventually goes to college and learns to live a new, sober life.
FOX sends off American Idol. Yes, American Idol is bidding us adieu, and that means this is the last time you and your family can play armchair pop critic. The show that catapulted Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson into superstardom is relying heavily on nostalgia for its swan song, so far bringing back winners like Fantasia to sing with contestants and Clarkson herself to judge right next to J.Lo (can we please bring Paula Abdul back, and can she still be weird? Please!) The show hasn’t really broken out a star since Adam Lambert in 2009 and its ratings have been steadily going down since its heyday, but it’s still the show that made it possible for the girl next door to live out her dreams. It also launched a wave of talent shows of similar ilk, including The Voice (NBC), which is still going strong (it doesn’t hurt that judges Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton have a made-for-TV relationship going).
Kung Fu Panda 3. For families who like to go to the movies, the first stop should be Kung Fu Panda 3, if you haven’t seen it already. With $128 million-plus made at domestic box offices so far (BoxOfficeMojo.com), it would appear to be another hit for funnyman Jack Black and company.
Zootopia. March 4 brings Zootopia to a movie theater near you. The new animated flick takes place in the animal metropolis of Zootopia, where animals from all walks of life live together in a melting pot — you know, like America — and rookie police officer Judy Hopps arrives with hopes of being the first bunny on the police force. Wacky hijinks ensue, of course, thanks to the vocal stylings of Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, actor Jason Bateman and even singer Shakira. This bunny tale promises to be a hippity hopitty hit for families of all ages.
The Jungle Book. Families who feel too mature for a cartoon will surely want to line up April 15 for Disney’s new live-action reimagining of Rudyard Kipling’s classic The Jungle Book. Little Mowgli is trying to make his way in the dizzying, fantastical jungle landscape. He gets a little help along the way from beloved friends like bear Baloo, who teaches him the “Bare Necessities” — but he quickly learns it’s a jungle out there as he has to fend off the fearful advances of the evil tiger Shere Khan. The new feature, directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), boasts the vocal stylings of Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken and Ben Kingsley.
Through the Looking Glass and Pete’s Dragon. Disney will also unveil the new Alice in Wonderland flick, Through the Looking Glass (starring everyone’s favorite Mad Hatter, Johnny Depp), and a reboot of the 1970s classic Pete’s Dragon before year’s end.