Cable television has given birth to a variety of channels that are appropriate for all ages to enjoy together. Here are some of the best ones beaming out family-friendly viewing right now:
You can probably thank Nickelodeon and its flagship Nick at Nite for the Tanners’ return to TV this month in Netflix’s Fuller House. After all, the original juggernaut Full House has never left the air, thanks to its popularity on Nickelodeon. TV staples like Roseanne and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air rule the airwaves all night long, while the day brings several original cartoons, game shows and popular original shows like iCarly and its spin-off Sam & Cat, which launched the career of Ariana Grande.
The Disney Channel
The Disney Channel is directly responsible for the popularity of Miley Cyrus. And Selena Gomez. And Demi Lovato. And while they’re all busy being pop star/pop culture lightning rods, the Mouse House is still churning out original movies like The Descendants and original TV shows like Best Friends Whenever, Girl Meets World and Liv and Maddie. Throw in some cartoons starring Mickey Mouse and all his friends, and The Disney Channel remains one of TV’s favorite channels for families.
Freeform (formerly ABC Family)
ABC Family recently rebranded into Freeform in an effort to lure more viewers to the network. Staples like Pretty Little Liars and Switched at Birth have been bringing eyes to the network for years, but two newcomers are showing the edgy-yet-still-family-friendly direction the network is going: The Fosters, which follows the lives of a lesbian couple (Teri Polo and Sherri Saum) raising a multi-ethnic blend of biological, adopted and foster children; and Recovery Road, which is about a teen girl who goes to rehab and maneuvers her way through a new sober way of life.
All of your favorite Hanna-Barbera characters are at this one-stop nostalgia shop: Yogi Bear (and his pic-in-ic basket), George Jetson (and his boy Elroy) and of course, Huckleberry Hound. A lot of these cartoons are only available here, making Boomerang a great place to share some of your favorite childhood memories with your children.
The world’s first and only 24-hour cartoon network is still going strong, offering older favorites like The Flintstones and Rocky & Bullwinkle and new favorites like The Powderpuff Girls, We Bare Bears, Teen Titans Go! and The Amazing World of Gumball. Just be careful, because every night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., Cartoon Network morphs into Adult Swim, which is definitely for grownups only.
The network responsible for Mariah Carey’s movie directorial debut A Christmas Melody last Christmas (you know you watched it) is also home to some of the most sentimental, family-friendly tearjerkers on TV. It’s also where former stars of such shows as Beverly Hills, 90210, Party of Five and Melrose Place show up and become relevant to your children. Because of the Hallmark Channel, you’ll get the thrill of telling your children exactly how Donna Martin graduated. Hashtag chills.
TLC, or The Learning Channel, offers a slew of weekday programming for preschoolers, but it’s probably most widely known for its slate of reality programming, which pushes boundaries and gives families something to talk about together. After all, you get to see real people in real situations living their lives authentically — from the polygamy-based Sister Wives to My Big Fat Fabulous Life, which tackles obesity — and that’s a great place to get dialogue going about diversity.