Confessions of a TV Family (+ 6 Must-Watch Shows!)

Our family loves to watch TV.

I realize this isn’t an earth-shattering confession, but you have to keep in mind we live in one of the most well-read, highly educated cities in the country. Sometimes admitting you’re a TV junkie in the City of Literature can raise an eyebrow or two.

Even though we are a very active family (and we do read to our kids, BTW!), TV is our primary source of entertainment.

Most days we find ourselves running between work and numerous extracurricular activities. Sometimes after a long busy day, snuggling on the couch as a family and watching TV is a great way to unwind. Here are some of our family’s favorite shows. 

Shows for the Whole Family

Modern Family

Our Modern Family ritual on Wednesday nights reminds me of how my family watched The Cosby Show when I was growing up. This show frequently makes our kids laugh out loud, and they really enjoy watching the Pritchett/Dumphey clan navigate the ups and downs of  family life.

Doctor Who

confessions of a TV family

My 13-year-old cites the day I suggested he watch Doctor Who as a pivotal moment in his young life. This sci-fi classic has been on the air 50 years and has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity due to a successful re-boot. The new episodes are really cool; the special effects are a far cry from the cheesy video goodness that I remember watching as a kid.

Even our baby is a ‘Whovian’ in training: one of his very first words was “Doctor.”

One caveat: although this is a very family-friendly show, some of the aliens might scare your kids. (Two words: Weeping Angels. The “Who” fans will know what I’m talking about.)

Cake Boss

Our kids got us hooked on this one. The appeal is similar to that of Modern Family. They really enjoy watching Buddy and his family work together, solve problems, and sculpt massive statues out of sponge and buttercream.

Shows for the Grown-Ups

Date nights are very rare for my husband and I. Since we don’t get out very often, we really look forward to watching our shows together after the kids go to bed.

(A word of warning: we have to make sure our kids are good and asleep when these shows are on since they contain graphic violence, language and some very adult situations.)

Game of Thrones

confessions of a TV family

I’m adding this one to prove that I actually am a reader. 😉 I do have serious problems with some of the choices the show runners have made (they’ve added numerous sexual assaults that don’t occur in the books and amplified the gore) but in general they’ve done a good job with some difficult source material. Despite the criticisms I have with the series, much of what I love about the books carries over. The complex characters, complicated story lines, and thrilling action sequences are all there.


Whether you love politics or hate it, this is the show for you. Julia Louis-Dryfuss is beyond funny as the self-absorbed VP Selina Meyer, and the supporting cast who portrays her incompetent staff are equally hilarious.

Orange is the New Black

confessions of a TV family

Shows that center around complex female characters make me very happy, and Orange is the New Black gives me a lot to be happy about. Plus the women on this show aren’t your typical homogenized Hollywood actresses. OITNB features women of every size, shape, age, and ethnic background.

The strength of this show goes well beyond the diversity of its cast. OITNB is funny, tragic and thought-provoking. And while the first season was good, the second season is even better. The writers have shifted the focus away from the main character Piper and onto the compelling stories of the supporting ensemble.

What shows do you love watching with your family? What are your favorite “grown-ups only” shows?

*Photo Credits: BBC, HBO, OITNB Facebook Page


Meghann is the mom of 5 kids. She is a Lecturer at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and an Owner/Partner at Brand Driven Digital. Meghann was elected to the Coralville City Council in 2017 and is currently serving her first term. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Coralville Community Food Pantry (Vice-Chair) and on the DVIP Board of Directors. She is also a member of Johnson County's Juvenile Justice and Youth Development Policy Board. Meghann is passionate about her family, her community, and is a proud pop culture nerd.


    • I’ve never seen any of those, but I know they are very popular. I should watch though, since I need a lot of help in the H&G department! 🙂

  1. Oh, we are a total TV family. I try to limit Henrik’s intake as much as possible, but it’s constantly on. We recently cut the cord (pun intended) on cable and just use Netflix, Apple TV and Amazon TV. It hasn’t been terirble to adjust to and I love the savings. That being said, I bing-watch TV a lot more now I have found. Whoops!I am currently hooked on Friday Night Lights (Netflix). Also love True Blood, Parenthood, Chicago Fire and Chicago PD during the week. 🙂

  2. Jude loves to watch also, and frankly sometimes it’s the only way I can get anything done. He loves “Bubble Guppies” and “Wallykazaam.” We have Netflix, Apple TV, & Amazon in addition to the premium cable channels. We like the streaming for when we’re on the road (like we are now). It makes it easier for the kids to find something they like.

    I really need to watch “Friday Night Lights” since I’ve heard so many good things. “FNL” and “Parenthood” have/had the same show runner, so I’m guessing I would like it since I like “Parenthood.” Although I had trouble with the Joel/Julia storyline this season!! Am I the only one who remembers Joel kissing Raquel way back when?!? 😉

  3. Our daughter loves Frozen and Tangled. We will watch those together, but for our “date nights” we thoroughly enjoy BBC America (Dr. Who is a BIG one), Shameless, and GOT. True Blood was one of my personal favorites, but it has really gone down since Alan Ball left…

    • All of my kids love “Frozen” (even my older sons begrudgingly admit it’s good, lol). BBC America is awesome. We are anxiously awaiting the 12th Doctor’s debut–it’s going to be a major event for our family! I’ve wondered about “Orphan Black” but we haven’t gotten around to it yet. My husband loves “Shameless” but I’ve only watched a few episodes. I love William H. Macy!

      You’re so right about “True Blood.” I watched the first couple of seasons, but then it just got too bizarre. I can never tell if they are trying to be campy or serious, because sometimes it’s so bad it’s funny.

  4. Love this post! We got our kiddos hooked on Dr. Pol. Educational. Funny. Real. We happen to love it to. Can’t believe you didn’t include PARENTHOOD!! I know Nick watches that one. Ha!

  5. I’ve never heard of Dr. Pol! I’ll have to check it out. And yes, I did leave off “Parenthood,” but that is definitely one Nick & I never miss. Nick watched it from the very beginning but I didn’t start until last year. I binge watched all of the back episodes when Jude was a newborn–it was the only thing that I could stay awake for! 🙂

  6. This is a Great post!!! Kudos to the author for her efforts keeping her kid from being a zombie in front of the TV – to her credit he turns out great – though she is a little neurotic, going from one extreme to the other. A slightly above average rating from me. Thanks for tho post


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