As our kids get a little older and their interests grow, we try to steer them away from many of the popular teen activities of today’s culture. One of the ways we’ve tried to do that is simply to interest them in our own pasts, including exposing them to 80’s tv shows we used to watch as kids!
Here are a few that they love and still watch, and a few thoughts from me on how my views have changed about them in the past 30 years.
Our kids really love this show! Zack, Kelly, Slater, Jesse, Screech, and Lisa – the whole gang is all there. The show puts a big emphasis on social issues, especially those that were of the biggest concern for the time period. It still holds great values, and though there’s a little much of the romance timeline, the show is wholesome overall and I don’t mind my kids watching. It’s a good thing, because my sister got them all 5 episodes on DVD!
This show might be more contorversial on a spiritual level, but it afforded us the opportunity to talk about several of the concerns – channeling the “power” and the little demon character (Orco), and how those might translate to real life. The bad guy is a walking skeleton, for heaven’s sake! It’s got plenty of spiritual context, and lots of nostalgic value. The great message for kids, after school style, is hilarious to us as parents. Watch a few with your kids; these “lessons” don’t always line up with our beliefs.
Another show to be cautious concerning, the kids like ThunderCats mostly for the action. The premise is that they are aliens, and if you watch closely enough, the bad guy is a real dunce. It’s plenty funny, and we’ve enjoyed watching it together.
Most kids are familiar with Transformers these days, but our kids actually own and watch the original cartoon series! They love to compare it with the more modern movies, or even the current series on Netflix, “Rescue Bots.” Optimus Prime never gets old. Just sayin.
Another show that was big on tackling social issues of the day, The Jeffersons is one show that the kids mostly watch with their dad. Often they will walk off and do their own thing when the hubs and I watch tv shows we like, but with this one they will stick around and laugh with us!
Okay, this one is my guilty pleasure, but the kids have gotten upset with me if I haven’t let them know that I’m starting a new episode. Because they are already sci-fi fans, the love this show and the credibility it adds to their lore knowledge. My teenager especially loves to insert cultural references from 80’s tv shows like this one, just to see who else in the room gets it! There’s a bit of romance that you might find appropriate for younger kids in some episodes, but for kids who are going to be interested enough to watch it, it’s mostly mild. Season 1 (and several others) are free on Amazon Prime!
7. Quantum Leap
Sci-fi including time travel? Count my kids in! They love comparing it to more modern time-travel television series… more on that in a moment. But for us as parents and homeschoolers, part of the draw in watching this show is the opportunity it affords us to discuss American (mostly) history with the kids. The assasination of JFK, the Watergate scandal, the history of slavery and racism, or even medicine, are all topics that we’ve been able to broach because of this show! Check it out! (That is, if you don’t remember it!)
Surely you didn’t think we were going to leave this off the list? We didn’t watch this 80’s tv show in the 80’s. We didn’t know it existed. But we love the modern show and the boys wanted to go back and watch them all, from the beginning! Turns out that’s not really possible, but… you can get close. Here’s the breakdown, courtesy of my obsessed teenager, and Wikipedia:
Tom Baker: Doctor 4 from 1974-1981
Peter Davison: Doctor 5 from 1982-1984
Colin Baker: Doctor 6 from 1984-1986
Sylvester McCoy: Doctor 7 from 1987-1989
Watch them in order. Start with Season 1. Just do it!
What 80’s tv shows or other childhood favorites do you watch with your kids? Which do your kids love and watch without you?
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