The Best Family-Friendly Programming to Watch This Fall
From leaf-peeping to apple- and pumpkin-picking, autumn is filled with activities you and your kids can't help but look forward to year after year. But while the fall months are ideal for revisiting favorite family routines, it's also a perfect time to start new ones.
And with so many new shows and movies premiering these next few months, cozying up on the couch with your kids might be the best (and most comfortable) way of doing just that.
"Whether it's our grandparents regaling us with memories of Ed Sullivan or our eyes peeled with the anticipation of a space shuttle launch, there's just something about watching TV as a family that invites meaningful conversations and creates lasting memories," Jordan explains.
She adds that it's sometimes easier for parents to talk about certain real-life situations (say, when someone at school is being bullied or a friend's grandparent has passed) when the scenario is being displayed on-screen. "[These programs] get kids to respond and open up in a way that takes the pressure—and focus—off of them."
But as Betsy Bozdech, Executive Editor, Ratings and Reviews, at Common Sense Media acknowledges, while it's wonderful to enjoy "watch together" TV and movies, with a multitude of streaming options, there's almost too much great content out there (and some not-so-great programs), which makes narrowing down your choices a daunting task.
Here are five family-friendly shows and movies premiering this fall that entertainment experts are already getting excited about. As a reminder, most of these shows and movies were unrated when this article was published, so be sure to check sites like Common Sense Media for more in-depth parental guides once the premiere date is closer.
1. Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.
In the late '80s and early '90s, families watched Neil Patrick Harris as a medical prodigy in ABC's Doogie Howser, M.D. Now, Disney is bringing the franchise back with a reboot starring Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Lahela "Doogie" Kameāloha, a 16-year-old Harvard Medical school grad running ship in a Hawaii-based hospital.
Bozdech is looking forward to reviewing the show, which is set in Hawaii. It was developed by Kourtney Kang (How I Met Your Mother, Fresh Off the Boat) who drew inspiration from her childhood.
Streaming September 8 on Disney+
2. The Wonder Years
Another beloved late '80s and early '90s program, The Wonder Years, is being rebooted by executive producers Lee Daniels (Empire, Precious), Fred Savage, and Saladin Patterson. This time around, the show center son a Black family in Montgomery, Alabama in the same 1960s period the original show (starring Savage) took place in. Don Cheadle stars as the narrator and Elisha "EJ" Williams is the main character.
Streaming September 22 on ABC
3. Ron's Gone Wrong
20th Century Studios and Locksmith Animation's new collaboration tells the story of Barney, a middle schooler who's struggling in his social life, and his new digital device "Best Friend out of the Box," Ron, is glitchier than your worst Mercury-in-retrograde nightmare. The trailer makes it clear that the film will crack parents and kids up while celebrating friendship.
In theaters October 22
4. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Parents who grew up fans of the original 1980s franchise will be psyched to share their love of the supernatural comedy with the next generation. Ghostbusters: Afterlife—directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air), the son of Ivan Reitman, who helmed the original flicks—follows the story of Egon's grandkids who move into a decaying farmhouse in Oklahoma and quickly learn about their Ghostbuster grandpa's legacy. Lots of familiar faces will turn up in this iteration as well as Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, and Mckenna Grace.
In theaters November 11
If you and your kids are head over heels for the music of Moana, Hamilton, and In the Heights—and let's be honest, who isn't?—then mark your calendars for the release of Lin-Manuel Miranda's new collab with Disney, which will also be their 60th animated feature. Set in Colombia, Encanto follows a family in which everyone has magical powers—with the exception of Mirabel. But as it turns out, she's the only one who can save her loved ones' powers when they end up under threat. The flick is directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush, co-directed and co-written by Charise Castro Smith and features music written by Miranda.
In theaters November 24