While parents can bond with their teens by watching their teens favorite television shows, parents and teens can also bond by developing favorite shows together. Certain shows are better than others for connecting over. The leading factor being whether the TV series inspires discussion, with the second factor being the topic of the show. (some of these shows are off the air but can be found on DVDs, Blu-ray or online).
1. Lost – No suprise here. No TV series in the history of televsion has inspired more discussion than Lost. If you family has never watched Lost, rent or buy the series and watch it together. You will talk for hours about the mysteries, characters, philosophy and what the heck is going on and that crazy island. Best bonding show ever. 2004-2010
2. Freaks and Geeks – Judd Apatow’s first TV series, this critically acclaimed comedy drama set in 1980 was a brutally honest look at high school and those that didn’t fit it and the parents of two of the teens. You will recognize many of the cast regulars as they have almost all moved on to bigger careers. 1999-2000
3. 4. The Daily Show / The Colbert Report – Watch the news the way that the younger generation do. It is more fun and you might learn just as much. Laughing together over the terrible things happening in the world might be a springboard towards discussing them. Current running.
5. 6. Modern Family / The Middle – Two incredibly funny situation comedies about modern families, one about an extended middle or upper middle class family, the other about a small blue collar family. Both families have teens and both have very funny, realistic situations involving the teens that all families can relate to, laugh about and discuss. Currently running.
7. M*A*S*H – This 70s comedy, which turned more into a dramedy in its later years, is the best television show on war ever in the way that it made such a profound statement on the nature of war. A great way to introduce your teens to one of the best TV shows ever made and a great way to get into the discussion of the costs of war. 1972 – 1983.
8. The Gilmore Girls – As much as I hate to include a series that most likely only moms and daughters will like, no list of parent teen bonding shows would be complete without the Gilmore Girls, the mother/daughter bonding team of all time. Extra points if you love pop culture references. 2000-2007.
9. Jeopardy – Match wits against your teens. Currently running.
10. 11. 12. 13. American Idol / Dancing with the Stars / Survivor / Amazing Race – Although I’m not a big fan anymore of these type shows, the one thing I do love about them is that they can bring families closer together. When watched together, they do inspire discussion, whether in all rooting together or arguing over the plusses and minuses of each contestant. Currently Running. (Updated 5/2013: The Voice is a Better TV Show for Teens Than American Idol)
14. Parenthood – A one hour drama about parenting, many of the kids on this series are teenagers. Great cast, great stories, great show. Currently Running.
15. The Secret Life of the American Teenager – This ABC Family series deals with teen pregnancy, however both teens and parents play integral parts in the series. Great show to bring up discussion about sex with your teens. Currently Running
16. BattleStar Galactica – The 2000s version, similar to Lost, this series is ripe for several discussions. Sci-Fi is only one small aspect in this TV show that deals with politics, religion, philosophy and many other complicated issues. 2004-2009
17. Glee – Its about teens, its also about adults. There is singing and dancing. Both teens and parents can both love it and everyone can relate to somebody in the show. Many issues are brought up that can be discussed, and even the songs are ripe for discussion. Currently Running
20. The West Wing – One of the best shows ever to learn about our government and politics and many of the issues our country faces. An educational, informative and enjoyable show for all. 1999-2006
Have you watched any of these shows as a family. Are these any on this list that you plan to watch in the future? Are there any great parent teen TV bonding shows that you would like to add to this list? Please add them in the comments.
Majors & Minors – Teen Singing TV Contest with Celeb Coaches
Falling Skies Trailer, Comic, Synopsis and More
Top 10 TV Series With Pop Culture References
Top 5 New Series for Parent and Teens to Connect
Top 50 Most Discussed TV Series
Roundup of Best of 2010 Lists, Articles, and Video