Disclosure: I’m a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam which means that they pay for the streaming service in exchange for me posting once a month about the service. All opinions are my own.
Thanksgiving. Family. They are inextricably linked.
For some, family time at Thanksgiving is like a Normal Rockwell painting, a little bit of perfection. For others, it means tension and even avoiding those family members who cause the most stress. This year, strains between family members are higher than normal after a difficult election year where campaigns brought out the worst in each other.
Luckily, I’m still talking to my family. That could be because many blocked or hid my posts during the height of the election or because we’ve all learned not to discuss politics with each other. I’m not sure. No matter the reason, it doesn’t matter much since my lovely husband has to work on Thanksgiving Day. Our Thanksgiving will be simple and encompass just our small family (if you count a family of five with a dog small).
Even if your family isn’t perfect and brings you nightmares or is perfect like the Cosby family, you can always turn to television and settle down with the TV family you love most, even more than your family, truth be told. With streaming services like Netflix, you can escape for the holiday weekend binge watching your favorite family, one just like yours, or a new family. This is especially true this year.
The day after Thanksgiving, the Gilmore family is returning to TV as Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premieres on Netflix! I know a lot of people counting down to see their favorite family again. I’ll admit that I never really watched the show. I saw a few episodes here and there, but that’s about it. Now, I find myself streaming the show in hopes to catch up so I can watch their return on Netflix. Considering that I’m only on Episode 8 of the first season (and there are seven seasons!!), I might not get to it for a while.
If the Gilmore family isn’t for you, there are plenty of other television families to watch, on current shows like Modern Family to old favorites like The Brady Bunch. Whether you want to watch a family more dysfunctional than yours or the dream family, there are a lot of choices. Below are 20 of my favorite TV families.
The Petries (The Dick Van Dyke Show)
Rob and Laura are a young couple with a young son. Rob happens to be a comedy writer for a TV star.
The Bunkers (All in the Family)
Archie works hard to provide for his family and his bigoted opinions often conflict with his family. And, yes, it’s a comedy.
The Conners (Roseanne)**
This working class family is just trying to make ends meet and raise their family.
The Jennings (The Americans)
Philip and Elizabeth Jennings seem like the perfect suburban 1980s family, but they have a secret. They are Russian spies.
The Halliwell sisters (Charmed)**
Three sisters. All witches. But they didn’t know until their grandmother died.
The Byers (Stranger Things)**
Joyce is trying to make ends meet as a single mom when her son Jonathan disappears. Where did he go and will he ever come home again?
Running a laundry business has been lucrative for the Jefferson family who just moved into a penthouse. This show is a spin-off of All in the Family.
The Reed sisters (Sisters)
This show follows the relationships of four sisters who live in Winnetka, Illinois. Oh, and George Clooney was the love interest of one sister for almost an entire season.
The MacKenzies, The Ewings, and The Sumners (Knots Landing)
I never really loved Dallas, but I loved this spin-off following Gary Ewing and his wife Val as they move to Knots Landing, California.
The Starks, The Lannisters, and The Targaryens (Game of Thrones)
Every family is dysfunctional, but you can’t help feel sorry for the Starks and sickened by the Lannisters while secretly rooting for Daenerys. (And I’ve only seen season 1 so far!)
As a child, I remember watching the Walton family as they struggled during the Great Depression and face World War II together. No matter what, they loved each other and worked together.
The Newtons (Evening Shade)
After playing pro football, Wood Newton moves his family to a small town in Arkansas where he becomes the high school football coach. One of the best parts of this show is the brilliance of Michael Jeter.
The Banks (Fresh Prince of Bel Air)
Proving you can turn a song into a sitcom, this stars Will Smith as Philadelphian Will Smith who moves in with his aunt and uncle in California.
The Cunninghams (Happy Days)
The Cunninghams are the definition of perfect family living in the 1950s.
The Bradfords (Eight is Enough)
Widower Tom Bradford is trying to raise his eight kids the best he can with his second wife Abby. This was my favorite show in the 1970s (well, it might be tied with Happy Days).
The Keatons (Family Ties)
Former hippies, Michael and Elise, are trying to raise their three kids with their values, even their conservative son.
The Cranes (Frasier)**
Frasier Crane, a brilliant psychotherapist, moves from Boston to Seattle to work as a radio psychologist/personality while living with his dad.
The Evans (Good Times)
A good family trying to better their lives while living in the Chicago projects.
The Ingallses (Little House on the Prairie)
As a child, I couldn’t wait to watch the latest episode so I could see what was going on with Laura and her family in 19th Century Walnut Grove, Minnesota.
The Tanners (Full House and Fuller House**)
There was something about the Tanners that made you feel good, even it if was a goofy sitcom. Now they are back with DJ as a single mom with three kids and help from her sister Stephanie.
**All of these shows (with a double asterisk) are currently available to stream on Netflix!