Although there are several different genres of TV shows, there is often one, universal aspect that is essential to any show: the concept of family. Whether this familial bond is formed by blood or by choice, families play an important role in shaping who people become and what they believe in, especially in TV shows.
Here are five family-oriented shows that will help you be grateful for the bond you have with those you consider to be your family.
1. “This Is Us”
This popular NBC drama is one of the most awe-inspiring, tear-jerking, family-oriented shows on television right now. “This is Us” tells the story of the dynamic Pearson family, which is composed of the late father Jack, mother Rebecca, twins Kevin and Kate and their adopted brother Randall. From the very first episode, the show tackles difficult topics, including losing a child at birth, the death of a parent and drug addiction. The show also explores topics like depression, body image issues and questioning one’s sexuality.
Each of the three Pearson children share drastically different relationships with their late father, Jack. Despite this, in each relationship, audiences recognize how Jack has impacted and continues to impact his children’s lives even long after his death. In this way, “This is Us” demonstrates the profound influence that a parent has on a child.
At the same time, the series proves that the family construct is not always conventional — and that’s not a bad thing. Secondary characters like Kate’s boyfriend, Toby, and Randall’s biological father, William, demonstrate that the most important relationships often occur when you least expect them. Family can be anyone, anywhere and anytime.
With each episode, the lives, trials and triumphs of each character will unravel, and viewers will fall in love with the show. After watching “This is Us,” you’ll become more thankful for your family, conventional or not, and the people who are always there for you.
2. “One Day at a Time”
The modern-day remake of the 1975 sitcom “One Day at a Time” follows a divorced mother and her struggle in raising two children, Elena and Alex, who have two extremely different personalities.
The overall tone and genre of this show starkly contrasts with “This is Us,” but the themes regarding family remain the same. For instance, “One Day at a Time” breaks the boundaries of a traditional nuclear family to prove that you can share a close familial bond with people who you are not biologically related to.
In addition, by focusing on a Cuban family rather than a white family, the sitcom offers Hispanic/Latinx audiences a sense of relatability and representation in the media. The show’s incorporation of both English and Spanish languages appeals to bilingual or multilingual viewers.
The Alvarez family shows their loyalty and support for one another when tackling difficult topics, such as Elena coming to terms with her sexuality and Penelope’s PTSD from her days in the military. Through these topics and the characters’ reactions to them, viewers will be encouraged to open up and share their thoughts with the people they love. You can watch “One Day at a Time” and the Alvarez family on Netflix.
3. “Jane the Virgin”
This CW drama follows the life of young aspiring writer, Jane Villanueva, who becomes pregnant through an accidental artificial insemination performed by her doctor. She then finds out that her doctor’s brother, Rafael, is the father of her child. Jane has to figure out what to do, and be sure that it’s what is best for the baby.
While there are moments in this show that cause viewers to question the loyalty within Rafael’s family, Jane’s family continues to show how they will always persevere through the most difficult times.
Like “One Day at a Time,” Jane and her family often converse in Spanish, which also highlights what life is like for bilingual families. Additionally, the show explores unconventional family constructs when Jane’s family takes in Michael, Jane’s husband, and Rafael, as members of their own family. Like the other shows, “Jane the Virgin” stresses the fact that family does not have to be biological to be considered important.
4. “Full House”
America’s favorite family stars in this comedy, which highlights the importance of being there for your loved ones and learning from your mistakes. The Tanner family is known for their famous life lessons, which occur at the end of every episode. During the end of each episode, with dramatic music playing in the background, one of the patriarch characters gives advice to one of the younger characters.
“Full House” shares the message that family does not have to be biological, primarily through the inclusion of Uncle Joey’s character. Furthermore, the Tanner siblings demonstrate their loyalty by never failing to be there for each other at the end of the day — no matter how many fights they get into — because their strong bond and open communication allows them to overcome these disagreements. This aspect of familial bonding shows viewers the importance of maintaining communication with their families.
5. “Bob’s Burgers”
This popular, family-oriented cartoon focuses on the Belchers, a middle-class family that operates a struggling, titular family restaurant. The parents, Bob and Linda, as well as their adolescent children Tina, Gene and Louise, all work at the restaurant to help make ends meet.
While this comedy might not be the first show you consider to be family-oriented, there is always a hidden sense of familial bonding in every episode, especially through the sibling relationships between Tina, Gene and Louise. Through their adventures and fights as siblings, the Belcher children show that your family members can very well be your best friends.
Furthermore, Bob and Linda try their best to make their children happy, even though they don’t always have enough money to do so. With their efforts in raising their children, the Belcher parents show the importance of hard work, commitment and communication within the family unit.