These ten shows are perfect for a slightly older audience – with everything from documentary to drama to appeal.
Times are tough during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re being advised to stay home to prevent getting and spreading the illness. There are special advisements for the elders among us, as they are at more at risk of complications from the disease. This means that many of us have found ourselves in an unusual position: begging our parents, grandparents, and older relatives to stay home.
Back in the day, our parents and elders were the ones trying to keep us in the house and out of trouble. But now we need them to stay home and out of the way of the coronavirus. Oh, how the tables have turned. A great way to get them to stay home is to distract them. These shows are good enough (and have enough seasons) to keep them safely at home in front of the TV.
10 Modern Family
This family situation comedy is currently in its tenth and final season. It follows the Pritchett family throughout their daily life with documentary-style filming. Jay is the family’s patriarch. He has two kids, Claire and Mitchell both of whom have families of their own. Jay is also still in the parenting game as he has a younger wife with a young son.
Modern Family is a hilarious look at a slice of family life. The audience can watch the kids in the family grow up nearly all the way into adulthood over the course of eleven or so years. With the final season still airing on ABC, you can be sure your loved ones will at least be home every Wednesday night.
9 Grace And Frankie
Grace and Frankie are shocked when their husbands announce that they are leaving the women… for each other. Grace and Frankie suddenly find themselves roommates in the beach house both families shared. Together they weather the storms of aging along with their ex-husbands and children.
Some of your grandparents might recognize members of the Grace and Frankie cast. Of course, there are the titular women, played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. But there’s also Sam Waterson and Martin Sheen who play their former husbands and many guest stars. Your older loved ones may enjoy picking the familiar faces out of the crowd.
8 The Kominsky Method
Another show full of familiar faces, The Kominsky Method also tackles the subject of aging. Acting coach Sandy Kominsky and his agent Norman Newlander crack jokes as they struggle to stay well in Los Angeles, a city that over-values youthful beauty.
Michael Douglas is the face behind Kominsky, while Alan Arkin gives life to Newlander. Many famous guests also appear. There are only two seasons of this show so far but it’s easily accessible on Netflix.
Depending on their age, your loved ones may have fond memories of this show. M*A*S*H follows the staff of an army hospital during the Korean War. If you haven’t heard of it, you may think that’s a terrible recommendation during these challenging times, but M*A*S*H is actually a comedy.
The show stars Alan Alda as Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce at the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH). It aired on CBS from 1972 to 1983. Luckily, it is now available in its entirety on Hulu.
6 Criminal Minds
Many people of all ages enjoy crime shows. Our elders are no exception. Criminal Minds follows a team of FBI profilers as they track the darkest criminals acting today. They use behavior analysis techniques to capture them. The team is full of geniuses with different skill sets such as Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), resident academic genius, and Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), technological genius.
Criminal Minds can get quite dark, as it deals with twisted criminals, so it may not be a perfect recommendation for your more sensitive loved ones. But it’s a fantastic show for those who can stomach seeing more of society’s underbelly.
5 Law And Order
Law and Order is an absolute classic. Another procedural crime show, it follows both the detectives of the New York Police Department and the lawyers of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office as they move criminal cases from the streets to the courtroom.
The show has twenty seasons to catch up on and that’s not mentioning its various spinoff series. Law and Order still deals with heavy issues, naturally, but it can be less creepy than Criminal Minds. Once your loved ones get invested, all those seasons will keep them on the couch for weeks.
Your more drama-minded elders might like Scandal. This show follows Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), the president’s former media consultant and her DC-based crisis management firm. Pope desires to move on from her past, but the political scene in DC never fails to suck her back into it.
Scandal’s plot is driven by the characters who are not as good at cleaning up their own crises as they are at their jobs. This is a good show for someone who loves the drama of politics but could use a break from the present ordeal. With seven seasons, this break could last a while.
3 Downton Abbey
British dramas are still all the rage in America and Downton Abbey is the queen of them all. It’s a historical drama that begins in the 1910s. It follows the family of Lord Grantham as they desperately search for a male heir to keep the fortune in the family.
Let your loved ones escape into the world of wealth that Downton provides. It’s not all easy for the family and their staff, but the drama will distract your loved ones from the temptations outside their doors. There’s even a movie to watch once they finish all six seasons.
2 The Vet Life
The animal lovers in your life might appreciate this heart-warming veterinary show. Drs. Diarra Blue, Aubrey Ross, and Michael Levigne are best friends who own an animal hospital together in Houston, Texas. They care deeply for the animals they treat and make the clinic a fun and positive environment to spend some time in.
The Vet Life is an Animal Planet show that can be watched on the channel or app. It’s a great choice for your elders who love a healthy mix of drama and cuddly animals. They’ll be so invested in all the little friends featured in each episode they won’t even get up for six seasons.
1 Planet Earth II
The sequel to the original hit nature show, Planet Earth II brings the wonders of the Earth into your living room. It’s even better than the original because of the huge technological advances in filming since 2006. Each episode features a different environment.
Your elders will be floored by the beauty that exists in this world we call home. The amazing animal and plant life and geological features are depicted in crisp clarity. There are only six episodes but loved ones can move on to any of the other David Attenborough-narrated nature shows to supplement.
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About The AuthorKatarina writes and lives at the intersection of mental health, media, and hope. She has written for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Women Write About Comics in the past. Currently she serves as editor for The Future of the Force and writes lists for CBR & ScreenRant. Film, writing, people, and nature are Katarina’s four favorite things. Her passion lies in using writing to help people understand and experience the world and its media more vividly. A new resident of LA, Katarina is probably crying about something nerdy at this very moment.
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