Amazon has nailed it with their first run of Amazon Original Series for kids.
My girls adored Annedroids - featuring a super smart, Punky Brewster-esque female lead and her human and robot sidekicks. The show hit three major sweet spots for me: smart, not cynical, and a racially and socioeconomically diverse cast of characters. I love that the kids’ parents have roles and are not cast as idiots, and that the focus is not on “boys and clothes and popularity.” The science is iffy, at best, but the real draw is the interest in tinkering and building, not accurate STEM instruction. ;)
I was a little skeptical about Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, as I am with most shows aimed at preteens. But it was fantastic and my kids loved it. There were a few slightly tense moments due to the supernatural themes, but nothing my nearly-5 year old couldn’t handle with a little hand holding. The friendship between the three main characters (two boys and a girl) is innocent with no sexual undertones. Again, the focus was on working together to solve problems, and using ingenuity and grit to succeed.
All three of my kids are enjoying the show called Tumble Leaf - a darling, gentle stop action show wherein a diverse cast of animals discover, create, and learn. I love that the voices of the characters are very easy on the ear - not loud or whiny. And their tones are always kind to each other. It’s a gentle, slow storyline, full of wonder and whimsy, so well written that my 8 year old loves it as much as my 18 month old.
All three shows emphasize inquiry and invention, and kindness and teamwork. They are genuinely sweet and innocent - something that’s so hard to find in kids’ shows (particularly those geared toward older kids, as are Annedroids and Gortimer Gibbons).
These three kids shows are only the beginning of the great content on Prime Instant Video. We also love Peg + Cat, Olivia, Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear, and of course the treasure trove that is the many seasons of Sesame Street (that’s Season 1, from 1969, with Carol Burnett as the first celebrity guest!) and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (that’s the very first shows from 1967, in black and white!).
If you aren’t already an Amazon Prime customer, you can still watch the previews of each show in the links above. I highly recommend upgrading to Amazon Prime. At only $99/year, it more than pays for itself with the free 2-day shipping upgrade and thousands upon thousands of hours of streaming video and movies.
**All the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click through and end up purchasing something during that session, I’ll receive a minuscule kickback from Amazon. Woot!