Looking for TV shows and movies the entire family can enjoy? Here are my 20 top Hulu picks!
This excellent opportunity for me to scour Hulu’s library for my top TV and movie picks is brought to you in partnership with Hulu and CafeMom.
Over the last 15 years, my family has made lots of memories together. We’ve traveled the world, hiked and biked and kayaked and white water rafted, baked cookies and pies and dessert bars, read books aloud, and attended too many plays and concerts and museum exhibits to count.
But one of the together times I’ve loved most is also one of our simplest — We watch TV shows and movies together.
Nearly every night this summer, we’ve watched an hour or so of a series or movie together after dinner. It’s a great way for us to find common ground at every age, have sometimes deep discussions about the characters’ decisions and motivations, and stick together as a family even when we’re too tired to put a whole lot of energy and effort into it.
And as a stepmom to two girls who are now grown, I can tell you that family time in front of the screen is time well spent. My stepdaughters and I watched several television series together over the years, and they still talk about those series today. When they were teenagers, the shows we watched together made conversations about touchier adolescent topics possible — Discussing what a popular TV character should or shouldn’t have done in a situation ended up being a great way to talk openly with my teens about sensitive issues without things getting preachy or awkward.
That’s why as a parent, I’m a huge fan of streaming services like Hulu, which give my family access to hundreds of popular TV shows and movies, all for a low monthly rate. Whether you’re already a Hulu subscriber or you’re thinking about trying it out, I’m here to help with 20 of my favorite Hulu television series and movies for families to watch together. You’ll find selections here for all ages, from preschoolers to teens. Check them out for yourself and see if you don’t make some treasured family memories of your own!
My whole family loves this brilliant adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book by the same name. Angelica Huston is perfectly cast as the Grand High Witch at a convention of witches who’ve all gathered to hatch a plan that would rid the world of children. Agewise, I’d say if your child is old enough to read The Witches on their own, they are old enough for this hilarious and highly entertaining movie.
The Powerpuff Girls
The Powerpuff Girls is one of those rare cartoon series that appeals to people of all ages, from 3 right on up. Not only did I watch and love this series in college, my stepdaughters watched every episode when they were in high school and my kids started watching the series as preschoolers. In fact, my son at age three insisted on being called Buttercup for a while – He thought Buttercup was the ‘boy Powerpuff girl.’ Oops! We all love this series and continue to watch it together from time to time.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Last Crusade (10 and up)
We’ve been watching all of the Indiana Jones movies together as a family and my 10 and 13 year-old kids are loving them. Even today, Indiana manages to bring out the hidden adventurer in all of us. Also, thanks to these movies, I will never enter a cave again without secretly bracing myself for a gigantic stone ball to start rolling down the passageway toward me.
This documentary about penguins mating and raising their young in the Antarctic was the first nature documentary my kids were able to sit still for, watch, and actually enjoy! Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the movie has enough action to keep the attention of kids in grade school and up. You will be riveted — and you’ll all learn something, too!
Mr. Bean is a hilarious BBC series about the bumbling Mr. Bean, whose social awkwardness makes every situation hilarious, whether he’s on vacation at the beach or dining at a fancy restaurant. We watched the entire series with our kids last year and they loved every episode — We all watch the Christmas episode each December and I honestly think it ties with Elf as the funniest Christmas program EVER. Give this series a try with your family — I’m betting you’ll all be hooked!
Of all the Disney princesses, my three girls all loved Mulan the most — and I’ve never understood why this excellent animated film hasn’t gotten more love. I mean, how can anyone resist an adventurous, spirited, fighting princess? This is truly a movie that everyone in the family (boys included!) can enjoy together.
The live-action movie’s great (and it’s also on Hulu), but I’m partial to the original Charlotte’s Web cartoon — you know, the one we all watched at school back when we were kids. For my money, it’s unbeatable — and the nostalgia factor makes it fun for adults to watch as well as children.
While the violence and adult themes aren’t appropriate for younger children — especially as the seasons progress and Buffy and her friends get older and more sophisticated– Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a fantastic series to watch with teens, and one your entire family can enjoy together. Excellent writing and acting combine to make this series funny, inventive, at times scary, and even believable in its own way. We watched every season as a family with my two stepdaughters and I look forward to watching it with my kids when they’re a little older.
This movie, based on the popular chapter book by the same name, is surprisingly entertaining both for kids and adults. In it, 11-year-old Billy must face off against the bully at his new school by eating fried worms. Your grade schoolers will love it — and you’ll enjoy it as well! I was prepared to endure it when I watched it with the kids, but I liked it so much I watched it with them twice!
Your kids will love this fantastic film every bit as much as you did back when it came out. The music is great, Steve Martin is hilarious, the improbable storyline about a talking, man-eating plant is hilarious — What’s not to love? FEED ME, SEYMOUR!
Your kids’ childhoods can’t be complete without at least a few mandatory viewings of The Brady Bunch. Think of this series as their escape to a simpler time when long, straight hair and bell bottoms were all a girl needed to be truly groovy, and when parents were more worried about their boys playing ball in the house than opioid abuse and guns in schools. I’m planning to watch The Brady Bunch with my kids ASAP — I was obsessed with after-school reruns of the show as a teen and practically have every episode memorized! The least I can do is pass down this important knowledge to my offspring.
I haven’t seen The Truman Show in years, but I LOVED it back when it came out, and I imagine it’s more relevant now than ever. Jim Carey gives an unforgettable performance in this movie as a man who’s starring in a show he doesn’t even know he’s on. It’s going on my list of movies to watch with the fam — According to Common Sense Media (my go-to family movie review site), it’s appropriate for ages 10 and up. We’ll be watching this one soon!
Let’s be honest — It’s extremely difficult to find movies that are both appropriate for small children and enjoyable for the adults in the family — Free Willy is one of the few that fits the bill. This story of a boy and his unlikely friendship with an orca whale could easily descend into schlock, but excellent acting and direction keep that from happening. Just be sure you have a box of Kleenex handy for the end – You’ll need to pass it around to everyone!
As a young adult, I absolutely adored this series about a young woman’s college years — and I was excited to watch it with my stepdaughters once they were in high school. They loved it just as much as I did. If you have teenage daughters, Felicity is an excellent show to watch with them. It’s beautifully written and directed and the actors are wonderful — Many of them (Keri Russell, Jennifer Garner, and Scott Foley to name a few) went on to big careers after this series ran its course.
Mr. Mom is another movie on my list to watch with the kids this summer. Michael Keaton is absolutely hilarious as a stay-at-home dad back when stay-at-home dads were few and far between. Despite the changing times, the movie holds up and is still funny, engaging, and memorable — In fact, Mr. Mom’s car rider pick-up line scene is one I post on my Facebook page each year when the kids head back to school!
This is another Disney film that doesn’t get the love it deserves, in my opinion. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of Disney’s very best, and it can lead to some wonderful family conversations about the importance of standing up for those who look and act different from others.
This short-lived, brilliant series launched the career of Claire Danes and earned a cult following that remains passionate about the show and its actors today. As an adult, I watched the series again with my stepdaughters and was happy to see that it withstood the test of time — They were just as enthralled by it as I was the first time I saw it. Watch this with your high school-aged daughters — It’s a great way to launch some important conversations about the issues teens face and can’t easily communicate to their parents.
When it comes to teen movies, it really doesn’t get any better than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, even now. The hijinks and hilarity that ensue after Ferris, his best friend, and his girlfriend skip school for the day are still hugely entertaining. Watch it with your teens and enjoy the memories! Added bonus: Now, when you say, “Bueller? Bueller?” THEY’LL GET IT.
Over the Garden Wall
My kids flipped over this cartoon mini-series from the creator of Adventure Time and have watched it several times since its debut in 2015. The premise: Two brothers get lost in a strange forest and rely on a bird named Beatrice to help guide them back home. Over the Garden Wall is weird, whimsical, and totally different from the usual Cartoon Network fare; watching it is like reading a really good children’s fantasy novel. It also has a great soundtrack! My entire family LOVED this series.
Clue is every bit as broadly hilarious as you remember it being back when you were a kid. The storyline is simple — Six guests are invited to a mansion. A murder occurs. The characters all try to figure out whodunit. Tim Curry gives a standout performance as The Butler, but the entire cast is fantastically funny. Watch the movie as a family, then play the board game together! BOOM – Perfect family night!
In addition to these family favorites, Hulu also has your kids’ favorite Cartoon Network shows like Adventure Time and The Adventures of Gumball, original programming for kids and adults, and a huge library of classic shows like A Family Affair, The Donna Reed Show, The Little Rascals, Twilight Zone, and many more, as well as classic cartoon series like Speed Racer, The X-Men, and Inspector Gadget. You can also find every season of Survivor and The Amazing Race on Hulu– These are two more series that are excellent choices for families to watch together.
Got more questions? Check out this Hulu FAQ:
What is Hulu?
Hulu is the next generation of TV. Our new game-changing TV experience shifts the way consumers experience TV. This is TV built around you.
What does Hulu offer?
Hulu offers original series, full libraries of some of the most popular shows of all time, films and new episodes anytime on internet-connected TVs, smartphones, game consoles, set top boxes and mobile devices. This year, Hulu added live news, entertainment and sports programming – making it the only TV service that brings together live, on-demand, originals, and library content all in one place, across living room and mobile devices.
How much does Hulu cost?
Limited commercials plan: $7.99 per month (get a one month free trial)
No commercials plan: $11.99 per month (get a one month free trial)
For $39.99 – far less than a traditional cable package – Hulu will give you more than 50 popular live and on-demand channels, PLUS our existing library of more than 3500 TV and film titles. No other pay TV provider can offer that. Get a one week free trial.
And you can also add SHOWTIME and HBO to your existing Hulu subscription for an additional fee.
Anything else I should know?
Yes! Hulu has new TV episodes. It is the only streaming service that allows users to stream hit shows the day after they air on TV.
With its new live TV service, Hulu is the only streaming service that combines live and linear content from major broadcast networks and Hulu’s existing library of on demand content – creating the best service on the market for TV lovers. No other pay TV provider can offer that.
You can use Hulu on most devices with an internet connection – Watch in your living room or on-the-go.
What are your favorite family shows and movies on Hulu? Let me know in the comments!
All images via Hulu.com.
Hulu is a leading premium streaming service that offers instant access to live and on demand channels, original series and films, and a premium library TV and movies to millions of subscribers in the U.S. Since its launch in 2008, Hulu has consistently been at the forefront of entertainment and technology. Hulu is the only streaming service that offers both ad-supported and commercial-free current season shows from the largest U.S. broadcast networks; libraries of hit TV series and films; and acclaimed original series including The Handmaid’s Tale, The Mindy Project, The Path, 11.22.63, the Golden Globe® nominated comedy series Casual, as well as the upcoming Future Man and The Looming Tower. In 2017, Hulu added live news, entertainment and sports from 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, CBS Corporation, Turner Networks, A+E Networks and Scripps Networks Interactive to its offering – making it the only TV service that brings together live, on-demand, originals, and library content all in one place, across living room and mobile devices.