What Should My Kids and I Watch on Netflix?



This post is sponsored by Netflix, a service to which I have already been a subscriber.


I need a movie to watch on Netflix
What to watch on Netflix tonight?
I need a movie to watch on Netflix.
What’s good to watch on Netflix?

Search “Netflix” on Twitter (The Google of Conversation™) on any given night and you’ll find that one out of 10 tweets (my non-scientific assessment) is basically a call for recommendations on Netflix.

However, over the past two weeks we’ve seen a new and separate common refrain on Twitter regarding Netflix:

Hey, @Netflix, where did Dora and Blue Clues go?
@Netflix why did you take SpongeBob away?

(Also, of course, everyone has been tweeting and writing about the return of Arrested Development, now original programming by and exclusively for Netflix. Despite tepid and mixed reviews, I will watch continue to watch AD.)

Let’s just say that Netflix has been trending big on Twitter for the past week and highly discussed on Facebook as well.

So, what happened to Dora, Blues Clues, Wonder Pets, et al shows on Netflix?

In short, these are all Nickelodeon programs, and thus owned by Viacom. And, Netflix and Viacom didn’t renew their licensing deal. I was at Netflix’s office last week with a team of other online parenting writers and met Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer. As a group, we pointedly asked him about the Nickelodeon shows and why they were coming down. He told us that as Netflix renews its deals it needs to make choices all the time. When looking at the Nickelodeon library, they were paying for the kitchen sink (my words) when in fact they only want specific shows, the ones that Netflix members are actually watching. My takeaway is that I wouldn’t be surprised if we see certain Nick shows back on Netflix eventually.

The good news is that with recently struck deals with Disney and Dreamworks, Netflix has added more kids programming to their library than has come down because of the Nickelodeon/Viacom deal expiring.

One of Ted Sarandos’ final remarks was that “keeping [Netflix] members happy is key.” So, that got me thinking about the kids shows and movies that YOU would like to see on Netflix (my own requests to Netflix are below). Please turn my comments section into your suggestion box.

But first, let’s look at what current programming (for kids and adults) I would recommend on Netflix. My son is ten going on 16, so cartoons don’t appeal to him anymore (except SpongeBob). But, below are my picks given what my son and I have enjoyed in the past and what I think looks fantastic.

Recommendations for kids on Netflix

Recommendations of Fun Kids TV selections on Netflix

Phineas and Ferb
Curious George
Super Why
Sesame Street
The Busy World of Richard Scarry
Bob the Builder (my son was obsessed as a toddler)
Doctor Who (for older kids)
Family Ties (for older kids)
My Little Pony (I have never watched, but Rebecca, who I trust, tells me it’s fantastic and she’s raising her own Brony).
Meerkat Manor
Kickin’ It (for older kids)
Cake Boss
How It’s Made (TV Series fact-based educational series demonstrates how all sorts of items are constructed)

Netflix Kids Movies I think are/look awesome

The Muppet Movie
The Bad News Bears
Daddy Day Care
Billy Elliot
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Red Balloon
First Position (documentary— not in kids section. For older kids)
Mad Hot Ballroom (documentary—not in kids section. For older kids)
Pressure Cooker (documentary—not in kids section. For older kids)
Bully (documentary—not in Kids section. For tweens.)
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (I hear this a compelling documentary for kids and adults alike)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (for tweens)

Suggestions for Additions to Netflix Kids Programming

Charlie & Lola (my son is too old, but I adored this British cartoon)
My So-Called Life
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Full House
Night at the Museum
The Iron Giant
A Little Princess
The Dark Crystal
The Sandlot
Stand By Me
The Cosby Show

I think I understand why folks say that they “don’t know what to watch on Netflix.” Overwhelmed by choices? Not only is my recommendation list of TV shows and movies on Netflix (below) super long, my Netflix queue (also below) is out of control. (all I want to do right now is watch “House of Cards“.) Anyway, for those grown-ups seeking recommendations for movies and TV shows on Netflix, hope these lists are helpful. Please to enjoy:

recommendations for netflix


TV Shows & Movies on Netflix You Should See

House of Cards (Original programming by and exclusively for Netflix)
Arrested Development

Mad Men
The Walking Dead
Luther (F*** Yeah, Idris Elba)
Breaking Bad
American Horror Story (don’t watch alone. so scary. so great.)
Downton Abbey
Friday Night Lights
Exit Through the Gift Shop
The King’s Speech
The Hunger Games
Big Fish
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
In the Name of the Father
My Left Foot
Boyz N The Hood
Far From Heaven
Pulp Fiction
Swimming Pool

TV Shows & Movies on Netflix to watch

TV Shows & Movies on Netflix that I’m Excited to Watch

Call The Midwife
Doctor Who
Sons of Anarchy
The West Wing
Battlestar Galactica

Freaks and Geeks
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Tiny Furniture (by Lena Dunham)
The Artist
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Drive (yes, Ryan Gosling)
Blue Valentine (yes, Ryan Gosling again)
The Untouchables
Harmony (Yunjin Kim and I went to high school together—she’s a STAR in Korea)
Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down!
Ordinary People

Friends with Kids
Farewell My Concubine

Yes, my recommendation lists skew more to TV programs than movies. Every night, my husband and I prefer to stay home in bed and binge-watch our latest TV show crush than the vast majority of movies in the theaters. It’s no secret that TV programming has been kicking movies’ butts for the past dozen years in terms of creativity and originality. Netflix’s programming library reflects that reality and for $8 per month (coupled with the fact that every internet-ready device in my home can stream Netflix) it’s a compelling service for us.

Now it’s time to tell me here what programming (particularly kids) that you think should be on Netflix.

About the author

Isabel Kallman
Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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15 Responses to “What Should My Kids and I Watch on Netflix?”

  1. jill May 31 at 8:31 am Reply Reply

    You’re lucky to get so much programming – the Canadian Netflix is much more limited. I wish we had Dr Who in Canada, as I”m an old Whovian that lost track after I got married in the 90’s.

    I wish they would bring back Backyardigans and Max and Ruby. All my kids (aged 3 – 8 ) could actually agree on those.

    For teens or grown ups Sherlock is good, too.

    • ohladyjayne Jun 03 at 1:53 pm Reply Reply

      Ugh I KNOW jill! I’m in Canada too, and we love our Netflix but yeah, it is nowhere near as great as the US version. We actually get free cable with our apartment but we rarely use it. We got one of those DNS blocker things for a couple of months so we could watch US Netflix but then we kinda used up everything we wanted to watch so we cancelled it.

      For adults, Community is good times. I mostly like watching the dinosaur documentaries.

      Oh and I REALLY REALLY REALLY wish Canadian Netflix would add the queue feature! It’s super annoying that it doesn’t have it. We workaround it by playing stuff and then stopping it, so it remains in our ‘recently watched’ so we can sort of use that like a queue, but yeah, it’s annoying.

  2. LBH Jun 01 at 8:49 am Reply Reply

    If they say they’re adding MORE content than they’re taking down, I think they should clarify how much of that shizzle is actually watchable. My estimation: about 3%. Hint: a whole show based on the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe?? Not Gonna Win An Emmy. 
    Iron Giant used to be on Netflix. I only know this because we managed to watch it about 287 times before they took it down. (It’s now available on HBO Go, fyi)

    My kids (2 boys, ages 2 and 4) LOVE Word Girl. It’s pretty clever, and there are robots!

    • Isabel Kallman
      Isabel Jun 01 at 12:37 pm Reply Reply

      My vote, bring back Iron Giant for sure.

  3. Lisa Jun 02 at 10:08 am Reply Reply

    It would be nice to have Backyardigans, Max and Ruby and Blues Clues…  Oh, Fresh Beat and Yo Gabba Gabba.  

    Thankfully, Timmy Time is stepping in for the missing Blues Clues at 5am.  That first day that Blues was gone from netflix was horrible… She just couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see Steve and Blue.

  4. Laura Jun 05 at 8:20 pm Reply Reply

    My kids 4.5 and 3 are fans of My Big Big Friend. All about kids and the adventures they have with their imaginary friends.

  5. Jill V. / TerraSavvy Jun 24 at 11:30 pm Reply Reply

    OK my friend…you have convinced me! I’m signing up tonight!


  6. Morgan Jul 31 at 3:02 pm Reply Reply

    Re: Nickolodeon.


  7. caitlyn Sep 17 at 9:15 pm Reply Reply

    Pleaseeeeeeeee put ICarly, drake and josh and friends on Netflix I’m so sad without’em and if yall have anything to do with it please stop putting reality shows on tv and never put em on Netflix and please put more good luck Charlie shows on Netflix please thank u.

  8. Kate Jul 23 at 7:54 pm Reply Reply

    Ok I’m not sure if you read these comments anymore because this is an old blog post, but these are my suggestions. Dora the Explorer, Sofia the First, Sponge Bob Square pants, Frozen, House of Anubis (all the seasons and bonus movie).  

  9. Andea Aug 30 at 9:14 pm Reply Reply

    Vampire Diaries and the Originals are food for ages 13 and up.

  10. Logan Sep 07 at 12:45 pm Reply Reply



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