Netflix is the best of on-demand television these days. If you have a computer, tablet, or gaming system connected to the internet--or heck, even a smart phone-- you have thousands of hours of entertainment right at your fingertips. Literally. So, if the kids are driving you nuts and there's just nothing good on television at the time, here are my top ten favorites that are playing on Netflix right now.
1. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Yes, again. This will make every one of my top ten lists for the foreseeable future, so get used to it. Boys and girls alike will find fun and friendship in these six pony pals. As I've said before, a million Bronies
can't be wrong. This show is awesome. You should be watching it. Period.
2. Phineas and Ferb.
Once again, if you're not already a fan of this show, Netflix queue this baby and you'll be entertained for hours. The antics of the Fletcher family and their faithful platypus Perry will warm your funny bone right up, even in the dead of winter. Read more about why you should be watching this show, even without your kids
3. Avatar: The Last Air Bender.
I personally never got on board with the Avatar train, but this epic story is on Netflix in its entirety. You have plenty of time to watch all three "books" (or seasons) and get the full story line, in order.
4. Transformers Prime.
Simply the best of the various Transformers series out there, Transformers Prime is available in its entirety on Netflix as well, with the extra bonus of new episodes added as they air. Those familiar with the Transformers lore will enjoy this incarnation in stunning CGI graphics. You can also check out Transformers Prime on DVD
This is the cartoon series from the 1990's that many of us young parents of the '80s grew up with. All your favorite mutants are here: Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Cyclops, Beast, Professor X, Jubilee, and my personal favorite, Jean Gray. This series more closely follows the lore of the X-Men comic book series
. The animation is typical of the '90s, but that doesn't detract from the incredible story line. You have no idea how excited this geeky momma is to see this series listed on Netflix.
6. Martha Speaks.
This PBS series will lend a little education to your child's television viewing. It is about a dog named Martha who eats some alphabet soup one day and starts to speak English. Vocabulary is a big player in this program, because after all, Martha is still a dog, and sometimes words confuse her. The vocabulary is always woven seamlessly into each episode, so it doesn't feel as contrived as other educational programs. Besides, who doesn't love a talking dog who likes to order her own pizza delivery? Find more great PBS cartoons for older kids here
7. Dinosaur Train.
A Jim Henson Company show, Dinosaur train
follows the Pteranodon family as they travel on a mystical era-hopping train to meet and learn about other dinosaur species. This show is geared towards the younger crowd, but I uphold that any kid who is obsessed with dinosaurs will love it at almost any age. I personally always get a big kick out of Dr. Scott the Paleontologist, who wraps up each episode (there are two per show) with a quick lesson about the dinosaur the Pteranodon family just met. Even more special and rare on cartoons is the fact that Buddy the T-Rex is adopted, and they discuss it openly as early on in the series, Buddy is unaware of what specie he actually is and wants to learn more about himself. Parents who have adopted a child will love the heartfelt way adoption is treated in this program, and will enjoy having their family recognized as special.
8. Shaun the Sheep.
If you remember the days of Wallace and Gromit
, you will no doubt recognize the faces in the claymation series Shaun the Sheep. The episodes are short and there is little dialogue aside from baa-ing, but the adorable wide-eyed sheep friends get into some serious mischief that will make even the oldest kid in your family snicker.
9. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
Do you have a video game
aficionado child in your home? They might enjoy this somewhat goofy cartoon from the 1980's. Obviously, it features the antics of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and all their friends and foes as they plumb their way through silly situations.
10. All Grown Up!
Remember the Rugrats
from the '90s on Nickelodeon? Well, now they're in middle school and they're having preteen problems. Crushes, part-time jobs at the juice bar some of their parents jointly own, bullying, science projects, braces, and homework plague their days now instead of bug eating and diaper rash. At least now their parents can hear and understand them. As someone who was a kid when this show first aired on Nickelodeon in 1991, I enjoyed seeing the personalities of the kids develop into headstrong 'tweens. However, don't think about it too hard... if these kids were real, they'd all be in college by now. Yikes.