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9 Really Great Family Shows of 2021 That You Might Have Missed

Turns out...a bunch of awesome new family shows debuted in 2021! Catch up on the best family shows of the past year.

Jack Shepherd

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True story: Frozen actually gets better after you’ve watched it for the eleventy-millionth time! No, seriously! Something just happens in your brain — it stops fighting, maybe — and you start to like it again. You forget to hate Olaf, you stop rooting for Hans, and “Let It Go” sounds fresh and magical, just like the first time.

But if you don’t believe me (and I wouldn't want any human being to watch Frozen eleventy-million times just to test my theory), it turns out they made a ton of brand-new, super fun family programming in 2021! Everybody wins when you shake up the screen time routine a little bit, especially if you've been so stuck in a Frozen-watching routine that you might have missed some of the cool new shows for kids and families. 

Here are some of the great new family shows you might have missed from 2021!

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Mysterious Benedict Society

It’s well known that if you’re lucky enough to become an eccentric genius, the absolute first thing you’ll need to do (after you’ve outfitted yourself in a dapper suit and waistcoat) is to recruit a team of orphans to infiltrate a school where nefarious doings are afoot. This charming show, starring the wonderful Tony Hale (Veep) and Kristen Schall (Bob’s Burgers, Gravity Falls), explores that very premise.

Streaming on: Disney+

Through Our Eyes

Through Our Eyes

A thoughtful documentary series that explores some of the most pressing issues facing our society — from homelessness to health care to incarceration — through children’s eyes. Produced by the Sesame Workshop, this is a good series to help make real, serious issues understandable and relatable to children. 

Streaming on: HBO Max

Just Beyond

Just Beyond

It’s a horror-comedy series based on the series of the same name by R.L. Stine, so if your kids are of an age or temperament to withstand a little bit of ~spookiness~, they’ll absolutely love this fun, nostalgic show that will remind you of snuggling up with some Goosebumps.

Streaming on: Disney+

Penguin Town

Penguin Town

In the industry, it’s a common saying that if you want to make a perfect television show, you need to have your “Three ‘P’s:” Patton Oswalt, penguins, and...um, I don’t know what the third “P” is; I don’t work in the industry. But Penguin Town’s got it all! It’s a truly delightful documentary series about endangered penguins who live in a South African town.

Streaming on: Netflix

Waffles + Mochi

Waffles + Mochi

Waffles and Mochi are two lovable, felt friends who work at Michelle Obama’s grocery store. They want to learn about healthy food on their quest to become chefs. Does this sound like a premise you would have come up with in a particularly vivid dream after eating too many cheese puffs before bedtime? Well, yes, but sometimes the weirdest ideas are the best ones, and this one’s a keeper. 

Streaming on: Netflix

Intertwined

Intertwined

You know that thing where you find a mysterious bracelet in your room that allows you to travel back to 1994 and learn about what your mother was going through when she was your age? This one’s about that thing. Originally in Spanish, this time-traveling drama for tweens is totally original fun. 

Streaming on: Disney+

Chip ‘N’ Dale: Park Life

Chip N Dale Park Life

Those lovable Rescue Rangers are back and they haven’t aged a day! Which is weird, because the average lifespan of an adorable chipmunk is 2-5 years. (Side note: Let me know if you can think of a way to unsay a “fun fact” that didn’t turn out to be as fun as you thought it would be.) The difference with this series is that there’s no dialogue, and all the fun is in their silly, slapstick adventures. 

Streaming on: Disney+

Baking It

Baking It

It’s a holiday-themed cooking competition for families with Andy Samberg and Maya Rudolph. Literally the perfect premise for a TV show. Honestly, I kind of hope they stop making TV shows at all now that they’ve figured this out, so everyone can just focus on making as many episodes of Baking It as they can. 

Streaming on: Peacock

Growing Up Animal

Growing Up Animal

Another delightful animal-based documentary series from 2021 that you can watch as soon as you’re finished with Penguin Town. This one’s about animal families, and it’s full of the riveting nature footage we’ve come to expect from the very best National Geographic shows. 

Streaming on: Disney+