Family Bonding with Reboots

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Reboots of 90s TV shows are everywhere you look these days. Many are made for kids, but also cater to the millennial parents who fondly remember the originals. Younger kids especially love hearing about their parents’ childhoods. Mine are always excited to watch a show I loved when I was little. Watching together and talking about these shows, and what they were like in the 90s, can be a great bonding experience. You can tell tales of the harrowing experience of having to wait until a show aired to watch it.

Here’s a rundown of the reboots I’m most excited about:

Carmen Sandiego

My geography obsessed kid loves Carmen Sandiego as much as I did at her age. Before the reboot, released on Netflix this year, we watched old episodes of the the game show on You Tube and played the card game. For a good chunk of 2018 she wore a trench coat and a red fedora. 

Needless to say she was excited for the new show. Honestly, at first I was not a fan. The first couple episodes focus heavily on Carmen’s backstory, and aren’t particularly educational. But by the third episode they bring in geographical and cultural content. 

The focus on her back story is not an accident- in an interview with Variety, producers Caroline Fraser and Duane Capizzi discuss a shift in focus to Carmen’s heritage. Carmen Sandiego was always Latina, but light skinned. This time, she was intentionally made darker because, Capizzi says, “we didn’t want to shy away from the fact that she’s a Hispanic role model.” The series will include Carmen exploring her mysterious past.

In addition to a focus on representation, there are other benefits to watching the reboot. While less packed with information than the game show or computer game, It’s still an action-packed way to get kids interested in other parts of the world. Plus, it’s current, which can make a huge difference in geography. 

The Verdict: Watch the reboot to get your kids into everyone’s favorite international thief. Then bring in the old game show, play the game, and even make you and your kid matching Carmen Sandiego outfits. 

For extra educational benefit, pair with these books:

All That

I am so excited for Kenan Thompson to reboot this show. I love watching sketch comedy with my kids- its fun and quick enough to use as motivation to get things done efficiently (as in, if you’re dressed for school in time we can watch Continental Breakfast ). But a lot of sketch comedy is inappropriate for my 6 and 3 year olds, or goes over their heads. All That is kid friendly sketch comedy that will get you nostalgic for some Good Burger.

While the reboot has yet to be released, Amazon has old episodes, and clips from the original are available on You Tube. I recommend going with the individual sketches rather than full episodes. Some sketches are dated (several revolve around a Ross Perot impression). Others your kids may enjoy, but you probably won’t. Search specific sketches you remember. We’ve been loving Pierre Escargot, Cooking with Randy & Mandy, Vital Information, and, of course, Good Burger.  All That’s You Tube channel has several best of compilations.

The verdict: With the reboot still in the works, time will tell if it surpasses the original. In the meantime, All That’s YouTube channel is a great way to see the best sketches.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

This show is incredible, but this is not the Sabrina you remember. This version is based more closely on the comic book, and is far darker. It includes satanic worship, cannibalism, violence, and sex. It would be fine for high schoolers. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is fine for about ages 8 and up. 

The verdict: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is just a better show. Watch it on Netflix with your high schooler. If they like it, get them reading more with the comic. If you have younger kids, you can watch the original show on Amazon or Hulu. And while you’re at it, throw in some Clarissa Explains it All (Available on Amazon and iTunes.

Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars is the greatest show of all time. It has some heavy content but nothing a mature middle schooler couldn’t handle. Do yourself a favor and get your kid, and yourself, hooked now. Hulu is set to start streaming it in Summer 2019 before they launch the reboot. In the meantime you can get started on Amazon.

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