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TV series that are fun to revisit

In the small, rural community where I live, we still have a local video store. Many people go wide-eyed when I tell them this, asking why I don’t just install Netflix or other movie apps. I usually tell them that there are several reasons, one of which is that I love to support my local economy and small business owners in my community. Going to the video store is like having a visit with friends. The same family has been running the store for the 18 years I’ve been going there. I watched their daughter grow up and get married and have a baby, whose footsteps can now be heard running about the home above the store where they live while customers stand in the checkout line below. A particular section in the video store is dedicated to TV series.

I’ve never regretted my decision to “get rid of TV” in our household. While we did have a “dish” installed when we first moved to the woods, it only took a few years to determine that I could think of better things for my kids to do than watch the garbage I was perpetually seeing come across the screen. We kept our television and began compiling a large movie collection. I’m glad to say that my children enjoyed an active, healthy, happy childhood without cable television. Having said that, there are many TV series that we have enjoyed through the years. I would often share shows with my kids “on tape” that were popular when I was a child. There are several series that never seem to grow old, meaning it’s always entertaining to watch them, no matter how many times you’ve seen them in the past.

The TV series “Little House on the Prairie” is a favorite

TV series, log cabin, tall evergreen trees and blue sky in background

In addition to our local video store, the library also provides TV series on DVD for patrons’ enjoyment. (You can’t beat free TV!) There’s something about “Little House on the Prairie” that makes for a perfectly cozy TV-viewing experience. The stories in take place during Westward Expansion. In fact, this TV series is based on entries from the diaries of a woman named Laura Ingalls Wilder. As is always the case in Hollywood, the actual accounts were fictionalized and embellished to make them more entertaining for a viewing audience.

Family read-alouds were always a favorite time in our house. It still brings a smile to my face to remember having all of my little ones gathered around me each evening while we read The Little House books. Even the older kids (and my husband) would find a reason to wander into the room and hover nearby to hear the stories. My kids are all older now, but I still love watching the “Little House on the Prairie” TV series. The main characters are played by Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson and Karen Grassle. If you love American Western historical dramas, you’ll love this show.

“The Waltons” TV series speaks of another time in U.S. history

Older woman, blue dress, dark sweater, standing in front of a white house
The real “Ma” Walton, standing in front of the Hamner House, which still exists today.
Photo credit: http://www.allaboutthewaltons.com/ham-fam.php

“The Waltons” was literally my favorite TV series when I was a child. It aired weekly at 8 p.m., and I could hardly wait for each new episode. I think the series ran for nearly 10 years and featured more than 220 episodes. It, too, was taken from the autobiographical writings of Earl Hamner Jr., in a book called, “Spencer’s Mountain.” The setting of the series is rural Virginia, during the Depression era. Each episode features a mother, father and their seven children, as well as the father’s parents, who all live together in a remote region of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The overall time span of the stories in this TV series takes viewers from approximately 1933 through 1946, including World War II. In many ways, it was simpler time in America. At the same time, the Walton (in real life, Hamner) Family lived through one of the most harrowing and arduous times the country has ever known. The adults of the WWII era are often called, “The Greatest Generation” for good reason. Money and jobs were scarce. The world would once again find itself at war. And yet, somehow, some way, families had to find a way to put food on their table. Not only did they succeed, they also found reasons to be grateful and joyful in their ordinary, everyday lives.

Life was hard in some ways, yet gentler and simpler in others

There was a certain innocence during the times in which these TV series (“Little House on the Prairie” and “The Waltons”) took place that is all but gone today. Perhaps that’s what makes them so enjoyable to revisit time and time, again. They are stories of family, faith and community. Viewers are drawn into the celebrations and victories, as well as the trials and tribulations that were part of everyday life in America. The real people upon whom these stories are based formed the backbone of our nation. They helped make it the greatest country on earth.

Downton Abbey is a timeless masterpiece for older viewers

TV series, Highclere Castle

This TV series is a British historical drama. It’s set in the early 20th century and first aired in 2010. It is an epic masterpiece featuring a fictionalized family whose characters on based on The Earls and Countesses of Carnarvon. They still reside in Highclere Castle, where the show was filmed. As opposed to the relatively benign subject matter that is typically covered in the previous two TV series mentioned in this post, Downton Abbey addresses social issues that are best reserved for young adult and adult viewing.

If you were part of the Downton Abbey viewing trend when it was still an active series on television, you may have taken part in “Downton Abbey Parties” where guests would dress in costumes from the era. People would go all out with snacks and foods and decorations “from the day” and watch the show on a big screen TV, eagerly awaiting each episode. Downton always ends each show with a major cliffhanger of some sort, which kept the viewing audience loyal to the series.

A top-rated show that received many accolades

Downton Abbey was the most-watched TV series on PBS and won numerous awards, including the Golden Globe Award for the best television miniseries. There’s something mysterious yet enthralling about the happenings in “the big house.” Aristocrats Lord Grantham and his American wife, Cora Crawley, are pillars of their post-Edwardian community. The earliest episodes are set in the time when the sinking of the Titanic occurred. The disaster takes the life of a member of the family, the heir to the estate, in fact. Each episode builds upon the last, with tales about the Grantham/Crawley family and their servants. The final episode is set in 1926. Everyone who watches the show has a favorite character.

The matriarch of the family, The Dowager Countess, played by Maggie Smith, delivers flippant one-liners. Her quick-witted responses guarantee at least one hearty laugh with each episode. The three daughters have vastly different personalities. Yet, they stand steadfast together to defend the family whenever trouble arises. And, trouble always arises. The show lasted six seasons. It came to an end after 50-some episodes, much to the disappointment of faithful fans. They wanted it to last forever!

Which TV series are among your timeless favorites?

When you’re in the mood to curl up with a favorite blanket and a nice, big bowl of popcorn, what are the go-to TV series that you love to enjoy? If your household family spans several generations, it’s fun to host a TV series week. Each family member can choose a favorite old show to share. Many viewing apps provide a “TV show” category. Or, you can visit your local library to see what it has on hand, or a video store, if you’re lucky enough to find one in your area!

Perhaps you’re looking for more of a variety show that’s filled with entertainment, competition and all those good things.  The Masked Singer is still going strong as a family-friendly TV series! If you don’t subscribe to cable TV, you can watch episodes after they air by using online streaming services. My kids and I love this show and often binge-watch an entire season in a single night!

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