8 8:30 9 9:30 10 10:30 CBS Still Standing Listen Up Raymond Two & a Half Men CSI: Miami WB 7th Heaven Everwood News Disc Monster House Monster Garage American Chopper Bravo The West Wing Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Back to Main
Oh, no! The preacher's son is having premarital sex! But hey, he's mostly grown, and this series about a minister and his wife raising a brood of seven does its best to stay real. It's a complex world, and unfortunately our kids encounter heavy issues. This show handles these topics sensitively and encourages discussion. Even if your kids think they're too hip now for the Camdens, they may still find it a guilty pleasure.
Despite the premise of a dad trying to reconnect with his kids after their mom dies, Everwood isn't just another wanna-be tearjerker. Exploring edgy topics like medical marijuana, abortion and STDs through the patients in Dr. Andrew Brown's free clinic, this show is a great vehicle for launching those tough parent-teen talks.
You wouldn't think that watching guys build motorcycles would be all that entertaining, especially for girls. However, this show is a smash hit, thanks to the snarky back-and-forth remarks between Paul Sr., Paul Jr., Mikey, Vinnie and the rest of the crew. Even mechanically challenged viewers love the all-American choppers built for firefighters, Vietnam vets and policemen across the country. As Paulie says, "It's all about freedom, folks."
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Teens who thought they outgrew this show may come back to it this year, as Rory's life has been spiced up since she went to college. With its eclectic mix of folks in a storybook Connecticut town, it's no wonder the series has earned a stack of awards in its four seasons on the air. And the "Gilmore-esque" relationship has become a household term for moms and daughters who sometimes seem more like best friends.
High school angst hasn't been done this well since My So-Called Life. Although there's a little Nancy Drew with the heroine moonlighting as a private eye, this show is really more a revenge fantasy as Veronica deals with some serious stuff '- her best friend getting murdered, her mom leaving and a classmate drugging her at a party and assaulting her. The acting is great and the writing is tight, making this a surprise among the rest of the goofy teenage fare.
Girl power doesn't get any better than Judging Amy, which offers three generations of strong women as role models. Even the youngest, preteen Lauren, is smart, strong willed and morally conscious, as opposed to the troubled teens that mom Amy sees in her courtroom and grandma Maxine sees as a social worker. Yet they're all still silly, frilly and head-over-heels in love at least a few times each season.
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As if being a teenager weren't hard enough, what if you also had to leap tall buildings, stop speeding bullets and fight evil foes (who look, oddly, like lawyers and accountants)? That's the conundrum of our hero in this modern-day Superman drama. It brings a whole new generation into the Man of Steel fold, which is good, because kids don't read comic books like they used to.
Nothing is off-limits for the hosts of this show, two ordinary guys whose main goal in life is to separate fact from urban legend. Like how many helium balloons does it actually take to lift a small child off the ground? Or if an elevator falls, can you save yourself by jumping up at the last second? And is it possible to throw a playing card fast enough to inflict bodily harm? Inquiring minds want to know.
It's hard to believe this show's been on for 15 years (and renewed through 2006), but its huge fan base is a testament to its quality. Because it's not trying to prove itself, Law & Order's plots tend to be a little less gruesome than those of its spin-offs and the copycats on other networks. And the ripped-from-the-headlines storylines offer some good lessons. It's still pretty intense, though, with violence, sexual innuendo and tense situations that are definitely not for the younger crowd or the squeamish.
8 8:30 9 9:30 10 10:30 CBS Survivor CSI Without a Trace NBC Joey Will & Grace Apprentice ER TBS Friends The Mansion Disney Movie Lizzie McGuire Sister, Sister Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
You can try to keep them away, but the popularity '- and the primo time slot '- may make that impossible. Be heartened that even though the contestants are scantily clothed, it's mostly the chubby men who lose their drawers during the challenges. There's actually are Lord of the Flies lessons here: Mob mentality is powerful, we really are stronger than we think and never underestimate the importance of choosing friends wisely.
"You're fired!" Whoever thought that phrase would be so popular? With the Donald at the helm, anything goes on The Apprentice as a bunch of corporate wanna-bes duke it out to win a gig with the odd-haired one. Kids heading off to college or into the job market might pick up a few pointers, or at least get scared enough that they'll want to become teachers and nurses instead of trying for the big bucks in the corporate world.
Every second counts when someone vanishes, but that doesn't deter the gang from the Missing Persons Squad of the FBI. Their motto: "Learn who the victim is to learn where the victim is." Because the stories are often ripped from the headlines, they include some meaty topics and disturbing themes, but the violence isn't anywhere near CSI caliber.
8 8:30 9 9:30 10 10:30 CBS Joan of Arcadia JAG CSI: Miami ABC Hope & Faith Complete Savages Hope & Faith Less Than Perfect 20/20 NBC Dateline NBC Third Watch Medical Investigation WB What I Like About You Grounded for Life Reba Blue Collar TV News Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Back to Main
A superb ensemble cast and some of the best writing on TV make this a standout for your kids. Think Touched by an Angel '- if the angel had multiple piercings and inspired more questions than answers. What's more, this is a "clean" show about spirituality, growth and acceptance that emphasizes friends and family as the most important things in life. Great for kids of all ages.
Sir! Yes, sir! We like this show, sir! Okay, so it's a little pat, with a handsome ace pilot as the lawyer and a beautiful female officer as the stickler for detail. But hey, that's life in Television World. Somebody has to hunt down those military villains '- might as well be somebody cute. This is an entertaining show that delves into some of the behind-the-scenes military stuff we usually don't hear about.
With mystery viruses and terrorism making headlines lately, it was just a matter of time before someone came up with this show. Marshaling resources from the National Institutes of Health, the MI team flies to outbreak sites to swab, sample and test whatever ails the residents. Fans of medical programs will love this and learn something at the same time. The stories are realistic (albeit condensed) and present little-known facts about hot-potato medical issues. It's also more Quincy than CSI, so it's easier on your conscience.
8 8:30 9 9:30 10 10:30 CBS Amazing Race Without a Trace ABC Wonderful World of Disney Movie WB Welcome Back, Kotter Jeffersons Odd Couple Taxi News Nick All Grown Up Romeo All That Amanda Show Full House Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Back to Main
This cultural odyssey pits two-person teams against each other in a race around the world for a $1 million payoff. As reality shows go, this one's got everything: adrenaline, teamwork and a can-do attitude. The globetrotters encounter a gross food oddity or two, but nothing to rival Fear Factor, and there's none of the rampant sexuality of Survivor. Maybe watching with your kids will spur you to plan an adventure of your own.
Your teens are going to head off to college soon and have their first real experiences with roommates who aren't related to them. Why not prep them with this timeless classic about two diametrically opposed personality types trying to share a living space. You could get the kids to try out Sesame Street again to learn from Bert and Ernie, but this might go down a little easier.
If the family's Saturday-night plans don't include a movie, video games or a non-TV activity, sitting down together to watch Alex and the gang face life in New York City is a good way to spend some quality time.
7 7:30 8 8:30 9 9:30 Fox King of the Hill Malcolm in the Middle Simpsons Arrested Development My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss NBC Dateline NBC American Dreams Law & Order WB Steve Harvey Charmed Jack & Bobby Noggin Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Back to Main
Everyone can identify with a little chunk of the Hill world, whether it's Hank's exasperation, Peggy's authority, Bobby's confusion or one of the neighbors' wackiness. This witty cartoon sitcom is the Everybody Loves Raymond of cartoons, but also has a Seinfeld-like ability to merge several storylines in one episode, bringing them all together in a poignant ending.
America is nostalgia crazy, and maybe that's why this show is so popular. Or maybe it's because it's thoughtful, well-written series and provides a springboard for parent-kid discussion. Set against a backdrop of the '60s, national headlines are made personal through the struggles of the Pryor family of Philadelphia. It's all set to an American Bandstand beat (thanks to executive producer Dick Clark), with current performers like Usher and Kelly Clarkson guest starring.
One of these brothers will become president, but now both of them are struggling through their teenage years. The premise is a little far-fetched, but the family dynamics are real enough to keep things interesting. At the very least, older brother Jack is an attractive guide through the thicket of humiliation that is high school, and young Bobby is a case study of valiant nerdiness that will inspire the less perfect among us to remember that greatness is not measured in terms of popularity.
Jane Louise Boursaw writes a syndicated column, Reel Life with Jane, about movies and television. For more info, visit her Website www.reellifewithjane.com.