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TV Shows About Family

Current Shows That Center Around Family Life

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Many TV shows about family life have been replaced with crime investigation shows, reality TV and shallow comedies. There are still many noteworthy shows about family life on the air today. You just have to know where to look.

Note: These shows do center around family but may not be appropriate for every member of your family. Please review each episode's TV parental guidelines to see if the title is something you and your family can watch together.

Two and a Half Men

A picture of Angus T. Jones, Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher
Photo © Matt Hoyle / CBS / Warner Brothers
This show proves that families can come together in unusual ways. When Alan's marriage fell apart, he and his 10-year-old son Jake moved in with Alan's older brother, single guy Charlie. We can see how male bonding -- and the affection, agitation and competition it brings -- can be the glue that puts family relationships together. The new test for Two and a Half Men involves the death of Charlie and the introduction of another single guy as his replacement. The difference now is new character Waldon is not a part of the family, which changes the household dynamic to a father, son and acquaintance.

Series stars: Ashton Kutcher, Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones
CBS premiere date: September 22, 2003

Modern Family

A picture of the Modern Family cast
Photo © Bob D'Amico / ABC
Some families may be embarrassed that they don't fit that 1950s mold of perfection -- dad, mom, two adorable children and a faithful dog. Modern Family proves that families can be strong even when they don't contain the perfect parts. We have a dad, who's married to a much younger woman (Ward and June Cleaver would be horrified!), a daughter raising three children with chameleon-like personalities and a son who's adopted a Vietnamese child with his life partner. What we see is a family who allows everyone to be themselves, which forms a stronger bond than forcing everyone to conform to an outdated and unrealistic mold.

Series stars: Ed O'Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson
ABC premiere date: September 23, 2009

The Middle

A picture of The Middle cast
Photo © Diana Koenigsberg / ABC
Sometimes we wonder what our lives would be like if we'd made different decisions. Frankie Heck thinks about the same. She's a middle-aged mom living nowhere special and going about her humdrum days. Sound familiar? The reality is, she has three exceptional kids -- a talented athlete, a teen who does well in school and another who's so smart he has trouble relating to others his own age. While Frankie worries about her children's grades, their social acceptance and her own sanity, her story is a reminder for us to take time while we're stuck in carpool line to appreciate our lives and families.

Series stars: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher, Atticus Shaffer, Chris Kattan
ABC premiere date: September 30, 2009

Parenthood

A picture of the Parenthood cast
Photo © Florian Schneider / NBC
You've probably met a family you secretly wished was your own. Every family has its flaws, though. The Bravermans look like your picture-perfect family from the outside. Inside, they are like most families with their own sets of struggles. Flip through their family album and you'll find a working mom, stay-at-home-dad, a child with Asperger's syndrome, plus a single dad, divorced mother, impressionable kids and trying teenagers. While there are the familiar family fights, they always lean on each other. They show us the importance of returning to our family roots for strength.

Series stars: Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard, Monica Potter, Erika Christensen, Sam Jaeger, Bonnie Bedelia, Craig T. Nelson
NBC premiere date: March 2, 2010

The Big C

A picture of Laura Linney from The Big C
Photo © Robert Ascroft / Showtime
Moms and dads don't want to think about not being there for the important moments in their children's lives. But you've probably worried something might happen to you that would prevent you from watching your child go on her first date or walk across the stage to accept her diploma. The Big C focuses on a mom with stage four melanoma and how her diagnosis affects her husband, teenage son, brother and friends. Instead of being cliched, sappy and downright sad, the show reveals issues every family has no matter what their circumstances while making you appreciate every moment you have with your own children.

Series stars: Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, Gabriel Basso, Gabourey Sidibe, John Benjamin Hickey
Showtime premiere date: August 16, 2010

Raising Hope

A picture of the Raising Hope cast
Photo © Matthias Clamer / FOX
When you're faced with the challenges of parenthood, it's only natural to turn to your own parents for advice (even if you cringe at the thought of a lecture about child raising from people who made their own mistakes). Sometimes that support system isn't there, though. That's the issue single dad Jimmy encounters, although his parents and grandmother are part of his daily routine. Everyone can relate to Jimmy's need for information and support and his reluctance to take flawed guidance from his elders as he seeks to give his daughter a better childhood than the one he experienced.

Series stars: Lucas Neff, Martha Plimpton, Garet Dillahunt, Shannon Woodward, Cloris Leachman
FOX premiere date: September 21, 2010

Shameless

A picture of the Shameless cast
Photo © Showtime
Most TV shows that tackle substance abuse in a family show a child's battle with dependency. Shameless presents a family with a parent who faces addiction. It's the children who have to step in to keep the Gallagher family together. Dad's passed out drunk, Mom is absent from her children's lives and the kids have to confront those problems with ones of their own -- legal, financial and personal. It may sound like a show too depressing to watch. But you'll root for and laugh with these people because you'll find yourself caring for the Gallaghers, dear old drunk dad too.

Series stars: William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, Justin Chatwin, Jeremy Allen White, Cameron Monaghan, Ethan Cutkosky, Emma Kenney
Showtime premiere date: January 9, 2011

Suburgatory

A picture of the Suburgatory cast
Photo © Bob D'Amico / ABC
Most parents try to keep their kids from growing up too fast. That's the situation for George who wants his teenage daughter Tessa to remain innocent as long as possible. When he finds a box of condoms in her dresser, he moves them out of the big city and into the suburbs. If you feel like you're an overprotective parent, you'll relate to this father's internal struggle. He's on his own because his wife left them. What he and Tessa find in the 'burbs are girls with nose jobs and moms with fake boobs. The message here is that parents may want to find a perfect sanctuary for their kids but teens will be faced with reality no matter where you try to hide.

Series stars: Jeremy Sisto, Jane Levy, Cheryl Hines
ABC premiere date: September 28, 2011

Last Man Standing

A picture of the Last Man Standing cast
Photo © Craig Sjodin / ABC
If you're a stay-at-home mom who wonders if your household would implode if you ever went back to work, this show will give you a glimpse. When a mom trades her kitchen scouring pad for a new office pad, dad is left raising three daughters. The twist is that these aren't the typical toddler- or elementary school-aged children. These young women are 22, 17 and 14. For people who think that by that age their daughters can take care of themselves while mommy's back in the workforce, we all find out if dad can be just as prepared for the issues facing this trio as they confront womanhood.

Series stars: Tim Allen, Nancy Travis, Hector Elizondo
ABC premiere date: October 11, 2011
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