Recommend some TV shows (some restrictions apply)

Wings. Inane, pointless, but consistently humorous.

News Radio. Inane, pointless, but consistently humorous, and very sophisticated humor as well.

Maverick. The best western series ever.

Drop Dead Diva for Mom and the 15yr old girl would be fun
Downton Abbey is also recommended

Weeds was kind of fun. I admit I watched the whole series in one very long session, and there is hardcore, deviant, homosexual sex. Maybe, I get it confused with Pulp Fiction, but it’s pretty graphic for a little sitcom plus lots of drug stuff. If you think Mary-Louise Parker’s cute and watch it to see what she’s up to, you win all the internet if you aren’t sick of her face after a few seasons. Not for kids, I’d think. Fun for adults, though, kind of.

Somebody probably mentioned the newer Dr. Who starting with Christopher Eccleston – that’s definitely for kids and adults.

I’ve seen some episodes a few years ago of “How I Met Your Mother.” It’s a cute sitcom, worth checking out. I don’t see kids really enjoying the hijinks of young professionals hitting the NY bar scene, but there’s nothing objectionable unless they changed the show. And it’s got that Doogie Howser/Harold and Kumar guy in it – he’s awesome, and the guy from “Freaks” and the girl from “Angel” and “Buffy” in it.

“Freaks and Geeks” is good for kids, I’d think.

Downton Abbey is awful and would probably bore your kids to death. I’m surprised no one’s recommended Parks and Recreation. Since you liked Community (yay!), I think it would be right up your alley.

I’d think Burn Notice would work–CIA agent gets “burned” (i.e., blacklisted) and dropped in Miami; winds up working with his gun-running former-IRA trigger-happy ex-girlfriend and his washed-up former-FBI pal (played by the brilliant Bruce Campbell!) to restore his good name. On a week-to-week basis he does various jobs to help people who are in trouble with bad folks; the bigger season/multi-season arc plots are usually five minutes at the beginning and five minutes at the end. No serious sexual content, though of course you have babes in bikinis–it is Miami, after all–and the violence is mostly typical action movie stuff.

My current TV fixations are Lost Girl and Todd and the Book of Pure Evil. Lost Girl is an excellent Canadian show that’s playing on Sci Fi (er, “SyFy” :rolleyes:). Set in a Toronto with two “tribes” of magical beings–the Light and Dark Fae. (That doesn’t translate neatly to “good” and “evil.” These what I’d consider a more “traditional” interpretation of the fae–they’re powerful beings not particularly concerned with humanity as such, and both “sides” have a tendency to see humans more as means than ends.) Bo, the titular “lost girl,” is a succubus and unaligned; she works for both sides, along with her friends (a human, a werewolf, and a (male) siren). Almost certainly too heavy on the sexuality–Bo is a succubus, after all. Might be worth checking out when the kids are in bed, though–it’s a damned good show.

Todd is kind of vaguely like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except that a) it’s heavier on the horror elements and b) the protagonists aren’t superheroes. Actually, they’re pretty much losers. :smiley: Todd, a student at Crowley High School in Crowley Heights, discovers the Book of Pure Evil; uses it to become a “metal god”, winds up nearly killing everyone in the school with the power of his shredding at a battle of the bands. His friends save him in the nick of time, the Book goes flying off and finds a new victim. The formula is that the book finds some put-upon kid (the gay kid, the science nerd with a crush on Todd, the dumb kid), who uses it to solve his or her perceived problem, which inevitably has horrific side effects. Todd & Co save the school, the book flies off again. Oh, and there’s also their guidance counselor, who seems to be trying to get the book for a secret cabal of Satanists. It has its share of horror-movie style over-the-top gore, but it’s all pretty obviously fake and played for laughs–think Army of Darkness. Also has a fair amount of drug use–Todd & his best friend are total stoners.

I wish I could recommend QI, the brilliant UKish quiz show hosted by Stephen Fry, but so far as I know there’s no legitimate way to get it in the States…

Arrested Development
Better Off Ted
Babylon 5
Pushing Daisies

How about some British stuff?

Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.
Open All Hours, Porridge - really, anything by Ronnie Barker.
Are You Being Served?
To The Manor Born

Hornblower & Sharpe might be a little much for the 12-year old, but the violence is very clean.

If you like cop shows, I can recommend 3 short-lived but well written and interesting shows:

The Unusuals
Prime Suspect

Also there is plain old NCIS, it’s the white bread of cop shows but somehow compelling nonetheless. For older shows that still hold up well try:

Miami Vice
Magnum, PI

Big Bang Theory
Green Acres
Malcolm in the Middle
The IT Crowd

Have you sampled Torchwood yet? There are 3 of the 4 seasons on Netflix…

Merlin and Primeval are also pretty good. Twin Peaks is also on Netflix streaming as is Terriers, which my wife and I watched the first ep before it stopped streaming but now it’s streaming again so my wife and I have to start back up on it now. Right?

Hawaii Five-O (original)
Murder, She Wrote

I would not have wanted to watch HIMYM with my parents when I was between the ages of 12 & 16. I would have been staring intently at the floor, hoping for the earth to swallow me whole. I’m not sure it’s inappropriate for teenagers, but it sits on the line.

I’ll second WhyNot’s recommendation for some classic shows. The Mary Tyler Moore show holds up well. As do Bob Newhart & Newhart. For dramas, “My So Called Life” might be good. Also, “The X Files” (I don’t remember gore. I remember suspense and the idea that right off of the edge of the frame, there might be a lot of gore, and your imagination filling in the details. It has been years since I watched them, so I could be misremembering.)

Burn Notice started out real good and stayed that way until about last season, when I lost interest.

Lost Girl is fun, but too adult for what the OP has asked for.

I suggest:


Warehouse 13


Hwaaaay too adult for what the Op wants.

Both very good.

I’ll throw out a few that haven’t been mentioned yet or are under-apreciated:

The Rockford Files

Mission: Impossible I saw a rerun just last night that had Carroll O’Connor as the bad guy. There’s something very wrong about Archie Bunker with a full beard and an Eastern European accent. Occasionally, the show does get a bit fucked up. In one, they had a guy locked in a cell and were trying to convince him he was about to be executed; took his cellmate (actually Rollin) away and then dimmed the lights, that sort of thing.)

Red Dwarf Funnier if you know the sort of “show me more of this Earth thing called ‘kissing’” type shows it’s making fun of.

The Games A mockumentary about the organizing of the Sydney Olympics. Remember that “the front fell off” clip that made the rounds a few years ago? Same two guys. Possibly too deadpan and subtle for the kids. Looks like some of it is on youtube; don’t know if you’re likely to find a more legit source.

They watched and enjoyed Dr. Who…

But Torchwood is way too adult for a 12-year old boy.

This. One of my favorites. The most well made sci-fi show since…ever.

I have to respectfully disagree here. I found it wonderful and riveting. I’ve watched it with my mother and my 13 year old niece and both loved it. I think the OP might want to give it a try.