Top kids’ TV shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video
Ivan Radford | On 18, Jan 2014
It’s the weekend. You’re looking for something to watch with your kid and you turn on the TV, but it’s not the same. For one, Rupert Bear wears trainers and has tanned fur. Where are all the TV shows you used to love as a youngster? Answer: They’re all on Prime Instant Video.
Uncle Max. My Parents are Aliens. In the Night Garden. LazyTown. There are some good children’s TV series around these days, but what if you miss their broadcast time? What if you don’t like the gender-targeted adverts in between selling pink things for girls and blue things for boys? What if you just want to use your offspring as an excuse to re-watch Thundercats for the 50th time?
Here are the top kids’ TV series on Amazon Prime Instant Video:
12. Peppa Pig
First created in 2004, Peppa Pig has wasted no time in becoming a modern children’s classic. It’s educational and teaches valuable social lessons, but the secret lies in its simplicity: unfussy animations and everyday stories make up the action, which sees young Peppa Pig go to school or ride a bike. Low-key, charming and – proof of it’s success – appealing to both boys and girls of pre-school age.
11. Blue’s Clues
Another pre-school classic, Blue’s Clues sees male human man Joe hunt for clues with the help of his animated canine friend, Blue. He’s blue. Interactive puzzles? Cartoon dogs? We’re there.
10. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
If you’re not, you soon will be. And of everything else featured in this 90s horror series. Are You Afraid of the Dark? has no real educational value for your children, but they’ll be too busy trying to protect the house against vampires to care. Don’t show it your little children. In fact, don’t show it to your kids at all unless you want your teenagers waking up in the middle of the night screaming about Zeebo the clown.
9. Dora the Explorer
File this one right alongside Blue’s Clues and Peppa Pig as a pre-school must. Dora the Explorer is a hugely positive role model who not only speaks English and Spanish but can also talk to animals. That’s like three languages. Think Dr. Doolittle. But with a magic backpack. Older kids will find the repetitive call and response patronising, but this is aDORAble stuff. ¡Vámonos!
8. The Trap Door
Don’t you open that… TRAP DOOR. One of the most infectious TV theme tunes of all time belongs to this fabulous stop-motion fantasy show about Berk, who has to do everything his master tells him – but, most importantly, not open the hatch in the castle floor. Talking skulls, booming voices and an endless supply of plasticine critters make for a delightfully colourful 80s horror fest that’s more funny than scary – and all the better for it.
Claymation doesn’t get more charming than Pingu, everyone’s favourite anthropomorphic penguin. The key to its success? There’s no speaking at all: just squawking. And babbling. And chirping. And other weird noises. A couple of episodes of this and your house will be full of Pingu impressions for days – and that’s just the adults.
6. SpongeBob SquarePants
“He lives in a pineapple under the sea…” If you’re not won over by that description, you’re missing out on one of the most surreal, strange and silly TV programmes ever created.
Perhaps the definitive Nickelodeon cartoon (apart from Doug), Rugrats wins points partly for nostalgia – and partly because of its originality. From the red hair of neurotic Chuckie to Tommy’s cute bald head, the visuals are unique, while the decision to focus on small toddlers’ adventures is not only fun (and funny) but about as close to capturing the joy of kids playtime as television gets.
Thunder. Thunder. Thundercats. HO.
(Note to 80s babies: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is also available to stream.)
3. Thomas and Friends (Fireman Sam / Bob the Builder)
Trains are awesome. Especially those called Thomas. So if your kids are familiar with Reverend Wilbert Awdry’s books, these are a must. Those keen on colourful urban adventures may well enjoy the similarly cute Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder. But while one is the hero next door and the other features a chart-topping theme song, they have one thing in common: they’re not trains. Plus they don’t have Ringo Starr as a narrator. Is there a more relaxing sound than the drummer from The Beatles saying the words “Sir Topham Hatt”?
2. Adventure Time
Finn, possibly the last human alive, and Jake, a shape shifting dog, live together in a tree-house in the land of Ooh, made up of multiple fantasy kingdoms (for instance., the Candy Kingdom and the Ice Kingdom). They go on journeys through these kingdoms, often battling the Ice King (who steals princesses) and trying to win the heart of Princess Bubblegum. Most episodes, they just want to have a good time. It’s got that wonderful, free-wheeling spirit of youth: it has no morals or lessons, rarely bothering with arcs and big climaxes where everything works towards a dramatic conclusion. It’s just two best friends doing cool things.
1. The Morph Files
Ever since Morph first appeared on Tony Hart’s TV show in the 1970s, Aardman’s claymation character has been a joy to watch. Resurrected 20 years later with Neil Morrisey as narrator, Peter Lord and David Sproxton’s nine-minute episodes blended old footage with modern elements (computers!) to spellbinding effect. From the entertaining bickering between our orange hero and his noisy friend Chas to the ever-moldable sets, The Morph Files is a hands-on piece of playful creativity, an enjoyable introduction to the world of stop-motion and a testament to the infinite possibilities of imagination. The only thing better is buying some clay and building a Morph of your own.
Note: The Teletubbies are there too.