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While some television series are certainly worthy of being considered “mindless garbage”, not all of your down-time spent engaging in this activity has to go to total waste. Many popular shows have fundamental morals and values embedded within the story lines, and thus your time spent watching can end up being equally as entertaining as enlightening.

1. Parenthood

Though I might be biased seeing as though it’s one of my favorite shows, I believe that Parenthood is an excellent demonstration of life and its realistic struggles. The characters in this show face many everyday problems, and it can be an excellent tool (especially for teenagers) in learning how to deal (and how not to deal) with tough circumstances.

2. Friday Night Lights

Though I’ve never seen the show myself, fellow prospie Nina Seretis could go on about the wonders of this show. In fact, she dedicated an entire article towards sharing why it’s such a fabulous series. So while I can’t recommend it firsthand, you can trust that it is worth a watch, especially because of the values it instills with regards to family and other loved ones. (You can also trust that it’s at the top of “My List” on Netflix!)

3. The Fosters

Though this show deals with out of the ordinary situations, it is still able to demonstrate real teenage struggles and the ways to cope with them. But more than that, its overall theme of “family over everything” is truly inspiring and uplifting to watch. Plus, the story line is quite riveting.

4. Grey’s Anatomy

Although this show isn’t totally accurate with regards to science/a functioning hospital, it contains some factual information which can be really helpful to people who might be interested in studying in the medical field. If nothing else, it might spark an interest in some young adults who perhaps might not have considered it, but upon watching this show may find an interest in working in a hospital setting.

5. Modern Family

This show truly forces the viewer to rethink the modern-day family, and it deals with some nontraditional circumstances and familial situations that teach acceptance and adaptation. This show also, like many others, presents (primarily) teenager problems and the ways to manage them.

6. Full House

This show is truly an oldie but a goodie. I’ve loved it since my childhood, and now that I’m old enough to take a look back upon the show, I can see that it, above all, teaches love. Similar in some ways to The Fosters and other shows I’ve previously recommended, it takes difficult situations and puts positive spins on them. The story line follows a single dad who raises his daughters with the help and support of his friends and family members. Not only does it engrain these important values in the viewer, but it’s also quite lighthearted and humorous.

7. One Tree Hill

I believe that this is an important TV show to mention because it looks at what’s considered a “positive” show from a different angle. The most important thing that I’ve learned from watching this show is that mistakes do happen. More often than things such as happiness and love are found in this show are teenagers making mistakes and learning from them. This is important for a show to have in order for the viewer to understand that life is tough, but from each tough situation comes an even tougher person.

While TV shows are totally enjoyable for relaxation and to watch somewhat mindlessly, a more efficient way to use this time is to still watch these shows, but place a greater focus on picking up the positive aspects and values embedded into the show.

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