Vanessa James and Akim Aliu from Battle of the Blades season 6 and Eve from Family Feud Canada saying chicken

Tech & Media

The Best Shows for Families to Challenge Each Other Through a Long Fall and Winter

Oct 22, 2020

I liken the sheer volume of streaming services to a restaurant with a 30-page menu.

It’s a spoiled-for-choice situation which is technically wonderful, but practically exhausting. I personally use CBC Gem, Crave, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Disney+.

Some nights I scroll and scroll, thinking that some things sound good, but aren’t for now. Others seem like good options for now, but then the brain trickery of “something better” creeps in. An hour later, I rewatch an episode of Succession and call it a night.

But I ultimately hate this feeling. It’s so resolute without a real, dopamine-blast payoff and ultimately I feel played — to the point of fatigue — by an algorithm. So that’s why I like when people curate a list of things that I can pick from, because it means that on occasion I won’t have to spend an hour trying to settle on something I’ve never tried before.

That’s why I sought out to find family friendly shows that are likely to encourage the same water cooler commentary you’re probably missing in your life right now. And it’s going to feel like a very long winter, so get ready to settle in for the night with your shows. And maybe some healthy competition and debate!

Battle of the Blades

When I was a kid in the ‘90s, I loved watching figure skating on TV. I still do. Oksana Baiul, Nancy Kerrigan, Kristi Yamaguchi — I stanned them all. I remember figure skating being on all the time when I was young, but now unless you have specialty channels, it’s hard to find.

In lieu of a full day of ice dancing and figure skating, Battle of the Blades is back with a new season and it will do just fine. What I love about this one is that it promotes skill building, rather than resting on your laurels. Which is great for kids to see.

Hockey players and figure skaters will team up to compete for the title in season six, and I have a good feeling about Meghan Agosta and Andrew Poje. But really it’s anyone’s ice. Choose your favourite team as a family, or create mini factions under your roof! 

Watch Battle of the Blades free on CBC Gem starting October 22.

Family Feud Canada

Will anyone hear the word “chicken” and think of anything else but Family Feud Canada? (If you don't know what I'm talking about, check this out.) 

When I was young, I’d watch Family Feud all the time, and my fast money-winning ability was strong.

When all your family has the energy for is a bit of time in front of the TV, a friendly competition is a great way to reignite some passion. And season one and two of Family Feud Canada are packed full of survey fun. 

Keep score! Prizes could be a bit of extra screen time, a cherished treat — whatever works. It’s also some uninterrupted quality family time, which is a prize on its own.

Watch Family Feud Canada on CBC Gem now! 

Bake Offs

Soggy bottoms on pies are a definite no-no, but with baking sometimes you have to try and fail before you get it right.

It’s a lot like life that way.

Between The Great British Baking Show and The Great Canadian Baking Show, you not only get to be in the heat of the competition, but you get to see truly masterful treats from novice home bakers.

Why I like this as a family activity is it is a great place to get inspired and hungry.

After watching a particular riveting challenge, find a recipe online and master it together.

Each week, have challenges in the kitchen and make cooking fun again, if you’ve lost a bit of the drive after all these months indoors.

Watch The Great British Baking Show and The Great Canadian Baking Show on CBC Gem now!

That's a good start. When you're done with all of those episodes (there are so many episodes, I promise), come back and I'll give you some more.

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