Fall TV watch list: 7 shows about family

By Tonya Graser Smith

My days revolve around family. I practice family law and tend to my own family of four. It’s funny, but when I decompress after a long day, I enjoy watching TV shows about … well, families. Every kind of family. Much-needed downtime requires no justification, but I do like to think that I’m furthering my understanding of how families work.

When it comes to family shows, I appreciate all of the emotions – the drama and tears, the dysfunction and the laughs. Two of my favorite shows are “The Crown,” the Netflix biographical story of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and life in the royal family, and “Modern Family,” the ABC comedy headed into its 10th season.  (I also love “The Bachelor.” Don’t judge. Sometimes I need a break from everything family.)

Anyhow, a new show — “Single Parents” — debuting Sept. 26 on ABC has piqued my interest. It stars Brad Garrett, who rose to fame on another great family sitcom, “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Ahead of fall TV starting next week, I thought I’d curate a list of TV shows about family – some that I’ve seen and some that are on my list to watch. To keep it manageable, I’ve focused on shows currently airing new episodes, as opposed to past shows, because there are so many great ones. (I’m talking about you, “Parenthood.”)

  1. Atypical,” Netflix. The second season of this comedy-drama starring Jennifer Jason Leigh recently dropped. It’s the story of a high school boy with autism and his family. His parents – mom played by Leigh – are having marital troubles. Parents guide: TV-MA, according to Internet Movie Database
  2. Black-ish,” ABC. This sitcom, starring Tracee Ellis Ross, is about a black family growing up in a mostly white, upperclass neighborhood – and struggling (mostly the dad) with their cultural identity as a result. The fifth season premieres Oct. 16. Parents guide: TV-PG
  3. Fuller House,” Netflix. The reboot of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s sitcom “Full House” features the family antics of sisters DJ and Stephanie and friend Kimmy. The original “dads” star, too. The fourth season is due to come out later this year or early next year. Parents guide: TV-G
  4. Life in Pieces,” CBS. This star-studded (Betsy Brandt, James Brolin, Colin Hanks, Dianne Wiest) comedy features hilarious vignettes from four branches of one family. It is just the show if you also like “Modern Family.” CBS has reportedly renewed, but I cannot find a return date, so stay tuned. Parents guide: TV-14
  5. Single Parents,” ABC. According to IMBD: “A group of single parents form their own support system as they raise their kids and struggle to start new relationships.” Premieres Sept. 26. Parents guide: not available
  6. Mom,” CBS. In this sitcom, a sober single mom (Anna Farris) reconnects with her mom (Allison Janney), also a recovering addict. But the real family here is the one that the women make among their friends at support group. Season six starts Sept. 27. Parents guide: TV-14
  7. This Is Us,” NBC. This mega-hit practically needs no explanation. This family drama flashes between past and present and stars Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia as the parents of three children. Viewers see past and present versions of the family members. The show returns in its third season on Sept. 25. Parents guide: TV-14