New Family-Friendly Streaming in November

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Garnet, Amethyst, Steven and Pearl of "Steven Universe," as the first full season arrives on Hulu in November. (Courtesy of Cartoon Network)
Garnet, Amethyst, Steven and Pearl of “Steven Universe,” as the first full season arrives on Hulu in November. (Courtesy of Cartoon Network)

With Halloween right around the corner and the Thanksgiving season not far behind, that means it’s time for another round of additions to the streaming libraries of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in November. Sure, there’s lots to watch for old GeekDads like Marvel’s new Netflix series Jessica Jones, a bunch of old school James Bond movies on Hulu to prep you for Spectre, and one of the year’s best sci-fi films, Ex Machina, on Amazon Prime.

But what can you watch with the kids? I went through the list and marked down some recommendations for family-friendly streaming:

LeapFrog Letter Factory: Great Shape Mystery – As I’m discovering with my kids, even toddlers need some streaming entertainment. The LeapFrog series helps preschoolers begin their love of learning by teaching language and math skills through their colorful characters. Nothing like a little education component to make a GeekDad feel less guilty about screen time! The new LeapFrog show joins Netflix on Nov. 7.

Garfield’s Thanksgiving – One of the fun things I like to do as a parent during the holidays is watch many of the old television specials with my kids to see if they hold up. Does this 1989 special, featuring Jim Davis’ lazy, lasagna-loving feline attempting to help his owner Jon cook a holiday dinner, belong in the same league as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Frosty the Snowman? Find out when it comes to Hulu on Nov. 5.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie – Did your kids enjoy this year’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water? The good news is the original 2004 movie, based on the Nickelodeon series, is set to hit Netflix on Nov. 1. SpongeBob’s first 90-minute adventure sees Patrick and him attempt to find the crown of King Neptune to save their boss, Mr. Krabs. The original movie got decent reviews when it came out, and the characters remain popular with grade-school children.

Care Bears and Cousins Season 1 – Netflix doesn’t just revive old sitcoms like Arrested Development and Full House; the new original streaming series revives the popular American Greetings characters along with their non-bear family members. Not a lot is known about the new series or whether it continues the continuity of the 2012 Hub series Welcome to Care-A-Lot, but that series dramatically improved the animation and writing of the ’80s cartoon series, so fingers crossed! The new series drops on Nov. 6.

Steven Universe Season 1 – Cartoon Network has built an extremely loyal following with their critically-acclaimed all-ages series like Adventure Time and Regular Show. Their latest hit features Steven discovering his heritage as a half-human, half-magical gem boy who is called to protect the world. The sci-fi show has earned rave reviews since its 2013 premiere, and all 52 episodes of the first season arrive on Hulu Nov. 16.

The Mask of Zorro – In this age of superhero cinematic universes, a caped swordsman on horseback is a huge throwback, but Martin Campbell’s (Goldeneye, Casino Royale) 1998 action-adventure movie is a swashbuckling blast from start to finish. Antonio Banderas takes over as Zorro, the legendary masked bandit who is now mentored by the elder Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins). The film has terrific action sequences along with palatable chemistry between Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones; in short, this is all-ages fun. The Mask of Zorro arrives on Amazon Prime on Nov. 5.

Dick Tracy – Another pulp hero throwback, the 1990 movie directed and starring Warren Beatty as the title character was one of the first films to truly imitate the four-color look of Sunday comics, as every suit, car, and building is splashed with a primary palate. A unique cast, including Madonna as Breathless Mahoney and Al Pacino playing a human cartoon version of himself years before it became a regular thing, with a catchy soundtrack filled with Stephen Sondheim songs make the cops-and-robbers story wiz by when Beatty gets too dull. Dick Tracy arrives on Hulu on Nov. 1 as part of their Showtime service.

Switched at Birth Season 4 – If you’re looking to find something to watch with your older kids, the second half of latest season of ABC Family’s popular show comes to Netflix on Nov. 25, just in time to kill a few hours or so before Thanksgiving dinner if you’re not into football. Season four of the series, which is about a pair of teenage girls who were accidently given to the wrong parents initially, sees Bay and Daphne struggle with their sexual independence. If you’re new to the show, all the previous seasons are now on Netflix.

For a full list of everything coming and going on Netflix, click here.

For a full list of everything coming and going on Amazon Prime and Hulu, click here.

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