Binge-worthy TV Shows for Seniors

April 24, 2018

One of the best things about finally hitting retirement is, of course, the arrival of some well-earned leisure time. Getting more opportunities to relax with friends and family is a part of that, and so is enjoying some guilt-free TV time! And with the proliferation of streaming and cable channels, there’s more depth and variety available on television than ever before – whether you prefer trivia and game shows, historical dramas, crime shows, or documentaries. Here are some ideas for shows that will entertain and enlighten, and might even teach you a thing or two.

Quiz Shows and Trivia

We all know the importance of keeping senior brains stimulated and engaged; watching quiz and game shows is a great way to do it! Old favorites like Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire are still available on network broadcast, as are reboots of Match Game and The Joker’s Wild. If you love music, check out the new show Beat Shazaam, hosted by Jaime Foxx, that has contestants play name that tune for songs old and new.

Reality Shows

Reality TV has gained significant market share over the last twenty years, because of its ability to let us all live vicariously in all types of contexts. Antiques Roadshow on PBS is one of the most-watched, sending its hosts around the country to give some lucky viewers the chance to have potential treasures appraised. It’s a great show for home and antiques buffs, or anyone that likes seeing some lucky people strike it rich! Dancing With the Stars is another hugely popular reality show, pairing celebrities who aren’t trained dancers with professional partners who help them compete for charity. And for seniors interested in food and cooking, shows like Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger are a fun way to watch a pro in the kitchen while learning new ways to eat smart.

Comedy and Drama

Netflix’s Grace and Frankie tells the story of two retired women with not much in common, other than the fact that their husbands have fallen in love with one another. A funny, irreverent take on senior years, it’s hugely popular with the AARP set. For fans of historical drama, Foyle’s War is a highly rated British mystery series that begins during WWII and extends into the Cold War years. It’s no longer in production but is available for streaming on Acorn TV or for purchase on DVD. Madame Secretary on CBS tells the story of Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst who left the organization for ethical reasons but has returned to the challenges of public life and DC politics, all while juggling marriage and family. Great for fans of politics and government!


Streaming and cable channels like Netflix and HBO have become fantastic resources for documentary offerings that cover a seemingly endless range of topics. From tough subjects like the war in Syria and the US prison system, to a more lighthearted looks at elder socialite icon Iris Apfel and veteran sushi chef Jiro Ono, to profiles of leaders like George Bush 41, channels like these offer dozens of options that both entertain and educate.

Have a favorite show we should know about? Tell us in comments!