8 Classic, Kid-Friendly Black Shows That are Streaming on Hulu and Amazon

The beauty of the internet and current technology is that once a TV show goes off the air, it does not mean it is gone forever.  In addition to purchasing the DVD’s of entire seasons, individual episodes also stream through on demand services like Amazon’s Prime Instant Video and Hulu.  Amazon Prime members are able to stream videos for free and others are available for purchase.  What I love about Amazon Prime Instant video, is that there are no commercials.  Hulu has free video as well as videos available to paid members through Hulu Plus.  However there are still commercials, except for the children’s programming.

1. Little Bill,   Prime Instant Video

Little Bill was  based on Bill Cosby’s Little Bill book series, set in Philadelphia[and featured Bill Jr. learning a lesson or moral in each episode. It was developed through research and in consultation with a panel of educational consultants.  The show also aired on television from 2000-2007

2. Gullah Gullah Island,   Prime Instant Video


Gullah Gullah Island  was a musical children’s television series that on the Nickelodeon  from 1994-1998.  I honestly had not heard of the show, but as I was skimming thought shows via Amazon, I discovered this little jewel.  The show was inspired by the Gullah culture  from  St. Helena Island, South Carolina, part of the Sea Islands.

3. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Prime Instant Video, Hulu

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was created, produced, and hosted by  Bill Cosby, who also voiced a number of characters, including Fat Albert himself. The show premiered in 1972 and ran until 1985. The show features an educational lesson in each episode, emphasized by Cosby’s live-action segments.

4. Jackson 5ive,   Prime Instant Video, Hulu

The Jackson 5ive was produced from 1971-1972.  Brought to you by Motown, the cartoon was a fictionalized portrayal of the careers of The Jackson 5. Although I did not grow up watching this cartoon, it is worth a re-watch just to hear those classic songs.

5. Reading Rainbow, Prime Instant Video

Reading Rainbow aired on PBS from 1983- 2006.  The show  encouraged children to read and fostered a love of reading in children across the nation. Each episode centered on a theme from a book, which was explored through a number of segments or stories. The show also featured children giving book recommendations which was my favorite part.  Although Levar Burton has recently been in the news for reviving Reading Rainbow on the web, classic throwback episodes can be viewed online.

6. The Electric Company (Classic 1970’s version), Prime Instant Video, Hulu

The Electric Company was a children’s television show was intended for elementary aged kids who had moved on from Sesame Street.  The original cast included stars like Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman and Lee Chamberlin.  The show aired on television from 1971-1977. The goal of the show was to address increasing reading failure among American schoolchildren by teaching second, third, and fourth graders basic phonetics and grammar concepts through the use of comedic skits, word play, songs, and cartoons  The style of the show drew inspiration from Motown, Broadway, Vaudeville, and “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.”  There is currently an updated, more modern version of the show that is currently broadcasted on PBS as well as Amazon Instant Video and Hulu.

7. The Cosby Show Hulu Plus

I think I jumped for joy when I saw that Hulu Plus offered all 8 seasons of this classic family show.  All 8 seasons!  I love and grew up watching the Cosby Show, so it is a classic I will pass down to my children.   All eight seasons are available through Hulu Plus

8. A Different World Hulu Plus

A Different World aired for six seasons on NBC from 1987 – 1993. The spin-off from The Cosby Show would typically address issues that were avoided by The Cosby Show writers such as race and class relations, the Equal Rights Amendment, or even HIV/AIDS.  Another classic to share with a teenage son or daughter.  It may even encourage them to go to college.  All six seasons are available through Hulu Plus

Mommies do you subscribe to any on demand streaming services?  What shows do you watch?  Do you watch any shows online with your kids?  Please share.

Angele is a wife to a wonderful creative husband, mother to two beautiful intelligent daughters and a lover of art, education and laughter.  She is the creator and author of ABC remix.