By Michael Foust, Crosswalk.com
For decades, Disney has been the go-to source for family entertainment, delivering musicals (Mary Poppins), cult classics (Tron), and even films with strong faith undertones (The Chronicles of Narnia series).
But thanks to a host of reasons, many families today are looking for alternatives. Fortunately, there are several.
Before we go further, though, let’s be honest: If you’re looking to quit Disney “cold turkey,” nothing can replace everything it has to offer. Disney owns Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar - three of the biggest franchises in modern movie history. No one else compares.
Still, if your only requirement is that the content is excellent, entertaining, inspiring, and even faith-centric, you’ll likely be satisfied.
Here, then, are eight family-friendly alternatives to Disney Plus - all faith-driven and free of politics:
It’s a Christian streaming service for children and includes 2,600 episodes and approximately 125 shows, such as well-known titles like VeggieTales and Friends and Heroes - and originals like Cocoa Talk, 5 Minute Family Devotionals, and Minno Church at Home. Series in development include Micah's Super Vlog, God's Greenhouse, and Jemma vs. the Kitchen. Visit GoMinno.com.
It’s one of the best options for fans of clean movies and classic television programs. Launched by former Dish executives, FrndlyTV offers more than 30 channels, including Hallmark, UPTV, GAC Family, Dove Channel, the History Channel and Me TV. It bills itself as the “most affordable live TV streaming service” – and with a starting price of $6.99, that may be right. (If you pay a little more, you even can get a cloud-based DVR.) Mind you, Frndly does have content you probably don’t want your family to watch. Still, if you enjoy shows like Andy Griffith and Little House on the Prairie, Frndly may be your thing. Visit FrndlyTV.com.
This crowdfunded studio distributed the viral Bible-based series The Chosen and is making other family-friendly projects, too, such as the animated Wingfeather Saga, the nature-centric Riot and the Dance, and a major film, David, about the Old Testament king. Angel Studios regularly releases new titles - as well as new crowdfunding opportunities. Visit Angel.com or download the Angel Studios app.
Sight & Sound TV
If you’ve never been to a Sight & Sound production, then this is the next best thing. Sight & Sound Theaters - if you haven’t heard - operates Broadway-style, Bible-centric theaters in Lancaster, Pa., and Branson, Mo., with live animals, special effects and sets bigger than a house. (The panoramic stage is the width of a football field.) On Sight & Sound TV, you get a front-row seat and a backstage pass to inspiring musicals such as Joseph, Queen Esther, and Jesus. Visit Sight-Sound.TV.
It’s a Christian streaming service for children and includes thousands of hours of faith-centric series. It’s also the exclusive home of the new VeggieTales series. Other Yippee titles are Danny Go, Malachi’s Cooking Corner, The Yippee Show, Superbook, and Bible Builds, which includes a Bible story and a Lego-style creation. Visit Yippee.TV.
Founded in 2015 as a Christian alternative to Netflix, Pure Flix is home to some of the more well-known faith-based titles, including Risen, I’m Not Ashamed, Woodlawn, The Case for Christ, 90 Minutes in Heaven, A.D: The Bible Continues and the God’s Not Dead series. Among the top children’s titles: Owlegories, Superbook, and Friends and Heroes. Pure Flix was purchased by Affirms Entertainment in 2020 - an acquisition that significantly expanded the service’s library. Visit Pureflix.com.
It’s the home to two family-centric channels - GAC Family and GAC Living - and has made headlines in recent months by signing some of Hallmark’s most well-known stars: Candace Cameron Bure, Danica McKellar, Jen Lilley, Daniel Lissing, and Jessica Lowndes, among them. GAC Media majors in classic television shows and clean romantic comedies. “We want to be the leader in family television,” GAC Media CEO Bill Abbott said this year. Visit GACMedia.com.
Launched by the Christian History Institute in 2020, Redeem TV is a donor-supported streaming service with more than 1,500 titles for children and adults. Kid-centric titles include The Pilgrim’s Progress, Torchlighers, and Patterns of Evidence: Young Explorers. For adults and older children, there’s Vindication, The Hiding Place, and Bonhoeffer. For lovers of Christian history, Redeem TV is a gold mine. Visit RedeemTV.com.
Photo courtesy: ©GettyImages/stefanamer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.