Family Night on NBC is a project sponsored by Wal-Mart and Proctor and Gamble (P&G) that started in 2010 as a response to a study that revealed that parents wanted more family-oriented shows.
In general, I have not been impressed by the message-based stories. The last Family Movie Night on June 6, "Field of Vision" was about bullying in schools, and it was well-intentioned but also long and dry.
However, "Who is Simon Miller?", that airs tomorrow on Saturday, Aug. 6, is a very watchable story about a dad (Loren Dean) who is a geologist but also a spy. When he gets into trouble, his wife and teenage kids get involved.
This may sound like a plot for "Spy Kids" but it’s low tech and the family is a very ordinary family -- Caucasian American family.
NBC has upped the writing and "Who is Simon Miller?", while predictable and sparkling white, kept my attention. But I think it works because it rests on a formula that deserves some questioning about what makes a good "family" movie -- and exactly which families NBC thinks is worth making "good" movies for.