While not a children's show, the new ABC TV show "Aquarius" brings up the conversation of does historical fiction entertainment affect children's or TV viewer's perception of the realities of the facts. Yes, of course it does. When a show like Aquarius, loosely based on the Charles Manson murders, molds a new context out of the history of the case, reality is altered.
When young minds are fed historical fiction entertainment, they will often internalize this as true fact. Regardless of how often they are told "It's only TV. It's not real." Their impressionable little minds will store these fictions as fact, to be co-mingled with true facts, further confusing the issues for them.
Children must learn the harsh realities of our history from the earliest days of their education. They need to now the mistakes made in the treatment of minorities, the atrocities of war, the suffering and sacrifices made previous generations and the horrific acts committed by individuals and groups on others, such as the Manson murders. It is a disservice to romanticize or ignore the aspects we find uncomfortable or feel we need to shield from them. By having the real stories behind our history, they will grow up with better understanding and the ability to cope with things that we as adults have difficulty facing. This will equip them with the tools to help prevent these horrors, work for solutions and cope with them when they occur.
Yes, its a fictional detail to a certain point but how many other pieces of history have been given a spin in fiction? A whole lot that's for sure. Also what happened with the Manson family happened before these kids were born, also no doubt this show won't be painting this man as a hero, I am sure it will be far from it. Also, I don't think this show is meant to be a family oriented show, its more design for adult viewing.