Hunting for appropriate shows for tweens or young teens that you’ll like too? Here are nine of our recent favorites.
Finding shows for tweens and young teens is tough enough. Animated shows may seem too babyish to them. But what older teens are binging may be riddled with content you’d rather save for a later age.
It’s even tougher if you like to watch shows together. Something your tween or young teen enjoys that you actually look forward to seeing too? Feels like you could spend all evening scrolling for that unicorn.
To make it easier, I compiled nine great shows for tweens on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Max, and Disney+. All of these were hits with our younger son AND with us.
A few caveats:
- Our young teen is a boy who likes action adventures, so many of these shows skew that way.
- I included age recommendations from Common Sense Media but strongly encourage you to read more about each show, since they give more details and ratings in different categories like violence, language, and sex. Our child watched all of these at age 12 or 13. But every kid is different, and every family has different ideas of what’s appropriate.
- If you want a more comprehensive list that includes a broader range of ages, check out my mega-list of Shows To Watch.
9 Shows For Tweens & Young Teens You’ll Actually Like Too
1. The Letter For The King (Netflix, 11+)
- From Netflix: “A young knight in training contends with ancient prophecies, magical powers and fickle companions as he sets out on an epic quest to save his kingdom.”
- Why we liked it: It’s got all the exciting elements of a Game of Thrones-type series (kings! knights! sword fights! magic!) minus all the gore, brutality, and other (ahem) decidedly adult content.
2. Free Solo (Disney+, 11+)
- From Disney+: “Free solo climber Alex Honnold prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: scaling Yosemite’s 3200-foot El Capitan without a rope.”
- Why we liked it: This Academy Award winning documentary from National Geographic will have you holding your breath. We watched it the day before going to a local indoor climbing wall, and I think it made my cautious kid feel a little braver!
3. 100 Foot Wave (HBO Max, TV-14)
- From HBO: “The six-part series intimately captures the decade-long odyssey of surfing pioneer Garrett McNamara, who, after visiting Nazaré, Portugal in hopes of conquering a 100 foot wave, pushed the sport to ever-greater heights and alongside locals helped transform the small fishing village into the world’s pre-eminent big-wave surfing destination.”
- Why we liked it: Though younger kids may be bored (and there were some slow moments) we got sucked in to this story of extreme surfing. Though it focuses primarily on one male surfer, a couple of fierce female surfers are featured too.
4. Nowhere Boys (Amazon, 10+)
- What Amazon says: “Four teenage boys – Jake, Felix, Andy and Sam – go on a school excursion trekking through the dense forest. They find themselves lost and get caught in an unexpected and violent lightning storm. When they return home the next morning, they realize that they have returned to a world where they no longer exist!”
- Why we liked it: This show was like Stranger Things Lite–not nearly as scary, but still suspenseful and exciting. We watched all four seasons of this show, even when they introduced a new set of main characters.
5. His Dark Materials (HBO Max)
- From HBO: “Based on Philip Pullman’s epic novels, His Dark Materials follows a young orphan on an epic adventure into a parallel world where a human’s soul exists in the form of a talking animal.”
- Why we liked it: I love when a series has a strong, brave girl in the lead, especially with a great story like this. We loved getting swept into the fantasy world of this show.
6. Shadow and Bone (Netflix, 14+)
- From Netflix: “Dark forces conspire against orphan mapmaker Alina Starkov when she unleashes an extraordinary power that could change the fate of her war-torn world.”
- Why we liked it: Another strong girl as the main character. This show is a little darker and grittier but it’s a captivating story–and may get your kids hooked on the book series too.
7. Good Omens (Amazon Prime, 13+)
- From Amazon: “The End of the World is coming, which means a fussy Angel and a loose-living Demon who’ve become overly fond of life on Earth are forced to form an unlikely alliance to stop Armageddon. But they have lost the Antichrist, an 11-year-old boy unaware he’s meant to bring upon the end of days, forcing them to embark on an adventure to find him and save the world before it’s too late.”
- Why we liked it: It’s a quirky and wacky adaptation of a Neil Gaiman novel (and what’s not to love about Jon Hamm as Archangel Gabriel?). Heads-up that there’s one (totally unnecessary) suggestive scene near the end of the series.
8. Lost in Space (Netflix, 13+)
- From Netflix: “After crash-landing on an alien planet, the Robinson family fights against all odds to survive and escape. But they’re surrounded by hidden dangers.”
- Why We Liked it: We remember the original show from childhood, and this reboot is suspenseful and gripping, but still family-focused.
9. My Octopus Teacher (Netflix, 8+)
- From Netflix: “A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.”
- Why we liked it: We’re fans of documentaries, and this is one of the most unusual I’ve ever seen. It’s such a touching and fascinating look underwater.
More Shows for Tweens & Young teens
Shows Our Kid Liked But We Felt “Meh” About
- Healing Powers of Dude (Netflix, 7+): From Netflix: “When an 11-year-old boy with social anxiety disorder starts middle school, he finds strength in a scruffy emotional support dog named Dude.”
- Psych (Amazon, 13+): From Amazon: “James Roday plays the somewhat eccentric Shawn Spencer, a police consultant who solves crimes with powers of observation so acute that the police think he’s psychic – or so he lets them think.”
- Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Street (Amazon Prime, 7+): From Amazon: “Life is anything but normal for Gortimer and his two best friends, Ranger and Mel, as they navigate Normal Street – an ordinary suburb that has a hint of something magical just beneath the surface.”