12 terrific under-the-radar TV shows for tweens

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Thalu is on the list for great tv shows for tweens

Following the huge success of our original Netflix series for tweens and teens round up, we’ve pulled together a load of new TV shows for tweens to get stuck into. There are lesser-known – but just as fab – shows to suit this tricky age group. I’m really happy to showcase some truly special Aussie tv shows for tweens on this list. I don’t know about you, but I sure could use a break from the American accent that is so often streaming out of my kids’ device…

Finding ‘appropriate’ TV shows for tweens can be a minefield. This is mainly because the tween years are exactly that: caught somewhere between being a little kid and a teen.

The ‘somewhere’ will be unique to every tween, too. Some 10-year-olds are wearing make-up and Stanning Harry Styles, others are still sliding down the slippery dip unironically.

So, only you (and more likely, your tween) will be able to judge whether the shows on this list are appropriate or not for your particular tweenie. I’m happy to report that I am middle-of-the-road when it comes to what I think is okay for my kids. Most of all, I talk to my kids about it and we decide together. 

To give you an idea, I was a-okay with my daughters watching Gilmore Girls at nine (bit of sex, language and general adult themes), but not Riverdale at 11 (more sex, violence, dark themes, teens acting like adults). To help you out, I’ve included a link to Commonsense Media reviews of my recommendations for you to get a better overall idea of what’s happening and whether it’s for your tweenie or not.


Don’t miss this list too: 17+ Netflix series for tweens and teens you can binge-watch together


The InBESTigators

The InBESTigators is a good TV series for tweens

If you can get past the awful punning in the title of this Aussie TV series for tweens, you’re halfway there. It’s a little mockumentary ripper for younger tweens and mid-primary kids about a schoolyard detective agency run by four Year 5 misfits. The series, created by Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler, is educational, funny, and whip-smart, if not a little formulaic. FYI there’s been some understandable backlash in the media about the racial stereotyping of characters Ezra (Asian, super smart) and Kyle (black, sporty). 

On ABC iView and Netflix
Ages: 5-12 years
Read the Commonsense Media review here.
Seasons: 2

Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch

If the thought of your tween watching Gordon Ramsay leaves you a bit cold, this show will soon warm you up. Matilda is Ramsay’s youngest daughter (he has five children with his wife of 25 years, Tana). She hosts her own cooking and lifestyle show starring most of her family, and it’s a whole lotta fun. Tweens will love Tilly’s down-to-earth, larrikan nature, and I can assure you that Ramsay behaves himself impeccably.

On ABC iView
Rated G
Ages: 8+
Read the Commonsense Media review here.
Seasons: 4

Derry Girls

Derry Girls should be on the list of great shows for tweens

I love this series so much that I have to recommend it in my list of shows for tweens. There’s a disclaimer, however: you should definitely watch this one with your tween. For a start, they will need your help deciphering the heavy Irish accents. For a next, it’s M-rated, so there are plenty of ‘older kid’ concepts to talk about. But it’s such a rollicking good laff that I urge you to give it a go as a family watch with your older tweens.

On Netflix
Rated M
Ages: 12+
Read the Commonsense Media review here.
Seasons: 2

Thalu

More Aussie kids should be watching programs like Thalu. It’s premiered last year on NITV to great acclaim, but sadly not enough people know it’s out there.  The series follows a group of Indigenous kids who set out to save their Country from a mysterious dust cloud and its inhabitants, the Takers. It’s a classic heroes journey that’s full of adventure, humour and exciting characters. It also beautifully showcases the harmony that Indigenous kids have with Country and Culture. Don’t miss this one yourself!

On SBS On Demand
Rated G
Ages: 10+
No Commonsense Media review.
Seasons: 1

The Baby-Sitters Club

Plenty of nostalgia for us mums, who no doubt grew up reading Ann M Martin’s brilliant book series (or at least, a little sister did!). In the end she wrote 131 Baby-Sitters Club books and they are now this hit Netflix series. It works a treat – the show is every bit as charming and delightful as the books have been for all these years. A great cast bring Kristy (Sophie Grace), Claudia (Momona Tamada), Stacey (Shay Rudolph) and Mary-Anne (Malia Baker) to life, with a few welcome tweaks for better diversity. Get on it! Right now, this is in my top three tv shows for tweens list!

On Netflix
Rated M
Ages: 12+
Read the Commonsense Media review here.
Seasons: 1

Bushwhacked!

Bushwhacked

This is an oldie, but a goodie. Brandon Walters and Kayne Tremills poke into remote nooks and crannies across Australia to showcase our country’s wildlife. Along the way they learn traditional ways of life from local Indigenous communities. It’s a fascinating, fun insight into our wonderful continent and its people.

On SBS On Demand
Rated G
Ages: 7+
No Commonsense Media review.
Seasons: 2

Family Reunion

Family Reunion is a good TV shows for tweens

This show sit squarely in the tween camp – only under 13s could possible sit through the schmaltz. In fact, they will love the schmaltz. According to Netflix: “When the McKellan family moves from Seattle to small-town Georgia, life down South — and traditional grandparents — challenge their big-city ways.” The show is totally saved by the hilariously bossy Loretta Devine (you may remember her from such shows as Grey’s Anatomy, A Different World and Boston Public). There’s also plenty of nostalgia for the excellent family sit-coms that were so prevalent in the eighties.

On Netflix
Ages: 9+ years
No Commonsense Media review here.
Seasons: 2

Teenage Boss

Teenage Boss on iView

The affable Eddie Woo (maths teacher extraordinaire) challenges 15 teenagers to take charge of the family budget. Many tweens will enjoy getting to know the teens involved, plus some of the scenarios they spend the family budget on are genuinely funny. Maybe your tweenie will learn some good money management skills while they enjoy this one… always hope.

On ABC iView
Ages: 10+ years
No Commonsense Media review.
Seasons: 2

Read what Eddie Woo has to say about kids who hate maths.


Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love

Ashley Garcia is good tv show for tweens

Fun American sitcom about a Ashley (Paulina Chávez), a 15-year-old girl genius who has a robotics job and lives with her (by all accounts stallion) uncle Victor. It’s a lot of fun, with Victor providing plenty of laughs and Ashley plenty of stereotype-kicking qualities. Be careful though as the script is pretty vapid and there are plenty of references to s. e. x. The show was canned by Netflix in December last year, so two seasons is all we get.

On Netflix
Rated PG
Ages: 10+
Read the Commonsense Media review here.
Seasons: 2

Mustangs FC

Mustangs FC is a great show for tweens

When a group of girls don’t make the local football team, they decide to create their own all-girls team. This is a terrific little show – real characters with authentic reactions. The girls are a diverse bunch, each with their own issues to explore. It’s fresh, funny and the acting is top-notch. An Aussie teen-genre triumph that has slid under the radar for way too long.

On ABC iView
Rated G
Ages: 8+
Read the Commonsense Media review here.
Seasons: 3

You Versus Wild

This show is in a completely new format to me (though no doubt our tweens have seen it all before!). It’s interactive, so you get to choose what happens next by clicking on one of two options on the screen. The show then proceeds, taking into account the option you chose. How cool is that? Bear Grylls always delivers hugely entertaining TV and this show is a great introduction to this adventure daredevil.

On Netflix
Rated PG
Ages: 8+
Read the Commonsense Media review here.
Seasons: 1

Child Genius Australia

Child Genius Australia

A reality show with a difference. Sixteen ‘gifted’ kids aged seven-12 take on a series of challenges and quizzes to find out who is Australia’s brightest child. It’s thrilling stuff, but it’s also a unique insight into what it’s like to be gifted in a mainstream world. Tweens will really like the competition format, but they’ll also appreciate the fascinating glimpse into other kids’ worlds.

On SBS
Rated PG
Ages: 7+
No Commonsense Media review.
Seasons: 2

Got a few more favourite tv shows for tweens to share?

Written by Bron Maxabella

Bron is the founder of Mumlyfe and is so happy to welcome you here. Bron has been writing in the Australian parenting space as Maxabella for more than seven years and is mum to three mostly happy kids and wife to one mostly happy husband. Mostly happy is a win, right?

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