Challenger: The Final Flight

TV review by
Matt Cabral, Common Sense Media
Challenger: The Final Flight TV Poster Image
Absorbing series explores space shuttle's mishaps, heroes.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive role models.

Positive Messages

Series doesn't shy away from highlighting the flaws and incompetence of the space program, but also focuses on the importance of inclusion and diversity in their recruiting of astronauts. More general messaging on the positive aspects of science and space travel is also represented. 

Positive Role Models

Highlights the gender- and racially-diverse crew of space shuttle astronauts, with a strong focus on the female recruits. The astronauts are depicted as brave and intelligent trailblazers who made personal sacrifices for what they believed was the betterment of mankind.   


Some fire and explosions, including footage of the space shuttle's doomed launch. 


A person uses "f---ing" during an interview segment. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

People are occasionally seen smoking and drinking in archival video footage and photos. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Challenger: The Final Flight is a docuseries recounting the1986 space shuttle disaster and the significant events and people surrounding it. The series gives equal time to the individual astronauts, focusing on their racial and gender diversity, as well as the unique skills and personalities each brought to the program. These profiles are packed with positive messages, offering an emotional, inside look at these real-life role models. Language is limited to an interview subject saying "f---ing." Some archival resources contain footage of people smoking and drinking. Footage of the space shuttle disaster is shown, as are photos and videos showing the recovered wreckage.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old December 9, 2020

Great Documentary!

I'm 12, and a NASA nerd. I decided to watch this since it was something I already knew about and parents need to know the following:

Profanity: 1/5 There... Continue reading

What's the story?

CHALLENGER: THE FINAL FLIGHT tells the story of the 1986 space shuttle disaster. Through interviews with the victims' family members and former officials involved in the space program, as well as a plethora of archival footage, the four-part series covers both the pertinent events leading up to the failed launch and those that unfolded in its aftermath. In addition to digging deep into the tragedy and its cause, the series -- executive produced by JJ Abrams -- offers and intimate look at the lives of the brave men and women who lost their lives that day, including civilian Christa McAuliffe, who was to be the first teacher in space. 

Is it any good?

Challenger: The Final Flight begins with a scene that'll feel chillingly familiar to many of us who grew up in the 1980s. A teacher wheels a television into her classroom, preparing to watch the live launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger with her students. It's a scene many of us actually lived and will never forget. But while that moment-in-time memory is burned in ours brains, many of the details surrounding that fateful day have been forgotten to time. 

Through expert use of archival footage, new interviews -- with victims' families and former space program professionals -- and other rarely-seen resources, The Final Flight not only fills in the memory gaps that have widened over the years, but weaves them into a comprehensive, absorbing account. Brilliantly blending deep dives into the space shuttle program, the exhaustive investigation into what went wrong, and surprisingly emotional, thoughtful, and comprehensive profiles of each of the astronauts who lost their lives, the series isn't another cookie cutter doc, but an exercise in thoroughly engrossing storytelling. Your mileage will vary in terms of how much you'll learn from the series, but even the most seasoned historians will be pulled in by its ability to repackage the familiar subject matter with polish, pacing, and production values to spare. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Challenger disaster. How do parents remember the event? Where were they when it happened? What other events have left an indelible mark on America's history?

  • How did the space shuttle program begin? How were its astronauts recruited? What skills did each bring to the mission?

  • Who was Christa McAuliffe? What made her unique among the other astronauts? What is her legacy?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love space

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate