A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
Stands out for positive role models.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Astronauts is an excellent tween drama about a group of middle schoolers that accidentally get launched into space. There is a moderate amount of scariness and tension throughout, as the kids' lives are in danger at various points. Kids are separated from their parents, and the parents show fear about their kids being up in space, so consider if your kids are extra sensitive to parental separation. There's mild arguing between characters, but no physical violence. This series has compelling storytelling and fantastic role models, and is a great pick for kids mature enough to handle the adventure.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In The Astronauts, five kids living in the not-too-distant future use their parents' security credentials to sneak onto a spaceship to take a selfie. The spaceship's AI control Matilda is hacked, and the spaceship's launch sequence executes with the middle schoolers inside. They blast off into space, and have to learn to be astronauts in a hurry. The makeshift crew is lead by Samy (Miya Cech, Are You Afraid of the Dark?), a super smart and laser focused daughter of an astronaut mom, who has basically been training for this mission from birth. She's joined by mischievous rich-kid Elliot, the son of the spaceship company's CEO, nerd Will, and brother/sister duo Martin (Keith L. Williams, "Good Boys") and Doria. The ensemble cast is rounded out by the adults stuck back on Earth who are trying to figure out how to rescue the kids and bring them back to Earth. But, as things go awry on the spaceship, the kids can't trust the super computer Matilda and can't rely on the adults in mission control to help them. They have to use teamwork, problem-solving skills, and each other to try to get back home alive.
Is it any good?
The Astronauts stands out for its dynamic characters, smart storylines, and movie-like production quality. The kid actors are wonderful and their characters are multi-dimensional. Unlike many shows for this age group, it's a drama, and so there's no goofy jokes or laugh tracks. The writing takes kids seriously, and shows kids being brave and capable (instead of being focused on crushes and drama). The characters are still tweens though, so they wade through their share of conflicts, peer pressure, and big emotions. They also have to disobey grown-ups sometimes in order to survive, which brings up interesting questions of right and wrong. Speaking of grown-ups, this is a rare kids' show where the adult characters are fully-realized humans whose emotions are evident.
Kids will love seeing aspirational characters being pushed to their limits and succeeding. They also will love living vicariously as the kids get to do cool space things like float around and use sci-fi gadgets. Adults may find themselves getting sucked into the compelling story too, making The Astronauts great for whole-family viewing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teamwork. How do the astronauts work together to solve problems on the ship? Who is the leader of the group? What team roles do all the kids play?
The kid astronauts sometimes decide not to listen to the grown-ups back on Earth. Why do they do that? Can you think of a time in your life when it was hard to decide what was right and wrong?
Would you like to go up into space? What looks fun? What looks less fun?
- Premiere date: November 13, 2020
- Cast: Miya Cech, Keith L. Williams, Ben Daon, Kayden Grace Swan, Bryce Gheisar
- Network: Nickelodeon
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School, Space and Aliens
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-G
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: June 26, 2021
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