Weird But True! (TV-G)

Streaming

Age 9+

Comedy + science = fun learning experience for tweens.

Weird But True!” is a series based on the popular National Geographic books that features a team of science-minded people showcasing some of the fun, innovative and strange things happening around us every day. This humorous and informative tween-oriented show looks at a wide range of topics from a variety of science perspectives. The Emmy-winning series is upbeat and fun, and there’s a lot to be learned from it. It’s a great pick for tweens and grade school-age kids. (13 minute-long episodes)

Available on Disney Plus.

All In: the Fight for Democracy (PG-13)

Streaming

Age 11+

Powerful‌ ‌doc ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌protect‌ ‌voters’‌ ‌rights.‌

All In: The Fight for Democracy” is a documentary about the history of voter suppression in the United States and its continuing impact today. Specifically, the film looks at efforts to keep people of color, young voters, and those living in poverty from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Even though the era of Jim Crow is officially over, the filmmakers explore how voter roll purges, voter ID laws, closing of voting locations and other modern obstacles work nearly as effectively as the poll taxes and violent intimidation of the past. Archival footage shows violence (lynching, beating) against Black civil rights activists and other citizens, and the interviews include a couple of curse words and derogatory slurs (one
“f---ing,” plus use of “Negroes” and “coloreds”). It’s made clear how the right to vote, which should be a nonpolitical issue, has become hyper-politicized and partisan in today’s divisive political climate. Although the issue would ideally be bipartisan, the movie’s central heroic figure is Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s former Democratic gubernatorial candidate, with conservative pundits and politicians featured as proponents of suppression. Themes include activism, empathy, integrity and perseverance. (102 minutes)

Available on Amazon Prime Video.

Teenage Bounty Hunters (TV-MA)

Streaming

Age 15+

Violence, sex in fresh, funny female-centered comedy.

Teenage Bounty Hunters” is a comedy about Atlanta high-schoolers who develop double lives as bounty hunters for hire. The tone of the show is light and fun, and iffy content is played for laughs, but violence and sexual content are more intense than the show’s breezy vibe might suggest. Two teen characters use violence to subdue bail-jumpers, including hitting a man in the head with a gun and knocking him unconscious, hitting another man with a cane in his midsection, jumping on a perp’s car while it’s moving, and more. The teens use and brandish guns. There’s no nudity, but sexual content is also frank, with scenes where characters have sex with rhythmic movements and moaning, and talk about body parts (“b--bs,” “t--s”) and sexuality (being “horny,” “boning,” “getting laid”). Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, flirting and dating. Language includes “f---,” “s---,” “b----,” “a--hole,” “c--t,” “goddammit,” “slut” and “whore.” A sex worker is beaten by a client. There are at least two prominent
African American characters, but a high school is mostly White, which is unusual for a diverse city such as Atlanta. Christian and Southern characters are treated with dignity and respect and not mocked for their accents, lifestyle or faith. Themes of compassion, empathy and self-control are evident, with characters growing and showing their kinder and more thoughtful sides as the show goes on. (10 roughly hour-long episodes)

Available on Netflix.

The Grizzlies (R)

Streaming

Age 15+

Powerful Canadian sports drama promotes understanding.

The Grizzlies” is a powerful drama based on a true story. It follows Russ Sheppard (Ben Schnetzer), a newly graduated White teacher from the city who takes what he thinks will be a résumé-building assignment in Kugluktuk, a remote Canadian Indigenous community. His students are grappling with serious challenges, including poverty, hunger, domestic violence (with punches, bruises and blood), substance abuse and being unhoused. The Nunavut territory is also facing an epidemic of teen suicide. The movie lays out that all of this is part of ongoing intergenerational trauma because of the pain and struggle of colonialism. Many characters, including teens, frequently drink hard liquor and smoke both cigarettes and pot; the substance use isn’t glamorized. Strong language includes “f---,” “s---” and more, and guns are used for hunting. Sheppard’s character falls into “White savior” territory — he thinks he can “fix” his Inuit students and their community — but his lack of understanding of their culture leads to dire consequences. Ultimately, the story sends the message that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution and makes clear the damage people can do when they try to impress their way of life onto an unfamiliar culture. It also celebrates teamwork and sports as a means to increased hope and self-esteem. (102 minutes)

Available on various streaming platforms.

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsensemedia.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.