Whether it’s the hero in a movie for tweens, or the aged protagonist a novel follows; the age is naturally significant to the target audience.
There’s a reason why the hero in movies marketed to tweens and young teens are always in the late teens, and it’s because people are impressionable and want to strive towards something. Tweens in particular want to grow into becoming society’s definition of a proper teenager, but that’s not what I’m talking about exactly. Why is the age 16-19 for virtually every hero in these stories? Because it’s the next stage in these tween’s lives.
So what does this mean for older audiences? For those in their 20’s, they’re thinking about their future in their 30’s. Those in their 30’s think about their future in their 40-50’s. And those in their 40-50’s consider their future in their 60+’s. This impressionable notion that exists in people isn’t solely limited to younger audiences, instead it’s relatable to everyone of all ages. The show that has a target audience aged in their 20’s will have characters that are in their 30’s, because that’s the next stage of the audience’s life, which they’re constantly thinking of.
Think ‘How I Met Your Mother’, a show that follows a group of friends in their 30’s living in New York. It’s target audience are people in their 20’s, and as a result the show’s story and dialogue are written to appeal to people in that age group. If the characters were the same age, the audience would feel as though they’re simply watching a projected view on their reality, not that appealing. If the characters were in their 50’s, the audience wouldn’t care, because it’s not relatable to what the audience is feeling or thinking of.
Shows and stories that have target audiences, age their characters into the direct future of the audience, because the next stage of life is something everyone thinks about constantly.