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Netflix viewers love science. At least that’s the message from the video streaming giant. It recently announced two new science-based shows, both featuring heavyweights of the genre. But you don’t have to wait until these new shows arrive in order to get your science fix!
Bill Nye, the Science Guy, is coming back to TV, with a Netflix original coming soon. Nye is perhaps the most celebrated popular scientist on modern TV, so Bill Nye Saves The World will be a show not to miss.
Meanwhile, the M7 Build Team from Mythbusters will be hosting their own show, titled The White Rabbit Project. Incidentally, the original Mythbusters crew gave one of the best Reddit AMAs of all time, so read that if you haven’t already done so.
If this has whet your geek appetite, don’t worry. Even before these new shows have arrived, Netflix has some scrumptious science appetizers waiting to be binge-watched.
1. Bill Nye, The Science Guy [No Longer Available]
This is no better way to celebrate Bill Nye’s return to TV than watching his classic TV show. Netflix has all 100 episodes of The Science Guy waiting for you.
Nye is what we wish every teacher was like. Kind, funny, patient, energetic, enthusiastic, and with an incredible ability to connect with students of any age. It doesn’t matter if you’re five, 15, or 50, you will learn something new in each episode you watch. There is no one better in this field, and I mean no one.
Nye has already stepped into the digital age as one of the best scientists to follow on Twitter. And now he’s also the best scientist to watch on Netflix.
2. Cosmos [No Longer Available]
The only science presenter who can even come close to matching Nye is astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. You know what sets him apart from the rest? His childlike enthusiasm and excitement about space and the mysteries of the great beyond.
You can see Tyson’s eyes twinkle when he starts talking about any subject. He knows just how much to simplify to keep his audience enraptured. He knows just how much knowledge to provide without it getting overwhelming. And he knows just when to add some humor to lighten the mood. This all makes Cosmos one of the best space documentaries of all time.
Tyson’s Cosmos was inspired by Carl Sagan’s original Cosmos series. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t host the original anymore. But you can still watch the original Cosmos on YouTube.
Tyson tries to make astrophysics fun and educational. Edge of the Universe is for science nerds who know their basics, and now want to know more.
This three-part series features scientists who explore one aspect of the cosmos in each episode. First, they tackle the question of alien life and habitable Earth-like planets. Next, they look at asteroids and comets, and how they formed the Earth. Finally, they look at the beginning of the universe, and how enormous it is today.
If you ever wondered about all that lies beyond Earth, this is what you need to watch. It’s a whole new way to see and explore the universe.
4–6. The David Attenborough Classics
Sir David Attenborough is perhaps the greatest presenter in the history of television or radio. And he is unquestioningly the greatest in the nature and wildlife genre.
Netflix has three of the great man’s best documentary series available for streaming. Pick any one, pour yourself a drink, and prepare to go on an adventure.
- Planet Earth — The biggest nature documentary ever made for television. 11 amazing episodes. Enough said.
- The Blue Planet — About 71 percent of Earth is water. And Sir Attenborough dives deep into it in this eight-part series. There are creatures in here that you’ll have never seen before.
- Life — This is Sir Attenborough’s greatest documentary series. Nay, it’s probably the greatest documentary series about life on this planet ever made. You can’t not love this.
7. Hidden Kingdoms [No Longer Available]
If you want a short series to watch that doesn’t require binge-watching long seasons, Hidden Kingdoms may be the perfect fit. That’s because there are only three episodes, each running for an hour, and narrated by the inimitable Stephen Fry.
The show is an ode to the tiny critters that don’t often get the same attention as predators like lions or herbivores like elephants. You’ll see chipmunks, dung beetles, the African sengi, and the tree shrew, among others. Each tiny animal’s world is shown from their perspective. While heavy rain is welcomed by big animals, it threatens to wash away a tiny animal’s home in a matter of seconds.
In a sense, Hidden Kingdoms is the story of David and Goliath in the animal kingdom. And it’s told from David’s perspective, which isn’t something you see every day.
8. Brain Games
The one reason to tune in to the National Geographic channel regularly is Brain Games. If you don’t have a NatGeo subscription, Netflix will take care of you.
Brain Games explores how the human mind is capable of tricking itself and others. The show’s greatest accomplishment is how it involves viewers and audiences. Often, you will be asked to participate in the ongoing illusion or mind trickery. It’s one of the best TV shows teaching science.
Part of the magic is Jason Silva, a fantastic host who plays both the dupe and the expert, as the situation demands. But Brain Games is not great for binge watching. Instead, I’d recommend watching one or two episodes at a time.
9. The Story of Maths [No Longer Available]
Much like Tyson makes the universe fun and accessible, Marcus du Sautoy makes mathematics entertaining. He is mathematics professor at Oxford, but there is nothing professorial in his demeanor on camera.
The four-part series is a ride through the history of mathematics. But it is told from the sense of world history, charting its course from ancient Egypt and Greece to China and India, going back West to Europe during the Renaissance.
It’s absolutely fascinating to realize how much civilization is based on the development of numbers. In case you get inspired by the series, check out these 20 sites to learn math step-by-step.
10. Cybercrimes With Ben Hammersley [No Longer Available]
Cybercrime is no joke. From identity theft to the Windows support scam, technologist Ben Hammersley explains how cybercriminals work, and what you can do to avoid becoming a victim.
Hammersley takes on a variety of topics. He dives deep into the Hidden Web to show the murky side of things we don’t see. He uncovers how Bitcoin affects real-world crime. In case after case, Hammersley expertly puts a real face and real loss to the virtual attacks.
Even if you are already well-informed when it comes to tech security, you’ll learn a few new things in this six-part series.
11. The Bionic Vet [No Longer Available]
Veterinary surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick is now more famous as The Supervet, in his new TV show. But before that, he did a small series called The Bionic Vet. Animal lovers will get a kick out of this.
Fitzpatrick takes on cats and dogs with extremely difficult problems, and comes up with novel solutions. Instead of euthanizing them, Fitzpatrick tries to cure them without compromising their quality of life. For example, the first episode has him conducting the first ever surgery to give a cat two new bionic hind legs.
There’s something about Fitzpatrick’s demeanor throughout the show that makes it even more watchable. He’s calm, he’s confident, and he explains every step of what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. Fitzpatrick says he considers himself an advocate for animals, and it’s evident.
Put on your tin foil hat and have a little fun with this one. The first conspiracy of Conspiracy is whether it’s called Conspiracy or Conspiracies. Because while the title says Conspiracy, the show’s featured image and Wikipedia page both say Conspiracies.
Now look, we all know that the internet is full of websites exploring conspiracy theories. But you don’t want to go trawling through those, as you value your sanity too much. Instead, let this 13-episode series show you some of the most popular conspiracy theories in different subjects.
Each episode tackles one subject. Like rock’n’roll, for example, which has several conspiracy theories attached to it, such as the rumor of Paul McCartney’s premature death. It’s not all about the theories themselves though. Science is at its best when it questions each aspect of a “fact”, and that’s what this show will make you do.
What Science TV Shows Did We Miss?
If I had to pick one of these shows to start with, I’d recommend one of Sir David Attenborough’s three series. Those are undoubtedly the best cinematic experiences listed above. However, the others on the list make for great viewing in their own right, so you really should add them to your Netflix list to be entertained and educated at the same time.
Looking for more geeky content? Look no further than these YouTube channels packed with wacky science experiments and these top sci-fi short films.
Image Credits: Stuart Jenner/Shutterstock