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5 Shows That Are as Educational as They Are Entertaining


Thu, May 02

The age of streaming services is upon us. This means that it's easier than ever to watch whatever you want, whenever you like.

While at first glance this may seem ideal, this isn't always the case. If you're anything like me, you can't get more than an episode or two into a binging session before you get a creeping sense of guilt that you're wasting your time. It's as though you can hear your mum's voice in your ear, warning you that television will rot your brain and ruin your thoughts.

However, this may be one of the (rare) occasions where your mum is wrong. Television can be informative, even when it's fiction! It's just about finding the right show.

This article will offer five recommendations of shows that are as educational as they are entertaining.

And—who knows? Maybe your mum will end up wanting to watch one of them with you.

Image Credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters from Unsplash

The Good Place

Genre: fantasy comedy

iMDB rating: 8.2/10

Image Credit: Aitchinsons from Wikimedia

The Good Place is centred around the idea that after death, people are sent to one of two locations: the Good Place or the Bad Place. Season One follows Eleanor Shellstrop, who has been assigned to the Good Place. However, Eleanor suspects that her allocation there is a mistaken and is causing carnage to the other residents. She enlists her assigned soulmate Chidi to teach her how to be good so she can truly earn her spot in the Good Place.

The show has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97% and has won multiple awards including four Hugos and a Peabody. It consists of four seasons and each episode lasts around twenty-two minutes.

How is it educational?

While a philosophy professor is unlikely to learn anything new from the show, The Good Place will certainly teach beginners a thing or two. The show interweaves philosophy in such a fun, engaging way that you're unlikely to even realise that you're absorbing knowledge.

Philippa Foot's trolley problem, the existence of free will and the nature of good and evil are just a few of the philosophical concepts and ideas explored in the show. Even if you consider yourself well-versed in philosophy, you may still find it fun to watch the show and see how many philosophical references and name-drops you can pick up!

The Crown

Genre: historical drama

iMDB rating: 8.6/10

Image Credit: Diliff from Wikimedia

The Crown consists of six seasons. It follows the lives of the British royal family from 1947 to 2005. Season One begins with Queen Elizabeth II's marriage to Prince Philip, while season six concludes with Prince Charles's impending marriage to Camilla. The show's plot points range from delving into the relationships of the royals to exploring political turmoil in the country.

The show has a score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. Its many fans frequently take to social media to express their admiration for the show. One X user writes that ‘if you need an escape, watch The Crown. History and politics are interwoven with brilliant, almost understated acting’. Another user claims, ‘watching The Crown has really driven home how much I DON’T know about UK politics'.

How is it educational?

Netflix describes The Crown as a ‘fictional dramatization’ of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. While the show does take some creative licence, for the most part, it tries to stick to reality. Given how private the royal family are, The Crown offers a tantalising window into Britain's most famous and historical family.


Genre: medical drama

iMDB rating: 7.9/10

Image Credit: César Badilla Miranda from Unsplash

ER follows a group of doctors who work in the ER (emergency room) at the County General Hospital in Chicago. The show follows the challenges the doctors face both at work and in their personal lives.

ER has a total of fifteen seasons. In the 90s, each episode of the first season attracted millions of viewers. Although the show's popularity has decreased in recent decades, it's still worth giving the series a watch—there's a reason why it boasts over one hundred Emmy nominations!

How is it educational?

The show is fiction and many of the events that occur (for example, doctors getting kidnapped and having their arms chopped off by helicopters) are unlikely to happen in real life. However, the show has attained praise for its realistic depiction of the swift pace and heavy workload that ER staff face.

Doctors told Business Insider that ER's use of medical jargon and procedures is particularly impressive. One doctor went so far as to say that the show was one of the reasons why he decided to become a doctor.


Genre: crime drama

iMDB rating: 9.1/10

Image Credit: Saschaporsche from Wikimedia

Sherlock is a British television series. It is based on the Sherlock Holmes books by the Victorian writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The show is set in the modern day.

Like the books, the show follows the crime-solving endeavours of the uber intelligent Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. John Watson.

Sherlock is another show that has a mass of loyal fans. The show's finale generated 377,282 tweets which is the greatest amount of tweets for a British drama series, ever.

How is it educational?

While Sherlock may not as overtly teach viewers about a specific topic as some of the other shows on this list do, this is not to say that it isn't informative.

Observing Sherlock undergo his process of deduction can help viewers understand and develop skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking. Also, as the show is based on Conan Doyle's book series, watching the show will hopefully inspire you to give the books a read.

The West Wing

Genre: political drama

iMDB rating: 8.9/10

Image Credit: White House from Wikimedia

The West Wing explores the going-ons in the White House during Josiah Bartlet's presidency. The show focuses on a group of the President's advisors and what goes on both in their jobs and in their personal lives.

The series is rated IMDb's top political television series. Given that its finale aired over fifteen years ago, this should give you an idea of just how loved the show is.

How is it educational?

Although the series is set during a fictional president's term, this is not to say that the show is entirely detached from reality. Actual White House staff members served as consultants for the show, and many of the plot points were inspired by real political and cultural events.

Watching the show can give viewers an insight into how politics is conducted, as well as an idea of what goes on behind the White House's doors.

Image Credit: Mollie Sivaram from Unsplash

Of course, there are plenty more shows out there that will teach you something other than just those on this list. However, hopefully this article has given you a place to start, and some shows to add to your watch list.

Happy watching!

Areesha Ahmed
10k+ pageviews

Areesha is a student from London. She enjoys watching horror films and drinking tea. When she is not reading books, she is buying them.