Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey screengrap

Azrael Coladilla/Flickr. A moment captured of Neil DeGrasse Tyson from the show, “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”.

Our generation grew up watching fun, educational children’s shows like Blues Clues, Bear in the Big Blue House, Sesame Street, The Magic School Bus and more. These shows taught us how to maneuver around this terrifying floating orb in space we call Earth, while also informing us about ourselves and how to be good people.

As a result, our generation has grown to love learning while we watch T.V., even when we do it to relax or unwind. We crave knowledge through mediums like documentaries and historical reenactments. We search for hidden meanings in shows and rewatch programs in hopes of catching something new that we didn’t see before.

Now that we’re adults, we have much deeper questions about the world and about life. How did we get here? What happens to us when we die? What is our purpose in life between birth and death, and how can we achieve it? These are inquiries that are being explored everyday by people all around the world. Yet these are also questions that are addressed in T.V. shows more fitting for adults — T.V. shows designed to teach us things we still don’t know about life on Earth.

Here’s a list of five amazing shows (in no particular order) that are meant to expand our minds and educate us, while also being entertaining to watch:

  1. Through the Wormhole

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, Through the Wormhole examines deep existential topics that keep us up at night, and tackles any subject from philosophy to physics. It intertwines pop culture with science to create a fundamentally entertaining show that gets us thinking. The titles of each episode always includes a heavy question, such as “Is There a Creator?” and “Does Time Really Exist?”, so you always know exactly what you’re getting into before you click play. And who doesn’t love the soothing, warm sound of Morgan Freeman talking about space and time? This show was practically made for existential college students who question their purpose in life everyday.

  1. Netflix’s Explained

While Explained only just premiered in May of this year, the show has already done wonders at teaching adults about things they wouldn’t normally care about or find interesting. Each episode tackles a certain social or cultural phenomenon, such as monogamy or the cannabis industry, and explains it in a way that’s both easy to understand and fun to watch. Not only that, but it features a new celebrity narrator every episode whose voice tends to fit topic very well. This show is a must-see for people who only want to dedicate 20 minutes at a time to learn about something deep and complex, like cryptocurrency.  

  1. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is like a weird but loveable space wizard in Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which takes us on a journey throughout space to uncover the most mysterious extraterrestrial phenomena known to man. In the show, we get to climb aboard Neil’s “ship of imagination” to travel across the universe along the “cosmic calendar” of time, with January 1st being the Big Bang explosion and December 31st being the dawn of mankind. The show is, oddly enough, produced by Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane, which makes complete sense once you watch the show.

  1. Planet Earth

Who wouldn’t want to learn about wildlife and animals? Planet Earth is a very well-made BBC program that focuses on a different type of habitat each episode — caves, mountains, jungles, oceans, etc. — and teaches us about the wildlife that live there. Witnessing the wondrous natural phenomena that makes our planet so unique is invigorating and hard to resist. Not only that, but David Attenborough is like the British Morgan Freeman in that his voice is incredibly soothing and pleasant to listen to.

  1. Bill Nye Saves the World

Our favorite scientist Bill Nye returns to television with his show Bill Nye Saves the World, a follow-up to the kid’s show Bill Nye the Science Guy. In this series we get to explore other natural and scientific occurrences on Earth that we don’t really know much about, all from the comfort of a T.V. studio filled with fun demonstrations and experiments. Bill’s infectious enthusiasm is enough to make viewers feel like a kid again, which is probably why we love him so much.