Streaming services have a reputation for enabling you to binge watch seasons upon seasons of shows without having to wait for new episodes to air. Even so, they can be a great resource for science movies and shows.
Let’s take a look at the three main streaming services — Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix — and the best science shows and movies you can enjoy on each.
Science Shows and Movies on Amazon Prime
If you have an Amazon Prime account and love science, you won’t be disappointed to find out about the following. Here’s a taste of what can watch.
1. Hubble’s Enduring Legacy
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990, and in the last 25 years, it has given us some of the most stunning interstellar pictures in history. This documentary, Hubble’s Enduring Legacy, covers the history of the telescope and dives deep into some of the most beautiful pictures it has delivered over its history.
The telescope has been upgraded four times since its launch by astronauts who were ferried up there by the Shuttle Program. It’s said to be the most versatile telescope in our astronomy arsenal right now, and this documentary offers a fantastic way to learn about the history of such an amazing machine.
2. The Mystery of Dark Matter
Dark matter is a substance that’s currently undetectable by scientists but makes up the majority of our universe. Researchers are still trying to discover a way to view dark matter in its many forms, but in the meantime, you can enjoy this documentary, The Mystery of Dark Matter. It explains dark matter, what it is and why it’s so important in a way that you can understand even if you aren’t an astrophysicist. If you’re interested in the matter that makes up the universe, this is the show for you.
3. Everything and Nothing: The Amazing Science of Empty Space
Once you get outside our galaxy, there’s a lot of empty space. For a long time, we thought that there was nothing in these voids between galaxies, but now, scientists believe there’s a massive variety of energy in these spaces. They’re questing to understand it. Everything and Nothing explores these new theories in a way that’s easy to understand. The show is hosted by astrophysicist Jim Al-Khalili, who’s probably one of the best scientific show hosts of our age.
4. The Brain that Changes Itself
For decades, it was believed that the brain was hardwired with everything that it would ever learn by age 18. We now know that to be false. The Brain that Changes Itself follows the stories of men and women who have faced adversity and had to adapt. It shows the ways their brains have changed to support them.
The brain is capable of writing new pathways for nearly everything, even after illness or traumatic brain injury, and these stories show the power of the human brain firsthand.
Science Shows and Movies on Hulu
Hulu features some gems no science lover will want to miss, including the following four.
Ever wondered if that myth you heard was actually true? Mythbusters has spent more than a decade answering these questions with science. While the main show is off the air now, and part of the crew has spun off into the similar White Rabbit Project, the 296 episodes are filled with science, explanations and, of course, explosions — because the Mythbusters crew really loves blowing stuff up.
2. How It’s Made
If you’ve ever wondered how something was made, from your favorite snack to the elevator you take to get to work, this show is the one for you. This Science Channel documentary — How It’s Made — explores how various everyday items are made from the ground up and takes you inside the factories for each item. Each 30-minute episode showcases three to four different products, from recycled skateboards to grand piano restoration.
3. What On Earth
Our home planet is filled with some pretty weird stuff, and What On Earth has made its mission to travel the globe looking for the weirdest things on the planet. It has one season currently, and the episodes are jam-packed with strange and previously unexplored mysteries. It’s easily one of our favorite shows on this list.
4. March of the Penguins
Everyone loves penguins, and everyone loves Morgan Freeman’s sultry voice. This documentary — March of the Penguins — gives the best of both worlds. It follows the life of emperor penguins as they live and die in the brutal climate of Antarctica. It also has a great lesson — that parents will do anything to protect their children, regardless of species. If you love it, you’ll be happy to know that there’s even a sequel!
Science Shows and Movies on Netflix
If you prefer Netflix as your streaming service, you’ll have several high-quality science shows to choose from, including the following.
1. Bill Nye the Science Guy/Bill Nye Saves the World
Who didn’t grow up watching Bill Nye the Science Guy, either at home or in the classroom? This science show was a staple for many a budding scientist in the 1990s and 2000s, and while it can be kind of silly — and kind of dated — it’s still a great resource for people looking to learn a little science. It’s an especially good resource for kids.
For adults, there’s Bill Nye Saves the World. This new show, from the mind of the same crazy scientist, addresses modern problems in a way that both kids and adults can understand.
2. Planet Earth/Planet Earth II
David Attenborough is one of the most well-known voices when it comes to nature documentary narration. Planet Earth is a collection of stunning nature videos that, according to the description, transports its viewers from the top of Mount Everest to the bottom of the deepest oceans — and everywhere in between. If the first collection just doesn’t sate your wanderlust, you’re in luck — there’s a Planet Earth II that explores even more amazing locales.
Niel deGrasse Tyson is one of the most well-known physicists of our time, so when he decided to reboot Carl Sagan’s classic TV series Cosmos, we were paying attention. This amazing show, Cosmos, explores the history of our universe — from its creation at the Big Bang all the way through to modern day — in a way that anyone can understand, regardless of age or education. Paired with modern day computer animation, it’s an interstellar treat from start to finish.
Where Planet Earth focuses on different locations and creatures across the globe, Life concentrates specifically on the plants and animals that call this planet home. Also narrated by David Attenborough, this documentary series was nominated for a host of Emmys and explores how animals have evolved to survive in all the different environments that this planet has to offer.
Streaming services can be a great place to learn about our planet and the universe around us — if you know where to look. You may just find yourself binge watching your favorite one!