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Top Science-Based Documentaries, Dramas, and Cartoons

From acclaimed documentaries to children’s cartoons, here are some of the best science shows to stream (or hunt for in your local thrift shop DVD shelf)
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Hunting around for something to watch, and hoping that includes a dose (at least) of science?

There is a ton of great content out there, no matter what streaming service you have. If your playlist needs some new content, here are some titles to check out.

Top 13 Science-Based Documentaries, Dramas, and Cartoons

BBC Earth

One of the best-known and most-watched science-based series in recent years, "BBC Earth" features captivating cinematography. Depending on where you live there are a number of options for watching it, including some free options on YouTube.

Orphan Black

This Canadian sci-fi thriller ran for five seasons and 50 episodes. The show centers around a woman who assumes a dead woman’s identity, only to later discover she is a clone being targeted by sister clones plotting her death. It’s available from several subscription services, including Google Play.

Through the Wormhole

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this science doco ran for seven seasons beginning in 2010. It chases down haunting and perplexing theories, from the creation of the universe to the truths—or falsities—behind our basic assumptions about life and the universe.


Another Canadian entrant, "ReGenesis" revolves around scientists working at the fictional North American Biotechnology Advisory Commission and their investigations into mysterious diseases, radical environmental changes, and the DNA of infamous minds.


This American supernatural drama developed a cult following among viewers who kept coming back as the show, which was like a mix of procedural drama and "The Twilight Zone," explored themes centered around parallel universes and mythology.

Kingdom of Plants 3D: Filmed over the course of a year at a botanical garden in the United Kingdom, this series reveals “the true nature of plants as creatures that are every bit as dynamic and aggressive as animals.”

Human Planet

Dating to 2011, this BBC series was co-produced with Discovery and describes how humans relate and adapt to life in all of the environments found on Earth. You might have to hunt around for this show on the DVD shelf of your local resale shop, since the series was pulled from the network pending an editorial review after some inaccuracies were reported.


Two CDC scientists have seen plenty of disease outbreaks before, but nothing like what’s being seen at a high-tech international research facility. “Effectively creepy and oozing with chills,” reports Rotten Tomatoes.

The Strain

Here’s one for all you Hulu subscribers: The Strain tells the story of a CDC doctor called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak that seems to be the rebirth of a disease thought long gone. Parents: This is one you’ll definitely want to save for after the kids have gone to bed.

The Wild Thornberrys

Speaking of parents, this one’s for you (OK, your kids): “This is me, Eliza Thornberry, part of your average family. I've got a dad, a mom, and a sister. There is Donnie, we found him. And Darwin, he found us. Oh, yeah, about our house. It moves, because we travel all over the world. You see, my dad hosts this nature show, and my mom shoots it. Okay, so we're not that average. And between you and me, something amazing happened... and now I can talk to animals. It's really cool, but totally secret. And you know what? Life's never been the same.”— character Eliza Thornberry, from the opening title sequence.

Human Body: Pushing the Limits

This show from Discovery was shot in locations around the world and has graphics, animation, and human-interest stories to show how the body and brain change when pushed into crisis mode—such as how a lifeguard can spot a distressed swimmer among hundreds of beach goers.

The Life of Birds

Showing its age but still worthy of watching, this PBS documentary examines more than 300 species from 42 countries using infrared and ultraviolet cameras, and ultra-slow motion, among other tactics, to present birds in ways you’ve likely never seen before.

The Last Ship: OK, the science may be a bit iffy, but the entertainment value is still high(ish). From the same guy who brought you "Transformers," this five-season drama follows a U.S. warship which escapes a human extinction-threatening virus only to become a floating lab as an ornithologist on board struggles to develop a vaccine.

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