Nowadays, many TV shows for students can be described as un-educational and inappropriate. With the media constantly portraying women as objects and society as an unrealistic utopia in which nothing ever goes wrong (unless you’re Liam Neeson, of course), it can be difficult to find television shows that will serve both students’ entertainment and educational needs without making them work to understand the content in a way that puts college work to shame.
Chances are that “Sesame Street” and “Barney and Friends” were television shows that you would regularly watch when you were younger, though your taste in entertainment has likely changed over the years. Now, you’re a college student who is too old for “Teletubbies” but too young for “Matlock.” So, what are some engaging television shows that are entertaining and maybe even teach you something in an age-appropriate manner? Here are my five recommendations for shows perfect for college students to binge.
1. The Good Doctor
From a social, medical and ethical perspective, ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” airing Monday nights at 10 p.m. EST, takes you on the heartwarming, suspenseful journey of an autistic surgical resident named Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore).
The show follows Shaun’s story and those of his various colleagues as they work to save patients from their illnesses and, sometimes, from Shaun, or so they think. Having first aired in late September, “The Good Doctor” is based off a less successful, South Korean version of the show entitled “Good Doctor.”
If you are a total history buff or a science fiction geek, you need to watch this show. From the crash of the Hindenburg to the true story of the Lone Ranger, NBC’s historical drama does a fabulous job of teaching history with a twist.
You do not have to be a History major to enjoy the adventures of Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter) and Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett), in their attempt to neutralize the threat of Garcia Flynn, played by Goran Visnjic, whose plan is to “kill America in the crib.”
3. Forensic Files
If you’re squeamish or sensitive to the discussion of death and criminal cases, you might consider skipping this one. However, if you have a love for forensics, medicine or police investigations, this is definitely a show you should watch.
“Forensic Files” tends to be more like a documentary and a case profile display, rather than a show with a linear plot and recurring characters. Rather, episodes are likely to begin with a profile of the victim before continuing to discuss and show what happened and how authorities responded. The rest of the program focuses on the law enforcement’s attempt to solve the case; sometimes, the individuals responsible for the tragedy are apprehended, and sometimes they are not.
4. Doctor Who
You might be noticing a pattern by now: “The Good Doctor” is about a doctor and “Timeless” is about time-travelers. “Doctor Who” is like a combination of the two successful programs. Airing on the BBC—or BBC America for us Western folk—the show is about a spunky alien who travels through time and space, saving the world in a blue police box called the T.A.R.D.I.S. (standing for “Time And Relative Dimension In Space”).
Interestingly, over fifty years ago, the creators of “Doctor Who” initially started the show with the intention of making it educational and family-oriented. Even though it has somewhat strayed from its original concept, the program can still be of educational value to some. For example, I never knew what petrichor was before watching the episode entitled “The Doctor’s Wife.” If you do not know what petrichor is, please look it up; you’re a college student, so you need to know these things!
Oddly enough, the Doctor always regenerates (kind of like a starfish) with an English or Scottish accent and tends to save the world, usually without leaving London. Along with this, his greatest enemies, the Daleks, who also happen to be extraterrestrials, have British accents as well. One would almost think that the show was mainly shot in London and surrounding, major cities such as Cardiff.
Despite these odd qualities and the fact that the Daleks look like upside-down trashcans with toilet plungers attached to them, this is definitely a must-watch.
This next one might seem a little bit weird, but it is a great educational program and will literally have you rolling on the floor laughing. The show has qualities everyone can enjoy; whether you’re a World History major or a Pre-Med student, chances are that you’ll find it entertaining. Honestly, “Horrible Histories”—also created by the BBC—should be called “Humorous Histories” due to its refreshing jokes centered around historical trends and events.
You will learn crazy facts about various time periods and cultures; one scene might be focused on the Vikings, while the next focuses on a weird circumstance surrounding Queen Victoria. Every point in the series is equally educational and amusing. Though, the only downside is that it mainly covers European history rather than what we Americans are used to.
As the opening describes, the show covers topics on “Terrible Tudors/Gorgeous Georgians/Slimy Stuarts/Vile Victorians/Woeful Wars/Ferocious Fights/Dingy Castles/Daring Knights,” to name a few. So, if you’re a sucker for European history, or if you are just looking for a good laugh, “Horrible Histories” is the show for you.
There’s only one important detail about the show that I’ve failed to share so far; it just so happens that the host is a talking rat. Don’t let your pride get in the way of thoroughly enjoying the show, though. Despite the talking rat that is seemingly aimed toward younger audiences, this is still a great, educational program for older individuals.