Looking for TV shows that will do more than just entertain? These three TV shows are packed with science facts to tickle your brain!
by Julia Migné
Watching TV does not have to be all about turning our brains off, entertainment can be coupled with learning. From climate change to human behaviour and mathematics, these three TV shows packed with science facts are definitely proof that there is a way to learn, be amused, and know a thing or two about scientific issues that affect us all.
1. Lie to Me
This TV show that started in 2009 focuses around the work of Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and his colleagues in The Lightman Group. Specialised in applied psychology, the team assists in investigations interpreting microexpressions through the Facial Action Coding System, and body language.
British Dr. Cal Lightman does not let anything or anyone stop him from finding the truth. Inspired by the work of Paul Ekman, world renowned expert on facial expressions, the series often analyse real life celebrities’ or politicians’ facial expressions to prove its point – showing us how to spot hidden truths in the faces of people around us.
This series is a great crash course on human behaviour and facial expression, and is providing its watchers with some applied knowledge on how to recognise a liar looking at his face and involuntary body language. “Body language tells the truth, even from the grave,” said Cal in one episode.
With only three seasons and a total of 48 episodes, this TV show is perfect to fill the summer break and be on top of your game when you go back to work. Only risk is you may never trust anyone ever again and end up fixating on people’s eyebrows way too much – so be aware.
Ever thought that learning mathematics at school was useless and absolutely not applicable in everyday life? Well, Charles Eppes would enjoy proving you wrong. Brilliant universalist mathematician, Charles is able to use complex equations to solve criminal investigations with his brother Don, FBI Special Agent in Los Angeles.
“We all use math every day; to predict weather, to tell time, to handle money. Math is more than formulas or equations; it’s logic, it’s rationality, it’s using your mind to solve the biggest mysteries we know, ” explained Charles in the first episode of the series. The show takes maths very seriously and all the equations written on chalkboards during each episode have been checked by consultant mathematicians and are all valid and applicable.
The show even received the Carl Sagan Award for Public Appreciation of Science in 2005 which honors “magnifiers of the public understanding of science“. If you are ready for some serious maths mixed with family drama, Numb3rs and its six seasons are waiting for you.
3. Years of Living Dangerously
Led by a cast of the world’s best climate scientists, this nonfiction National Geographic TV show also features influential politicians and actors. With very high standard of accuracy, the show aims at raising awareness of the reality of climate change using great science and compelling story telling.
Consisting of eight or nine episodes per season, Years of Living Dangerously delivers a powerful narrative on one of the most important issues of our time: climate change. Focusing on how climate change actually affects people on the ground, the series unfolds with each episode portraying a specific theme like deforestation, ocean acidification, etc.
Using personalities such as Ian Somerhalder or Arnold Schwarzenegger allows the series to deliver its message through popular narrators. “There is so much misinformation about what is creating the fires, the droughts, the extreme storms,” says Sigourney Weaver, award-winning actress. “I really wanted to be part of getting the correct information to people.” Join the journey and become an informed citizen on climate change by watching those 17 episodes.
Julia Migné is a multimedia journalist and wildlife photographer specialising in environmental issues and odd hobbies. She has written for Africa Geographic and BBC Wildlife among others. An endless traveller, she swears that she would visit one country for each letter of the alphabet.