12 Best Educational Documentaries on Netflix (2023)

Let’s face it; if Netflix hadn’t kept us occupied during the prior two lockdowns, they would have been much more difficult. And recently, there has been a lot to keep us busy. The “documentary” genre’s breakout successes are the Last Dance and Tiger King. Although Tiger King does have a welcome remark on the conservation of big cats beneath all of its craziness, they’re not exactly a series that is going to do much for your brain cells despite their potential for binge-watching.

That is not to argue that there aren’t any Netflix documentaries that can be both enjoyable and enlightening. If you want to watch some informative Netflix documentaries, we’ve already done the legwork and narrowed the vast selection to the most enlightening.

We’ve already recommended the Best Educational Movies on Netflix, so here are our recommendations for the best educational documentaries on Netflix.

Best Educational Documentaries on Netflix

The 12 Best Netflix Documentaries in Education

Explained

Explained is the series to watch if you want to keep up with every issue discussed at the dinner table. Each 16 to 18-minute episode is produced by the kings of service journalism, US media giant Vox, and takes the viewer on a quick tour of a certain topic with a well-known voice narrating the content (stand-outs include Hilary Swank, Rachel McAdams, and Jerry Springer).

A fascinating show on the past, present, and future of pandemics that aired in November 2019 is one that might be best postponed until after the current concern. But the best examples of what Explained achieves are the episodes about tattoos, music, and beauty, which largely surprise and enlighten us on the ordinary things we generally just take for face value. It is one of the best educational documentaries on Netflix.

Our Planet

The immense cultural impact of Our Planet, the sequel to the father of nature documentaries, was probably equally as significant as that of Planet Earth. In the film’s opening narration, the legendary David Attenborough says, “Just 50 years ago we finally travelled to the moon.” “We glanced back at our own planet for the first time. It is one of the best educational documentaries on Netflix.The human population has more than doubled since then. This series will highlight the remaining natural beauties and highlight what needs to be protected in order for both people and the environment to flourish.

Which is essentially the show’s central theme. Beautiful scenery, fantastic creatures, and Attenborough’s elegiac voice make this program one of the most persuasive defenses for protecting Earth’s biodiversity ever captured on camera.

The Game-Changers

UFC fighter James Wilks begins researching nutrition science as he recovers from an injury to improve his performance after returning. What he discovers contradicts decades of pro-meat propaganda and the notion that meat is essential for athletic success. Wilks analyses the advantages of a plant-based diet while speaking with well-known veggie champions like Lewis Hamilton and the one and only Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He starts with the gladiators and their own vegan diets.

Abstract: The Art Of Design

An exploration of some of the modern culture’s most recognizable designs. Each episode of Abstract: The Art, created by former Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich, features a respected professional in their field, such as artist Olafur Eliasson and his massive installations or Tinker Hatfield, creator of the renowned Air Jordan 3 shoe or Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter.

Each profile seems like a discovery and a tribute to how remarkable talent is fostered through unrelenting passion, risk-taking, and hard work. These individuals are not big names.

Seaspiracy

The company behind the similarly acclaimed 2014 movie Cowspiracy is behind one of the most talked-about shows of 2021, Seaspiracy. Seaspiracy, which follows a similar investigative format, focuses on the aquaculture (also known as marine agriculture) taking place in our oceans. It does this by shining a critical spotlight on the fishing industry and the unrepentant destruction it is responsible for, including ghost nets, overfishing, whaling, dolphin hunts, and modern slavery.

The conclusion rejects the notion of sustainable fishing and calls instead for the creation of marine reserves to safeguard the fragile ecosystem of the ocean.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Samin Nosrat, chef and best-selling cookbook author, hosts a four-part documentary series that explores the four pillars of excellent cooking and the nations that excel in each. Indulgence in fat is usual in Italy, where the first episode is set. There is an abundance of mozzarella and olive oil served there. The next stop is Japan, where seasoning food with salt has become an art form. Before Mexico, sour salsas and lip-smacking lime are used to test the strength of the acid. It is also one of the best educational documentaries on Netflix.

To combine all these gourmet flavors into one, Nosrat returns to California, where she stays until the very end. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is a must-watch documentary for any home cook who wants to improve their cooking skills. It’s more than just a gastronomic escape.

History 101

A fool would ignore the lessons that the past can impart to us. And even if you are a fool, you won’t be after watching these ten information-packed episodes that use infographics and archival material to walk us through the technological advances (plastic, nuclear power), social movements (feminism), geopolitical events (the space race, the rise of China), and all-consuming, unrelenting industries (fast food) that have brought us to this point in history. Even if you lived through most of the 20th century, this book, which is essentially devoted to that era, will likely teach you something new.

Headspace Guide To Sleep

The widely used Headspace app is now commonplace in the contemporary mindfulness community. A collaboration with Netflix, which initially produced the Headspace Guide to Meditation before making this eye-opening—or rather eye-closing—ride through the activity we spend a third of our lives doing—sleep adds to its never-ending stream of material.

The eight, 20-minute episodes each focus on a different component of the iPhone that may keep you up at night, or they explore one of its key facets (an episode on the weird world of dreams fascinates). Everything is tastefully drawn and calmingly narrated, providing information that will not only deepen your comprehension of sleep but also likely cause it.

Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a philanthropist, the creator of Microsoft, and the second-richest person in the world. However, unlike his adversary Steve Jobs, who was the subject of tabloid headlines and was exalted as an indescribable cult of personality, there isn’t really much else we know about him.

This is where Inside Bill’s Brain steps in, telling Gates’ life story from humble beginnings to global dominance while attempting to analyze his eccentric way of thinking. The instructive aspect of this article is its emphasis on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its significant projects. This is an education less about Bill Gates and more about attempting to make the world a better place, from enhancing sewage systems in underdeveloped nations to eliminating polio and generating a cleaner, safer kind of nuclear power.

Black Holes: The Edge Of All We Know

This deep space investigation into the most extraordinary phenomenon of them all black holes is best summarized by the expression weirder than fiction, or should that be science fiction. The film, which has been in production for four years, centers on two distinct joint investigations. The first is the Event Horizon Telescope project, a global partnership with numerous telescopes dispersed over the globe that shocked the world in 2019 by revealing the first-ever image of a black hole.

The second examination is more intellectual as Professor Stephen Hawking takes us through some of his most recent research to demonstrate that the past is not destroyed by black holes. In conclusion, it’s a fascinating tour through the minds of our greatest minds.

The Social Dilemma

A good instructional film aims to affect change. Perhaps after watching Planet Earth, you’ll recycle more. Actually, you never do. The Social Dilemma stands apart from the crowd by being so jarring and debilitating that it will be difficult not to.The Social Dilemma is a behind-the-scenes look at an unimaginable mass brain-washing programms as well as the ongoing and intrusive surveillance these corporations are now enacting on us, as told by the former engineers and executives who built the highly addictive and harmful social media world around us. Eat your heart out Big Brother.

13th

The Black Lives Matter movement gave this 2016 feature-length documentary, which examines the connections between slavery, racial injustice, and the US criminal system, new life. The title of the movie is derived from the 13th Amendment, which forbade slavery but had a critical flaw that allowed it to be employed as a kind of punishment for crime. In the early wake of the civil war, this clause was overused, and according to director Ava DuVernay, it is still being misused today. A grueling and sobering film, it demonstrates the necessity for immediate and more action.

What do you think about that?

Have we been missing out on an excellent Netflix documentary? 

These are just a few of the Netflix documentaries we enjoy, but we’re sure there are more. We may have missed a few Netflix shows, like the acclaimed American Factory, but we did pretty well, right? 

You can educate yourself without viewing a meaningless movie by watching some instructional documentaries on Netflix.  They’ll keep you relaxed and mentally sharp. 

Most of them are available as tv shows, series, and movies; it depends on your preferences and tastes.

If you enjoyed some of the titles, recommend this list of the best educational documentaries on Netflix to your friends and family.

Next recommended read: 21 Best Anime Shows on Netflix (2023)

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