The best educational shows on Netflix for adults

Every day’s a school day. Well, it is if you watch some of the best educational shows on Netflix for adults.

The streaming giant has a huge amount of excellent content to choose from drama to sci-fi and entertainment to comedy – but for the purposes of this list we will be concentrating mostly on the documentary genre.

We have hand-picked some of the best shows that will teach you something and make you think. It’s great to learn new things and educate ourselves, and Netflix is actually a very good starting point for many when it comes to this. Although many of the documentaries here are introductions to subjects rather than university-style courses to be completed, there are plenty of different areas to investigate if you’re eager for knowledge. And why should all be the learning be for kids, eh? Now it’s time for some thinkers aimed at adults.

So, if you have your thinking cap on, let’s look at some of the best educational shows for adults on Netflix…


It does exactly what it says on the tine; this is a show that explains various subjects to its adult audience through the narration of famous people from Hilary Swank to Jerry Springer. Explained is a great way to get yourself across a subject so that you have enough understanding in order to take part in the latest dinner party debate or sound knowledgeable when you’re involved in a discussion down the pub. Now of course the relatively short videos on each subject from music to tattoos and pandemics to beauty don’t make you a world expert overnight, but they give you a great grounding from which you can build your knowledge and educate yourself further should you be interested.

Ask the Doctor

Medicine can be an alien concept for many, and there are still a lot of things some people are shy about asking when it comes to their health. That’s why this show is a great way to educate yourself about things that are happening with your body, and perhaps debunk some of the myths about our health. In this show doctors test many of the latest techniques, answer your questions about health and share expert advice to help you live a better and healthier life.

100 Humans

This social experiment sees scientists work with a group of, you guessed it, 100 humans in order to test theories and study the way that people react in a variety of scenarios and in different areas. From sex and the pursuit of happiness to more dark sides of the human condition, these shows will have you thinking about things in a different way by the end.

The Game Changers

What is the optimum diet to be the very best in your chosen field of elite sport? Can what you eat really make you into the best of the best at your game? That’s exactly what this fascinating documentary series hopes to achieve as it follows the fortunes of a group of athletes as well as non-athletes as they embark on plant-based diets as part of their everyday lives. A show that got a lot of attention when it came out and features a host of famous names, it’s well worth a watch if you are curious about plant-based living.

History 101

If you’re looking for fast introductions to some of the pivotal moments in our history, History 101 is a great choice for your Netflix education nights in. Each show focuses on a different subject from the space race to fast food and AIDS to genetics and feminism to nuclear power. You’re not going to be a history professor by the end of this fascinating series, but you will have a much better understanding of the world we live in, and a great platform to continue your educational journey in areas that take your interest.

Salt Fat Acid Heat

Based on the book by Samin Nosrat of the same name, this culinary documentary is far more than another cookery show. It seeks to explore the four essential elements of successful cooking; titular salt, fat, acid and heat. The show sees Nosrat visiting different areas of the world and exploring the cuisines and cultures and how they use these four elements to bring alive some of the most amazing dishes. If you want to learn, and also be inspired to eat better – this is a great choice for you.

Salt Fat Acid Heat

Our Planet

We only have one planet, and this brilliant David Attenborough nature documentary focuses on the importance of looking after it. From the same people that brought us many of the biggest BBC hits over the years, this fascinating and at times cautionary tale of the world and the people and animals that live in it is a beautifully crafted advert for conservation It is filled with hope and messaging about what we could and should do to ensure that Earth continues to proser in the future.

The Social Dilemma

This docudrama uses actors recreating scenes and many real-world interviews with people involved in technology to ask many important questions about the role of social media in our lives. Is it addictive, and if so, what is doing to us and our children? How do people use social networks to spread disinformation that can change the way that everyone thinks and will things change as it becomes even more embedded in our society?

Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates

The co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is not only one of the richest men on the planet, but he is also a visionary and tech pioneer who has changed all of our lives by making the personal computer something that we all consider an essential in our homes. This fascinating limited series has unprecedented access to Bill gates and seeks to understand how he thinks, how he got where he is today and takes a careful look at the many great works that Gates is now embarked on through his foundation across the globe.

Watch all the shows on Netflix