With so many streaming services offering discounts or extended free trials right now, we’re spending a lot of our quarantine time in front of the television. But what are we watching? Are we watching documentaries and educational TV shows or just binge watching The Office yet again?
Self-care is more than just bath bombs and essential oils. It also means taking care of your thoughts and emotions. As I discussed in my previous post, our mental health has a huge impact on our physical health. And in the same way that our bodies need exercise, our minds grow sick and weak without regular use. During a time when most of us are stuck in our houses it is especially important to pay attention to the TV shows we are consuming. Philippians 4 says to fill our minds with “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right”. If all we are watching is dramas and comedies and thrillers–are we really doing that?
I never really looked for educational TV shows before the quarantine, but Luke and I have found so many great documentaries and game shows that fuel the creative and inquisitive part of our minds. Since we’ve started watching more of these, we’ve been more productive and more positive. Today I’ve gathered a few of my favorites to share with you. I have linked a preview in the title of each documentary that had one.
IMDb Rating: 8.2/10
Typical Episode Length: 20 min
Jeopardy is great because it’s a very interactive TV show. It’s pretty much impossible to sit through an episode without yelling out at least a few answers. Unlike a lot of other game shows, Jeopardy is a pure knowledge test, making it extremely educational.
I actually started watching Jeopardy because my mother-in-law would have it on sometimes when we visiting. Since then, I’ve gotten way more into it. Luke and I make a game out of it and see who can guess the right answers first. We always have fun and learn something new.
IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
Typical Episode Length: 55 min
There are a lot of cooking shows out there, but The Great British Baking Show is the best in my personal opinion. It focuses on the baker’s personal creativity in way that I haven’t found in other shows. The (original) hosts are hilarious and always so positive and upbeat. It’s an extremely wholesome show and it always inspires me to get up and bake something. This is a super fun show to watch as a family and root for your favorite contestant.
(Disclaimer: I have not watched any of the seasons with the new hosts. I have heard that the show went downhill after Mary, Sue and, Mel left, and that the show has been less family friendly. But there are plenty of great seasons before the hosts change!)
IMDb Rating: 8.8/10
Typical Episode Length: 45 min
This TV show started on The History Channel and aired from 2007-2015. If you’re a lover of physics, astronomy, or science in general, this is a perfect documentary for you. Netflix only has one season at this time, but you can find other seasons on Hulu Live TV. The episodes mostly revolve around space and how it effects earth.
As a huge science enthusiast, I find this show fascinating. They explain the science behind everything in simple terms, but it’s still very detailed. This is a fantastic TV show and I honestly think everyone should see it. I have heard that the show goes downhill in some of the later seasons, but at least the first season is amazing. I highly recommend it.
IMDb Rating: 8.3/10
Typical Episode Length: 50 min
This TV Mini-Series is a great family show with fantastic cinematography. Technology now allows us to see and film nature during the night, and that’s exactly what this show does. Night on Earth explores the lives of animals and plants after the sun goes down. Each episode focuses on a different natural environment, including an episode focusing on the night life of animals living in and near a large city.
This documentary is extremely unique and focuses on the fear and wonder of what nature is doing when we’re all sleeping. The episodes are a bit long, but if you’re looking for something to watch at the end of the day with the lights out, this is your show.
IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
Typical Episode Length: 45 min
Tired of all those home renovation shows on HGTV? Yeah, me too. This TV show explores–as you might have guessed–the most unusual and beautiful homes in the world. While its focus is on architecture and design, the hosts also explore the culture of the different places they visit. The show is hosted by an architect and a former actress, and it is wildly entertaining.
Luke and I have only seen a few episodes of this show so far but we’re already hooked. It can occasionally be a little repetitive when discussing the challenges of building in certain locations, but the diversity of the architecture more than makes up for that. I highly recommend this show to anyone looking for something light-hearted and positive.
Weird Wonders of the World
IMDb Rating: 7.6/10
Typical Episode Length: 50 min
This is another snuggle up on the couch after dark TV show. If you’re a fan of mysteries, the weird and unexplained, then this is your show. Unlike some similar shows, Weird Wonders of the World does not focus solely on animals and plant-life, but extends it’s reach to anomalies in history, weather, and other unexplained mysteries.
This documentary has gotten a bit of a bad reputation because it can be overly dramatic at times, but I actually think it’s fascinating. It might not be everyone’s thing, but if you like learning about oddities and the science behind them, then I would recommend giving it a try.
IMDb Rating: 8/10
Typical Episode Length: 1 hour (3 episodes)
Arabia has been the setting of magical tales for several hundreds of years. This unique TV mini-series travels into the heart of the country to show the “ancient past colliding with the future”. British biologist Steve Backshall explores Arabian wildlife and rich culture, and shows how truly amazing it all is.
As Americans, we don’t often learn much about places like Arabia, because it is not considered part of our “Western history”. This was a truly beautiful and fascinating TV show for Luke and I, and we learned so much. The cinematography is breath-taking, and the show gets up close and personal with so many different kinds of animals–not just the big, exciting ones. I only wish that there had been more episodes.
IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
Typical Episode Length: 30 min
If you are an antique lover or enjoy doing crafts and making things, then The Repair Shop is definitely the show for you. This charming British TV show follows some of the most skilled restoration experts as they give new life to old antiques and heirlooms.
Luke hasn’t been a huge fan of this show, but I find it fascinating. These experts somehow manage to fix and restore antiques without causing them to lose any of their uniqueness or charm. I love watching the restoration process and hearing the stories behind what makes each of these items special.
IMDb Rating: 8.7/10
Typical Episode Length: 25 min
Moving Art is all about the cinematography. There’s actually no talking in this TV show, just breath-taking shots highlighting the beauty of nature. It’s extremely relaxing if you’re having trouble sleeping. Or you can simply turn it on as background if you’re missing the great outdoors.
This isn’t really a show to sit and binge, but it really is worth giving a try. The cinematography is extremely inspiring and I find the relaxing music very helpful in dealing with anxiety. I encourage you to turn it on some time, even it if is just to sit in the background. The episodes are organized by the kind of shots they have, so it’s easy to pick something you’ll find interesting. My favorite so far has been the underwater episode.
So there you have it. Nine great shows to watch during quarantine–or at any time really–that will grow your mind instead of simply entertaining you. What are some things you’re watching right now to pass the time? I know we’re all looking for new shows, so suggest some good ones in the comments!
Stay safe and remember to take care of yourself.
Until next time!