Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (Netflix)
You probably lived off the PBS series presented by Carl Sagan as a kid. Current rock star physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts this updated version, in development for almost 20 years, which appeared on Fox in 2014.
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane served as a producer, and as such animation plays a supporting role in explaining various theories and historical events.
Each episode is an engaging science lesson–covering diverse topics including physics, astronomy, and even how scientific phenomena affected human evolution—that parents can watch with their kids and not feel guilty about spending all day on the couch. (13 episodes)
Watch Cosmos Now!
The Flash (Netflix)
What if something went wrong with the CERN particle accelerator and the blast wave that followed turned ordinary people into metahumans with superpowers?
For do-gooder forensic scientist Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), it made him the "fastest man alive;" for just about everyone else, it morphed them into criminal pastiches who want to settle old scores and rob banks. As The Flash, Allen uses his super speed, quick thinking, and help from his compatriots at S.T.A.R. Labs and loads of real and theoretical tech to take down the baddies. Think of it as C.S.I.: Central City.
Scientifically grounded this is not, what with parallel worlds and time-travel, but moments such as when Flash must calculate velocity and trajectory to defeat a metallic bruiser prove this isn't your typical superhero fantasy. (46 episodes) Watch The Flash now!
It's not just the smartest animated show ever. With a writer's room that once boasted three Ph.D.s and a penchant for creating mathematical theorems to advance the plot, Futurama sets the bar for brainy comedy and absurdity.
And episodes "Jurassic Bark" and "The Luck of the Fryish" solved one of the toughest equations out there: how to make grown men cry. (140 episodes) Watch Futurama now!
Peaky Blinders (Netflix)
This is a grim, gripping crime drama set in post-WWI Birmingham (the U.K.'s version of Detroit), among the workshop of the world's smoky, grimy foundries and mills, and the antithesis to the prim and proper Downton Abbey.
The camera and musical score treat gypsy gangster Thomas Shelby (played to perfection by Cillian Murphy) like a Roaring Twenties rock star, and he treats everyone else around him like pawns on a chessboard only he can see.
As the Shelby clan rises to prominence, playing off the volatile struggle between the Irish Republic Army and the British army, capitalist captains of industry and communist unionizers, you can't feel help but root for working-class mobsters. (18 episodes) Watch Peaky Blinders now!
How It's Made: Seasons 16-18 (Hulu)
The Science Channel
After watching a few 22 minute episodes jam-packed with modern manufacturing techniques, four each show, you'll wonder no more about how a great many things are made.
Gain engineering insight into cool stuff such as bourbon (16.3) and 3D printers (18.5) to impress your friends when you meet for drinks over the holidays, or possibly use your new knowledge on motion sensors (16.1) or heavy equipment simulators (16.7) when you get back to work. (39 episodes) Watch How It's Made Now!
Most WWII period pieces take place on the front lines, and even with a New Mexico desert setting, this high tension drama is no different. The front lines here, though, are the sweltering offices and homes at the newly formed Los Alamos National Laboratory, where many of the world’s most brilliant physicists were racing the Nazis, and each other, to finish the first atomic bomb.
It's got science, it's got history, and because it takes place in an isolated top secret town manufacturing "the destroyer of worlds," plenty of tension and drama. (23 episodes) Watch Manhattan now!
Black Mirror (Netflix)
This British sci-fi anthology series, like Twilight Zone and Outer Limits before it, uses equal parts horror, satire, and modern technology to reflect upon how society could get worse.
The faint of heart should probably skip the first episode, "National Anthem," involving a prime minister and a pig-- or at least wait until nihilism has completely enveloped your soul. "White Christmas," though, is one not to be missed prior to holiday festivities. Jon Hamm plays a high tech dating guru who takes the Cyrano de Bergerac act to delightfully creepy new levels. (13 episodes)Watch Black Mirror now!
Humans (Amazon Prime)
Those Brits love their subtly dystopian societies, from 1984 to Brave New World to Bridget Jones's Diary. Here we have a relatively normal civilization, but with one difference: realistic synthetic androids, or "synths," that do all the b.s. housework and child-rearing they don't want to do.
A few start to gain consciousness and even feelings, never a good trait in a slave bot. As robots get more advanced, and sexier, there are some complex questions we need to confront. (Eight episodes) Watch Humans now!
Mr. Robot (Amazon Prime)
Loner Elliot Alderson, (played by Emmy winner Rami Malek), is an anxiety-riddled security engineer who self-medicates with morphine to function.
The coding maestro self-medicates how boring and depressing it is protecting sleazy mega corporations by using his skills as a non-violent serial killer, using their online activities to destroy them. An Anonymous-type hacktivist outfit inevitably recruits him and delicious anarchy ensues. If you liked Dexter or Fight Club, you'll be hooked immediately. (10 episodes) Watch Mr. Robot now!
Breaking Bad (Netflix)
Thinking about branching out and starting your own manufacturing business? Former high school chemistry teacher Walter White's journey from mild-mannered meth startup to global distribution juggernaut can certainly provide a "blue" print for you.
This show has everything, from how to create the purest product, effectively manage your direct reports, and become a market leader through innovative supply chain practices.
And the perfect five season-long saga also has very relevant moral: Remember who you're working so hard for in life; retain a good work-life balance. (62 episodes) Watch Breaking Bad now!