Get your popcorn ready and prepare to binge. Netflix is currently streaming tons of incredible science and nature documentaries. From the depths of the ocean to outer space, there’s something for everyone. But with so many options, making the perfect choice can be a difficult task. We took it upon ourselves to narrow down the selections for you. (You’re welcome.) Sit back, relax and enjoy all the wonders Earth has to offer without even having to leave your couch.
Chamberlain Smith is a freelance writer based in Athens, Georgia.
Photo Credits: 1. Chasing Ice 2. Particle Fever 3. Planet Earth 4. Fed Up 5. The Blue Planet 6. Blackfish 7. Cosmos
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Chasing Ice follows documentary photographer James Balog's efforts to expose the effects of climate change through his Extreme Ice Survey. EIS, an expedition to collect data on seasonal changes of glaciers, chronicled the impact of global warming through time-lapse and conventional photography and videography. Balog was once skeptical about climate change, but discovered undeniable evidence after surveying the landscapes in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska during the course of making the documentary.
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Particle Fever provides an inside look at what's going on in Switzerland at the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle accelerator. The film focuses on six physicists from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, as they conduct experiments in an effort to comprehend the origins of the universe. The documentary follows the scientists through seven years of research and monumental discoveries.
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Good news - Planet Earth is one of the few documentary television series on this list. With 11 episodes there's plenty of footage to keep you entertained for hours on end. The program was produced by BBC in 2006 and was the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the network. Each episode focusses on a different part of the world and the wildlife that occupies it. From the African deserts to the icy Arctic, Planet Earth explores diversity around the globe.
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This film tackles a different scientific phenomenon, the obesity epidemic in the United States. The documentary focuses on the idea that large amounts of sugar in processed foods are to blame for Americans being overweight. Fed Up explores how unsuitable dietary guidelines dating back 30 years have led to health issues and shortened lifespans for the people of recent generations. The film also reveals how the government has only added to the problem through food lobbies.
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The Blue Planet
This underwater television program from BBC delves deep into the oceans to explore the diverse creatures and habitats within. Each episode observes a new facet of marine life by traveling to oceans all over the globe to give the audience an inside look at the animals we wouldn't typically be able to see. The show took nearly five years to complete and was filmed across hundreds of locations. If you like Planet Earth, you'll love its underwater counterpart, The Blue Planet.
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This documentary explores issues with the sea park industry by recounting the story of Tilikum, a killer whale that was held in captivity at SeaWorld and ultimately caused the deaths of numerous people in the park. Blackfish examines why wild animals should not be kept in captivity and exposes issues of cruelty when animals are used as entertainment. You might think twice before visiting a sea park after watching this film.
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Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
The final documentary television show on our list, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, is a modern spinoff of Carl Sagan's original 1980 Cosmos series. The show was created to take the audience on a journey across the visible universe to better understand the world and everything around us. Cosmos utilizes advanced computer technology to construct stunning visuals and explore elements of space and time that couldn't easily be seen otherwise.