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Top 5 Science Documentaries you can’t miss

by Ansh Lahoti

Science documentaries are like windows into the vast and mysterious universe. They allow us to see things that we would never be able to see on our own, from the smallest particles to the largest galaxies. They take us on a journey through time and space, and they reveal the secrets of the natural world. Science documentaries are more than just educational tools. They are also works of art. 


They are creative and inspiring, and they can help us to see the world in a new way. They are like a mirror that reflects our own curiosity and wonder, and they help us to understand ourselves and our place in the universe. Science documentaries are a powerful tool for learning and understanding. They can help us to see the world in a new way, and they can inspire us to make a difference.


Here are the top five documentaries on Netflix that you can’t miss:

1. My Octopus Teacher (2020)

(Image from : CNN)

“The Octopus Teacher” is an extraordinary science documentary that takes viewers on a captivating journey into the underwater world, showcasing the remarkable bond formed between a human and an octopus. 

Directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed, this film offers a unique perspective on the fascinating intelligence and complex behavior of these incredible creatures.

The documentary follows the story of Craig Foster, a South African filmmaker and diver, who finds solace and purpose in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. In an unlikely encounter, he stumbles upon an octopus and decides to dedicate an entire year to studying and documenting its life. 

What unfolds is a heartwarming tale of friendship and mutual understanding that challenges our preconceived notions about the capabilities and emotions of marine animals.

Through breathtaking cinematography and intimate storytelling, “The Octopus Teacher” delves into the scientific aspects of octopus behavior. 

It sheds light on their ability to camouflage, problem-solve, and adapt to their surroundings, showcasing their astonishing intellect. The documentary also explores the interconnectedness of marine ecosystems, revealing the delicate balance that exists beneath the surface of our oceans.


2. 13th (2016)

(Source : The Womb)

“The 13th” is a compelling science documentary that delves into the intricacies of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution and its profound impact on the nation’s criminal justice system. 

Directed by Ava DuVernay, this thought-provoking film examines the underlying factors that have perpetuated racial inequality and mass incarceration in America.

By intertwining historical analysis, expert interviews, and powerful personal narratives, “The 13th” illuminates the correlation between slavery’s abolition and the subsequent criminalization of African Americans. 

The documentary explores how systemic racism, political maneuvering, and economic interests have led to the disproportionate imprisonment of Black individuals and the emergence of a modern-day prison-industrial complex.

While “The 13th” is grounded in historical and social context, it is undeniably a science documentary due to its rigorous examination of data, statistics, and sociological theories. 

The film engages viewers with compelling evidence and research, showcasing the role of scientific inquiry in understanding the complex interplay between race, criminal justice policies, and socioeconomic structures.


3. Icarus (2017)

(Source : Netflix)

“Icarus” is an intriguing and thought-provoking science documentary that delves into the world of athletic doping and its impact on sports. 

Directed by Bryan Fogel, the film takes viewers on an astonishing journey that initially begins as a personal experiment and ends up uncovering a widespread scandal.

The documentary revolves around Fogel’s own quest to investigate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports. 

His original intention was to explore the effects of doping firsthand by taking banned substances while participating in an amateur cycling race. However, he inadvertently stumbles upon a Russian scientist, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who reveals a state-sponsored doping program that extends far beyond his initial expectations.

“Icarus” becomes a science documentary due to its focus on the scientific aspects of doping, including the development and administration of performance-enhancing drugs, the methods used to avoid detection, and the impact on athletes’ physical abilities. Through interviews with scientists, experts, and athletes, the film provides a deep understanding of the intricate science behind doping.


4. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)

(Source : Vogue)

“Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” is a captivating documentary film that delves into the disastrous Fyre Festival, which was touted as a luxurious and exclusive music festival set on a private island. 

Directed by Chris Smith, the film takes viewers on a thrilling rollercoaster ride through the rise and fall of the ill-fated event.

While “Fyre” primarily explores the event planning and marketing fiasco that led to the festival’s spectacular failure, it can also be considered a science documentary in a broader sense. 

The film examines the psychological and sociological aspects of human behavior, shedding light on the power of influence, manipulation, and the dangers of social media.

It unravels how the festival’s organizers utilized influencers, viral marketing, and deceptive tactics to create an illusion that captivated the masses.

Moreover, “Fyre” serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of critical thinking, due diligence, and ethical responsibility when it comes to engaging with and evaluating information in the digital age. 

By dissecting the complexities of the Fyre Festival, the documentary provides valuable insights into the intersection of technology, media, and human behavior, making it a thought-provoking science documentary that goes beyond the surface of event planning mishaps.


5. The Social Dilemma (2020)

(Source : The social dilemma)

“The Social Dilemma” is a compelling and thought-provoking science documentary that delves into the intricate workings of social media and its profound impact on society. 

Directed by Jeff Orlowski and released in 2020, the film combines insightful interviews with industry insiders, compelling reenactments, and captivating visual effects to explore the dark side of social media platforms.

This documentary stands out as a science documentary due to its empirical approach, relying on data and research to shed light on the alarming consequences of our increasingly connected world. 

It showcases the manipulation of user behavior, the spread of disinformation, and the erosion of personal privacy by algorithms designed to maximize user engagement and profit.

“The Social Dilemma” serves as a wake-up call, presenting a cohesive narrative that reveals the systemic issues within the social media industry. Through the expert analysis and personal testimonies of former employees from major tech companies, the film illuminates the ethical and moral dilemmas embedded in the algorithms and business models that drive these platforms.



Science documentaries offer a unique and enriching viewing experience. They have the power to ignite our curiosity, deepen our understanding, and inspire us to marvel at the wonders of the universe. So, grab a bowl of popcorn, sit back, and embark on a journey of scientific exploration through these top 5 documentaries and beyond. Prepare to be captivated, enlightened, and inspired by the incredible stories and discoveries that await you.

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