TV Shows that Could Make You Smarter

By Staff Writer Published on November 19, 2013

There are many stereotypes about college students, some of which may not be completely true.  However, one thing that students from almost every university can agree on is how much they love their television shows.  Between a busy social life, classes, homework, and whatever jobs or projects they’re also working on, television often provides a quick, easy way to relax and step into someone else’s life.  While many might decry avid TV watching, claiming that it rots your brain, there are actually a number of shows that could help you learn and think more critically.  Keep reading to find out which shows make you smarter.

Mad Men

This period drama about the advertising executives of the 1960s is anything but tame.  Along with offering an accurate glimpse into this formative decade, the story is deliciously complex.  Whether it’s dealing with complicated office politics, advertising techniques, or the consequences of the choices made by any one of the many flawed characters, this show will keep you thinking.


The brainchild of accomplished director J.J. Abrams, Fringe deals with a whole host of brain-warping phenomenon.  A crime drama in which investigators examine the weird, strange, and seemingly impossible, Fringe keeps you engaged and guessing about what might be causing the latest bizarre (and often deadly) incident.

Walking Dead

This zombie-ridden, post-apocalyptic drama chronicles the adventures of Rick Grimes; a sheriff’s deputy who wakes in a hospital after the zombie virus scours the world.  While Grimes and his band of survivors must find ways to avoid the voracious zombies, this show also takes a long, hard, occasionally pessimistic look at how extreme conditions change the way people behave.


This sitcom qualifies as one of television’s most intelligent comedies due to its witty humor, numerous references, and ability to portray scenarios that have never happened on any other show.  The story of a study group full of misfits who are attending a crazy community college gets crazier as the show goes on, including school-wide paintball matches, episodes that parody popular show formats, and immersions into the world of 8-bit video games.  With Community you never know what to expect, but you’ll always be hard pressed to keep up.

While a measurable increase in intelligence must include real world interactions, choosing the right television shows to watch can help you maintain your smarts, even after a tough day of classes.  Help yourself out by watching shows that make you think.