"Well, Itchy & Scratchy are gone, but here's a cartoon that tries to make learning
fun! ...Sorry about this kids, but stay tuned; we've got some real good toy commercials coming right up, I
As the trope's title implies, the Edutainment Show
combines educational content with entertainment. As such, most shows in this genre are aimed at children; of course, some more mature fare may fit this definition, such as MythBusters
. Cooking Shows
, Science Shows
, Nature Shows
, and other TV Documentary
formats (especially Docu Drama
programs) may also count, if they are entertaining enough. Additionally, the definition has become somewhat blurred - these days networks often pass children's programs in particular as "edutainment," when their only actual educational content is pro-social themes, such as "work together as a team", "Reading Is Cool
", or "be a good friend to others."
Many Edutainment Shows
appear on PBS, the most famous example being Sesame Street
. Nickelodeon also has had quite a few in their "Nick Jr.
" block, such as Blues Clues
and Dora the Explorer
, as do specialized fact-oriented cable networks as The Learning Channel, the many Discovery channels, the History Channel, and Animal Planet.
In the United States, since 1990, networks are required to have 3 hours of educational material a week; the tag "E/I" (for "Educational/Informative") was created to denote such shows (though in the case of stations carrying Saved by the Bell
, the rules are susceptible to Loophole Abuse
if An Aesop
is fit into the show in just the right way, and they can count as E/I). Now you know what the And Knowing Is Half the Battle
is referring to.
For the Video Game
counterpart, see Edutainment Game
- 3-2-1 Contact
- 3-2-1 Penguins!
- Adventures from the Book of Virtues
- Amazing Animals
- Angelina Ballerina
- Animal Armageddon
- Arguably, Animaniacs, which featured many educational songs and skits as well as famous historical figures and cultural icons of past eras, all for the Warners to gleefully abuse.
- Animaniacs actually parodied this tendency with Yakko's Math Song, in which Yakko uses convoluted schemes and strategies to make 1 + 1, the simplest math problem in universe, look like one of the most difficult ordeals this side of swimming across the Pacific Ocean. He then turns to the screen and says with a mischievous grin, "See how easy that was"?
- Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series.
- Anselme Lanturlu (French edutainment comic)
- The Archers was originally conceived as a way to make British farms more productive by teaching good practice; it's long since outgrown this and become a straight Soap Opera, but still takes pride in the accuracy of its farming-related storylines, retaining an "Agricultural Story Editor" for this purpose.
- Arthur - This program also Lampshades this trope with an in-universe example. Buster claims that a program that he's making is going to be "edutainment." The characters respond to this with an "ew." The chapter-book adaptation of that episode goes even further, with Brain stating that edutainment is supposed to be a blend of education and entertainment, but often ends up being the worst of both.
- Axis Powers Hetalia teaches history (questionably) and a little bit about culture between (often with) all the Ho Yay and gags. (Although the manga's depiction of Korea has sparked controversy in South Korea.)
- Baby Einstein
- The Backyardigans
- Barney & Friends
- BBC Historical Farm Series
- Beakman's World
- Bear in the Big Blue House
- Between the Lions
- The Big Comfy Couch
- Bill Nye the Science Guy
- Black Hole High
- Blaster's Universe: Based on an Edutainment Game series.
- Blues Clues
- Bob the Builder
- Brain Games: HBO's take on the learning program, and it was even marketed on VHS tapes in a period when television programs on home video was an exception, not a rule.
- Brainiac: Science Abuse...sometimes.
- Brain POP
- Bubble Guppies
- The Busy World Of Richard Scarry
- Calling All Safety Scouts
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers
- Classic Disney Shorts: Some Donald Duck shorts of the mid-to-late 1950s had an educational bend, one of the most notable of which was Donald in Mathmagicland, in which Donald, assisted by the True Spirit of Adventure, shows how "there's a lot more to mathematics than just two times two." There was also Scrooge Mcduck and Money, in which Scrooge gives Huey, Dewey, and Louie a lesson in capitalism and the history of money, from the barter system to modern banking.
- Clifford the Big Red Dog
- Cosmic Quantum Ray
- Danger Rangers
- Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
- Deadliest Warrior gets into the nitty gritty of history: wars, different warriors, how they fought, and their weapons. Controversy or no, they dig up the most brutal aspects of humanity and pit them together in all their bloody glory.
- In a way, Death Battle. Not only does it educate the viewers on the combatants in question, but they also frequently discuss real world scientific calculations and feats to help determine the fighters' maximum performance.
- Destinos: An Introduction To Spanish
- Didou: Step-by-step instructions on drawing various items.
- Dino Dan
- Dinosaur Revolution
- Dinosaur Train
- Doc Mc Stuffins
- Doctor Who: As odd as it seems in retrospect, this show started out as edutainment. The show was originally meant to alternate between stories set in the past that would teach kids history, and those set in the future, or on other planets, that would teach science (hence the first two companions being a history teacher and a science teacher). Then the Daleks showed up, became massively popular, and changed the emphasis of the show to scary monsters rather than education.
- Some of the stories from the first two seasons of the original series illustrate what Doctor Who was intended to be — chiefly most of the historical stories (e.g. "Marco Polo," in which our heroes meet Marco Polo in the Pamirs and travel all the way to Peking with him).
- Verity Lambert fought to get the Dalek story on TV by playing the edutainment card. According to modern accounts, she told her boss, Sydney Newman, that the story could teach us that we must curb our more belligerent tendencies, with the barren, radioactive wasteland of Skaro as their logical conclusion.
- Dora the Explorer
- Doraemon sometimes teaches viewers about things such as global warming, how to help homeless animals, the flat Earth theory and the history of Japan.
- Dragon Tales
- The Electric Company: Both the 1971 version and the 2009 version, though the 1970s version is more well-liked/remembered. Given that the 70s version managed to license Spider-Man and features Morgan Freeman, and managed to make both of them Narmy, being remembered is guaranteed.
- Element Hunters: An anime that manages to teach chemistry in a Monster of the Week format.
- Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: A 1970s cartoon that does a good job teaching life lessons to kids.
- FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman
- Fireman Sam.
- Food Detectives: An attempt to do for foodstuffs what MythBusters does for high explosives.
- Franny's Feet
- The Fresh Beat Band
- The Funny Company
- GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class has definite elements of this; there are whole episodes spent on explaining various graphic techniques.
- Good Eats: Half Cooking Show, half straight-up Edutainment Show. Alton prefers to educate the viewer on food science and cooking theory, rather than simply giving out recipes as most TV chefs do.
- Gordon The Garden Gnome
- The Head First books manage to do this in a book form. And they're both entertaining and educational. This being a series that deals with subjects like math and computer programming.
- Heres Humphrey: A long-running Australian TV show that taught social skills with dancing, singing and a big clumsy bear.
- Hi Five
- Holly Hobbie And Friends
- Horrible Histories
- How Its Made
- Infinity Limited
- It's a Big Big World
- Its Me Or The Dog: Watch enough of this and you'll learn a lot about dog-training and dog behaviors in general.
- Jack Horkheimer Star Gazer
- Jake And The Neverland Pirates
- Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks
- James May's Man Lab
- El Jardin De Clarilu
- Jay Jay The Jet Plane
- Jelly Jamm
- JoJo's Circus
- Jurassic Fight Club: Because Everything's Better with Dinosaurs
- Justin Time
- Kratts' Creatures
- Lamb Chop's Play-Along
- Leap Frog Learning DVDs.
- The LeBrons: A modern day Fat Albert.
- The Letter People: A puppet show that teaches phonics with surprisingly developed characters.
- Libertys Kids: A surprisingly sophisticated show that teaches about The American Revolution.
- Lift Off
- Little Bear
- Little People
- Little Einsteins
- Look and Read
- Lunar Jim
- Madeline (on the moral side only, show contains lots of factual mistakes)
- The Magic School Bus
- Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies
- Martha Speaks
- Maya And Miguel
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
- Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
- Mr. Wizard's World
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is of the pro-social type - although occasionally larger words or terms that the younger audience probably won't understand, such as "precipice" or "hibernation," are defined (in-context). Interestingly, the first season carried an E/I rating, but following seasons dropped it (while still including Aesops) starting with the second season's third episode, which deconstructed this trope.
- As a bonus, the Japanese version occasionally includes an English word to learn, courtesy of a live-action human girl and a badly-animated Twilight Sparkle.
- MythBusters spells out how the myths are tested, so you can learn quite a bit from that show, in the middle of Stuff Blowing Up.
- New Zoo Revue: 1970s children's show.
- Newtons Apple
- Ni Hao, Kai-Lan
- The Octonauts
- Oz And James's Big Wine Adventure and Drink to Britain aim to give the curious adult the basic tools for appreciating wine and other drink while following an Odd Couple of middle-aged blokes around on thinly-veiled drinking holidays.
- The Pajanimals
- PB&J Otter
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit!
- Penn & Teller Tell A Lie
- PJ Katie's Farm
- Play School
- Pororo the Little Penguin
- Postman Pat
- Power Rangers, perhaps less so nowadays, was very edutainment back in the Mighty Morphin' days. It still keeps up the social morals; especially that of teamwork.
- Pinwheel: The Sesame Street-esque program that launched Nickelodeon into the limelight; the channel itself was known as "Pinwheel" until 1979.
- The Puzzle Place
- Pythagoras Switch (Pitagora Suichi): A show much like Sesame Street, from Japan, known for its Eye Catches featuring intricate Rube Goldberg Devices.
- Reading Rainbow
- Rurouni Kenshin just might qualify, since the show provides plenty of information on the Meiji Era, and the Bakumatsu War that took place during the final years of the Edo period.
- Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat
- Schoolhouse Rock: Animated shorts, set to music, that would play between Saturday morning cartoons on ABC.
- Science Court
- The newly started Sci Show, hosted by Hank Green.
- Screenwipe, and its spin-off, Newswipe.
- Die Sendung mit der Maus: The most notable German language example.
- Sesame Street: It's probably the longest Edutainment Show that's still currently running.
- Sid The Science Kid
- Spot the Dog
- Square One TV
- Storm Chasers
- Super Why!
- Swamp Critters
- Time Warp
- Today's Special
- Team Umizoomi
- Tennessee Tuxedo And His Tales is an early example of this trope, being created in response to the "TV is a vast wasteland" speech.
- Thomas the Tank Engine became this after Series 7, sadly for some veteran fans.
- Through The Dragons Eye
- Too Cute educates us about the different breeds of cats and dogs, as well as entices us with the cuteness of their babies.
- Unnatural History occasionally bases its episodes on history like Sputnik, the Pony Express, and the history of vikings in America. Unfortunately, the line between fact and fiction gets a bit murky (most likely to encourage kids and teens to do some research themselves).
- U.S. Acres: The first three seasons had a moral in each episode.
- Veggie Tales
- What If?, a blog rather than a TV show, written by Randall Munroe of xkcd fame.
- Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? (based on the series of Edutainment Games)
- Wild Animal Baby Explorers
- Wild Kratts
- Wimzie's House
- Young Indiana Jones: Taught kids about history and people who changed the world through the young eyes of everyone's favorite whip-wielding hero.
- Zinnia Jones
- Zula Patrol
Say, Waldorf, do you think this show counts as edutainment?
Don't see why not. After all, it encourages people to quit watching and read books!