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Edutainment Show
aka: Edu Tainment

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"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 swear."
Krusty the Clown, The Simpsons

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 Docudrama 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" (as seen in the "Life Lessons" folder below).

Many Edutainment Shows appear on PBS, the most famous examples being Sesame Street, Barney & Friends, and Arthur. Nickelodeon also has had quite a few in their Nick Jr. block, such as Blue's Clues and Dora the Explorer, as do specialized fact-oriented cable networks such as the many Discovery channels, the History Channel, and Animal Planet. At least until Network Decay sets in.

In the United States, since 1990, networks are required to air at least 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.

Religious Edutainment is a subgenre designed to teach and promote the values of a certain faith as well as every Magazine Show which mixes subjects. For the Video Game counterpart, see Edutainment Game. For the Music counterpart, see Educational Song. See also Propaganda Piece.


Examples by subjects:

    open/close all folders 

    Life Lessons 

    English/Reading 

    Mathematics 

    Science 
See Science Show General

Biology - Animals (Zoology) See Nature Show

Biology - Human Physiology

Paleontology

Chemistry

Astronomy

  • Blaster's Universe: Based on an Edutainment Game series.
  • Cosmic Quantum Ray
  • Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer
  • Lunar Jim
  • Miles from Tomorrowland
  • NASA Sci-Files, NASA Connect, and Destination Tomorrow: Series about astronomy made by Virginia Tech for elementary school, middle school, and high school students, respectively.
  • Space Racers is a kids' show about space exploration, and the science and technology involved therein. Facts verified by NASA.
  • SolarBalls Educates viewers about space through the lenses of an Astronaut known as 'Astrodude' and various talking celestial bodies.
  • Voltes V educates viewers about space travel, either through metaphysical concepts such as Warp Theory or inner workings of Real Life applications such as the Ion thruster. It also has characters discuss physics and technology in various episodes, since the titular robot is a Combining Mecha.
  • Zula Patrol

Engineering/Technology

  • The 8-Bit Guy: Demonstrates how vintage technologies work and goes in depth on their history.
  • Argo's World
  • The Ben Heck Show
  • Blaze and the Monster Machines, along with overlap with mathematics
  • Captain Disillusion: Debunks and explains visual effects in viral videos and other popular media.
  • Chico Bon Bon: Monkey with a Tool Belt
  • Cro
  • Doki
  • The Fixies
  • Futurescape with James Woods: Speculation on future technologies, and how they might actually be achieved.
  • Happy Heroes averts this for the most part, but it does have a mini-season called Happy Heroes and the Magical Lab where exposition of how certain components in pieces of technology work is given a focus, specifically through Doctor H. giving these explanations in the Once per Episode "Explain This!" segments.
  • 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.
  • How It's Made tours factories and details the process of how everyday items or foods are produced.
  • I Love Toy Trains
  • James May's Man Lab
  • Lazy Game Reviews: The "Oddware" series discusses obsolete and obscure computer peripherals and software, while "Tech Tales" goes in depth about the history of once influential technology companies.
  • Modern Marvels: A closer look at the history of technology, including its failures.

    Social Studies 
Geography

History

  • 1865 The attention to historical detail, plus the bonus episodes exploring the history behind the fiction, mean that is is possible to learn quite a bit about the history of the Johnson Administration and the politics of late 1860s America. Likewise, the bonus episodes also provide quite a bit of information about what goes into the making of an audio drama podcast.
  • The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd is about the world's most brilliant scientist, his young protege, and his faithful robot companion, C.H.I.P.S. following the evil Dr. Steve and Fidgert as they travel though time trying to steal historical artifacts. Every few episodes they're in a new time period and meet a new historical figure.
  • The Abenteuer in Österreich ("Adventures In Austria") series by Thomas Brezina, where two children explore the history of famous Austrian landmarks and figures.
  • 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.
  • Atun Shei Films
  • BBC Historical Farm Series
  • Bernadette Banner
  • The Bush Baby: The anime chronicles 1960s Kenya and Kenyan independence, alongside the wildlife of the country and conservation efforts. Based on a book written by a white man who actually lived in Kenya, with the titular character being named after (and based on) his own daughter.
  • Confessions d'Histoire is a French YouTube channel which consists in parodic Confession Cam videos with historical characters detailing their life and/or the historical events they went through as if they were in a Reality TV show.
  • Conquest
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who: As odd as it seems in retrospect, this show started out as edutainment back in 1963. 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 two of the first three companions being a history teacher and a science teacher). Then the Daleks showed up in the show's second story, became massively popular, and changed the emphasis of Doctor Who to pure sci-fi with scary monsters and social commentaries 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 Daleks' debut 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.
    • Edutainment still shows up sporadically. For an science example, "The Moonbase" (1967), written by an actual scientist, contains a scene where Ben lectures Polly (and the audience) in how the design of spray bottles works, and a scene where Polly explains some basic organic chemistry to Ben concerning solvents, plastic and nail varnish. "Demons of the Punjab" (2018) is a modern case of an episode dedicated to teaching history, in which our heroes get tangled in The Partition of India and the monsters are relegated to a brief B-plot where it turns out they're just there to observe history and have no desire to interfere or antagonize.
  • Drunk History
  • Dungeon Toilet provides some factual information about various matters related to toilets and/or taking a dump, such as the history of toilets or the use of the aloe vera plant for treating constipation. It's not necessarily vital or terribly useful information, but it's information nonetheless.
  • Fat, French and Fabulous
  • The Gaming Historian: Overlaps with Engineering/Technology and Arts for coverage of video game history.
  • The Great War: Week by week coverage of the events of World War I in real time on their centennial anniversary.
  • Heritage Minutes
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers 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.)
  • Histeria!
  • History Buffs
  • History Matters
  • Horrible Histories
  • Jack Rackam
  • Karolina Żebrowska
  • Liberty's Kids: A surprisingly sophisticated show that teaches about The American Revolution.
  • Mentors
  • Miniminuteman
  • Niji no Kanata e! Shoujo Diana Monogatari is a biopic of Diana, Princess of Wales.
  • OverSimplified
  • Puppet History is a comedy webseries where a blue muppet called The Professor teaches his frenemy Ryan and a special guest about a bizarre event in world history, quizzing them so they can earn points and win the title of History Master.
  • The Rose of Versailles and Riyoko Ikeda's other historical-themed mangas somewhat qualify, as the author was extremely accurate to the historical events (and The Rose of Versailles even earned her the Légion d'honneur for it).
  • Rurouni Kenshin qualifies in the same vein as The Rose of Versailles, as 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.
  • Sabaton History: A documentary series produced by the team behind The Great War and World War II channels, covering the Horrible History Metal songs of Sabaton.
  • Ten Minute History is essentially a compressed history lecture with very snarky delivery.
  • A Thousand and One... Americas revolves around its main character dreaming of pre-Columbian civilizations and learning the culture, costumes, beliefs and daily struggles.
  • Time Bokan teaches the viewer about important historical figures and their contributions to society.
  • Top Kids: A 1987 Made-for-TV Movie featuring Niki Lauda as he and a teenager named Eric Morgan (played by Rossie Harris of Airplane! fame) travel through various moments in automotive history.
  • Truth Or Scare is a kids' program hosted by Michelle Trachtenberg that discussed supernatural-related historical events or pop culture characters. It had a gothic horror tone to it. Most of the show's content was actually taken from previously produced documentaries.
  • Unfinished London
  • 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).
  • The Victorian Way is an edutainment cooking show about cooking in Victorian England, featuring a snarky cook named Mrs. Crocombe.
  • The War to End All Wars – The Movie: An Animated Musical adapted from Sabaton's 2021 album of same title, depicting the events and people of the songs in CGI.
  • World War II: Week by week history of World War 2, a pseudo-sequel to The Great War.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum
  • Yo Soy Taíno: A short predominantly exposition about Puerto Rican history and Taíno Mythology.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Taught kids about history and people who changed the world through the young eyes of everyone's favorite whip-wielding hero.
  • Zinnia Jones

Music

  • Charlie Horse Music Pizza: A follow-up series to Lamb Chop's Play-Along that taught about various concepts of music.
  • Classical Baby: Teaches young children about classical music and poetry.
  • Classicaloid: Teaches its audiences about seven of the classical composers, and gives bits of trivial about what they were like and the music they made.
  • The Ghost Of Faffner Hall
  • Jack's Big Music Show
  • Jammers, a 2005 BabyTV cartoon that aims to expose children to different instruments and styles of music.
  • Jukebox Joyride: Teaches music history with a story about two children who find a magical jukebox which lets them Time Travel to influential concerts & other musical performances.
  • JumpStart Music
  • Little Amadeus: Introduced children to “the classics” via the adventures of a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • Lomax, the Hound of Music
  • Luigi’s Baton: Luigi’s Baton & The Orchestra Family Reunion explains the different instruments in the orchestra, while Luigi’s Listening Lab introduces viewers to the great orchestral classics.
  • Little Einsteins teaches classical music and works of art.
  • The Magical Music Box, a series about two children who are sent on great adventures involving different pieces of classical music.
  • The Magical Mozart And His Musical Friends book series by Noel Donegan
  • Melody Street, an obscure childrens’ TV series, covers different aspects of music.
  • Monty The Maestro is another book series about the instruments of the orchestra.
  • The Mozart Band, a Spanish cartoon which introduced audiences to classical music and composer trivia by re-imagining famous composers as modern-day schoolboys.
  • Musicalia is another Spanish cartoon which covers the fundamentals of music (pitch, rhythm, notes and rests…)
  • The Music Box, NPR music education podcast.
  • Music Box (1981): Not to be confused with the above entry, this is a 1981 TV miniseries about the building blocks of music (pitch, rhythm, tempo, etc.)
  • The Music Show: A spinoff of the above-mentioned Luigi’s Baton, this series explained concepts like pitch, rhythm, and meter.
  • The Notekins, a BabyFirstTV series that teaches fundamentals of music.
  • Orchestra!, a 1991 mini-series by Dudley Moore explaining the constituents of the symphony orchestra. In 1993, it received a Spiritual Successor in Concerto!, which explained the works of the great masters.
  • Oscar's Orchestra, while definitely falling more towards the “tainment” end of the spectrum, did attempt to introduce children to the great works of classical music.
  • Piccolo, Saxo Et Compagnie, a French audio story produced by Andre Popp that educated kids about the instruments of the symphony orchestra. Its sequels, Passeport pour Piccolo Saxo et Compagnie and Piccolo et Saxo à Music City did a similar thing but for folk and electronic instruments. (The other two sequels Which are…  and the 2008 Animated Adaptation are… decidedly less educational.)
  • Razzberry Jazzberry Jam
  • Seeing Music, a Russian short animated film about the instruments of the orchestra.
  • Sparky's Magic Piano
  • Symfollies
  • Taratabong
  • The Tuneables
  • Tune Buddies, a series of short films which explores the different families of instruments.

Arts

Economics

  • The Centsables
  • Looney Tunes: Three shorts, By Word of Mouse, Heir Conditioned and Yankee Dood It, were financed by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and provided lessons on how the American economy works (mass production/consumption, investing, etc.), with bits of comedy in between.
  • Parking Wars: A show about people with traffic enforcement jobs. It partially teaches about parking regulations.
  • Secret Millionaires Club

Vexillology

    Mixed Subjects 
  • Adam Ruins Everything
  • Animaniacs occasionally had musical segments about geography, history, and science.
  • Baby Einstein
  • Barbapapa: A Dutch-Japanese animated series based on the book series of the same name that teaches life lessons as well as how to protect the environment. The Spin-Off Barbapapa: One Big Happy Family! is even moreso an edutainment show, and the 1999 anime that came before it literally aired on NHK Educational TV.
  • Blue's Clues: Play along with a human host as he tries to figure out what his dog wants to do today and learn a few things along the way.
  • 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 just a few select episodes, not a rule.
  • Brain POP holds educational animated videos variety of subjects, such as math, history, and computers.
  • The Brain Scoop
  • Bugs Bunny Builders has several Looney Tunes characters forming a construction crew, allowing the show to cover topics ranging from creativity and imagination to teamwork and cooperation.
  • Castelo Rá-Tim-Bum
  • Channel Umptee-3
  • Cocomelon: Mostly life lessons including stuff like getting ready for school and toilet-training, but also the Alphabet song and such.
  • Coffee & Cat: A story about a high school student who failed to get into university and his cat who end up living and working at a coffee shop in Hokkaido. Between the Slice of Life comedic skits, it also goes in-depth about the history of coffee in Japan, the different varieties of coffee, and the methodology, physics, and chemistry that go into coffee preparation.
  • Crashbox: a HBO family show with various art styles. It featured different short segments about vocabulary (Revolting Slob), homonyms (Think Tank), history (Dirty Pictures, Haunted House Party), math (Psycho Math), biology (Poop or Scoop, Eddie Bull), and other subjects
  • Crash Course, hosted by the VlogBrothers, Hank and John Green
  • 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.
  • Daimos teaches viewers about theorteical particles (such as Tachyons), construction of space craft and philosophy, having Kyoushiro quote many famous philosophers and authors including Nietszche, Marx, Goethe and Shakespeare.
  • Die Sendung mit der Maus: The most notable German language example.
  • Doraemon sometimes teaches viewers about things such as global warming, how to help homeless animals, the flat Earth theory and the history of Japan. Unfortunately, most of the educational bits are thrown away in the Bang Zoom! Entertainment dub because most episodes dubbed are of the fun adventure type, but sometimes you'll get an explanation of a fairy tale not known by Americans such as "The Honest Woodcutter" or an episode set in a historical time period.
  • Flying Rhino Junior High
  • The Funny Company
  • Fem Myror Arfler An Fyra Elefanter
  • Fox Clubhouse
  • Garfield and Friends: Like Animaniacs, had several segments teaching kids about classic literature (which were surprisingly faithful to the source material), scientific principles and even medical information. In addition, the first three seasons' U.S. Acres shorts also had An Aesop and songs that would get the lesson across to the viewers, such as not spreading rumors.
  • The Good Night Show, which focused on a different preschool theme each show.
    • Hola Sproutitos, which teaches words and phrases in both English and Spanish.
  • The Great Space Coaster
  • Gudrun The Viking Princess, a CBeebies series in which a Friend to All Living Things learns about the animals of 10th century Northern Europe, combines history and zoology.
  • Helpsters
  • Hi-5
  • The Hoobs
  • Ibi (mathematics, science and general problem-solving]]
  • Il Était Une Fois...
  • I Spy
  • Iris The Happy Professor
  • Jollitown
  • Kidsongs
  • Leap Frog Learning DVDs.
  • Make the Grade
  • Matthew Santoro
  • Mister K's Clubhouse explores a wide variety of subjects including creativity, transportation, numbers, colours and social skills aimed at ages 2-7.
  • Moose and Zee: A series of short bumpers aired on Noggin and later Nick Jr.. Moose and his friend Zee teach preschoolers various topics such as grammar and colors.
  • Odisea Burbujas teaches classic literature, history, astronomy, and environmentalism
  • Overly Sarcastic Productions: Predominantly about classic literature, mythology, ancient history.
  • 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.
  • Peppermint Park: An obscure, almost blatant Sesame Street rip-off VHS series from The '80s.
  • Pleasant Goat Fun Class, a spin-off of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf where the characters are aged down and learn all about the world around them.
  • Pokémon Learning League had the characters from Pokémon: The Series asking for help from the Mission Guides on topics related to life skills, math, language arts, and science. It also had interactive quizzes accompanying the videos.
  • The Polka Dot Door
  • Schoolhouse Rock!: Animated shorts, set to music, that would play between Saturday morning cartoons on ABC. Topics discussed include parts of speech, multiplication, science, American history, and economics.
  • Señor Wooly educational music videos, his best-known creation being Billy la Bufanda.
  • Sesame Street is probably the longest Edutainment Show that's still currently running.
  • Shrapnel: Not the main series itself, but the figure review series, Moonshine Reviews, hosted by various characters from Shrapnel set in it’s own version of the continuity with no fourth wall. To help bring viewers up to speed on why some aspects of certain figures are good or not, the figure review series will often explain the technical aspects of how the figures were made and how it affects the end product, as well as explaining the history and background for certain figures/toys as well. Unlike most of the other examples, it’s definitely not made for kids.
  • StoryBots: A variety of educational songs about various topics.
  • Superman Vs. Meshi: The manga is a viewer's guide to Japanese delicacy and foods. It also features some oft-unheard aspects of Japanese culture, like convenience stores doubling as restaurants.
  • The Sunny Side Up Show, which would focus on a different theme each week.
  • Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales is an early example of this trope, being created in response to the "TV is a vast wasteland" speech.
  • Toot & Puddle presents basic sciences and geographical facts, as well as moral issues, in a Slice of Life manner.
  • This Is Bob is a Science Fiction program where, using the titular character and a bit of Black Comedy, various cruel experiments are conducted on him, that usually result in him dying. The show also involves a Myth Arc that blends in pretty well with the show.
  • What The F 101: The Black Comedy take on the The Magic School Bus alternates between teaching history, science, or both within an episode.
  • Why A long running series of educational manhwa aimed at children, each series published into label that cover wide variety of topics such as:
    • Why? Science: Focusing different science topics and its aspects.
    • Why? Korean History: Teaches about Korean history.
    • Why? World History: as Exactly What It Says on the Tin, focusing on world history from prehistoric to post-Cold War era.
    • Why? Humanities and Social Sciences: Focusing on aspects of social studies and human behavior
    • Why? People: Essentially biography of Historical Domain Character (And occasionally mainstream figures as well) in comic format, following from early life to adulthood.
    • Why? Humanities Classic: Quite similar to the beforementioned Why? Humanities and Social Sciences but focusing on philosophy and historical aspects.
    • Why? English: Teaches about English language.
    • Why? Math: Separated into 2 different parts, each set in different universe. This one teaches about math.
  • The World Of Jonathan Singh
  • Zoom: Especially arts.

News Magzine See Magazine Show

    Other 


Statler: Say, Waldorf, do you think this show counts as edutainment?
Waldorf: Don't see why not. After all, it encourages people to quit watching and read books!
Both: Doh-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho!

Alternative Title(s): Edu Tainment

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