The BEST National Geographic shows of all time

Every National Geographic show, ranked

We've compiled the average episode rating for every National Geographic show to compile this list of best shows!

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10.00
28 votes

#1 - Beyond the Cosmos

Brian Greene is going to let you in on a secret: We've all been deceived. Our perceptions of time and space have led us astray. Much of what we thought we knew about our universe-that the past has already happened and the future is yet to be, that space is just an empty void, that our universe is the only universe that exists-just might be wrong. The Fabric of the Cosmos, a four-hour series based on the book by renowned physicist and acclaimed author Brian Greene, takes us to the frontiers of physics to see how scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of space, time and the universe. With each step, audiences will discover that just beneath the surface of our everyday experience lies a world we'd hardly recognize-a startling world far stranger and more wondrous than anyone expected.

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8.86
6491 votes

#2 - Cosmos (2014)

Hosted by renowned astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos continues from its 1980 predecessor, exploring how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time. It brings to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge and transports viewers to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale. The most profound scientific concepts are presented with stunning clarity, uniting skepticism and wonder, weaving rigorous science with emotion and spirituality to form a single, united, transcendent experience.

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8.71
241 votes

#3 - 9/11: One Day in America

In official collaboration with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, this documentary series takes viewers through the harrowing moments of the historic morning of September 11, 2001.

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8.53
64 votes

#4 - The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman travels the globe in search of an answer to one fundamental question for humanity: what are the common forces that bind us together?

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8.52
189 votes

#5 - Wild Russia

Sprawling over 11 time zones and two continents from Europe to the Pacific, and beyond the magnificent cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, this huge country contains a wealth of unspoilt natural wilderness. Through unprecedented access we showcase the spectacle that is Wild Russia. From east to west, via mountains, volcanoes, deserts, lakes and Arctic ice, this breathtaking six-part series uses stunning cinematography to chart the dazzling natural wonders of this vast country.

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8.50
721 votes

#6 - National Geographic Documentaries

Go behind the scenes of life on our planet with National Geographic videos. Share the wonder of the natural world with educational animal videos for kids. Let National Geographic be your all-access pass with documentary videos about the U.S. State Department, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, or 9/11. Experience the past coming to life with culture and history videos, and engage more deeply with the present with science and nature.

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8.47
188 votes

#7 - Hacking the System

For 15 years, Brian Brushwood has made a career out of social manipulation and thinking like a criminal and now he’s here to reveal how to avoid people who cheat the system and show you how to use the legal tips, tricks, and shortcuts to get ahead in life. One hack at a time.

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8.46
54 votes

#8 - Chain of Command

An intimate portrait of the war against violent extremism and the men and women devoting their lives to it. Records the fight against radical threats all over the world as it unfolds over one full year.

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8.46
353 votes

#9 - Seconds From Disaster

Accounts of famous technological disasters and their subsequent investigations.

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8.44
405 votes

#10 - Explorer

Now in its third decade, National Geographic Explorer travels around the world exploring topical news stories. Hosted by Lisa Ling, Explorer visits locations with unique events and fascinating stories.

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8.40
545 votes

#11 - Drugs, Inc.

How does the drug trade work? Can it be stopped or should it be regulated? And what are the personal costs? Those are just some of the questions answered in this miniseries, a comprehensive look at society's most abused drugs: cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana. First-person perspectives from traffickers, dealers, users, law enforcement and medical professionals detail how the drugs are processed and moved onto the streets, and the effects they have on the human body.

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8.38
292 votes

#12 - Banged Up Abroad (2007)

Terrifying tales of every traveler's worst fear - imprisonment abroad. From gruesome jails to chilling kidnappings, live through the panic, tears and desperation as each dreadful story unfolds.

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8.30
124 votes

#13 - Origins: The Journey of Humankind

Hosted by Jason Silva, ORIGINS: THE JOURNEY OF HUMANKIND rewinds all the way back to the beginning and explores the innovations that made us modern.

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8.29
521 votes

#14 - Megastructures

Take an eye-popping look at the greatest structures and machines ever created as we focus on some of the world's modern-day super-human miracles of construction.

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8.29
469 votes

#15 - Ultimate Factories

Ultimate Factories also known as Megafactories is an American documentary television series that premiered in 2006 on the National Geographic Channel. The program explores the inner workings of factories worldwide. Each episode profiles the machinery and manpower behind each factory's main product, featuring close-ups, breakdowns, interviews, and side stories to show the sequence of events to produce the product in the factory. Hoff Productions was one of the principal producers of this highly successful series. It also airs in non-US markets as Megafactories.

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8.27
1496 votes

#16 - Genius (2017)

The life stories of history's greatest minds. From their days as young adults to their final years we see their discoveries, loves, relationships, causes, flaws and genius.

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8.22
49 votes

#17 - The Legend of Mick Dodge

25 years ago, Mick Dodge walked away from the modern world, leaving civilization behind to live alongside nature's wonders in the Olympic Peninsula. Following a primal instinct present throughout generations of his family, Mick ventured deep into the Hoh Rainforest, making his home in the trees and hidden in the moss. Experience the wild life of Mick Dodge, a quirky character whose unique brand of Zen comes from living by his own code – off the land and off the grid.

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8.21
405 votes

#18 - One Strange Rock

A mind-bending and thrilling journey that explores the fragility and wonder of planet Earth – one of the most peculiar, unique places in the universe.

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8.12
418 votes

#19 - Life Below Zero

When bears, wolves and foxes are your only neighbors, life can be pretty lonely. Add minus-60-degree days and a constant battle for the most basic necessities, and you have the daily challenges of people who live in remote corners of Alaska. This series takes viewers deep into an Alaskan winter to meet six tough and resilient residents as they try to stay one step ahead of storms and man-eating beasts to make it through to spring. The closest neighbor to Sue Aikens is more than 300 miles away. Eric Salitan subsists solely on what he hunts and forages. Chip and Agnes Hailstone catch fish for currency in bartering for supplies, and Andy and Kate Bassich use their pack of sled dogs for transportation.

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8.12
696 votes

#20 - Brain Games

National Geographic Channel's Emmy-nominated series Brain Games returns this summer with 10 new mind-blowing episodes! Host Jason Silva gets inside your head and shows you what's really going on in there with an intricate series of interactive experiments designed to mess with your mind and reveal the inner-workings of your brain. Hailed by critics as "tremendous fun" that "makes science entertaining," Brain Games turns your mind's eye inwards for a fascinating journey into the three and a half pounds of tissue that makes you... you.

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8.11
441 votes

#21 - A Small Light

Follows the remarkable story of Miep Gies, a Dutch woman who risked her life to shelter Anne Frank's family from the Nazis for more than two years during World War II.

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8.10
80 votes

#22 - The Big Picture With Kal Penn

With the explosion of infographics and big data, maps aren't just about geography anymore. They can tell us all kinds of things about the human experience. National Geographic Channel’s new series The Big Picture With Kal Penn is all about finding the unexpected — and sometimes surprising — realities in both the world at large and our own backyard, revealed by crunching the numbers and finding new ways to visualize data. Host and producer Kal Penn is taking viewers on a journey to understand how things like money, sex, food, sports and crime influence our daily lives. Exploring and generating infographics from information banks and data analyses, we investigate different themes through the mapping of new data, the creative visualization of information, and in-depth personal stories with fascinating characters.

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8.04
95 votes

#23 - Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller

A 360-degree view of the trafficking world from the point-of-view of the traffickers, law enforcement agents and those caught in the crossfire with access only National Geographic can provide.

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8.04
95 votes

#24 - Year Million

Explore what it will be like to be human one million years into the future. Today’s brightest futurists, scientists, scholars and notable science fiction writers guide viewers through the very latest advances in technology, ideas and innovations that likely will power the evolution of our species.

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8.02
49 votes

#25 - No Man Left Behind

Modern war heroes overcome incredible odds in the most hostile environments on earth.

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8.01
169 votes

#26 - Border Wars

The officers and agents of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) scour the inhospitable landscape at one of the busiest border crossings in the country, seeking to intercept illegal entrants from the air, on the ground, and at the port of entry. Every day thousands of men, women and children attempt to enter the United States illegally -- some looking for work, some seeking a new life and others trying to smuggle drugs or other contraband. Many will do whatever it takes, often risking their lives by crossing Arizona's treacherous Sonoran Desert. Now, follow the officers and agents who struggle every day to defend this border, including: Officer Hector Navarro, part of the anti-terrorism contraband enforcement team; Agent Simon Keller, part of an 18-man all-terrain vehicle unit that navigates desert terrain too rough for cars; Officer Oscar Peru, who patrols the vast Arizona desert from a helicopter; Officer Mark Shanley, a 26-year CBP veteran who uses his hard-won experience to supplement the official manual; and Chief Rene Felix, a Nogales native with a personal mission to keep drug smugglers out of his town.

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7.99
196 votes

#27 - Live Free or Die

"Live Free or Die" explores one of America’s most remote subcultures, following five people who have left the modern world behind to live in backwoods and swamps where they hunt their own food, build their own shelters, and survive only on what they can produce with their own two hands and sharp intuition.

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7.99
140 votes

#28 - American Genius

History's greatest minds have always known that to change the world, you have to take out the competition. American Genius chronicles the competitions in innovation that pitted history’s brightest minds against each other in the race to lay claim to the future. From Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates to the Wright Brothers vs. Glen Curtiss, each episode of the show focuses on a specific rivalry, delving into the fierce power struggles, deceit, fluke timing, and raw ambition out of which innovation was born. Iconic masterminds pushed themselves to the limits of human genius, overcoming equally brilliant and ruthless competitors to turn history’s greatest ideas into reality.

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7.94
48 votes

#29 - Secrets of the Octopus

From their extraordinary intelligence, ability to shapeshift and complex social lives, explore the secrets of octopus - aliens on earth.

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7.94
148 votes

#30 - Inside Combat Rescue

For the first time ever, camera crews embed on a deployment to Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force’s elite rescue team, Pararescuemen or PJs, as they fly day and night, in any weather, to save those in peril on the battlefield.

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7.83
230 votes

#31 - Great Migrations

Great Migrations gives the word “move” a whole new meaning. This seven-part global programming event takes viewers around the world on the arduous journeys millions of animals undertake to ensure the survival of their species. Shot from land and air, in trees and cliff-blinds, on ice floes and underwater, the shows tell the powerful stories of many of the planet’s species and their movements, while revealing new scientific insights with breathtaking high-definition clarity and emotional impact. The beauty of these stories is underscored by a new focus into these species’ fragile existence and their life-and-death quest for survival in an ever-changing world. The National Geographic Great Migrations team spent two and a half years in the field, traveling 420,000 miles across 20 countries and all seven continents to bring this ambitious production to television. Seven hours in total, Great Migrations includes four core hours chronicling epic animal migration, narrated by two-time Emmy, three-time Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin. Additional hours include a special on scientific investigation of the mysteries of animal migration; a behind-the-scenes special on the advanced technology, dramatic challenges and passion required to capture these spectacular events; and an hour-long visual concert comprised of the stunning footage set to original music. A global initiative unprecedented in the Society's storied 122-year history, Great Migrations content will also be featured across the spectrum of National Geographic platforms, including magazine articles and maps, books, DVDs, mobile and iPhone apps, games, lectures, screenings, exhibits and tours, among others. Great Migrations reveals new scientific insight, previously undocumented behaviors and the most indepth visual record of a diverse range of animal migrations, including Botswana zebras, Mali elephants, red crabs on Christmas Island (between Australia and Indonesia), flying foxes in Australia, army ants i

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7.79
162 votes

#32 - The '80s: The Decade That Made Us

A Six-Part Miniseries Event Narrated by Rob Lowe It's, like, totally tubular. The '80s: The Decade That Made Us isn't about nostalgia; it's about the history of our modern world that spawned political, technological, cultural, and social revolutions that began in the United States and went on to dominate the world. This cultural programming event is the defining biography of a generation. It's about a decade of people, decisions, and inventions that changed our future, told from the perspective of the unknowing history makers who lived these iconic moments. We worked out, worked harder, played harder and consumed more—because the 1980s was the decade when we went forward to the future.

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7.79
607 votes

#33 - Dog Whisperer

Dog Whisperer follows well-respected animal behaviorist Cesar Millan as he works to help dogs with behavior problems, and their human families. These problems range from excessive barking to behavior, that if not corrected, could leave the owners little choice but to euthanize the dog. Mr. Millan describes his work as "rehabilitating dogs, and training people." Dog owners can learn from him ways to establish a balanced relationship with their dogs that will help to prevent these problems.

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7.78
84 votes

#34 - Hostile Planet

Hostile Planet, a six-part series executive produced by cinematographer and director Guillermo Navarro, producer Martha Holmes, Tom Hugh-Jones and Bear Grylls, draws attention to the most extraordinary accounts of animals that have adapted to the cruelest evolutionary curveballs.

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7.73
237 votes

#35 - Alaska State Troopers

They are the first line of defense on the last frontier, the roughly 400 state troopers who patrol the rugged and unforgiving terrain of America’s largest state — Alaska. One of the toughest law enforcement agencies in the nation, these officers often travel hundreds of miles in piercing subzero temperatures to uphold the law. Responding by land, air and sea — with backup sometimes days away — they face danger to protect the people and wildlife of Alaska.

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7.71
2084 votes

#36 - Mars (2016)

The year is 2033, and humanity's first crewed mission to Mars is about to become a reality. As a clock counts down the final 90 seconds to landing, an expert crew of astronauts endures the final harrowing moments before touching down on the red planet. Even with the best training and resources available, the maiden crew of the Daedalus spacecraft must push itself to the brink of human capability in order to successfully establish the first sustainable colony on Mars. Set both in the future and in the present day, the global miniseries event MARS blends feature film-caliber scripted elements set in the future with documentary vérité interviews with today’s best and brightest minds in modern science and innovation, illuminating how research and development is creating the space technology that will enable our first attempt at a mission to Mars.

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7.69
192 votes

#37 - Science of Stupid

Host Richard Hammond, from the hit series Top Gear, explains the science behind videos taken from the Internet.

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7.67
78 votes

#38 - Underworld, Inc.

From the illegal weapons to the underground sex trade, nothing is off limits and everything is for sale in illegal, underground markets. It's an industry that is brutal, exploitative, and corrupt where what you buy isn't always what it seems. Despite efforts to crack down on these illegal trades, more than $625 billion makes it's way into the US economy each year for illegal trade goods. Unprecedented inside access brings light to the inner workings of the last bastion of 'free' enterprise, charting a global path to the underworld economy. Workers, suppliers, sellers, customers – and the law enforcement trying to keep it in check - share their experience of a hidden world that touches us all.

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7.52
134 votes

#39 - Taboo

Around the world there are people of different cultures who take actions and decisions that seem out of the ordinary to the average westerner. Considered taboo, these people and their stories are now being known.

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7.51
51 votes

#40 - Secrets of the Elephants

Elephants have long been a source of wonder and mystery with their rich emotional lives and almost supernatural ways of navigating the world.

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7.51
310 votes

#41 - The Long Road Home

Relive a heroic fight for survival during the Iraq War, when the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood was ferociously ambushed on April 4, 2004, in Sadr City, Baghdad — a day that came to be known in military annals as “Black Sunday.”

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7.49
258 votes

#42 - StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Host Neil deGrasse Tyson brings together celebrities, scientists and comedians to explore a variety of cosmic topics and collide pop culture with science in a way that late-night television has never seen before. Weekly topics range from popular science fiction, space travel, extraterrestrial life, the Big Bang, to the future of Earth and the environment. Tyson is an astrophysicist with a gifted ability to connect with everyone, inspiring us all to "keep looking up." The studio audience portion of the series is filmed in the Cullman Hall of the Universe at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City — where Tyson serves as the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium.

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7.44
76 votes

#43 - Drain the Oceans

Maritime mysteries -- old and new -- come to life in this 10-episode series, combining scientific data and digital re-creations to reveal shipwrecks, treasures, and sunken cities on the bottom of lakes, seas and oceans around the world. Innovative technology allows viewers to see what lies on the floors of large bodies of water such as the Gulf of Mexico, the Nile, the Indian Ocean, the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean as if they had been drained. Then, in a quest to explain natural wonders and man-made catastrophes, stories tell of how vessels sank, what ancient geological formations reveal about life on Earth, where Nazi secrets now reside, and why so many continue to search for the legendary city of Atlantis.

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7.38
71 votes

#44 - Ultimate Survival Alaska

They are some the toughest, most extreme survivalists that Alaska has to offer. Going head to head, eight men of a rare breed are about to take the ultimate test of survival in Arctic conditions that only National Geographic could inspire. Dropped in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness by bush plane, with only their raw, mountain-man ingenuity, they’ll navigate through treacherous glaciated river valleys, barren ridgelines, and high mountain peaks, battling hunger, hostile predators, and perilous weather conditions along the way. Like the original National Geographic explorers, for those who succeed there is no grand prize, just the well-fought pride of having conquered the grueling challenges that Mother Nature can throw at them. It's an epic competition series where the only prize is survival.

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7.36
647 votes

#45 - The Story of God with Morgan Freeman

Today, for better or worse, the power of religion touches all of our lives, no matter what our faith. This is Morgan Freeman's journey to discover how our beliefs connect us all. This is the quest of our generation. This is the Story of God.

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7.34
67 votes

#46 - Breakthrough

BREAKTHROUGH explores the remarkable scientific discoveries in brain science, longevity, water, energy, pandemics and cyborg technology. Lifesaving, mind-boggling innovation is a part of everyday life, so we sometimes take it for granted. It happens in the blink of an eye – on battlefields and playgrounds, in supercolliders and the International Space Station, in smart homes and smart cars. These are modern-day revolutions in how we live. Each hour-long episode is directed by a Hollywood visionary – Angela Bassett, Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Brett Ratner.

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7.32
34 votes

#47 - Inside North Korea's Dynasty

National Geographic's four-part documentary explores the Kim family's dark and surreal story and provides a fresh perspective on the strange history of Kim family and the creation of North Korea.

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7.30
740 votes

#48 - The Hot Zone

The frightening spread of the Ebolavirus (season 1) and anthrax (season 2).

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7.28
204 votes

#49 - Wicked Tuna

Fishing is a hard life, and harder with bluefin stocks depleted. In Gloucester, Massachusetts, there's a special breed of fishermen. For generations they've used rod and reel to catch the elusive bluefin tuna. They depend on these fish for their livelihood, and the competition is brutal. Over the next 10 weeks, the most skilled fishermen will set out in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic in hopes of catching the valuable bluefin tuna. When one bluefin can bring in as much as $20,000—they'll do whatever it takes to hook up.

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star
7.24
36 votes

#50 - Life Below Zero: Next Generation

The series features all-new tough Alaskans who have tried contemporary life and rejected it in favor of a life of freedom in the brutal Alaskan wilderness. They speak to the growing dissatisfaction the current generation has with technology, which is ubiquitous in modern life. The brave crew follows these less experienced individuals as they transition from modern-day society to forge a new life for themselves in the vastness of Alaska's wild frontier. This next generation of Alaskans are playing by their own rules, rebelling against societal norms and learning how to survive in the harsh Arctic climate.

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