Get Your History Lessons from Netflix

     Everyone binges the startling crime scene stories or the tense recaps of high school dramas, but because we become accustomed to the comfort of the couch and the popcorn in our lap, we tend to forget that many of these engrossing events we watch for hours on end are taken from real life stories. However, the television industry has come up with many creative ways to teach us about these realities, while capturing our attention at the same time.

     One of these binge-worthy, but reality-inspired, television series is Stranger Things, a science-fiction show that follows a group of young kids as they search for their lost friend in another dimension with the help of a girl with telekinetic powers. By this description, not one part sounds as if it could be based on true events. However, the show’s creators, the Duffer brothers, imbedded real past CIA experiments into the underlying storyline.

     The brothers told Rolling Stone, “We wanted the supernatural element to be grounded in science in some way.” They incorporated a government project called MK-Ultra, which formed the basis of the experiments done on one of the main characters Eleven.

     According to, “The MK-Ultra project was created by the CIA in 1953 with the aim of developing mind-control techniques that could give America an advantage against Russia in the Cold War.”

     The trials began with voluntary participants willing to undergo tests, but the project later evolved into an abusive experiments subjecting innocent people to physical and mental abuse in search of perfecting these “mind-controlling techniques.”

     Stranger Things certainly illustrates the abusive behavior involved in these CIA experiments and sheds light on a very real subject typically only believed to be in television and movies.

     Another show representing history is The Crown, a series that follows the lives of the royal family of England and, more specifically, the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

     Peter Morgan, with the help of Netflix and other production companies, developed his previous film and play into this critically acclaimed, three-season series.

     The television show begins with the marriage of Queen Elizabeth and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947 and spans a period of about thirty years.

     Although this show sounds like a historical documentary, Morgan directs the show to display these events in a dramatic, fast-paced fashion, including beautiful costumes, on-point acting and a smooth storyline, so the audience could not stop watching even if they tried.

     One more must-see television show is Mindhunter, an eerie series about the beginning of the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI. This story is one not many people ask to be told, but once you begin hearing about this fascinating unit of the FBI, you won’t be able to stop asking questions.

     The show describes the events that two insignificant FBI agents, Holden Ford, based on investigator John E. Douglas, and Bill Tench, based on agent Robert K. Ressler, as to how these men were orchestrators of the implication of the BAU.

     As the two men teach local police officers around the country about investigation techniques, they also solve some of the most infamous murder cases, and personally interview real-life serial killers.

     Although sometimes unsettling to watch as the show dives into inside the mind of murderers, the audience receives an education on how one of the FBI’s most essential programs came about in order to keep America safe.

     All of these shows not only make for a great binge-watching weekend and introduce characters you will fall in love with, but you can also finish each of these series with the added bonus of feeling a little bit more educated on American and British history.

Image courtesy of Variety

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