Watching TV Can Boast Intelligence

Did you know that particular TV shows actually foster and boost our intelligence? You wouldn’t guess that judging by some of the simple, easy-to-digest options we have on television that I won’t bother to get into (you know what they are). But for years, researchers have found strong links between certain TV shows and increased intelligence.

In a lengthy, but valuable article done by the New York Times, some researchers use the TV show “24” as an example for smart programming. They point out how the show weaves various character arcs over its seasons that must be recalled and subconsciously assembled by the watchers. This mental exercise is one that takes place over the course of years for avid watchers, and it is undoubtedly a mental workout disguised as entertainment.

It makes sense that a show like “24” keeps our minds proactively sharp. Keeping up with all of the story information, relationships between the characters and then new information over a long period of time is no easy task. So, what are other TV shows and examples that can be utilized?

One excellent option (that is currently still airing) is “Mad Men,” which airs on AMC. Considered by many to be one of television’s best shows, “Mad Men” is a show that relies on careful subtext and multiple viewings per episode to fully grasp the show’s moving parts. Set in the 1960s, the show provides historical and emotional information that requires viewers to think deeply before analyzing some of the biggest set piece moments.

For example, a simple encounter in an elevator between two key characters could easily be overlooked by a casual viewer. Someone who has invested in the show, however, may recognize the grand subtext behind this simple moment, and the show has gained notoriety for its powerful dialogue that rarely begs many words.

Finally, here is a show that is young, but growing in smart storytelling: “Suits.” This fast-paced legal drama is about photographic memory and actually asks its viewers to have one, as well. Its quick editing and sharp writing are challenging, but enjoyable to keep up with thanks to the great relationships between the characters. You also learn about the world of corporate law, a facet of legal drama that is typically traded for murder and violence.

Here is a list of some more TV shows that challenge the mind:

  1. “The Wire”
  2. “The Sopranos”
  3. “House of Cards” (UK and US)
  4. “Breaking Bad”
  5. “Alias”
  6. “Fringe”
  7. “The West Wing”
  8. “NCIS”
  9. “Criminal Minds”
  10. “Arrested Development”