There was a time, back in the olden days, when people thought watching TV would make you stupid.
Being a "couch potato" would rot your brain and be a big, fat potato head. That was before we knew to stretch and move while watching and before there were just as many educational networks available as entertainment.
Now, educational programming is entertaining, and as I've watched these five Science Channel shows, I've discovered during casual conversation I can talk more intelligently with people about so much I thought it would be rude not to share. Today, and today only, this secret is free. FREE!!
Soon, you are going to be talking with nerds of all levels from entertainment, to fans of mysteries and crimes, to lovers of astronomy, and ancient history, and so much more. You're going to be doing it with authority. You're welcome.
Let's have some fun.
Those of you who vape, do you think you're safe? Not so fast. On an episode of Strange Evidence, it was proven the small battery inside of an e-cigarette spontaneously combusted exploding in the pocket of a man's pants -- and it was captured on camera in a video that went viral.
So the next time your friends try to enlist you in the latest craze with assurances of the safety of e-cigs vs traditional cigarettes, you'll be armed with new information. You would have known it already if you'd watched Strange Evidence. What else are you missing?
How about understanding Coronal Discharge? It's one of many possibilities explored when professionals visited a small town on Strange Evidence to see what might be causing the strange lights that have appeared in the sky above a small town for over 20 years.
When it's not quite as easy as formulating one conclusion to wipe away the belief that witnesses are seeing an otherworldly or supernatural phenomenon, they try several other ideas to test theories using car headlights and more.
Every episode is filled with several of these cases so you learn at least one thing pertinent to your life that will make your conversations more scintillating.
One of my favorites is Mysteries of the Abandoned, a show focusing on abandoned marvels from across the world. I know where the deepest hole into the center of the earth can be found and how it's capped. There are fascinating stories about abandoned communist prisons, huge bridges with useless mooring to the ground.
You can find out where this giant concrete pyramid can be found -- right here in the United States! -- and why it and the rest of the surrounding property now lies completely abandoned. At the center of the mystery lies the U.S. and one of our biggest "enemies" to date.
And if your first thought would be to say, "Only in America," I'd have to counter with another "Not so fast!" Because Henry Ford had the gall to take America to the jungle and to believe it would go over well, all in the hope of getting his hands on more rubber for his car factories faster than he could from the U.S.
It wasn't staffed by Americans, but by native people who were expected to live like Americans in American housing eating American food while attending mandatory dances, but not allowed to drink or do any of the fun stuff Americans did at home.
If I hadn't watched Mysteries of the Abandoned, it would have meant nothing to me when it was announced a short while ago that there was a TV show under development based on this city and it's utter failure.
It sounds like a great show, and it was thanks to a great show that my interest was already piqued.
Space's Deepest Secrets will familiarize you with The Big Bang Theory. No, not the TV show that you probably already watch, but the theory itself and another written by a real geek like Sheldon because he wasn't happy about how what he knew (or didn't know) about the bang.
If you're interested in finding your own Sheldon, you might want to learn about The Theory of Inflation.
And if you dig Mars and wonder if there was ever life like ours on the planet, there's nothing like a discussion about water and hydra thermal vents on Mars to get your blood flowing.
Sure, you can get the headlines about "water found on Mars," but why not get it in a bit more detail?
That's the kind of information you're going to get on Space's Deepest Secrets.
Do you know there are about 1,100 active satellites currently orbiting the earth? There are also about 2,600 defunct ones up there still swirling around. So what have they been doing?
Some of them have been taking photos, and a lot of them.
What On Earth features some of the photos taken by satellites and exploration of what's found on them. Why? Because there is some crazy stuff discovered by run of the mill examination of satellite photos.
What about a plane just sitting in the middle of the ocean, never reported missing, right at the tip of what has been called the Bermuda Triangle? How does it tie into John F. Kennedy, the CIA, and a drug lord who is known to be flanked by 24-hour armed guards?
You might not believe it if I told you. Politics, drugs, and conspiracy theories abound on only one segment of What on Earth. If that's not good conversation, I don't know what is!
From missing islands to whole towns hidden in jungles to the North Koreans creating underground Naval bunkers in the sides of mountains, there is more information to use to draw a crowd at a party than on almost any other show on this list.
But don't rule out Deadly Intelligence.
Scientists have been killed for what they knew, and you want to know what they knew and why they were killed. It's fascinating!
In most cases, you've heard their names, but you may not know as much as you thought. Nikola Tesla's greatest enemy was Thomas Edison. Or was he? It wasn't Edison who killed Tesla, after all.
Edison may have killed Tesla's spirit after playing some dirty pool with electricity, for which Tesla should get all the credit, but his physical body was sunk by someone else entirely. You can find out all about the man, his life, where and how he worked on Deadly Intelligence Season 1 Episode 2.
Scientific discovery, backstabbing, possible espionage, historical references to families still running the world today are all a part of Tesla's story -- and his death.
If you've watched any of the CBS All Access show Strange Angel, there's an episode dedicated to Jack Parsons, the subject of that series.
As 9/11 comes around every year, people forget about the Anthrax Killer who terrorized America after the attacks by sending anthrax through the mail to various recipients in the government.
You can learn all about it and talk with authority when you watch Deadly Intelligence Season 1 Episode 5. Like the Unabomber, a criminal used the US Postal system to terrorize and try to bring the government to its knees.
As things become worse in our country, it's always best to know what came before so you can be prepared for what might happen again. Programs like those on the Science Channel provide cautionary tales and anecdotes on what has come before so that we don't fall victim again to madness.
The greatest thing of all? You can watch all of these shows in their entirety on ScienceChannel.com and by downloading their app to your phone or other mobile device.
Have I convinced you to give any of them a try? Are you willing to up you party conversation ante by watching something thrilling but real? Hit the comments and let me know.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.