Brain Games is a science television show on the National Geographic channel. The program uses interactive games, illusions, and social experiments to show just how powerful the human brain is. Neil Patrick Harris narrated the first season, and then the show’s format changed so that Jason Silva was the host. It was recently announced that Keegan-Michael Key will be hosting season eight when it premieres in December 2019.
Created by Jerry Kolber and Bill Margol, the series originally aired as a special in 2011. It wasn’t until 2013 that it was reprised as a series and now features a slew of celebrity guests. If you plan to watch Brain Games online, there are 60 episodes available across eight seasons.
Here’s how to watch Brain Games streaming online right now:
How to Stream ‘Brain Games’ – Exclusively on Disney+
Brain Games is one of the great National Geographic shows that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream Brain Games and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “The Parent Trap”
- 5. Start streaming
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘Brain Games’: Overview
When Was It On TV: October 2011 to Present
Creators: Jerry Kolber and Bill Margol
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Silva, and Keegan-Michael Key
Synopsis: An interactive science show full of brain teasers, illusions, and experiments presented by celebrity guests.
‘Brain Games’ Plot
Brain Games examines human nature and perceptions by challenging different concepts with experiments, illusions, and games. It is highly interactive and makes viewers see things from a different perspective. In addition to the host, each episode uses celebrity guests and experts to present their theories. Examples of topics covered in some episodes include how we’re manipulated by advertising, how gender affects capabilities, and how the belief in God has been implanted in our heads.
How Many Seasons of ‘Brain Games’ Are There?
There are eight seasons of Brain Games, each with a varying number of episodes. The first season, which aired in 2011, was only intended to be a three-part special. For this reason, there are only three episodes available. When the show aired its second season in 2013, the series premiere broke viewer records for the National Geographic channel.
‘Brain Games’Season 1
3 Episodes | October 2011 – October 2011
There are three Brain Games episodes in season one, as it was originally intended to be a limited series. Episodes include “Watch This!” which uses sensory illusions to trigger certain areas of the brain, “Pay Attention!” starring magician David Copperfield, and “Remember This!” which goes into long term and short term memory. Each episode is hosted by an unseen Neil Patrick Harris.
‘Brain Games’ Season 2
12 Episodes | April 2013 – June 2013
Season two of Brain Games is the first hosted by Jason Silva. Episodes cover topics such as how your brain focuses on what’s happening, how the brain computes time, why we feel fear rather than rationalization, and how we’re affected by advertising.
‘Brain Games’ Season 3
10 Episodes | January 2014 – June 2014
Season three includes 10 Brain Games episodes. Topics covered include how our brain sees color, manages stress, and can be retrained.
‘Brain Games’ Season 4
12 Episodes | July 2014 – September 2014
There are 12 episodes in season four of Brain Games. Viewers learn the brain’s capacity for compassion and what makes someone a psychopath. Other topics include how the brain analyzes risk, the power of intuition, and how our minds handle anger.
‘Brain Games’ Season 5
10 Episodes | January 2015 – March 2015
There are 10 Brain Games episodes in season five. Episodes cover topics such as common sense, understanding where morals come from, left vs. right sides of the brain, and how the brain is connected to seeing ghosts.
‘Brain Games’ Season 6
6 Episodes | June 2015 – June 2015
There are just six Brain Games episodes in season six. Viewers will learn how easily the brain can be deceived and why so many people fall for scams. Other topics include understanding why we need so much sleep, how we compare to certain animals, and how our imagination contributes to our daily lives.
‘Brain Games’ Season 7
6 Episodes | February 2016 – March 2016
Season seven of Brain Games is the final season hosted by Jason Silva and includes six episodes. It covers topics such as whether or not religious beliefs are hardwired in the brain, proof that we have more than five senses, and how our brains react to being in survival mode.
‘Brain Games’ Season 8
8 Episodes | December 2019 – Present
The National Geographic channel has reprised Brain Games yet again with all-new episodes set to air in December 2019. Along with Keegan-Michael Key as the new host, season eight will feature a ton of celebrity guests, new experts, and a new competitive angle when guests enter “The Gauntlet.” Topics covered will include the differences between the male and female brain, how our mind weighs in on those we’re attracted to, and how music affects our brains.
The Best ‘Brain Games’ Episodes
When the National Geographic channel decided to reprise Brain Games as a series in 2013, the first two episodes were played back to back. The premiere attracted 1.6 million viewers, a record for the network. These two episodes, “Focus Pocus” and “It’s About Time,” are two of the best Brain Games episodes.
Here’s a list of the best Brain Games episodes:
Season 2, Episode 1: “Focus Pocus”
“Focus Pocus” was the season two premiere episode that aired to 1.6 million viewers. The episode revolves around what our brain focuses on and how our vision is affected by attention. It features Deception Specialist Apollo Robbins and Brian Scholl of Yale University.
Season 2, Episode 2: “It’s About Time”
“It’s About Time” is the second episode to air during the season two premiere in 2013. It attracted 1.5 million viewers, only slightly less than the first episode. The show focuses on how time is measured by the brain and how it affects us. Expert input comes from Deception Specialist Apollo Robbins and Chess Stetson of Caltech.
Season 1, Episode 2: “Pay Attention!”
The highest-rated episode, according to viewers, is “Pay Attention!” in season one. It features magician David Copperfield and a team of experts as they use experiments to trick the brain into attention control.
‘Brain Games’ Cast
When you watch Brain Games online, you’ll become familiar with numerous experts and professionals in fields relevant to the episode’s topic. The only recurring cast members are the hosts, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Silva, and Keegan-Michael Key.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS as HOST
Neil Patrick Harris is the unseen host and narrator of season one. He’s hardly new to hosting major television productions and is best known for his role on How I Met Your Mother.
JASON SILVA as HOST
TV personality Jason Silva hosts seasons two through seven of Brain Games. He’s best known for this show but has hosted a number of others, including Live! With Kelly and Origins: The Journey of Humankind.
KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY as HOST
Actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key is the host of season eight of Brain Games. He’s best known for his comedic role on Key and Peele as well as his voice work on Bob’s Burgers, Archer, and BoJack Horseman.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on ‘Brain Games’?
Most guest stars on Brain Games are topical experts and intellectuals. It wasn’t until the eighth season that they started inviting celebrity guests on the show. In the newest season, we can expect guest stars such as Kristen Bell, Jack Black, Mark Cuban, Ted Danson, Tiffany Haddish, Dax Shepard, Megan Trainor, and Rebel Wilson.
Here’s a list of the most important Brain Games guest stars:
David Copperfield as Himself
Magician and illusionist David Copperfield appeared as himself in the first season of Brain Games. He was featured in the episode “Pay Attention!” where he helps to demonstrate how to control the attention of those around us.
Apollo Robbins as Himself
As a deception specialist and self-proclaimed gentleman thief, Apollo Robbins lends his expertise to the theories being presented on several Brain Games episodes. Some episodes he has appeared in include “Liar, Liar,” “Use It Or Lose It,” and “Seeing Is Believing.” Robbins also produced the episodes he guest-starred in.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind ‘Brain Games’?
Bill Margol wrote and created the original Brain Games three-part documentary in 2011. When the concept was reprised as a regularly aired television show, Jerry Kolber stepped in as executive producer. He created the show as viewers know it as today.
Bill Margol: ‘Brain Games’ Creator and Writer
Bill Margol is a television producer and writer responsible for the Brain Games three-part documentary in 2011. When the National Geographic channel turned the concept into a television show, his work was renamed as season one. Margol has also produced We’ll Meet Again and The First Men In The Moon.
Jerry Kolber: ‘Brain Games’ Producer
Writer and producer Jerry Kolber took over Brain Games when it transitioned into a television series. He’s best known for his work on this show as well as producing The Internet Ruined My Life, 14 Minutes From Earth, and Sexual Secrets.
‘Brain Games’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
When you watch Brain Games online, you’ll likely notice a ton of positive reviews from viewers. Fans enjoy how each episode focuses on interactive concepts that make them think. Critic reviews are also overwhelmingly positive, as the show is educational but still appeals to a variety of age groups. A small percentage of viewers feel the show is dumbed down for the general public and staged with actors making the experiments less authentic.
Where ‘Brain Games’ Ranks in the Television Pantheon
Brain Games streaming has made this show one of the most popular on the network. However, in terms of educational and science-focused programming, it doesn’t compare to similar shows like Planet Earth, Modern Marvels, or Human Planet. Even though it offers insight into how the brain works, the show is a bit flashier than other educational programs.
‘Brain Games’ Trailer
‘Brain Games’ Theme Song
‘Brain Games’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
1. Jason Silva Has A Background In Philosophy
Brain Games host Jason Silva earned his degrees in philosophy and film. His diverse background adds a unique perspective to the episodes he hosts. Much of his work focuses on the relationship between technology and the mind.
2. Many Of The Show’s Volunteers Are Actors
When an experiment is performed, or a game is played in any of the episodes of Brain Games, the random volunteer is actually a paid actor. While this may be done for filming purposes, it has many viewers skeptical of the facts and results portrayed on the show.
3. It Was Never Intended to Be A Show
When the first episodes were aired, it was advertised as a three-part documentary special. The concept was later revisited, and in 2013 Brain Games became a television series.
4. The Show Was Nominated For An Award As A Variety Show
Even though Brain Games is an educational program that uses humor and puzzles to entertain viewers, it was nominated for an award as a variety or reality show. The Imagen Foundation Awards nominated the show for Best Variety or Reality Show in 2015.
5. Season Two Broke Ratings Records For The Network
After the National Geographic channel decided to turn their 2011 documentary into a television series, they changed the show’s formula a bit. When the premier aired in 2013, it was watched by 1.6 million viewers. This was a record-breaking number for the network.