by Aaron Leatherbarrow
There is always that moment of turning Netflix on without a plan. It reminds me of when you wander to the refrigerator at 9:30 pm, not because you are hungry but, because it’s just something to do when you don’t know what else to do. Here are 13 delicious choices of movies, TV series, and documentaries for you:
- Daredevil (TV series) 2 seasons with 26 episodes @ 53 min per episode (still in production)
If you have not seen this amazing series of an underrated superhero… well, here is your opportunity to change that. Daredevil is based on the Marvel Comics character Daredevil. It follows the early days of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, a lawyer by day who fights crime at night.
- Exit Through the Gift Shop (movie) 1 hr 27 min
This out-of-nowhere film/documentary is a film by street artist Banksy that tells the story of Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant, and his obsession with street art. It is one of my personal favorites and will hopefully transform one’s understanding of street art vs. vandalism.
- The Wonder Years (TV series) 6 seasons, 115 episodes @ 30 min
Perhaps one of the greatest television sitcoms ever produced. This family-focused show is fun and interesting for the whole crew and is not lacking when it comes to what you are looking for in a 30-minute show. It’s fun, witty, and consistently provides relatable characters. In total, the series won 22 awards and was nominated for 54 more. In 1997 “My Father’s Office” was ranked #29 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time and in the 2009 revised list the pilot episode was ranked #43.
- Sherlock (miniseries) 3 seasons, 9 episodes @ 1 hr 27 min (still in production)
This absolutely MESMERIZING series of long episodes blew me away with the best rendition of the great Sherlock Holmes I have ever seen. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson.
- Jiro Dreams of Sushi (documentary) 1 hr 21 min
Arguably the second best documentary ever made, this film is about Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro (a Michelin three-star restaurant), on his continuing quest to perfect the art of sushi. It is masterfully produced and will pull you in without your even realizing it.
- Kill Bill Vol. 1 (movie) 1 hr 51 min
This may not be the cleanest movie on this list but definitely one of the most artistic. This film will challenge anybody who has not experienced a film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. I was told by several people to not see this movie since it is known to be bloody and filled with violent images. These are done artfully and really changed the game in regards to bloody filmography.
- Man on Wire (documentary) 1 hr 34 min
Going back to documentaries, I already gave you #2. Well, here is #1. The film is about Philippe Petit‘s 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center. It is based on Petit’s book, To Reach the Clouds, released in paperback with the title, Man on Wire. Perhaps you have seen the big budget film, The Wire. This is MUCH better.
- Parks and Recreation (TV series) 7 seasons, 125 episodes @ 22 min
I remember, when the show “The Office” came out, everyone was buzzing about it and its hilarity. Parks and Rec was released around this time and was quickly written off. The thing is, “The Office” was on a constant downhill since its third season, whereas Parks and Rec started off a little rocky but became one of the greatest modern television shows. This is 25 minutes, easy to ignore, and is literally the funniest show ever. The supporting cast features Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Paul Schneider, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, Retta, and Billy Eichner.
- Freaks and Geeks (TV series) 1 season, 18 episodes @ 44 min
This is one of those “cult following” shows that is actually worth your time. It is a teen drama show that has brilliant character development and wonderful potential. I guarantee that this show will have you wishing that there were more episodes.
- Batman (movie) 2 hr 6 min
Remember when Batman was amazing? No…after Adam West I mean. Most people forget. This movie is perfect! Tim Burton took over as director of the film and created a visually beautiful film that is worth your time to watch again or perhaps for the first time. Let’s learn to love Batman again.
- Derek (TV series) 2 seasons, 14 episodes @ 23 min
This show was shocking! Ricky Gervais is one of those intense, atheist, and in-your-face comedians, where nothing is off-limits. When I saw him playing an intellectually challenged man, I was sitting there so uncomfortable, asking myself: Is he really making fun of this? It turns out that this dramatic little series is poetically beautiful. It is absolutely worth the tears and the short time commitment.
- Hook (movie) 2 hr 22 min
Need a movie to watch with the whole crew that is not as painful as something like the Minions movie? Here you go! This retelling of the overdone Peter Pan story is actually worth your time. Something about Robin Williams as Peter and Julia Roberts as Tink makes this one actually worth it. It’s simple, funny, and a well-made family film.
- Rounders (movie) 2 hr 1 min
Rounders is an awesome movie about the underground world of high-stakes poker, directed by John Dahl, and starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton. This may be an indulgent choice, but it is engaging, super cool, and I just love the two lead actors.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV series) 7 seasons, 176 episodes @ 44 min
Don’t roll your eyes! I avoided watching the Star Trek Series for the longest time. Nothing is more annoying than a “Trekkie” like Noel (Patrick Kerr) from Frasier, who is a painfully geeky “Trekkie,” keeping an autographed picture of Captain Kirk on his desk. I’m not saying you need to speak Klingon, and I don’t think you need to build models of The Enterprise. However, I will try to say this with as little hyperbole as possible: this series is one of the greatest television franchises of all time. It is critically acclaimed; it has Patrick Stewart and became the first and only syndicated television series to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. The series received a number of accolades, including 19 Emmy Awards, two Hugo Awards, five Saturn Awards, and a Peabody Award. If this is the only one you care about in this article, your life just got better. No television series has gripped me more (besides the original series but that’s not for everyone).
There are so many choices and many that were omitted due to the strict criteria of covering a large gamut. Please feel free to continue the list in the comments with things like House of Cards, or Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Also, this article started as an article called “My Journey through discovering Star Trek.”
Aaron Leatherbarrow grew up all along the east coast, lives with his wife and 3 girls, loves bird watching, playing Pokemon, writing musicals, collecting way too many comic books, listening to Joy Division on Vinyl, and drinks out of a White Castle Coffee Mug. He pastors kids, teaches them to paint, sculpt, whittle, or anything that helps grow creative thinking.