Netflix Top Picks: History Channel Series Edition

With so much content on Netflix Instant it is easy for some titles to just get lost in the shuffle, and with so many gamers now using their consoles to watch movies and TV shows on Netflix, someone needs to start sorting this all out. Welcome to Netflix Top Picks, where every week I will select two items from the Netflix Instant service you just have to add to your queue.  This week we take a look at a couple of TV series brought to us by the History Channel; one is fairly cerebral and the other is just a little over the top but both are worth watching.

Title: The Universe
Type: TV Series / Documentary
Genre: TV Shows, TV Documentaries, Nature & Ecology TV Documentaries, Science & Technology TV Documentaries
Rating: TV-PG
Run Time: 64 episodes approximately 45 minutes each
Released: 2007-2010
Directed By: Tony Long
Starring: Erik Thompson Neil Tyson Rob Roy Britt Alex Filippenko Laura Danly

Synopsis: Discover fascinating secrets of the universe in this groundbreaking History Channel documentary series, which pairs stunning computer animation with thoughtful insights on distant planets, asteroids, black holes and other celestial marvels. Fusing science and history, this exhilarating exploration of outer space contemplates the existence of undiscovered worlds and other exciting possibilities.

My Analysis: The Universe may be one of the best TV documentary series out there.  If you have even a mild interest in the massive universe out there, including our own solar system, you’re bound to find more than a few episodes of this fantastic series interesting.  Some episodes are stretching for content, namely the episodes where they “theorize” about stuff like alien species, but the majority of the series is pulled off to a very high standard.  Each episode features a few specific traits to the universe and the interviews really make the show as the passion of the interviewees for the topic really comes through.

Title: Ancient Aliens
Type: TV Series / Documentary
Genre: Horror, Zombies, Dark Humor & Black Comedies
Rating: NR
Run Time: 15 episodes, the first 4 episodes are roughly 88 minutes, rest are roughly 45 minutes
Released: 2010
Starring: TV Shows, TV Documentaries, Science & Technology TV Documentaries
Synopsis: This History Channel series seeks to answer a provocative question: Were ancient humans really behind some of the most important technological advances in civilized history, or did they have extraterrestrial help?

My Analysis: You can look at Ancient Aliens one of two ways.  You can take them all at face value and you will likely find it all a bit absurd.  The other option is to watch it with an open mind and consider that many of the interviewees do bring up very interesting points/questions.  Their answers may not always make a lot of sense and you could argue all day about the validity of their arguments, but some of the questions are really interesting.  Similarities among ancient cultures, odd designs, things that we simply don’t understand; there is a lot out there and even if absolutely crazy these theories are certainly entertaining.

So not everything on Netflix Instant is kid friendly, in fact much of it isn’t in the least bit appropriate.  Finding something that is kid friendly is fairly easy, but finding something that both you and the kids in the room can enjoy isn’t always so.  So with Kid Pick, I highlight something there is at least a chance will bridge the generation gap.

Title: The Spy Next Door
Type: Movie
Genre: Action & Adventure, Children & Family Movies, Action Comedies
Rating: PG
Run Time: 94 minutes
Released: 2009
Directed By: Brian Levant
Starring: Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta, Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley, Alina Foley, Magnus Scheving, Billy Ray Cyrus, George Lopez

Synopsis: While babysitting for his neighbor, Gillian (Amber Valletta), Bob (Jackie Chan) is thrust into a world of top-secret adventure after one of the kids inadvertently downloads a secret code in this action-packed comedy. Now Bob must guard the children when secret agents descend upon them. Billy Ray Cyrus, Lucas Till and George Lopez co-star, with Lopez playing CIA agent Glaze, who might not be on the up-and-up.

My Analysis: The Spy Next Door isn’t as slapstick as trailers led me to believe, but it is a solid family friendly action comedy with some heart behind it all.  Jackie Chan gives a fairly standard performance for him and the rest of the cast is solid (and even the unfortunate inclusion of Billy Ray Cyrus and George Lopez don’t hurt the film too much).  The kids will enjoy it and you won’t mind it; often that is the best you can hope for with family films.

Due to Netflix constantly updating and changing the content on their service we cannot guarantee that the content listed in this article will be available for any particular length of time, nor can we guarantee it is available in all regions.  We do make a genuine effort though to never include any item that Netflix has marked with a limited availability.


About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.