Netflix Top Picks: TV Documentary Series Edition 2

With so much content on Netflix Instant it is easy for some titles to just get lost in the shuffle, and with Netflix streaming now accounting for the majority of all American internet traffic, someone needs to start sorting this all out. Welcome to Netflix Top Picks, where I will select items from the Netflix Instant service you just have to add to your queue.  In this edition we return to the TV documentary series, where we learn stuff 45 minutes at a time.

Title: The Revolution
Type: TV
Genre: Documentaries, Historical Documentaries, Military Documentaries, Music & Concert Documentaries
Rating: NR
Run Time: 13 episodes, approximately 45 minutes each
Released: 2006
Starring: Kelsey Grammer
Synopsis: Providing an intimate portrait of the men and women who shaped a nascent nation, this sweeping documentary series covers the period in which a group of upstart colonies transformed itself into an independent country..
My Analysis: Outside of the fact that the last two episodes are just a clip show that rehashes the previous ten episodes, The Revolution is a very well made and incredibly interesting look into the American Revolution. Unlike many documentaries and series on The Revolution, it doesn’t paint the always rosy, destined to win from the beginning picture of the war. Rather, it discusses the obstacles that the colonist faced, how close and how often they came to losing, and how personal attempts at glory often got in the way of the overall cause.  You know how everything will wind up, but it is still damn interesting to watch this series from a time in American history full of some truly large personalities.
Title: Matter of Life and Death: Magic Moments and Dark Hours in the History of Medicine
Type: TV
Genre: Documentaries, Historical Documentaries, Science & Nature Documentaries, Social & Cultural Documentaries
Rating: NR
Run Time:  4 episodes, approximately 51 minutes each
Released: 2006
Synopsis: This fascinating and comprehensive multipart documentary explores 5,000 years of medical health care, analyzing smallpox, tuberculosis, the plague and other historical diseases, as well as contemporary afflictions such as AIDS and other viruses.
My Analysis: At times a bit gruesome and graphic, and with a name that is more of a mouthful than a swollen tongue, Matter of Life and Death will almost certainly teach you something about medicine (so long as you are a master of the subject already).  Exploring many of the “eureka!” moments in the history of medicine, and of course some of the rather cruel and disturbing ways we have arrived at modern medicine, this short series that revolves around four main periods in human life is thought provoking, informative, interesting and a little crazy.  All the good makings for a good documentary.


It’s been quite some time since we’ve taken a look at some of the family friendly options on Netflix instant and in the spirit of trying to find stuff for your kids to watch that won’t make you pray for a closed head injury, it’s time for a Kid Pick!

Title: Hook
Type: Film
Genre: Children & Family Movies, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Movies for ages 8 to 10, Movies for ages 11 to 12, Movies based on children’s books, Family Features, Fantasy, Family Adventures, Family Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Rating: PG
Run Time: 114 minutes
Released: 1991
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Phil Collins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Charlie Korsmo, Arthur Malet, Jasen Fisher, Dante Basco, Gwyneth Paltrow
Synopsis: The boy who wasn’t supposed to grow up — Peter Pan — did just that, becoming a soulless corporate lawyer (Robin Williams) whose workaholism could cost him his wife and kids, in this family-oriented fantasy from director Steven Spielberg. But a trip to see Granny Wendy (Maggie Smith) in London, where the vengeful Capt. Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps Peter’s kids and forces Peter to return to Neverland, could lead to a chance at redemption.
My Analysis: This documentary… oh wait… Hook is a modern classic.  Robin Williams gives one of his better performances as an aging Peter Pan who has forgotten all about Neverland and there are some truly classic moments in this family film.  A film that takes the Peter Pan story and twists it so much, introducing so much new content that has no right being good, but Hook has so much heart and such a great cast of supporting characters that it is hard to not fall in love with it.  If you watched it as a kid there is plenty of nostalgia to be had, but even if you didn’t you are still bound to enjoy sharing this experience with the little ones.


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.