The Golden Age of the Netflix Documentary

I mentioned to a family member recently that we are currently in the Golden Age of the Netflix Documentary. The streaming giant seems to be releasing one informative and entertaining documentary series or film after another right now.

Like all ‘golden ages’, this one will not last forever, but it is great while it lasts.

The minimalism topic (and documentary) seemed to be one of keen interest to all of you. I really appreciate the articulate comments: the differentiation between reducing clutter and preserving family heirlooms was on target. This particular ‘fine line’ seemed to be the most difficult to tread and the most emotionally loaded. I know it was for my wife and me when we decided to lighten our load.

The Social Dilemma documentary on the impact of social media on society was also a popular topic in the comments. Since watching it and recommending it to you, I’ve noticed a couple of news blurbs about teenagers who have inadvertently (or intentionally) had their phones locked in the ‘timer boxes’. These lock boxes keep their phones out of reach for a specified period of time.

They also delay the scheduled reopening time, adding hours and even days to the lockout if someone tries to tamper with them and access the box prematurely.  This might seem like an inconvenience to some, but the online video I watched of a girl whose phone had been dropped in and locked in one of these boxes was absolutely shocking. The initial lockout was for 2 hours (I’m guessing it had been initiated by her parents.) But she tried to force the box open and was automatically penalized–by technology, ironically enough–and could not access her phone for two more days.

She went berserk. Rivers of tears flowed. Anguished wails filled the kitchen. Desperate pleas for assistance rang through the house. And, of course, her younger brother just laughed. Wisely, her parents comforted her but did not offer to assist opening the box.

It was an intervention of sorts. Withdrawals were going to be painful. Who knows if behavior would be changed in the long run. It is, in all seriousness, disturbing to see how important mobile phones are to a certain demographic. Certainly I’d be inconvenienced greatly if mine went missing, but I wouldn’t have an emotional breakdown about it. Ah, youth.

But back to Netflix documentaries…”My Octopus Teacher” is an oddly titled. It is also emotionally powerful,  compelling, and inspiring. Fair warning: if you watch it, you may never eat calamari again.

The documentaries–and all other things Netflix–are not a random topic for me here in Paris. Covid-19 infection rates have spiked again, despite the 1 million tests per week that are being conducted in the country. The national healthcare system is again showing signs of stress: more than 16,000 cases were reported in one 24 hour period recently, up from about 13,000 the day before. And scientists say that the increase in cases is not simply a correlation to the increase in testing.

In response, restrictions have been reinstated here in Paris. Gatherings are severely limited in public and in private (no big weddings, no big parties). Bars are being closed early. There’s no drinking and hanging out on the banks the Seine till all hours of the morning. Actually, there’s no drinking or hanging out on the banks of the Seine at all. Unless you want to swallow a 135 euro fine.

Just how close things will move to another lockdown is unknown. One thing I have learned, however, is that when it comes to matters of health and safety, the French do not play around. So we may be back to being confined to the apartment if current measures fail to flatten the curve here.

If that’s the case, it’ll be Netflix and chill all over again. I’ll keep you posted.

Be safe. Be well. Be kind.

  • BGT


2 thoughts on “The Golden Age of the Netflix Documentary

  1. We watched “My Octopus Teacher” earlier this week. I completely agree with you on never eating calamari again. Beautiful looking film with fascinating, “alien” subject matter.

  2. I watched “My Octopus Teacher” about a month ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it, recommended it to a few others and then moved on. I live in Puerto Rico and I ordered octopus salad at my favorite restaurant last week. I couldn’t even eat it. I sent it back and ordered something else.

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