June 24, 2019 | 72° F

Finished 'Black Mirror'? Check out these binge-worthy docs

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Most of us have experienced the depressing and unfulfilling feeling of scrolling aimlessly through Netflix after binge-watching all six seasons of an addicting show. Each week Netflix drops a new original series and not-exactly-new movies, yet we still find nothing to watch. Why do all of the movies on Netflix suck, and why did they stop streaming "The Office"? While the popular sitcoms and cult-favorite series usually get the most views, there are actually a number of interesting and even award-winning documentaries that are currently available on the streaming service. From thrilling to educational, here are just a few of the binge-worthy docs available for streaming right now. 

  1. "13th" (2016)

In this documentary about mass incarceration, Director Ava DuVernay analyzes the history of racial inequality in America, focusing on the fact that the nation's prisons are disproportionately filled with Black citizens. It is titled after the 13th Amendment, which abolishes and forbids slavery in the United States. "13th" is a fascinating film that follows the controversy against those who look at progress for America with laws that do not actually protect Americans. The documentary is eye-opening and informative as it sheds light on the U.S. presidents that impacted racial inequality and as it reveals mysterious truths and questions that still have yet to be answered.

  1. "The Witness" (2016)

This documentary tells the story of the infamous 1964 murder case of Kitty Genovese who was killed in Kew Gardens, Queens as 38 bystanders watched. "The Witness" follows Kitty’s brother, Bill Genovese, who wants to know more about his sister’s murder case. He is a determined Vietnam vet whose whole life revolves around the sister he never really knew. Director James D. Solomon takes viewers through Bill’s life as the main character tries to understand his passion to learn more about his sister that he admired but neglected when she was alive. 

  1. "Call me Lucky" (2015)

Filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait tells the story of Barry Crimmins, a comedian with a dark past. While alive, Crimmins swore there were two things he must do in order to claim his life complete: overthrow the United States government and close down the Catholic church.

  1. "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" (2014)

This science doc stars Neil deGrasse Tyson, a famous astrophysicist who presents new revelations about time and space each episode. It is an entertaining, jaw-dropping, heartfelt and educational documentary that helps understand the unseen from earth. 

  1. "Hip-Hop Evolution" (2016)

Ever wonder where the worldwide genre-turned-cultural movement of Hip-Hop began? This Netflix original series features interviews with legendary MCs, DJs and other kings of Hip-Hop, explaining everything from the birth of this life-changing genre to the rise of rap. 

  1. "DOPE" (2017)

The documentary series observes several modern-day drug epidemics from different perspectives in order to see what it’s like for users, dealers and police. It is filmed to show both sides of the game.

"DOPE" will keep you on the edge of your seat as the director takes us through an insightful look at the war on drugs.

  1. "Planet Earth" (2006)

Directed by Alastair Fothergill, this educational and aesthetically-pleasing production won four Emmys, including the 2007 award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. The documentary takes nature lovers on a trip from the top of the Himalayan Mountains to the bottom of coral reefs. "Planet Earth" will have your eyes gazing at the screen as you question how they even get these incredible shots on camera. 

  1. "Amanda Knox" (2016)

This Netflix original tells the story of an American exchange student who was arrested for the murder of her roommate in Italy. This film shows how the media can influence a high-profile murder case, and it will also leave you wondering: did she really do it?

  1. The Civil War (1990)

Famous for his historical documentaries, Ken Burns’s "The Civil War" timelines the American conflict between the North and South. The film depicts amazing cinematography and includes commentary from notable actors, such as Morgan Freeman and Sam Waterston. This must-see film changed the perspective of many viewers by introducing the “Ken Burns effect,” an emotional yet educational experience. 

  1. "Last Chance U" (2017)

This ongoing series will keep your head up from the pillows and frozen to the screen as it observes the drama of each of the players, their coach and their academic advisor. The director offers a full experience of what it’s like to be a football player at East Mississippi Community College, a huge university in a tiny town that allows players who couldn’t play anywhere but dream to play in the NFL. 

Although nothing will ever compare to the cast of "Stranger Things" or the sci-fi perfection that is "Black Mirror," this selection of documentaries will at least partially fill that void. 

Rebecca Hanna

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