“Where did ‘He-Man’ go?” asks my son one afternoon.
I flip through the Netflix catalog, but I can’t find ‘He-Man.’ The 1980s cartoon series, a hallmark of my childhood, has vanished. I’m kind of grateful for this, because my son is five years old and deserves better than badly animated Hanna Barbara serials, but I pretend to look disappointed.
“Wait!” My son points at the screen. “What’s that?”
“That is… ‘She-Ra’?”
“That!” he cries, not having any idea what She-Ra is, but wanting to watch it anyway. “That! That!”
I find so many streaming TV series this way – by accident, often while searching for something else. The title catches my eye, or maybe the cover art. Here’s a handful of series I’ve been binging on in recent weeks, most of them discovered in a haphazard way.
Tales by Light
As an avid photographer and videographer, I have become obsessed with this documentary series from Australia. Co-produced by Canon cameras and National Geographic, “Tales by Light” follows photojournalists around the world and provides context for their most spectacular images. I reserve this show for the gym, where I can set my iPad on the elliptical machine and imagine myself hiking through jungle and savannah in search of the perfect shot.
One of the few comic books I ever read was “Alias,” a gritty graphic novel about superheroes living secret lives in a noirish urban landscape. I loved the stark artwork and hyper-realistic dialogue. But years passed, and I forgot the protagonist’s name was “Jessica Jones.” I watched the pilot on a lark, and five minutes into it I exclaimed, “Oh, wait, I know what this is!” I haven’t kept up much with the superhero franchises, but so far, this is my favorite.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Let me make clear that I am not binging on this show, but I was eager for a series that wasn’t “Super Why,” and I’ve come to really enjoy watching this series with my son. The characters are diverse, their relationships are emotionally complex, and their exchanges can be laugh-out-loud funny. The plots wink at “Star Wars” and at least one “Black Mirror” episode. Much to my delight, I learned that critics agree with me: “She-Ra” has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Planet Earth 2
When I had finally reached a breaking point on cartoons, I gently asked my son if he wanted to watch some “Animal Movies” instead. He loves animals, and aquaria, and the local zoo, and I wondered how I hadn’t thought of this sooner. I always enjoyed David Attenborough nature films as a kid, and the cinematography always impressed me, but “Planet Earth 2” is a revelation: Some of these scenes, such a lizard escaping danger by leaping from a branch and sailing through the rainforest on mesh “wings,” are too spectacular to believe. Like most nature films, “Planet Earth 2” is heavy on the “circle of life” themes, and there is a good deal of death and dismemberment, but my son has handled this maturely. Lucky for us, much of the content revolves around lion cubs wrestling or baby penguins waddling around. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in