Many people will make a New Year’s resolution and get up early on New Year’s Day, energized by their resolve and the promise of a new year, and GET ON whatever they’ve chosen to change. Yardwork will be done, closets organized, gym memberships researched and healthy eating embraced. I will do this, because I am one of these people, although I try not to be obnoxious about it.
HOWEVER, many New Year’s Days are lost to the crushing misery of a New Year’s Day Hangover. Today’s post is intended for everyone who will party hard tonight, wake up late tomorrow, and then move as little as possible for many hours as our livers work patiently to save us from ourselves. I do include myself in that group since anything is possible when I have wine in the house.
Anyhoodle, here are five multi-hour things to watch on Netflix. All share these characteristics:
- There are few-to-no explosions
- They are not loud or bright
- They are somewhat easy to understand, and if you can’t follow along, pleasant to listen to and stare at for several hours
5. The BBC Spy Series
Lay back and let the dulcet tones of Sir David Attenborough’s voice narrating the stories of animals in their natural habitats wash over you. The BBC Spy series uses remote-controlled cameras to capture footage of animal behavior heretofore unobserved in the wild. For example, in Elephants: Spy in the Herd, three cameras are used: stump cam, a camera hidden inside a tree stump that can drive around; log cam, a camera that can be picked up and moved around that looks like a log; and the greatest of all – PLOP CAM. Plop cam is the greatest because it looks like an elephant dump, which are commonly found around elephants. I am 37 years old and will never not find that funny.
And hold on to yourself, because in the tiger episode, Spy in the Jungle, the cameras are operated by…
NO SHIT! The elephants are basically living rigs that walk around holding the cameras in an Indian tiger preserve, as the operators sit on them and guide their trunk movement. The elephants live and work in the reserve, but their working conditions are carefully monitored to prevent cruelty, and they seem happy to be involved. The cameras are again fashioned to look like tree stumps and logs, and because elephants are huge and natural neighbors of tigers, they can get within mere feet of the subjects without being in danger and wave the camera at them. It’s ADORABLE. Also, there are plenty of moments when the tigers, lions, and elephants get RIGHT IN THE CAMERA’S FACE out of curiosity.
While there are some harrowing moments in the Spy series, I don’t recall anything upsetting happening, but I didn’t watch the Bear series so maybe give that one a miss. JUST IN CASE. You know how those nature programs can be… I’m looking at you, polar bear episode of Planet Earth! NEVER AGAIN.
4. Downton Abbey
British people doing things in gently sunlit rooms. There’s scandal, there’s intrigue, there are fancy costumes and the occasional raised voice- but no shouting. Although the show is sorely lacking in diversity, it is mostly quiet and for fans of English stuff contains plenty of eye candy. There’s some war stuff but it’s not likely to rumble your woofers much. By this point you’re either watching the show or you’re not – I saw the first two seasons and have yet to catch up. Maybe Friday’s the day!
3. Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown
Travel the world and watch Anthony Bourdain eat amazing food in fascinating places! An infotaining look at how food culture is viewed around the world, the show also does a bit of investigative journalism in so-called Hot Zones. For example, Bourdain and Co. head to Libya and discuss the fall of Qaddafi and his regime with locals, and the role that Twitter played in organizing the liberation. Other hot zones include Myanmar and Iran. Bourdain is eminently watchable and makes for a fun avatar as he explores little-known restaurants and eating culture around the world, including places in the U.S..
This is a great one for folks whose NYE resolutions involve trying new things or traveling – you have to start somewhere, and Parts Unknown has some great suggestions.
2. Jessica Jones
Marvel’s darkest foray into entertainment is also its most adult and complex. Jessica Jones is part noir character study, part action, and part exploration into the dark side of superheroes. Watch Jessica fight, drink, struggle with relationships and PTSD and STILL try to be a good person at the end of the day. The fallout of living among super humans is also explored, in a fashion similar to that of Daredevil.
Watch it also for the amazing cast – Rachael Taylor, Michael Colter, Eka Darville, Carrie-Ann Moss, Robin Wiegert and none other than David Tennant make this one a must-see for fans of good writing, strong characters, and challenging plotlines. There are a few explosions, plenty of fights and some shouting, so you might watch this one once the worst of the headache has passed and you’re feeling more resistant.
Also, Colter will be reprising his AMAZING role of Luke Cage in a Luke Cage series next year. His charming, sharp-witted Luke Cage is a standout character and I am putting money on Colter being The Next Big Thing in the coming year.
- The Detectorists
This is my new favorite show, hands down. The show is written, directed, and stars McKenzie Crook, best known as the pirate with the wooden eyeball from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, or Gareth Keenan in the original British Office. Sometimes when a show is written/directed/starring the same person it can be dreadful, but The Detectorists is one of the best, most wonderfully honest examination of relationships I’ve yet seen. It won a BAFTA for best comedy/drama!
Two friends, Lance and Andy, are metal detector enthusiasts (“Detectorists,” they doggedly inform anyone who calls them ‘metal detectors’) who spend their off hours searching the fields of Essex for a legendary Saxon burial trove. They’re weird, pedantic, and passionately driven to pursue their hobby. The show’s pacing is slow but gentle, and a great deal of screen time is given to the idyllic Essex countryside, of tall grasses rippling in the wind, flowers nodding, and cloud-spattered blue skies. There are lots of wacky characters, but no caricatures… well, maybe Simon and Garfunkel, but those guys are dicks – the guys who look like them, not the actual folk duo. You just have to see it.
The Detectorists is a sensitive examination of passionate hobbyists and the people who live with them. I can’t recommend it enough. I suppose it would be considered mature content because of swearing, but there’s really nothing else that would be objectionable to kids. It’s refreshing to see an adult comedy about actual adults instead of people acting like dramatic teenagers reeling from one childish decision to another. Unfortunately only season 1 is available on Instant Watch, and I’m planning on hunting down the second season soon. I really want to do a full review on it, I love it so much.
So there are five things to watch to take your mind off the dreadful pounding in your head. Remember – eat some greasy food, and stay hydrated. And if you have to puke, do it – your body wants to get rid of that mess for a reason!
Have a great New Year’s Eve and a relaxing New Year’s Day! See ya in 2016!