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Must-watch Netflix Documentaries/Docuseries

Date:11 April 2019
Working hard, or hardly working?
Working hard, or hardly working?

I don’t know about you, but for me, Netflix is a great way to procrastinate and relax after a long day of studying. Or something to watch during breakfast. Or as a little study break. Or to binge-watch until 2am.

I think that I’m not alone in saying that I have regretted my binge-watching sessions from time to time. I have had days that I look back at the half-day I spent watching Friends or Gossip Girl and thinking ‘imagine all the course material I could have read in that time’.

Recently, I’ve decided to pass the sitcoms I’ve been watching and choose for documentaries or docu-series instead. This way I feel like I’m learning something instead of rewatching an episode of How I Met Your Mother for the 4th time. I feel that it's easier to justify the Netflix-session if you have learned something from it.

I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 favorite documentaries and docu-series that are currently on Netflix, where after watching them I genuinely felt like I gained information.

Chasing Coral: having just finished this one, I can 10/10 recommend. It’s a really powerful documentary about the ocean and the reality of bleached coral.

Explained: this is a 20-minute per episode docu-series which briefly explains how something works. Some of the topics are cryptocurrency, astrology, the stock market or k-pop. While it only just scrapes the surface of these topics, it’s a great choice for a short-procrastination.

Minimalism: a documentary about how to live a more minimal life. For me, it was really eye-opening to watch this, because it made me aware of how society is so focused on always wanting more.

Avicii - True Stories: not necessarily educational, but a must-watch. This is a heart-wrenching biography about Avicii’s last years before passing, portraying the effects of pressure and stress on young, introverted talent.

Our Planet: this too is a must-see docu-series about the environment and how humans have impacted the planet. It only recently came out but it is already one of my faves. Also, David Attenborough does the voice-over, which makes the documentary all the more magical.

Period. End of Sentence: a powerful documentary about fighting for women’s rights in India, especially regarding menstruation and women's equality rights.

A Plastic Ocean: for me, this was a heartbreaking reality check about the effect of plastic on the ocean and ecosystems. If you’re interested in the human impact on climate change and the ocean, I definitely recommend.

Take Your Pills: extremely eye-opening documentary about the abuse of enhancing drugs like Adderall or Ritalin.

Dirty Money: a very interesting docu-series about money laundering, drug cartels, and big banks. Big recommendation for people interested in (criminal) finance.

My Next Guest with David Letterman: I have always loved biographies, so a biographical talk show is definitely up my alley. David Letterman interviews famous icons like Malala Yousafzai, Barack Obama and Jay-Z. It offers a very candid, different perspective of these people, which is pretty refreshing. And David Letterman is hilarious.

Now you have an extensive list of suggestions on how to procrastinate without feeling (as bad) about it. Of course, these documentaries are not necessarily educational and the science behind it is questionable, but still it makes me feel more productive than having watched Friends. 

"I'm studying"
"I'm studying"


About the author

Hey! I’m Danique, a Dutch/American studying International Relations and International Organizations with a mild obsession with coffee, cats, and rowing. If you can’t find me, look for the girl (almost always) wearing pink and writing blogs.


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