Taught by Netflix – Part 1

From its humble origins in 1997 where founders Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph formed a DVD mailing business, Netflix has grown to become a giant of TV and film. Now this mammoth of digital media is a multi billion dollar company that not only has become a great hub for movies and serialized TV, but also as an outlet for its own content. In 2012 Netflix released Lilyhammer to its user base, a show that had been created by Netflix themselves, since then hundreds of original titles have helped bulk out its ever growing library. What Netflix is creating in droves though, is a bank of educational, well produced documentaries that if utilized can turn what is often ignorantly disregarded as a time wasting medium into a profoundly influential and mind sharpening tool. And what’s most important is that Neflix is easily accessible to all ages. Using the shows listed below, you can turn idle watching into engaged learning in a click.

Crime and Punishment

One of Netflix’s most celebrated documentary genres is true crime, which as apposed to the fictionalized stories of CSI or Person Of Interest for example, are real life cases where people become entangled in the justice system. Its superstar title here is Making A Murder, which shocked audiences as ten episodes unfolded the details of  a horrific crime allegedly committed by murder suspect Steven Avery and his nephew Brendon Dassey. Though the show has a very impact intent structure that allows a cliffhanger at the end of each episode it does show insight into how police investigations are conducted. With footage from the court hearings, and intricate views into the police and suspects alike, this multi year study on a single case is a remarkable and involving study on how our current structure of identifying and punishing the ‘guilty’ can oftentimes be flawed. A very direct follow up to this show would be The Confession Tapes. Here in several different US cases, suspects are convicted of murder with much of their sentencing based around their own confession. What this case shows time and time again is how this often-unquestioned method can actually provide false evidence, and how the psychology of these people, especially when faced with prison time can cause them to act in ways that would otherwise seem illogical. In another expose on how the criminal system is dying for reform Netlix original Time: The Kalief Browder Story offers a harrowing insight into how some people in particular fall victim to the horror of injustice. After failing to plead guilty for a crime he didn’t commit, Kalief endures the crushing consequences as he is sent to do his time in one of Americas most notorious prisons. This documentary in particular, though unavoidably emotional, examines the way that prisons work and also asses the humanity of solitary confinement. In addition to these Neflix also boasts some other shows worth looking into including Amanda Knox, The Staircase and Inside The Criminal Mind.

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