Productive Netflix: Expand Your Mind Whilst Social Distancing

By Teniola Adigun

Like many others, a lot of my time social distancing has been spent on one app – Netflix. After binging popular shows like Sex Education, On My Block and Love is Blind, I started to think about ways in which I could continue my Netflix binge and also be productive.


There are so many different ways to be productive whilst social distancing, so ideally you should be able to do things that aid your educational development but do not feel like active work alongside your actual academic work. That’s why I’m recommending my top Netflix series, films and docs that can help distract you from the current pandemic AND expand your mind.


1. Palm Trees in the Snow - This is a very long Spanish movie and after you watch it I suggest reading this article (https://folukeafrica.com/palm-trees-in-the-snow/). This movie explores the Spanish colonisation and later decolonisation of Equatorial Guinea. The story is mainly told through flashbacks, as we follow a Spanish woman investigating the past life of her now elderly and sick uncle who owned a plantation during Equatorial Guinea’s colonial period. Most of the movie is presented in stunning flashbacks and we get an amazing insight into non-British colonial history. This is great for those interested in African decolonisation and politics.


2. Medici: Masters of Florence – Set in Renaissance Florence, this drama chronicles the life of the Medici family. Aside from the main murder mystery, the show does a great job at explaining the political proceedings of Italian city-states and the Church of Rome. As bankers to the Pope and patrons of the arts, the Medici family are a very important part of Italian and economic history that can help us to understand more about the origins of European banking and finance. Also starring Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden and The Originals’ Daniel Sharman, the great acting is sure to aptly inform as well as it can entertain.


3. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story – Inspired by actual events, this drama details the 1997 assassination of fashion designer Gianni Versace. What makes this series special is that it is told from the perspective of the American spree killer, Andrew Cunanan. The episodes explore Cunanan’s personal life in reverse chronology, whilst we also follow the police investigation to find him. Glee’s Darren Criss does a phenomenal job at displaying the many facets of Cunanan, who was a gay American of dual Italian and Filipino heritage. This great for anyone interested studying Law, Psychology or English Literature.


Honorable Mentions:

  • Roman Empire – A mixed documentary and historical epic, chronicling the rise and fall of the Roman Empire through the lives of emperors Caligula, Julius Caesar and Commodus.

  • Time: The Khalief Browder Story – Co-produced by Jay-Z, this documentary explores brutality and criminal justice in the American legal system through the imprisonment of 16-year-old Khalief Browder.

To top it all off, with the chrome extension Netflix Party (https://www.netflixparty.com/) you can watch with your friends. So #stayhome as much as possible and happy ‘productive’ Netflixing!


Make sure to check out Teniola on youtube and instagram @teniola_adi!

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