Now I Know

What is With the Documentaries on Netflix

NB: This is written from the perspective of someone viewing Netflix Australia. However it does seem that many of the documentaries mentioned appear internationally too. There is also a certain level of personalisation that Netflix uses which may have affected which documentaries are shown to me more prominently.

 

Something seems to be very wrong with Netflix’s documentaries. Seemingly overnight they have gone from an array of thought provoking, multifaceted in-depth looks at a wide variety of subjects. To one-sided, conspiracy theory documentaries and the promotion of health fads.

 

It’s important to note that the original documentaries still remain in Netflix’s vast catalogue; exciting, entertaining and most importantly factual documentaries such as;

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Exit Through the Gift Shop

The Inexplicable Universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Chasing Ice

Planet Earth

A Very British Gangster

…And many more. Spanning the genres of science, history and culture.

 

There are even some that are mainly just for entertainment value, which is fine. But these are still factual;

 

The Imposter

King of Kong

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Indie Game: The Movie

After Porn Ends (1 & 2)

…And many, many more. These don’t really teach or need you to concentrate or even make you think. And that’s fine, not every documentary needs to do that. As long as they’re entertaining there’s no problem here.

 

Where there is a problem is when a documentary is biased, misleading or just outright wrong. And there seems to be no shortage of these types of documentaries being uploaded to the Netflix cloud and taking up valuable cyberspace which could be going to the spreading of real knowledge rather than pseudoscience.

 

Documentaries of these kinds are;

 

UFOs: The Best Evidence So Far

Australian Skies

Extraordinary: The Stan Romanek Story

The Secret

Bigfoot Files

Monsters And Mysteries

Paranormal Survivor

The Pyramid Code

It seems like there is a constant stream of these kind of documentaries coming out of Netflix now. Just to give a quick overall reason for why these documentaries deserve scorn.

The UFO ones: whilst definitely showing unidentified Flying Objects then make the leap that they must be extraterrestrial because there’s no way a man made object could move like that. Which is a massive leap of logic which disregards, natural phenomena, perspective problems when viewing video and hoaxes.

The Paranormal/spiritual/magic ones: Generally make assumptions based upon a misunderstanding of how the universe works, mainly in relation to probabilities and personal biases (particularly in the case of ‘The Secret’)

The monster ones: Generally known as Cryptozoology the problem here is more often than not the misidentification of dead animals or only partially seen or heard animals that we already know about.

 

Focusing on 3 documentaries in particular will perhaps give a more detailed reason for why this is bad and why Netflix feels compelled to continue giving them a platform from which they can spread their misinformation.

Zeitgeist: The Movie

Many others have debunked and pointed out the outright falsehoods of this documentary (Here, here and here for starters). The problem is that Zeitgeist promotes the conspiracy theory that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an inside job orchestrated by the international elites. Giving people a false sense of seeing beyond the veil and giving them the security blanket that there actually is a big bad organisation in charge of everything who must be opposed by none other than themselves the truthers. Why would Netflix play such a documentary?

 

What the Health

Again the claims of this film are debunked here and even have been debunked by a pro-vegan. By making overly simplified claims about health, the causes of cancer and the damage to the environment ‘What The Health’ makes people think they can change the world by changing their diet. This is at best benign misinformation and at worst dangerous health advice from people with an agenda.  Why would Netflix give a platform to such a one sided documentary?

 

Unacknowledged

Here it is the UFO documentary that encompasses all of the logical fallacies of all alien visitation documentaries. As stated above the main issue with these documentaries is that they make the leap from Unidentified Flying Object to alien spacecraft over and over and over and over and over and over again. And then they do it again. And this they call so much evidence. Early on in the documentary they even refer to Project Blue Book as an embarrassment to anyone who claims that UFOs aren’t extraterrestrial in nature. I propose that Project Blue Book is an embarrassment to the human race in general as several of the claims investigated by the U.S. Military on the taxpayers dimes was spent investigating UFOs that turned out to be blimps, aeroplanes, clouds birds, stars, comets and THE MOON. Yes, some of the UFOs turned out to be THE MOON! Why? In the name of all that is reasonable would Netflix give precious megabytes of cyberspace away to this documentary?

The short and sad answer is, they are popular.

 

All of them have a greater than four star rating on Netflix. On Rotten Tomatoes ‘Unacknowledged’ has the lowest rating of the three and it is rated as 78%.

Why? Because people prefer easy, simple lies to complicated, nuanced truths. They don’t want their preconceived ideas to be shaken. They want them cemented with the coating of people who come with the title Doctor or have a few letters after their names.
This is probably why Netflix have rejected the documentary ‘Food Evolution‘ a film that looks at all of the science and studies on the safety of GMOs.
If you are interested in getting more fact based documentaries onto Netflix be sure to sign this petition on Change.org

Help this film get the recognition it deserves. Hopefully this will become a turning point for Netflix and maybe they can start streaming documentaries based in reality that may inspire someone to make the world a better place rather than inspire them to start worrying about how the New World Order is trying to depopulate the world through meat eating with the help of the saucer people who are all Paranormal Bigfoots who want to keep the law of attraction all to themselves.

Joseph Paul John McCarthy

Joseph Paul John McCarthy

Joseph Paul John McCarthy has wanted to be a writer since before he could write.. He was a long time film reviewer for wildsound.ca as well as reviewing film scripts for their monthly competitions. He has one self published book - The Science-Based Baby Book for Skeptical Parents and a novel which will definitely be published any decade now. He had an aneurysm and died on September 10 2015, but thanks to medical science he got better.
  • Richard Huang

    Yeah. I dislike how Netflix hurts its quality with that type of content.