Reading week — the magical time to scale the mountain of homework that plagues every student — is finally here. Your textbooks miss you.
But they have all term. What’s an episode or forty of TV gonna hurt during the one week in two semesters that you don’t have to do anything?
Planet Earth, the BBC nature show about the most remote and exotic locales on Earth, is streaming its first season on Netflix. Travelling to the deepest caverns and highest peaks, the camera crew works magic as they capture the greatest untouched visuals on television. The narration provided by Sir David Attenborough is soothing, and perfect to help you unwind. There is something sobering about watching a cheetah race across the safari after a derpy-looking gazelle; it’s a nice reminder that things could be much, much worse than having an essay due in a week. (4.5/5)
Master of None
Master Of None is as close as the millennial generation will get to the Seinfelds of the past. Written and starring Aziz Ansari, it is a ten-episode comedy-drama that perfectly captures and satirizes what we think of as problems. Raised on Super-Nintendo and Pizza Pockets, Ansari’s protagonist Dev is an all too familiar figure for students — the optimist desperately trying not to devolve into a cynic. Tightly written and very well acted, Master Of None is simultaneously hilarious and emotional. It is a must-watch for every young North American. Seeing Dev struggle for forty minutes about which Mexican place to go for lunch is great for some self-deprecating perspective. (4/5)
A slightly less escapist pleasure, Community is the best written comedy available on Netflix. About a zany college and its less than perfect student body, Community is fast-paced, well-executed, and above all uncomfortably relatable. The situations that the ensemble cast find themselves in are at once ridiculous and reminiscent of every bad class experience. A scene in which a mandatory sailing lesson is provided in the parking lot, with a fully functional ship (on wheels, but still with oars) is a personal favourite. Despite the temptation to veg out during reading week, Community is to be studied — the first season is flawless, and each episode is packed with subtleties that would be worth it even aside from a fantastic cast. (4.5/5)