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Ten Netflix Nonfiction Geek Gems That You Can Stream Right Now

Netflix gets a bad rap for not having the latest blockbusters, but I’m still a fan.

There’s virtually endless worthwhile content available for streaming.

I recently spent a few days camped out on the couch, recovering from a bout with food poisoning, and spent many hours consuming quality content via Netflix.

 I’ve assembled a list of ten great documentaries that are streamable and fully geek-friendly.

Special When Lit: A Pinball Documentary

This is a fantastic documentary about the history of pinball. By the time I was finished watching this, I was itching to go find a pinball machine.

Comic Book Confidential

This documentary about comic books came out in the late 80’s and is a very cool snapshot of what was going on with comics, particularly non-mainstream comics, at that time. It features interviews with a lot of cool creators, from R. Crumb to Frank Miller. Thoroughly enjoyable.

The Sci-Fi Boys

This moving documentary centers around sci-fi evangelist Forrest Ackerman’s long-running and influential magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, which was published from 1958 to 1983 and inspired multiple generations of filmmakers, special effects masters, and make-up artists from Peter Jackson to Rick Baker.

The Making of South Park: 6 Days to Air

This brief documentary shows the behind-the-scenes process of the creation of a single South Park episode, which is accomplished in only 6 days. This hilarious peek into the creative process of the show’s creation is a unique treat.

The People vs. George Lucas

I’d heard of this documentary for some time, and didn’t think I’d like it. I was big fan of Phantom Menace when it first came out. Though as the years have passed, I eventually began to share the disappointment of Star Wars fans. However, the haters have always rubbed me the wrong way when they’ve taken their vitriol too far, so I didn’t think I’d like this film, which I knew was focused on fan discontent with George Lucas. I was wrong. This is a great movie that dives into the universe of Star Wars fandom from many angles, with a sense of humor, and really satisfies.

King of Kong

This documentary is truly epic. It shines a light on Donkey Kong enthusiasts who strive to be the best in the world. It mostly focuses on two people specifically, both with wildly different personalities. This one is an astounding emotional roller-coaster and is riveting to the very end.

Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade

Watch this right after King of Kong. It features many of the same personalities, but is a broader look at old school gamers in general, with a particular focus on the fascinating life of video game score-keeper Walter Day.

Helvetica

I thought I would hate this. A documentary about a font? I watched it anyway, and found it to be interesting and entertaining.. Like design in general, we take fonts for granted. This film illuminates the history of the world’s most ubiquitous font and provides some enlightening context.

Revolution OS

This is a documentary about Linux. If you don’t know what Linux is, watch this. If you do know what Linux is, watch this. Linux is a PC operating system that is an alternative to Windows and Mac OS X. It’s ‘open source’ and free. This excellent, entertaining documentary, filled with interviews with passionate, colorful characters, gets into the nitty gritty about what Linux is, what ‘open source’ means and why both are important, not just in the world of technology, but culturally and philosophically.

TED: Space Trek

This is a series of brief, but passionate talks from a variety of speakers on the subject of space travel. Really fascinating stuff.

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