Netflix streaming may be one of the surest signs that God is good and he wants to do nice things for us. While I can probably count the number of movies I’ve watched through Netflix streaming on one hand, I can barely count the number of times I’ve watched all of 30 Rock on one hand. Nothing is better for marathon television watching than Netflix streaming. The only downside is that it makes my collection of television box sets obsolete.
Below are some of my favorite shows on Netflix and religious themes you can explore with each.
Netflix has all six Star Trek series available for streaming, including Star Trek: The Animated Series. I haven’t seen The Animated Series and I’ve never worked my way through Voyager. I like the original series but I’m completely devoted to The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Even though Gene Roddenberry was a staunch atheist and he built the Star Trek universe upon a foundation of secular humanism, there are still plenty of religious themes to explore. At its best, Star Trek tells stories about the human condition. The human condition is best understood when viewed in the light of our creator. Each series explores those themes and each is ripe for Christian mining.
I started watching Battlestar Galactica before I had Netflix. So instead of streaming it onto my TV, I actually went out and purchased all of the box sets. I enjoyed the original Battlestar Galactica but the re-imagined series is one of my all-time favorites. Ronald D. Moore creates a dark universe and we get to see how the characters handle that darkness, some better than others. The show itself explores deeply religious themes like life, death, monotheism and what a loving God would call his followers to do. It is an extremely well done show but might increase your propensity to drink and say “frack”. Also, if you’re Roomba vacuum scares you this might not be the show for you.
I am currently working my way through Doctor Who. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get caught up in time for the next Christmas Special. I’m a little sad because I’m nearing the end of David Tenant’s run, but I’m sure I’ll warm up to Matt Smith and his bowtie. Doctor Who is another show I remember watching as a child but the new seasons are far more entertaining. One of the things I love most about the Doctor is his faith in humanity. While we sometimes let him down, more often than not he’s excited for us as a species and for the things we can accomplish. In that way I think the Doctor is a little like God. God created us because he wanted an object for his infinite affection. He loves us, wants what’s best for us and has placed a tremendous amount of faith in us. He calls us to partner with him in the redemption of the world; we’re kind of like God’s companion. While the Doctor may be like God, I certainly hope the weeping angels are nothing like God’s celestial servants.
Firefly was an amazing show but it never had a chance. Fox originally aired the series out of order, confusing potential viewers away. I’ve recently started watching Firefly again, this time with Alycia. The show is as funny and awesome as I remember it. The show covers some religious themes, especially with a pastor on board, but it didn’t have enough time to fully develop them. Watching Firefly, though, is a living example of Jeremiah 29:11. God knew the plans he had for Joss Whedon. While Firefly was canceled, he eventually landed The Avengers, which takes away some of the sting from having lost “Serenity” and her crew too soon.
If you’re looking for a new series to work through any of the above would be great. The Next Generation is definitely my favorite but you can’t go wrong with any. Except for maybe Firefly, it will just make you sad after the final episode.
What other nerdy Netflix streaming series would you recommend?