By Harry Donnell
Finals week is coming and there is no shortage of papers to be written, presentations to prepare, and guilt-ridden scrolls through recommended Netflix viewing lists.
“It’s probably the best time ever to start ‘Game of Thrones,’” the procrastinator’s lizard brain, that temptress, whispers. Do not listen to those sweet siren tones. It is not the best time ever. There are five seasons and every episode is, like, five hours long.
This is not to say that a show or two would not make a bad break between projects. At least one scientist has probably said at some point that watching television is a great de-stresser. And who wouldn’t listen to one scientist?
However, as with Jimmy Buffett music and cheesecake, some things are best in moderation. Starting a long show during finals week? Bad idea. But starting a short one that’s only a couple hours long? This is almost not a bad idea.
So, here to aid the reader in their never-ending quest for distraction, is a list of miniseries for bite-sized viewing.
“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” has it all—singing, blogging, and Felicia Day. Plus, the whole thing is under 45 minutes—the perfect amount of time to join aspiring supervillain Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) on his quest to stop his nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), join the Evil League of Evil, and maybe talk to the girl he met at the laundromat (Felicia Day).
The music is a delight to listen to, with lyrics as clever as the fast-paced comedy in the series. Viewers are warned that the ending may lead to some non-finals-related tears.
Looking for something a little artsy, a little creepy, with an old New England feel? Then “Over the Garden Wall” is the answer to those oddly specific prayers. Patrick McHale’s brilliant 2014 Cartoon Network miniseries is the brilliantly told and phenomenally crafted tale of two brothers, Wirt and Greg, who find themselves lost in the woods on their way home. The show is a love letter to early American cartoons, fairy tales, and storybooks.
“Over the Garden Wall” boasts a gorgeous soundtrack and an incredibly talented voice cast, including Elijah Wood, Christopher Lloyd, and Melanie Lynskey in principal roles. Lovely, dark, and deep, “Over the Garden Wall” is a must-view for every storyteller, animation fan, and aspiring bassoonist.
“Baman Piderman” is a delightfully bizarre series of animated shorts about Baman and Piderman, who might look a bit like Batman and Spiderman but have much less angst and cute pastel color palettes. The two friends visit each other’s houses, start a band, and hang out with their other pals, including Baman’s tuba girlfriend, a sentient pumpkin, and a pile of tentacles known as “Squib.”
The show is created by talented animators Lindsay and Alex Small-Butera, who deliver fun characters, goofy and often surrealist humor, and simple yet fluid animation. The show can be found on MondoMedia’s YouTube page.