All of the things I watched while on paternity leave

I like watching TV. Get out of here, books.

Shopify gives non-birth parents three months of parental leave, and I’ve spent most of the summer at home with our new baby, Joel.

When you have a newborn, you spend a lot of time sitting and feeding the newborn or keeping it company. Watching TV and movies is one way to pass the time.

Here’s a list of things I watched along with some commentary. This does not include most children’s programming or the constant cycle of Parks and Recreation we watch during lunch.

Stranger Things (S4, Netflix)

Loved it. So much better than the previous two seasons. I think they did a good job raising the stakes and changing the overall tone of the show from “cute kids on an adventure” to “real creepy and scary.” Excited to see the next season (kind of assuming it will be the last?).

The Gray Man (Netflix)

I enjoyed this action flick. Lots of fightin’. Didn’t expect to see Gosling in an action movie, but he does good.

For All Mankind (Apple TV+)

This was probably my favorite watch of all paternity leave. Highly recommend seeing it if you haven’t yet. It’s fun to take an alternate look at history, starting with the Russians beating the US to the moon. There are three seasons, and each season jumps ahead about a decade. I think the show has an optimistic take on space exploration, renewable energy. It’s refreshing and fun to watch space things.

The Servant (Apple TV+)

Kind of an odd show to watch with a newborn, I know. I liked the first season, but was bummed to learn there are three seasons of this show. IMO it would be much better as a one-season limited series, and ideally it all ties together with plausible explanations for things. I stopped watching a couple episodes into the second season.

WeCrashed (Apple TV+)

This was fun. I didn’t think I’d get into it, since I’ve watched an hour-long documentary about the WeWork stuff before. But Hathaway and Leto do a terrific job here.

What We Do In The Shadows (S4, Hulu)

Classic. Still watching it, but man, this is a funny show.

Lightyear (Disney+)

Barrett and I saw this together in theaters. It was his first movie theater experience! It went well. The movie is pretty good, too. Currently on repeat cycles in our house.

Alone (S8, Netflix)

I think I started watching this on Hulu a couple years back, but I hopped on the opportunity to see it on Netflix without ad breaks. I enjoyed it. Gosh it is tough to survive in a place without any friends to help you.

Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist (Netflix)

Manti Te’o. I remember hearing about his story in the early 2010s and scoffing along with rest of the world, assuming he made the whole thing up. Super enlightening look at what really happened with the dead-girlfriend-dead-grandma-fake-girlfriend situation.

Better Call Saul (S4-S5, Netflix)

I had a bit of Saul to catch up on. These are really good seasons! I watch them and get nostalgic for the old days, watching Breaking Bad for the first time. Jimmy and Kim’s relationship is well crafted and almost painful to watch as they drift apart, but then come back together. Waiting on S6 to come to Netflix, and terrified for what happens next.

Hustle (Netflix)

I wasn’t expecting to like this Sandler sports film, but gosh it was good. I remember wanting to get off the couch and sprint up and down the streets after watching it.

Girl in the Picture (Netflix)

I went on a bit of a serial killer true crime documentary binge. I liked this because IT IS A SINGLE FEATURE-LENGTH DOCUMENTARY, not a whole freaking limited series that everyone is trying to do these days. Very interesting and sad story.

Catching Killers (Netflix)

A couple handfuls of episodes about catching serial killers, as told by the detectives involved in the cases. I really liked this approach to storytelling, as it made you empathize with the detectives quite a bit. Really good stuff.

The Bear (Hulu)

We got about two episodes into this, but I’m really liking it so far. It’s about cooking and such. Hoping we continue watching it soon.

CODA (Apple TV+)

I don’t know why I slept on this movie for so long! I assumed it was going to be a very, very dramatic look at the difficult lives of a hearing-impaired family. But this movie was SO GOOD. Laugh-out-loud funny and heart-warming. Give it a watch.

Halftime (Netflix)

J-Lo. She’s still got it. I really enjoy watching people who are at the top of their field working with a dedicated team to accomplish something, like pulling off a Super Bowl halftime show. Makes me want to start a company and build something cool. I assume that’s what J-Lo was going for in this documentary.

Shania Twain: Not Just a Girl (Netflix)

I didn’t know a darn thing about Shania, and now I do. Very good documentary, and I’m now very appreciative of her work.

Sins of our Mother (Netflix)

Just finished this one. It was a tough watch because it’s so sad, but also very intriguing. It’s scary that religion and faith can lead to such awful things. I also wonder how an apocalyptic mindset throws off your judgement.

The Guilty (Netflix)

I’ve been meaning to watch this film for a while. It’s a pandemic-shot film, and it takes place almost entirely in the same location. The twist is wild (and sad).

Keep Breathing (Netflix)

Woman trapped in wilderness from plane crash? Not a new subject, but it was a fun watch. They really intertwined her personal and family struggles into her present struggle of being stuck in the wilderness. I was kinda disappointed near the end that there wasn’t more story about nature and survival struggles, but not a bad limited series.

Echoes (Netflix)

Meh. I thought this would be better, but just too many characters to try to learn and constant surprises in an attempt to keep building the tension and mystery. I stopped watching a few episodes in.

Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon (HBO Max)

Didn’t think I was going to get back into GoT, but this show is really good so far.

The Card Counter (HBO Max)

“Oh look, a fun gambling heist film!” WRONG. Holy cow, this movie got dark. But I enjoyed it, especially Tiffany Haddish’s dramatic acting.

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (HBO Max)

I got about 1/3 of the way through this one before I gave up. Lots of action, but too silly for me. Never thought I’d say that about a film. I guess there’s only so long I can suspend disbelief and stay interested in a thing.

Barry (S3, HBO Max)

Barry is so good. Great ending to the season.