Yay, it’s the Big Game! Here’s what to watch instead… ;)

Yay, it’s the Big Game! Here’s what to watch instead… 😉

…or, you know, what to watch tomorrow (and the rest of the month).

Let me be clear first: lots of geeks watch the Superbowl, and no, not just for the movies trailers which will debut. There’s a stereotype that geeks aren’t into sports, and I would say that it used to be legitimate that geeks didn’t participate as much in sports in school (at least decades ago). That’s part of the social stratification of high school…people tend to end up, to some degree, in groups (especially if you consider “misfits” as a group). I would guess that hasn’t really gone away…one of the key initial plot points in Glee (which, okay, debuted almost a decade ago) was the conflict of a “jock” participating in the traditionally non-jock activity of the glee club.

Participating and watching are two different things, though. Some big sports are very geeky, with lots of stats and math. Fantasy football (and other fantasy sports) has certainly increased geek engagement.

The first traditional big sport which I followed closely was football. I argue that it is the most intellectual of the big sports. It’s the only one where they stop frequently to decide what they are going to do. Some people think of it as just big people crashing into each other, but that’s not how it works. Monday morning quarterbacks don’t say, “We lost because they were bigger than us.” 🙂 They say, “They shouldn’t have gone for it on third down!” It’s a criticism of the intellectual part of the game, not the physical part. I’ll entertain an argument for baseball….there are tons of decisions made there.

We’ve also got our own geeky fictional sports (which may crossover into real life): Quidditch; Rollerball; Death Race, to name a few. Additionally, we have fiction about the real world sports: Bugs Bunny playing all the positions on a baseball team…at the same time; the Richard Matheson robot boxer story Steel, which became a Twilight Zone episode and a Hugh Jackman movie; or the android football game in Piers Anthony’s

Blue Adept (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Still, a lot of geeks (and some muggles) may risk social ostracism by not watching the Superbowl. For one thing, the internet will give us summaries very quickly, so it’s possible to nod knowingly at the right times on Monday without watching it in real time. In terms of the ads, they are generally released to YouTube ahead of the game. You can watch them in this

USA Today story

although movie trailers may actually be held back until the game.

I’ve been doing a feature called

Prime Geek

where I would write about geeky movies/TV that were available through Amazon Prime. However, in thinking about it, that’s really an artificial restriction. I doubt there are many people nowadays who limit themselves to streaming Prime Video. Amazon itself has introduced a free with ads service, IMDb FreeDive. I watch pretty much everything on a member of the

Fire TV family (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

…we use a Fire TV Cube in one room, a Fire TV Stick in another (except for shows I watch in Virtual Reality).

Even then, that doesn’t mean it’s just Prime Video…it’s Netflix, Hulu, Tubi (and to a lesser extent, HBO on DirecTV which I get for using AT&T).

So, starting this month, I’m going to focus just on the videos, and then indicate the availability. Prime requires you to be a Prime member. Hulu and Netflix are paid subscription services (you might pay monthly or annually). Tubi and IMDb FreeDive are free with ads (the video will stop periodically for commercials…like old-fashioned TV).

Here are some recommendations (and this is a tiny fraction of what’s available), and the reasons why. This may be my prejudice, but I’m not going to list a TV series where you can’t start from the beginning…Hulu has current seasons of some good shows, but I always like to start at the top. I’m okay if the service doesn’t have the current season of a TV series, though…for me, I can wait for them to release it. I will, however, list movies where you might not be able to see the preceding ones. It’s a lot rarer that somebody will have all the earlier movies in a series (see Marvel, for example). Oh, and I’ll only include things where I’ve watched at least part of it.

Note: videos can leave a service at any time, and this listing was created using USA-based listings.

Supernatural (Netflix) (14 seasons, TV series)

One sentence summary: Two brothers travel around the country “hunting” supernatural creatures

With 300 episodes, you could literally watch an episode every day (taking off weekends) and still be watching it by next year’s Superbowl! The chemistry between the leads (playing brothers) is amazing, there are horror elements (but scarier than gross), good writing, strong supporting characters, and a through line that doesn’t get you stumbling over the mythology. Most episodes are stand-alones. Start at the beginning: it’s good right away.

The 100 (Netflix) (5 seasons, TV series)

One sentence summary: a group of young people return to an abandoned Earth and face hardships

Honestly, better than I thought it was going to be. Yes, it’s a bit soapy (it’s based on a young adult series), but I enjoyed the writing & acting on this one. It’s post-apocalyptic.

Avengers: Infinity War (Netflix) (2018 movie)

One sentence summary: Marvel heroes are brought together to face a big bad (Thanos)

Superhero blockbuster which pulled together a lot of different characters. Yes, it’s a little like one of the early Star Trek movies, where everybody gets a “moment”, but there are some really fun exchanges (I liked the back-and-forth with Thor and Rocket Raccoon). I wouldn’t start here for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and you won’t feel like you are done, but I enjoyed it.

Supergirl (Netflix) (3 seasons, TV series)

One sentence summary: Superman’s cousin deals with having powers, but also every day life.

For those of us who grew up with the “Silver Age” of DC, we think of it as fun, rather than the dark, pessimistic world it was in the movies (at least until Wonder Woman). The Flash and this show went back (initially) to that more light-hearted feel. The cast is good, and there’s some workplace comedy elements which work.

Doctor Who (Prime Video) (10 seasons/series, TV series…this is the reboot that started in 2005)

One sentence summary: “Time Lord” and human “companions” have adventures

There’s a reason why the character of Doctor Who has been around for so long! S/he’s unique: an alien who is full of curiosity and fond of humans, but has some deep darkness as well. We all have our favorites, and it’s often our first. For me, mine was Tom Baker…but I really liked Matt Smith in this version. Part of that is the companions (Amy Pond!), but I thought he really captured the doctor’s conscious desire to enjoy life. My favorite episode of Doctor Who altogether is The Girl Who Waited. You can watch this without having watched the early seasons, even though there are some references to old events.

The Walking Dead (Netflix) (8 seasons, TV series)

One sentence summary: after a zombie apocalypse begins, a group of survivors bands together

This one can be gross, and it’s certainly harsh, but (and I’ve had this discussion with people) I think it’s the best cast of characters since the original Star Trek. I don’t think the first season is the best, but I’d start there…this one does have a heavy through story, and it wouldn’t make sense most of the time to see it out of order.

Birdbox (Netflix) (TV movie)

One sentence summary: creatures appear in contemporary society, and if you see them, you try to kill yourself…so being blindfolded is the best defense

I wasn’t crazy about this one, but it’s been very buzzy. It’s certainly dark and arguably creepy. Sandra Bullock stars.

Black Panther (Netflix) (2018 movie)

One sentence summary: superhero from advanced secret society faces challenges from within and without

This has been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and is an adventure movie that’s a lot of fun! There is some intersection with the rest of Marvel, but you don’t need to know that to enjoy this. Many strong elements with a lot of attention to detail: this one has broad appeal.


Okay, I”m running out of time for you to make your decision, so here are a bunch more in much shorter versions (and I’ll be looser with what I include):

  • The Addams Family (Hulu)
  • Agent Carter (Hulu)
  • American Horror Story (Hulu)
  • Annihilation (2018 movie)
  • The Animal (2000 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Angel (Hulu)
  • The Angry Red Planet (Prime Video)
  • Archer (Hulu)
  • Arrival (2016 movie) (Hulu)
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1977 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Attack of the Mushroom People (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Avengers (Steed, some pre-Peel) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Babe (1995 movie) (Hulu)
  • Battle Royale (2000 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Battlestar Galactica (reboot) (Hulu)
  • Beetlejuice (Hulu)
  • Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Black Sunday (1960 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Blankman (1994 movie) (Freedive: free with ads)
  • A Boy and His Dog (1975 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Brain that Wouldn’t Die (1962 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Brazil (1985 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Bubba Ho-Tep (2003 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Hulu)
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Carnival of Souls (1962 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Cat Women of the Moon (1953 movie)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005 movie) (Hulu)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1972 movie) (Prime Video)
  • The Color of Magic  (Freedive: free with ads)
  • The Dark Crystal (Prime Video)
  • The Dead Zone (TV series) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Death Race 2000 (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Deep Blue Sea (Hulu)
  • Defenders of the Earth (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Destroy All Monsters (1969 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Dinosaurs (Hulu)
  • Dollhouse (Hulu)
  • Dreamscape (1984 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Dresden Files  (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Eternal Law (Freedive: free with ads)
  • The Exorcist (Hulu)
  • Field of Dreams (1989 movie) (Hulu)
  • Fireball XL5 (supermarionation) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Firefly (Hulu)
  • Fringe (Freedive: free with ads)
  • Futurama (Hulu)
  • Gammera the Invincible (1966 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Gargoyles (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Ghost Whisperer (Hulu)
  • The Greatest American Hero  (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Gumby’s Best Episodes (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Hereditary (2018 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Heroes (Freedive: free with ads)
  • Highlander (movie) (Hulu)
  • Highlander (TV series) (Hulu)
  • Hot Tub Time Machine (2010 movie) (Prime Video)
  • House on Haunted Hill (1959 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Hugo (2011 movie) (Prime Video) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • James Bond: Dr. No (Hulu), From Russia with Love (Hulu), Thunderball (Hulu), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Hulu), Moonraker (Hulu), For You Eyes Only (Hulu), A View to a Kill (Hulu), License to Kill (Hulu), Goldeneye (Hulu) Tomorrow Never Dies (Hulu)
  • Kentucky Fried Movie (1977 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Kick-Ass (2010 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Knightriders (1981 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Last Man on Earth (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Librarians (Hulu)
  • LIfeforce (1985 movie) (Prime Video)
  • The Little Shop of Horrors (1960 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Lost (Hulu)
  • Lost in Space (original) (Hulu)
  • The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2004 movie) (Prime Video)
  • The Lost World (1925 movie)
  • The Manster (1959 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Mars Attacks (1996 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Masters of the Universe (1986 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Medium (Hulu)
  • The Monster Club (Tubi: free with ads)
  • My Favorite Martian (TV series) (Prime Video)
  • My Living Doll (TV series) (Prime Video)
  • The NeverEnding Story (1984 movie) (Hulu)
  • Night of the Comet (1983 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Night of the Creeps (1986 movie)  (Freedive: free with ads)
  • One Step Beyond (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Phantom (1996 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Painkiller Jane (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Pokemon (Hulu)
  • Power Rangers (2017 movie)
  • Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017 movie) (Hulu)
  • Puppet Master (1989 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Q: The Winged Serpent (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Quantum Leap (Hulu) (Freedive: free with ads)
  • Reboot (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Riverworld (Freedive: free with ads)
  • Rocketworld X-M (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Roswell (Hulu)
  • Sapphire and Steel (Tubi: free with ads)
  • She Demons (1958 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Sherlock Gnomes (2018 movie) (Hulu)
  • Shrek (Hulu)
  • Silver Bullet (1985 movie)
  • Smallville (Hulu)
  • Spaceballs (1987 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Space Jam (1996 movie) (Hulu)
  • Spider baby (1967 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Spirit (2008 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Star Crash (1979 movie)  (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Stargate (1994 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Stargate SG-1 (Hulu)
  • Stargate Atlantis (Hulu)
  • Star Trek (2009 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series (Hulu)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation (Hulu)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Hulu)
  • Star Trek: Voyager (Hulu)
  • Star Trek: Enterprise (Hulu)
  • Star Trek IX: Insurrection (1998 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Stingray (supermarionation) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Supercar (supermarionation)  (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Swamp Thing (TV series) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Tank Girl (1995 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Hulu)
  • Thunderbirds (original supermarionation)  (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Three Stooges in Orbit (Prime Video)
  • Total Recall (1990 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Timeless (Hulu)
  • Twilight (2008 movie) & sequels (Hulu)
  • Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Warehouse 13 (Freedive: free with ads)
  • Warm Bodies (2013 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Weird Al Show (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Werewolf of Washington (1973 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Wolf (1994 movie) (Freedive FwA)
  • Xena: Warrior Princess (Hulu)
  • The X-Files (Hulu)

Wow! I really got sucked into the vortex on this one! 😉 I’m going to have to find a different way to do this, because I would really like to tell you why I put each one on the list. I have seen almost all of them (the exceptions are really recent ones…I think that was it). Feel free to ask my about any of them as to why I put them on this list. Believe it or not, I was pretty selective: there are reasons why I’m glad I saw all of these.

I also know that some things above may be incomplete…I might have left dates off movies and/or not listed all the viewing options.

Anyway, if you’d prefer to watch something besides the big game, I think you have a lot of good choices!

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog

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2 Responses to “Yay, it’s the Big Game! Here’s what to watch instead… ;)”

  1. Harold Delk Says:

    I will be watching the Super Bowl tonight and not caring who wins. I was surprised you left off my favorite series; Black Mirror which is superb. All episodes available on Netflix. Not necessary to watch from the beginning, but I think it is a good idea as there are some references in later shows to events in older ones. Reminds me a bit of Twilight Zone, but far edgier and more techie. A few of the episodes have left me on the edge of my seat with my jaw dropping. Not for the faint of heart or casual viewing.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      Good point! Honestly, the way I did it I didn’t go back through Netflix enough. I’ve seen two episodes (the first one and the one with Bryce Dallas Howard. I did think they were both well done. Thanks to you, it’s “on the list” for my readers!

      I actually do have CBS (the Superbowl’s network home this year) on right now.

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