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Netflix & Chill: History of Swear Words and Headspace: Guide To Meditation are new on Netflix in January 2021

Amy Wannenburgh
January 2021 Netflix Shows

It’s only January and Netflix has already teased an irresistible line-up of 2021 releases. Two documentaries caught my eye this month – one on meditation, the other on swearing – and if you’re looking for something informative yet relaxing to watch, I recommend these two.  


What is History of Swear Words about?

Nicholas Cage hosts this 8 episode documentary series on, well, the History of Swear Words. Parental guidance advised…


Is it worth watching? 


The episodes are short – only 20 minutes each – and each one focuses on a specific swear word. Cage and a host of other celebrities (actors, comedians, historians, and entertainers) break down the origins of the swear word and its historical timeline, give their own personal opinions and experience with the word, consider its evolution and cultural impact, and examine and react to the science behind the swear word.


We get fascinating facts and snippets of history. Quirky animations. Entertaining interviews with celebrities, and iconic scenes from movies and TV shows which showcase the particular swear word in all its colourful glory. The tone is light-hearted, the history is easy to digest, and the celebs even participate in an experiment that goes to prove the cathartic powers of swearing…      


What is Headspace: Guide To Meditation about?

Narrated by Andy Puddicombe (the co-founder of the digital health company Headspace), this 8 episode documentary guides you through the practice and benefits of meditation. 


Is it worth watching? 

Yes and no…

The episodes are under 20 minutes, all of the visuals are animated (they’re beautiful), and I think this is the perfect series to watch with young children when you want to instill in them healthy ways of coping with their emotions. In each episode, Puddicombe takes you through a particular emotion or problem (ie. how to deal with anger) and after he shares a bit of his own personal experience, he guides you through a meditation. 


I found Puddicombe’s perspective on meditation extremely biased, which is frustrating, but also understandable when you consider the company he founded. He also makes sweeping statements about meditation which aren’t supported by anything other than his own experience, and the episodes’ content is repetitive and simplistic. But for what it is (a documentary that comes directly from a company that makes money from subscriptions to its meditation resources), this isn’t surprising.


I just think that the topic of meditation deserves a better documentary.


What have you been watching this month?

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