Thirty hours, ten blocks, one Netflix account. If you’re looking for another way to spend Dance Marathon weekend, look no further than your bed and your laptop. Here is a guide for navigating thirty hours of Netflix streaming according to this year’s DM block themes.
Block 1: This Is Our Team / Recommended For You
It’s your first Dance/Netflix Marathon. You’re tucked in your bed, your laptop is fully charged and you’ve got a freshly popped bag of popcorn. There’s no better way to start than by going straight to your Netflix suggestions for what to watch next. You know what you like, Netflix thinks it knows what you like, so start off strong by catching up with all of your favorite characters from the latest shows or movies you last binge-watched during Winter Break.
Block 2: Characters Welcome / Critically-Acclaimed TV Dramas with Slightly Sociopathic Male Leads and/or USA Network
Now that you’ve taken your first potty break and grabbed a freshly-opened jar of Nutella, it’s time to get into the next critically-acclaimed show all your friends have been raving about. Netflix offers a huge selection of great TV shows – Breaking Bad, Sherlock, Dexter and House of Cards just to name a few – all featuring incredibly multifaceted, well-written and slightly sociopathic characters. If this kind of drama doesn’t interest you, you can interpret the “Characters Welcome” theme more literally and check out shows from the USA Network: White Collar, Burn Notice and Psych all have clever storylines, compelling lead characters and great chemistry.
Examples: Breaking Bad, Sherlock, Dexter, House of Cards, White Collar, Burn Notice, Psych
Block 3: Animal House / Decadent College Movies / Nature Documentaries That Spark Brief Obsessions with Marine Biology
After you’ve had your character fill, perhaps it’s time to move onto some of the wildlife we share our planet with. Nature documentaries are aplenty on Netflix and will help soothe the transition into your full Saturday of binge-watching. Plunge into the depths of the ocean with documentaries that remind you of all the cool shit humans can’t do – glowing in the dark, swimming up to 70 mph and changing color and texture are only a few examples of the amazing stuff marine creatures are capable of.
Or, you can do the exact opposite. Stay true to Animal House the movie by indulging in decadent college films that showcase everything you thought college would be like: all-night ragers, pool parties, strippers, etc. You can justify being in bed and on your computer for 30 hours by pretending you party just like the students in those grossly exaggerated fantasy colleges.
Examples: The Blue Planet, Oceans, 21 & Over, Sex Drive, Not Blackfish
Block 4: Guilty Pleasures / Reality TV
It’s the wee hours of the morning. Your eyes are starting to burn and your bed is perfectly warm, so you need some mindless television to half-heartedly watch. Reality TV is perfect for that – you don’t have to stay alert for plot developments or new storylines (although the girls in Toddlers & Tiaras are truly the voices of a generation). Besides, reality television has a much wider appeal than most people let on. The (mostly) unscripted dialogue, the authentic locations, the absurdity of everyday people – something about it makes reality seem fascinating.
Examples: Toddlers & Tiaras, Four Weddings, Jon & Kate Plus Eight
Block 5: Nerd-Western / Witty Workplace Comedies / Classic Western Movies
Nothing screams Northwestern’s nerdy sense of humor like witty workplace comedies. As the sun rises, you’re going to need some good laughs to push you into an upswing to last you those next 15 hours. Smart dialogue, quick delivery, snappy one-liners, outlandish situations rooted in reality and charismatic characters will undoubtedly help you greet the sunrise and tackle the next half of NM.
If comedies aren’t your schtick, transport yourself back to the Wild Wild West with some gun-toting, boots-wearing cowboys and cowgirls to remind you of your inner bravado. It’s amazing how much a cowboy hat can boost your self-esteem.
Keep it up! You’re halfway there!
Examples: Parks & Recreation, The Office, 30 Rock, Scrubs, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, True Grit, A Fistful of Dollars
Block 6: Dancing Through the Decades / Classic Musicals and Broadway Hits
Now I've had the time of my life
No I never felt like this before
Yes I swear it's the truth
and I owe it all to you
Dancing. Musicals. Songs you magically know all the lyrics to. Who needs Dance Marathon when you can watch other people sing and dance? That’s all I have to say.
Examples: Footloose, Dirty Dancing, West Side Story, Grease, Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, High School Musical
Block 7: Sporty 40 / Goofy Underdog Sports Movies
Nothing gets me pumped up like a good underdog movie. Sports movies are great for channeling your inner competitive spirit and reminding you that you’re capable of doing literally ANYTHING. If a dog can play basketball and bring a family together, you can finish this marathon.
Examples: Air Bud, Nacho Libre, The Longest Yard
Block 8: #tbt / 90s Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network
It’s Saturday morning. You’re 10 years old, you’re still in your pajamas and your entire week has led up to this moment. You can barely contain your excitement. It’s Saturday morning cartoon time.
If you’re a Pokémon aficionado like me or have been paying attention to Twitch Plays Pokémon, you’ll rejoice in knowing that Netflix has recently added Pokemon: Indigo League into their instant streaming collection. Or, choose from Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network shows from the '90s and early 2000s and kick into that nostalgic vibe and revisit some of your favorite cartoons to see if they were really worth getting up at 8 a.m. on Saturday mornings.
Examples: Courage the Cowardly Dog, Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Digimon, Powerpuff Girls, Justice League, Pokémon
Block 9: Make It Reign / Oscar Winners
Unfortunately, Oscar winner for Best Picture 12 Years A Slave is not up for instant watch yet, but Netflix boasts an impressive array of Oscar-winning films from the last couple of decades. Catching up with recent and old Oscar winners might even make you feel productive as you enter the penultimate block of NM – you can finally talk about movies like a bonafide film buff!
Examples: The King’s Speech, Pulp Fiction, Brokeback Mountain, The Artist, The Truman Show
Block 10: Dream Team / Everything You Wish Was On Netflix But Isn’t
Congratulations! You’ve made it. Block 10. You’ve gone through 27 hours of cartoons, comedies, dramas, films and documentaries and you’re here. You deserve a treat. Which is why for the final block, you are allowed to depart from Netflix.com and watch some of the shows and movies you’ve been dying to see but were never picked up by Netflix.
Examples: HBO, MTV, AMC, ShowTime, Hulu, whatever you want. The Internet is yours for the taking. You’re a champ. Treat yo’self.