2020 could go down in history as the year in which the world watched the most streaming entertainment. Is binge watching the same as binge eating, where streaming minutes are the new empty calories? If so, how can we intentionally make digital entertainment better for us?

Feature films, series, or docs can be entertaining, intellectually engaging, and inspiring. People are likely to retain something they have watched if it made them think on a deeper level. Here are some recommendations if that’s the kind of entertainment you’re looking for:

The Two Popes: This movie offers so much to any film enthusiast. Two virtuoso performances by Sir Anthony Hopkis and Jonathan Pryce, a script that brims with gentle humour, and a very sensitive but opinionated handling of a delicate topic. Watch it on Netflix.

Dads: A recently released light-hearted documentary celebrating fatherhood in present times. It is humorous, uplifting, and heartwarming. Best watched together with your dad, your kids, or both. On Apple TV.

The Good Place: Multiple seasons of a comedy set in heaven-like afterlife packed with clever humour that won’t just have you delightfully entertained, but also enlightened, without being overly preachy in this creatively outstanding show. You’ll find yourself truly feeling good at ‘The Good Place’ on Netflix.

Panchayat: A friend recommended this heart-warming show that truly fit the bill. It has none of the Bollywood glam, but the feel-good factor is high. The main character, Abhishek Tripathi is an engineer who reluctantly takes up the post of panchayat secretary in a remote village in rural India. He initially resists everything about the village, but slowly his interactions with the wacky yet simple locals will find a soft spot within you. Playing on Amazon Prime Video.

Our Planet: Present times call for travel restrictions, but the mind is free to wander. So who could be better to travel with on screen than David Attenborough, one of the greatest natural historians of our times. Our Planet is a nature documentary that focuses on the impact of humanity on the environment. It uses cutting-edge technology to get beautiful shots of creatures and unseen places will make you feel like a little child exploring on a Sunday afternoon again. Catch it on Netflix.

Friends from College: Not the most recent release, but if you haven’t met your friends since a while, then this show will leave you nostalgic, happy, gloomy, excited, and entertained. Ask your closest friends to watch it simultaneously from wherever they are, so everyone can share the on screen moments as if it were like being together. Also a refreshing change if you’ve already overdosed on all the gritty thrillers out there. On Netflix.

Amazing Stories: In 1985, Steven Spielberg created a TV show called Amazing Stories, based on the first science fiction magazine. This rebooted version recreates the magic in 2020 with a show of the same name, and each episode explores themes of light science fiction, and other unexplained phenomena. Catch it on Apple TV.

Abstract: The Art of Design: This show will inspire creatives in any field and pays homage to the importance of design and aesthetic in our lives and society. Each episode covers design mavericks in fields like urban planning, shoe design, automotive engineering, architecture, stage sets, and more. Whether you are knowledgeable about the field or not, you’ll find the show interesting. On Netflix.

Watching with more intention will help you enjoy your viewing time, while keeping yourself entertained and inspired.