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From Porn Documentaries to What Lies Beneath: A Look Inside the Queues of The Netflix Plays

Ars Nova Play Group's Bess Wohl and Nick Gandiello have an affinity for cop shows and anything narrated by David Attenborough.

By New York City

What drives your movie selections? Do you go for ‘Critically-acclaimed Violent Suspenseful Movies'? Or are you more of a 'Dysfunctional Family Drama' type? Whatever your preference, the playwrights of Ars Nova's The Netflix Plays are aiming to fill the hyper-specific categories that populate your queue.

Inspired by the latest Ars Nova production, a collection of original short plays and live music based on the popular DVD/streaming movie website's recommendation categories, we asked the playwrights to take us on a tour of their Netflix queues. Here are the movies it takes to generate hyper-specific categories like "Films That Answer the Question ‘What Happened to Selma Hayek?'"

First up in the series are playwrights Bess Wohl (Watch It Again: Happy New Year) and Nick Gandiello (Hip-Hop Documentaries: How I Feel).

Bess Wohl and friend
Bess Wohl and friend


Bess Wohl

In the queue:

Hunter, Season 1

NYPD Blue Season 1, Disc 2

NYPD Blue Season 1, Disc 3

NYPD Blue Season 1, Disc 4

ABC New Presents: NYPD 24/7

Hyper-specific Netflix category: Everything in my queue would all fall under the category: ‘Because you are feeling insecure about writing a cop show...'

I added all of this because I have been developing a cop show for the USA Network, and this was supposed to be part of my research. My first draft of the TV show has been written. These DVDs have not been watched. (I did actually watch and return NYPD Blue Season 1, Disc 1.)

Side note: I have lost the DVDs I'm currently supposed to have in my possession: What Lies Beneath and The Magnificent Ambersons.


Nick Gandiello
Nick Gandiello
Nick Gandiello

In the queue:

Blood Simple

Hyper-specific Netflix category: ‘Critically-acclaimed Violent Suspenseful Movies.'

I claimed to be a fan of the Coen Brothers, yet confessed I hadn't seen this, and the faces around me went white in horror.


My Joy

Hyper-specific Netflix category: ‘Mind-bending Foreign Movies.'

It's German, there's a bearded man scowling on the cover, and the description involves strange locals in the countryside. Sign me up.


Martha Marcy May Marlene

Hyper-specific Netflix category: Probably ‘Critically-acclaimed Violent Suspenseful Movies' again... but with the word 'Cerebral' in there... and 'Dark'... and what the hell, throw in 'Dysfunctional Family Drama' too.

I saw this in theaters and it's one of my favorite movies, and I could watch it repeatedly.


Life in the Undergrowth

Hyper-specific Netflix category: ‘Critically-acclaimed Nature & Ecology Documentaries.'

Because I'll listen to David Attenborough talk about anything, and I nerd out pretty hardcore on nature documentaries.


Thinking XXX

Hyper-specific Netflix category: ‘Documentaries for the Whole Family.' (Not really.)

Because I'm a bad person. No, but really, it's a documentary in which porn stars open up about their work and personal lives, and I'm fascinated by anything that humanizes people who are typically considered outsiders or who are shrouded in taboo. But mostly because I'm a bad person.

Tags: Ars NovaThe Netflix PlaysNetflixBess WohlNick Gandiello


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