TV & Movies

Recommended TV and Movies from a Humanist Perspective

movies tnTelevision (TV) and Movies are an integral part of our modern day society.  Are there any television shows or movies that are written from a humanist's perspective or have characters that support a humanistic viewpoint on the world around us?  This question has been discussed by a number of humanist groups and here are some suggestions for television shows and movies that support a humanist outlook.  We have also included some information about the program and some analyses of how they fit within a humanistic framework.

Bones

Bones is an American crime drama television series that premiered on the Fox Network on September 13, 2005. The show is based on forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology, with each episode focusing on an FBI case file concerning the mystery behind human remains brought by FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) to the forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel). The rest of the cast includes Michaela Conlin, T. J. Thyne, Eric Millegan, Tamara Taylor, and John Francis Daley.

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Star Trek

Perhaps the most beloved humanist shows of their time are the Star Trek series. From its inception, Star Trek has portrayed religion in a neutral light. Rarely religious ceremonies appear in the original series, and when first instructing the writers for the initial show, Star Trek’s creator Gene Roddenberry (and noted humanist) insisted that every character was at least a functional atheist.

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House, M.D.

What list of humanist television shows would be complete without a discussion of Dr. Gregory House, the cane-wielding advocate of modern medicine? Often House’s dedication to reason and skepticism at any cost mean his team and patients are at the receiving end of very amusing tirades about irrationality and religion.

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The Mentalist

The CBS police procedural The Mentalist is a skeptic’s dream: an atheist masquerading as a psychic, using his powers of deduction and logic to solve whodunits and mysteries for the California Bureau of Investigation (not an actual law enforcement agency).

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Firefly

Joss Whedon has never been shy about expressing his views on religion. When asked by The Onion if there was a God, he offered, “No… absolutely not. That's a very important and necessary thing to learn.” In fact Whedon self-identifies as a humanist and received the 2009 Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism from the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy.

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The Wire

David Simon’s landmark television series The Wire is widely regarded as one of the best shows of all time. With each season investigating a different aspect of the city of Baltimore, The Wire is a text as dense and arresting as any novel, with layers upon layers of deep characterization, symbolic meaning, and emotional appeal.

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