Netflix’s ‘Abstract: The Art of Design’ tops October streaming

By Michael Foust
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist

Everyone has a talent though most of us weren’t born with the artistic skill to be designers for the world’s top companies.

These are the geniuses who design your car. And your shoes. And that incredible stage at the rock concert. They’re the people behind the scenes who make the world colorful and unique — and they’re always looking forward into the future. 

They also rarely get front-page publicity … until now.

The new Netflix documentary “Abstract: The Art of Design” probes the minds of the world’s top designers, examining the art, science and philosophy of their creations. 

Season 2, which just launched recently, includes six episodes featuring individuals such as Ruth E. Carter, who won an Oscar for her costume designs for “Black Panther,” and Jonathan Hoefler, who worked for the Obama campaign. 

If politics and movies aren’t your thing consider Season 1, which featured Tinker Hatfield, who designed Michael Jordan’s Nike shoes, and Es Devlin, who designed concert stages for U2. 

Exploring creativity

Each episode features an interview with the designer as well as friends and co-workers. It probes the reasons behind their designs — and how their creativity changed society forever. 

It is one of my favorite new documentaries even if it’s not fully family friendly. “Abstract” is rated TV-14 and includes minor language. But if you can overlook that one flaw you’ll be entertained and inspired — and perhaps even motivated to do a little creation yourself.

We serve a creative God who created humans to be creative. Abstract wonderfully demonstrates that truth. 

Also worth streaming: 

For children

  • “Carmen Sandiego,” Season 2 (Netflix) — The thief-turned-good girl continues her travels around the globe to stop the evil organization V.I.L.E. which is comprised of bad guys who want to steal. Along the way children learn about geography. Rated TV-Y7-FV. 
  • “The Beverlys” (Pureflix) — This musical comedy is aimed at children, tweens and teens and features Christian recording artist Jamie Grace — and plenty of goofy humor. The plot spotlights three orphaned girls taken in by a failed recording executive and dream of forming their own group. 

For adults/teens

  • “Tall Girl” (Netflix) — A high school girl gets bullied for her 6-foot-1-inch height but learns to be comfortable in her own skin. This Netflix original comedy has a few caveats — minor language and a few kissing scenes — but has a great message about beauty for today’s teens. It also has quirky “Napoleon Dynamite”-type comedy that had me laughing out loud. Rated TV-PG.
  • “Superman Returns” (Netflix) — Superman returns to earth after a five-year absence to learn the world is much different than when he left. But not everything is different: Lex Luthor is still on the loose. The film includes minor language, which you can cut out on Vudu’s new streaming service. Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence. 
  • “Amazing Grace” (Hulu) — It’s an inspirational trip back in time to 1972 when Aretha Franklin recorded a new album in front of an audience at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Michael Foust covers the intersection of faith and entertainment as a media reviewer for The Alabama Baptist. He also is the husband of an amazing wife and the father of four young children.