This week, I am recommending one Commuter Safe option and two NSFC (Not Safe for Commuting) options

If you remember my rules, I tend to watch shows on the train that won’t make bystanders nervous: no nudity and no graphic violence. Over the last few weeks, streaming platforms delivered some quality shows, but they fell into the “Can’t Watch on the Train” category (rebranded to NSFC). But you still need to watch them!

So this week, I’ve got one safe option and two NSFC options for you:

  • The Subtle Knife (Book)
  • The Boys (Prime Video)
  • Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

Safe Option: The Subtle Knife

You might be surprised to see this book in the “Safe Option” section, especially when we quickly found out Northern Lights was not a kid’s book. After reading the first chapter of The Subtle Knife, Sir Pullman continues his story of child endangerment, murder, and witches. So why is this considered safe?

On the train I see many commuters glance over at iPads and laptops (guilty), but I don’t see many glancing at books. Even though the book is definitely not a kid’s book, you can feel safe knowing your readings will be safe from wandering eyes. If you happen to have an Audible subscription, like I do, you can just listen along, and folks are none the wiser.

When book one ended, Lyra and Pan decided to follow their father into a new world. We were left feeling dread and excitement, and hopefully the first four chapters are as good as the last four in Northern Lights. I will be reading the first four chapters, and I hope you do too!

Stream If…

You want to keep up with A Pod Has No Name, you want to visit other worlds, and you don’t mind murders.

Skip If…

You haven’t finished Northern Lights or you don’t have access to the book.

NSFC Options: The Boys & Handmaid’s Tale

The Boys (Prime Video)

True story: last Friday, I downloaded the first two episodes for my commute, and every single FCC rating popped up when I fired up Episode 1. I knew the theme of the show (What if Superheroes weren’t so heroic?) and I knew one of the characters accidentally runs through a girl (high comedy), but I was not expecting the “RP” description.

The Boys Ratings

It was clear, this won’t be an MCU movie. It is a very graphic alternative reality, where real consequences occur in a world with superheroes. After watching all eight episodes, I felt the series was too short. I really enjoyed seeing the depravity in Supers, trying to figure out if Homelander (think Superman from Injustice: Gods Among Us) is good or bad, and the interactions between The Boys.

Stream If…

You want to see an NC-17 Superhero Show, you want to see a Dolphin Heist, and you don’t mind murders.

Skip If…

You like your Superheroes acting heroic or don’t have access to Prime Video.

Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

Full disclosure, I have not watched a minute of this show, but my wife has. It moves to the NSFC category due to the themes and content the show depicts. While I don’t shy from that, and you shouldn’t either, I just don’t get to watch a lot of TV at home. So I try to be courteous on my commute because the show might offend others, and that is my only excuse for missing this gem. If you need a full analysis on the book/show, head to The Literate

Here’s what I know about the plot: In a dystopian future, not everyone can have children, and those that do become birth slaves. For instance, the main character Offred literally means “Of Fred.” The wife tells me, not every country treats women in this fashion, Canada continues to be a beacon of hope, but the USA does.

That’s the main reason I’m recommending the show. The science is real, and the overreaction is also real.

birthrate declines
Click for full article (Source: CDC)

A recent CDC article shows the birthrate in the US continues to decline. If the wealth gap continues to increase, it is very possible Handmaid’s Tale moves from science-fiction right to non-fiction.

Stream If…

You have Hulu, you want to learn to be better, and you don’t mind murders.

Skip If…

You don’t have access to Hulu.

Next week…

Hobbs & Shaw arrives in theaters this Friday, so I’ll probably do a rewatch of the entire Fast & Furious franchise. I also might stream Season 4 of Veronica Mars on Hulu. Either way, August looks like another month of quality content for your commute.

If you have other suggestions, music, TV, film, any thing, reach out @CultureTPL