Alvin J Parmassar recommends the 3 best documentaries of 2021 (so far)

Scrolling through any streaming app unlocks an overwhelming number of choices. Yet, it still somehow feels like there’s nothing on. Filmmaker Alvin J Parmassar can help narrow down the list. Overseeing more than 14 documentaries during his career, the industry veteran believes binging can still be insightful and informative. Don’t sit idle on the couch.

Instead of re-watching that sitcom for the ninth time, Alvin J Parmassar recommends one of these three recently-released documentaries.

True crime junkies will be addicted to Murder Among the Mormons. Since its release on March 3, the three-episode series has left viewers hanging on every twist and turn. The docuseries explores a string of deadly bombings in Utah during 1985. The story chronicles a set of historical documents and the length a con man will go to try to cover for his ruse. The elaborate scheme embroiled the Church of Latter Day Saints. Known as a compelling interviewer himself, Alvin J Parmassar lauds the series for its mix of archival footage with present-day interviews. He recommends viewing with as little background knowledge as possible. Just sit back and let the mystery unravel. Murder Among the Mormons is currently streaming on Netflix.

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is the stroll down memory lane most have been craving. It piggybacks off the 2018 Mister Roger’s documentary, capturing the nostalgia that has permeated into all aspects of our culture. Inspired by the Michael Davis book, this film highlights the history of the beloved children’s show through the writer, artists, and educators who helped create it. Behind-the-scenes footage reveals how these visionaries collaborated and defied boundaries to produce the groundbreaking program. In addition to being informative, the documentary is both touching and endearing. Although it debuted at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and is currently in theaters, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street will be available as video on demand starting May 7, 2021.

MLK/FBI is a sobering examination of the civil rights movement that is both historical and timely. Directed by award-winner Sam Pollard, the documentary exposes J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI’s effort to spy on Martin Luther King, Jr. Labeling the civil rights leader as a threat to national security, Hoover’s infatuation with King illuminates a larger narrative of racism that was ingrained in the 1960s and still exists today. This film exposes and confronts these issues head on. Specifically, the narrative examines how law enforcement used propaganda to actively slow progress. Released for rental through Amazon Prime on January 15, MLK/FBI isn’t just about the past. As Alvin J Parmassar points out, this film is a startling reminder that the same issues have persisted in U.S. society for decades. And, this has been resonating with audiences and critics. It has received a near-perfect 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.