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Disability and Health-Related Shows and Movies Coming to Streaming Services This November

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As a person who has multiple health issues and chronic conditions, it can sometimes be difficult to find things to watch that are engaging and relatable. It’s not often people with health conditions or disabilities have their stories told. Sometimes I look to fantasy and science fiction to find themes related to disability or the feelings I experience with physical and mental health issues. Sometimes a quality show is a “real world” story. Streaming services in November have a few items coming out addressing themes relating to disability or chronic conditions.

While a couple may directly address specific issues such as Alzheimer’s disease or autism through fiction, others offer themes that align with disability, have actively recruited cast, crew and consultants with lived experience or involve people telling their own true stories. Here are five that are streaming in November. What are some TV shows or movies that speak to you and your health?

1. ‘Atypical’ Season 3

“Atypical” is about 18-year-old Sam, who is autistic. The show mostly revolves around Sam’s efforts to connect and understand people around him, including potential romantic interests. His mother, father and sister are also involved in his life and provide both support and complications as he strives to become independent as a young autistic adult. “Atypical” has had a mostly positive response. Some inaccuracies of the portrayal of autism have been identified and in response, last year the show recruited several new autistic cast members to be involved in the production. 

Where you can watch: “Atypical” Season 3 premiers on Netflix November 1.

You might be interested in watching if: You are autistic or part of the autism community; you are interested in production and entertainment that involves lived experience; you are a younger adult. 

2. ‘See’

“See” is set on a future Earth where generations of humans have lost the ability to see until two newborns are born with vision. The story follows a struggle over the interpretation of the regained ability of sight and what it may or may not mean for the population of the Earth. According to Apple, the production actively recruited cast, crew and consultants who are blind and have low vision to work on the show. It may be difficult to watch because of the challenging narrative, but also might prompt discussions regarding definitions of disability and value of experience.  

Where you can watch: “See” premiers on Apple TV+ on November 1.

You might be interested in watching if: You are interested in involvement of lived experience in entertainment and production; you are interested in dystopias and fantasy genres. 

2. ‘Head Full of Honey’

“Head Full of Honey” is a 2018 movie about Amadeus. He is a grandfather and widower who starts to have difficulty thinking and remembering his family and his life. His granddaughter demonstrates closeness and patience as her grandfather becomes increasingly ill.

Where you can watch: “Head Full of Honey” is available on HBO starting November 2.

You might be interested in watching if: You want to understand more about the personal experience of cognitive difficulties and aging; you value connection as healing.

4. ‘The Man Without Gravity’

“The Man Without Gravity” is a movie with a fantastic plot that parallels some real-world situations and fears. A boy is born and immediately begins floating to the ceiling. Somehow, this child is not affected by gravity. The movie follows him to adulthood and covers themes of physical difference, uniqueness, fear of being different and need for human connection. It’s an Italian film, but Netflix offers subtitles. 

Where you can watch: “The Man Without Gravity” will be on Netflix November 1.

You might be interested in watching if: You enjoy fantasy; you look for themes in common with disability or social disability issues; you want to see a story about connection; you don’t mind subtitles or dubbed audio.

 5. ‘Marvel’s Hero Project’

“Marvel’s Hero Project” is an effort to give recognition to young people doing great things. Each episode is its own story, and out of each story comes a comic celebrating and honoring that story. While not all of the episodes center around those with health conditions or disabilities, some do. This is the first season. There’s potential for these real stories to be used as some sort of singular inspirational piece rather than as a full story with depth and dimension. However, comics are often catalysts for social conversation and tell stories and push narratives that other arenas do not. These kids deserve to be recognized for the accomplishments they worked hard to achieve. As the season unfolds, hopefully the show will do just that.

Where you can watch: “Marvel’s Hero Project” will premiere on Disney+ on November 12

You might be interested in watching if: You like comics; you enjoy watching recognition and accomplishments; you want to see personal stories; you want something to watch with the kids.

Which TV shows and movies are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.

Originally published: October 31, 2019
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