Heartwarming Netflix Documentary Goes Behind The Scenes Of The Most Wholesome Show

By Jacob VanGundy | Updated

Butterfly in the Sky, a documentary about the making and legacy of Reading Rainbow, is now available to stream on Netflix. The documentary gives audiences a behind-the-scenes view of Reading Rainbow, approaching its subject from a place of appreciation and fandom. After its film festival premiere and a limited theatrical run, this is the first time the documentary has been made available through a streaming subscription.

The Theme Song Is Stuck In Your Head

Created by directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb, Butterfly in the Sky is meant to give audiences a better understanding of Reading Rainbow’s production and celebrate the show. It uses archival footage from the making of the show to let audiences understand what it was like on the set of the show. The documentary also features interviews with people involved in the making of Reading Rainbow like host LeVar Burton and co-creator Twila Liggett. 

LeVar Burton’s Impact On Literature Can Not Be Overestimated

Butterfly in the Sky is getting nothing but praise, being described as a heartwarming documentary about a beloved and undercelebrated children’s show. The documentary currently has a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes among critics, while the audience score is unavailable. It came out of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival with enough buzz to get its theatrical release, and now it’s been released on Netflix.

One of Butterfly in the Sky’s biggest proponents has been LeVar Burton, the host of Reading Rainbow and a celebrated actor. In addition to hosting the PBS show for decades, Burton is best known for his roles as Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Kunta Kinte on Roots. Burton has praised the documentary, saying that seeing it gave him “a warm, fuzzy feeling.” 

A Ground-Breaking Children’s Show

levar burton

Reading Rainbow was a PBS children’s show designed to encourage kids to read, and it became a pop culture phenomenon. With a memorable opening theme song, which Butterfly in the Sky takes its name from, and host LeVar Burton, the show imprinted on kids around the country. Reading Rainbow ran from 1983 to 2006, making it a multi-generational phenomenon with a wide range of fans. 

Despite going off the air in 2006, Reading Rainbow has remained a relevant part of popular culture, giving Butterfly in the Sky a sense of modern relevance.

Part Of The Pop Culture Landscape

One notable example of the show’s continued relevance is the episode of Community in which Donald Glover’s character meets LeVar Burton and is so overwhelmed by emotion that he ends up crying and singing the Reading Rainbow theme song to himself. The show’s spirit also lives on in LeVar Burton Reads, the host’s podcast, where he reads literature and talks about his feelings about the books he’s reading. 

Available On Netflix

reading rainbow levar burton

In celebrating a wholesome, beloved show that was meaningful to multiple generations of children, Butterfly in the Sky is a documentary that will awaken nostalgic memories for Reading Rainbow’s now-adult audience.

For many fans, just seeing LeVar Burton reflect on the show is enough to warrant watching the documentary, but the archival footage and other interviews are sure to delight as well. Butterfly in the Sky is available on Netflix for anyone who wants an in-depth look back on one of TV’s most heartfelt shows.