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TV Shows & Series: Best Documentaries TV Shows/Series

A documentary film or documentary is a non-fictional motion-picture intended to "document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record". Bill Nichols has characterised the documentary in terms of "a filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception [that remains] a practice without clear boundaries". Early documentary films, originally called "actuality films", lasted one minute or less. Over time, documentaries have evolved to become longer in length, and to include more categories; some examples being: educational, observational, and docufiction. Documentaries are very informative and are often used within schools, as a resource to teach various principles. Documentary filmmakers have a responsibility to be truthful to their vision of the world without intentionally misrepresenting a topic. Social-media platforms (such as YouTube) have provided an avenue for the growth of the documentary-film genre. These platforms have increased the distribution area and ease-of-accessibility; thereby enhancing the ability to educate a larger volume of viewers, and broadening the reach of persons who receive that information. ()

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2,858 TV shows/series found (page 1/96):

Seven Deadly Sins(2008-2009)

1h per episode | Documentary
3.9/5 (with 1,005 votes)

The series traces the history of the seven deadly sins, how they became part of religious doctrine, and looks at historical figures who have been the worst perpetrators of each. Each of the seven sins is explored, from their origins and nature, their opposing virtue, and their corresponding punishment.

The Last Dance(2020)

TV-MA
| 1h per episode | Documentary
4.1/5 (with 407 votes)

A 10-part documentary chronicling the untold story of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty with rare, never-before-seen footage and sound from the 1997-98 championship season – plus over 100 interviews with famous figures and basketball’s biggest names.

Planet Earth II(2016)

TV-G
| 4h 58min per episode | Documentary
4.2/5 (with 254 votes)

David Attenborough presents a documentary series exploring how animals meet the challenges of surviving in the most iconic habitats on earth.

Top Gear(2002-)

TV-PG
| 1h per episode | Documentary
3.7/5 (with 234 votes)

This fast-paced and stunt-filled motor show tests whether cars, both mundane and extraordinary, live up to their manufacturers' claims. The long-running show travels to locations around the world, performing extreme stunts and challenges to see what the featured cars are capable of doing. The current hosts are Paddy Mcguinness, Chris Harris and Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff.

The Grand Tour(2016-)

TV-14
| 1h per episode | Documentary, Talk-Show
3.9/5 (with 218 votes)

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are back with a show about adventure, excitement and friendship... as long as you accept that the people you call friends are also the ones you find extremely annoying. Sometimes it's even a show about cars. Follow them on their global adventure.

Nicky Jam: El Ganador(2018)

41min per episode | Drama
3.7/5 (with 210 votes)

Follow Reggaeton artist Nicky Jam's struggles to overcome drug addiction and rise to international success in this dramatization of his life story.

When They See Us(2019)

TV-MA
| 1h 15min per episode | Drama
4.1/5 (with 206 votes)

Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they're falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park.

Directed by Ava DuVernay

Hugo Chávez, El Comandante(2017)

50min per episode | Documentary, Drama
3.6/5 (with 170 votes)

The life of Hugo Chavez; from childhood, his arrival to power, confrontations, and loves to his last days as president.

Lore(2017-2018)

TV-14
| 40min per episode | Mystery, Drama, Documentary
3.5/5 (with 165 votes)

This anthology series brings to life Aaron Mahnke's “Lore” podcast and uncovers the real-life events that spawned our darkest nightmares. Blending dramatic scenes, animation, archive and narration, Lore reveals how our horror legends - such as vampires, werewolves and body snatchers - are rooted in truth.

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman(2016-2019)

45min per episode | Documentary
3.7/5 (with 147 votes)

Morgan Freeman presents his quest in order to find how most religions perceive life after death, what different civilizations thought about the act of creation and other big questions that mankind has continuously asked.

Haunted(2018-)

25min per episode | Documentary
3.6/5 (with 117 votes)

Real people sit down with friends and family to share terrifying true stories from their past, re-created through chilling re-enactments.

With Erika Guntherová, Eliska Krenková, Petra Bučková, Anna Kadeřávková, Vanda Chaloupková, Hana Baroňová, ...

Mars(2016-2018)

3.5/5 (with 117 votes)

The maiden crew of the Daedalus spacecraft must push itself to the brink of human capability in order to successfully establish the first sustainable colony on Mars. Set both in the future and in the present day, this series blends scripted elements set in the future with documentary vérité interviews with today’s best and brightest minds in modern science and innovation, illuminating how research and development is creating the space technology that will enable our first attempt at a mission to Mars.

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1000 Ways to Die(2009-2012)

30min per episode | Documentary, Reality-TV, Comedy, Drama
3.9/5 (with 115 votes)

The science of living and the randomness of death are combined with a dash of Darwinism. Forensic experts, pathologists, toxicologists, herpetologists, and other experts offer eloquent explanations of mortality.

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage(1980)

1h per episode | Documentary
4.2/5 (with 105 votes)

Carl Sagan covers a wide range of scientific subjects, including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe.

Directed by Adrian Malone - With Carl Sagan

Ancient Aliens(2010-)

TV-14
| 2h per episode | Documentary, Mystery
3.4/5 (with 91 votes)

Did intelligent beings from outer space visit Earth thousands of years ago? From the age of the dinosaurs to ancient Egypt, from early cave drawings to continued mass sightings in the US, each episode gives historic depth to the questions, speculations, provocative controversies, first-hand accounts and grounded theories surrounding this age old debate.

World War II In HD Colour(2009)

50min per episode | Documentary, Reality-TV, War & Politics
3.9/5 (with 89 votes)

World War II In HD Colour is a 13-episode television documentary miniseries recounting the events of World War II narrated by Robert Powell. The show covers the Western Front, Eastern Front, and the Pacific War. It is on syndication in America on the Military Channel. This series is in full color, combining both original and colorized footage.

Apocalypse: World War I(2014)

52min per episode | War & Politics, Documentary
3.8/5 (with 89 votes)

Colorized historical footage in ascending order of World War 1. Not only the relatively known Flanders and France battles, but also the generally unknown Italian-Austrian, German-Polish-Russian, Japanese-German, Ottoman Empire- Allied and African German Colonies, and other unknown or forgotten fronts and battles. Original French production retold in English for National Geographic channel as: World War 1: The Apocalypse.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes(2019)

TV-MA
| 1h per episode | Documentary, Crime
3.8/5 (with 83 votes)

A unique look inside the mind of an infamous serial killer with this cinematic self-portrait crafted from statements made by Ted Bundy, including present-day interviews, archival footage and audio recordings from death row.

Mayday(2003-)

45min per episode | Documentary, Drama
4.1/5 (with 77 votes)

Revealing the dark truth that aviation safety improves one crash at a time, Mayday investigates legendary aviation disasters to find out what went wrong and why.Based on cockpit voice recorders, accident reports and eyewitness accounts, every episode also features interviews, state-of-the-art CGI and gripping reenactments.

Ghost Adventures(2008-)

45min per episode | Reality-TV
4.0/5 (with 73 votes)

Paranormal investigator Zak Bagans and his crew, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin, search for haunted locations both domestically and internationally. During their investigations, Zak and crew acquaint themselves with the general area; interview locals about the hauntings; and go face-to-face with the evil spirits who reportedly haunt these locations.

An Idiot Abroad(2010-2012)

TV-MA
| 1h per episode | Comedy, Documentary
3.9/5 (with 71 votes)

An Idiot Abroad is a British travel documentary television series broadcast on Sky1 and Science, as well as spin-off books published by Canongate Books, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and starring Karl Pilkington. The ongoing theme of both the television series and the books is that Pilkington has no interest in global travel, so Merchant and Gervais make him travel while they stay in the United Kingdom and monitor his progress.

Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution(2005)

TV-MA
| 1h per episode | Documentary
3.8/5 (with 68 votes)

This documentary series tackles one of history's most horrifying subjects: the Holocaust and the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

Jackass(2000-2002)

TV-MA
| 25min per episode | Comedy
3.2/5 (with 61 votes)

Join sadomasochistic superheroes Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, and the rest of the Jackass crew as they terrorize your TV screens and everyone that gets in their way (especially themselves) with their own sick and twisted interpretation of physical entertainment. Their brand of pranks, goofball antics, and unabashed brutal comedy are sure to bring new meaning to the phrase "Don't Try This At Home!"

The Universe(2007-2015)

45min per episode | Documentary
4.0/5 (with 60 votes)

From the planets to the stars and out to the edge of the unknown, history and science collide in a wondrous yet deadly adventure through space and time.

With Alexei Filippenko

Our Planet(2019)

TV-G
| 50min per episode | Documentary
4.4/5 (with 58 votes)

Experience our planet's natural beauty and examine how climate change impacts all living creatures in this ambitious documentary of spectacular scope.

Human Planet(2011)

1h per episode | Documentary
4.2/5 (with 57 votes)

A cinematic experience bringing you the most amazing human stories in the world. Humans and wildlife surviving in the most extreme environments on Earth.

The Men Who Built America(2012)

2h per episode | Documentary
4.0/5 (with 57 votes)

Influential builders, dreamers and believers whose feats transformed the United States, a nation decaying from the inside after the Civil War, into the greatest economic and technological superpower the world had ever seen. The Men Who Built America is the story of a nation at the crossroads and of the people who catapulted it to prosperity.

Directed by Ruán Magan

The Curse of Oak Island(2014-)

TV-PG
| 43min per episode | Documentary, Mystery
3.8/5 (with 55 votes)

Follow brothers Marty and Rick Lagina through their effort to find the speculated - and as of yet undiscovered - buried treasure believed to have been concealed through extraordinary means on Oak Island.

Breaking the Magician's Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed(2008-2009)

TV-14
| 45min per episode | Documentary
3.9/5 (with 54 votes)

The Masked Magician returns to television to defy his fellow conjurers and disclose the tricks that have captivated audiences for centuries. Nowhere else has a magician dared to expose the secrets behind the world's most mystifying illusions.

Man vs. Wild(2006-2011)

3.5/5 (with 52 votes)

Bear strands himself in popular wilderness destinations where tourists often find themselves lost or in danger.

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