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TV Shows & Series: Best Documentaries TV Shows/Series

A documentary film 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. 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
4.0/5 (with 531 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 320 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
| 50min per episode | Documentary
4.2/5 (with 230 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 215 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-MA
| 1h per episode | Documentary, Talk-Show
3.9/5 (with 191 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.

When They See Us(2019)

TV-MA
| 1h 15min per episode | Drama
4.2/5 (with 164 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

Lore(2017-2018)

TV-14
| 40min per episode | Mystery, Drama, Documentary
3.5/5 (with 139 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 123 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.

Mars(2016-2018)

3.4/5 (with 106 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.

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage(1980)

1h per episode | Documentary
4.2/5 (with 98 votes)

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan as presenter. It was executive-produced by Adrian Malone, produced by David Kennard, Geoffrey Haines-Stiles and Gregory Andorfer, and directed by the producers, David Oyster, Richard Wells, Tom Weidlinger, and others. It covered 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

Nicky Jam: El Ganador(2018)

41min per episode | Drama
3.8/5 (with 92 votes)

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

Ancient Aliens(2010-)

TV-14
| 2h per episode | Documentary, Mystery
3.4/5 (with 84 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.

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Haunted(2018-)

25min per episode | Reality-TV, Documentary
3.6/5 (with 81 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, Eliška Křenková, Petra Bučková, Anna Kadeřávková, Vanda Chaloupková, Hana Baroňová, ...

World War II In HD Colour(2009)

50min per episode | Documentary, Reality-TV, War & Politics
3.9/5 (with 70 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.

Mayday(2003-)

45min per episode | Documentary, Drama
4.0/5 (with 69 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-)

3.9/5 (with 66 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 65 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
3.7/5 (with 59 votes)

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

Human Planet(2011)

1h per episode | Documentary
4.2/5 (with 52 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 Curse of Oak Island(2014-)

TV-PG
| 43min per episode | Mystery, Documentary
3.9/5 (with 50 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.

Jackass(2000-2002)

TV-MA
| 30min per episode | Reality-TV, Comedy, Documentary
3.0/5 (with 49 votes)

Jackass is an American reality series, originally shown on MTV from 2000 to 2002, featuring people performing various dangerous, crude self-injuring stunts and pranks. The show served as a launchpad for the television and acting careers of Bam Margera, Steve-O, and also Johnny Knoxville, who previously had only a few minor acting roles. Since 2002, three Jackass films have been produced and released by MTV corporate sibling Paramount Pictures, continuing the franchise after its run on television. The show sparked several spin-offs including Viva La Bam, Wildboyz, Homewrecker, Dr. Steve-O and Blastazoid. The show placed #68 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list.

With Johnny Knoxville

Apocalypse: World War I(2014)

50min per episode | War & Politics, Documentary
3.8/5 (with 49 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.

The Universe(2007-2015)

45min per episode | Documentary
4.0/5 (with 49 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

Hugo Chávez, El Comandante(2017-)

50min per episode | Documentary, Drama
3.6/5 (with 46 votes)

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

Man vs. Wild(2006-2011)

3.5/5 (with 46 votes)

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

With Bear Grylls

Our Planet(2019)

TV-G
| 50min per episode | Documentary
4.5/5 (with 45 votes)

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

Directed by Alastair Fothergill - With David Attenborough

Dirty Money(2018-)

TV-14
| 1h 15min per episode | Crime, Documentary
3.6/5 (with 45 votes)

From crippling payday loans to cars that cheat emissions tests, this investigative series exposes brazen acts of corporate greed and corruption.

The World at War(1973-1974)

1h per episode | Documentary
4.2/5 (with 43 votes)

A documentary series that gives a historical account of the events of World War II, from its roots in the 1920s to the aftermath and the lives it profoundly influenced.

Through The Wormhole(2010-2017)

44min per episode | Documentary
3.9/5 (with 41 votes)

Hosted by Morgan Freeman, Through the Wormhole explores the deepest mysteries of existence - the questions that have puzzled mankind for eternity. What are we made of? What was there before the beginning? Are we really alone? Is there a creator? These questions have been pondered by the most exquisite minds of the human race. Now, science has evolved to the point where hard facts and evidence may be able to provide us with answers instead of philosophical theories. Through the Wormhole brings together the brightest minds and best ideas from the very edges of science - Astrophysics, Astrobiology, Quantum Mechanics, String Theory, and more - to reveal the extraordinary truth of our Universe.

How It's Made(2001-)

30min per episode | Documentary
3.8/5 (with 38 votes)

Have you ever wondered how the products you use every day are made? How It's Made leads you through the process of how everyday products, such as apple juice, skateboards, engines, contact lenses, and many more objects are manufactured.

With Mark Tewksbury
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