Documentary & Biography TV Shows


About Documentary & Biography

The purpose of a TV documentary, as is probably obvious from the genre's name, is to document something. Documentaries are non-fiction programs that examine a subject closely, and the intent of the program may be broadly educational, or it may attempt to make a cultural or political point. Although the earliest TV programming was focused on entertainment, documentaries quickly became a significant part of TV programming overall, and now some of the most popular TV networks concentrate almost exclusively on non-fiction programs.

Documentary TV programming comes in a number of forms. Stand-alone documentary films explore one subject in depth in a single film or in a short series of episodes, while documentary series often look at a different subject in each episode, with no direct connection between the subjects from episode to episode. News-magazine-style shows may group multiple segments within each episode; the segments typically focus on unrelated subjects. Other types of documentary series-crime and paranormal series are currently popular-explore a different specific subject in each episode, but all of the subjects conform to the overall theme of the series.

Biography is a sub-genre of documentary programming that tells the story of a particular individual. Historical figures, political leaders, entertainers, sports figures and other celebrities are, of course, the most popular subjects of TV biographies, and biographical documentaries are consistently popular with TV viewers. In recent years, the series "Biography" was one of the most successful productions on the A&E cable network-so much so that the network spun the series off into its own channel, The Biography Channel, which debuted in 1999.

Much of the programming that fits into the reality TV genre could also fit fairly comfortably into the documentary genre. Reality series that follow characters as they engage in specific occupations or live in unusual contexts educate viewers about those occupations and lifestyles at the same time that they entertain-although the main goal of these series is entertainment, and factual accuracy may suffer as a consequence.

About This Genre
Black Love
Black Love
Being Serena
Being Serena
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Lockup
Lockup
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
Hustle & Soul
Hustle & Soul
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
Disappeared
Disappeared
Intervention
Intervention
American Experience
American Experience
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
River Monsters
River Monsters
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Deadly Sins
Deadly Sins
Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
See No Evil
See No Evil
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
Forbidden: Dying for Love
Forbidden: Dying for Love
Tessa And Scott
Tessa And Scott
I Shouldn't Be Alive
I Shouldn't Be Alive
Scorned: Love Kills
Scorned: Love Kills
America The Story of Us
America The Story of Us
Dateline
Dateline
NASA's Unexplained Files
NASA's Unexplained Files
Mayday
Mayday
Vice
Vice
Survivorman
Survivorman
Empires
Empires
Stalked: Someone's Watching
Stalked: Someone's Watching
Frontline
Frontline
Wicked Attraction
Wicked Attraction
Harley and the Davidsons
Harley and the Davidsons
American Masters
American Masters
Wild Life
Wild Life
Diesel Brothers
Diesel Brothers
How It's Made: Dream Cars
How It's Made: Dream Cars
Special Forces
Special Forces
Surviving Evil
Surviving Evil
How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works
Sensing Murder
Sensing Murder
Forbidden History
Forbidden History
Secrets of the Dead
Secrets of the Dead
The Perfect Murder
The Perfect Murder
Walking with Dinosaurs
Walking with Dinosaurs
Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine
Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine
Haunted History
Haunted History
CopyCat Killers
CopyCat Killers
Unmasking A Killer
Unmasking A Killer
It Was Him: The Many Murders of Ed Edwards
It Was Him: The Many Murders of Ed Edwards
I Survived
I Survived
Bering Sea Gold
Bering Sea Gold
Snapped
Snapped
The Cromarties
The Cromarties
Facing Evil
Facing Evil
Nature
Nature
Deadly Demands
Deadly Demands
The Skinny Dip
The Skinny Dip
House of Horrors: Kidnapped
House of Horrors: Kidnapped
Vietnam in HD
Vietnam in HD
Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Modern Marvels
Modern Marvels
Lore
Lore
Years of Living Dangerously
Years of Living Dangerously
Real Detective
Real Detective
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
Most Evil
Most Evil
This American Life
This American Life
Tabloid
Tabloid
FBI: Criminal Pursuit
FBI: Criminal Pursuit
Unexpected
Unexpected
How It's Made
How It's Made
The Staircase
The Staircase
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
Breaking Homicide
Breaking Homicide
Below Deck Mediterranean
Below Deck Mediterranean
Life Below Zero
Life Below Zero
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
American Gangster
American Gangster
Confessions: Animal Hoarding
Confessions: Animal Hoarding
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Dark Net
Dark Net
Global Voices
Global Voices
Sins & Secrets
Sins & Secrets
History Detectives
History Detectives
Cook's Country
Cook's Country
E.O. Wilson: Of Ants and Men
E.O. Wilson: Of Ants and Men
Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
Animal Fight Night
Animal Fight Night
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
Planet Earth
Planet Earth
Jeremy Wade's Mighty Rivers
Jeremy Wade's Mighty Rivers