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
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
60 Minutes
60 Minutes
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
30 For 30
30 For 30
48 Hours Mystery
48 Hours Mystery
Autopsy
Autopsy
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Hard Knocks
Hard Knocks
20/20
20/20
Snapped
Snapped
Dateline
Dateline
Real Sex
Real Sex
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
Shark Week
Shark Week
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
River Monsters
River Monsters
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
The Vanishing Women
The Vanishing Women
My Crazy Ex
My Crazy Ex
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal
Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal
I Survived
I Survived
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing
Nightline
Nightline
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
How It's Made
How It's Made
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
Sex On//
Sex On//
Intervention
Intervention
Cook's Country
Cook's Country
The Hunt with John Walsh
The Hunt with John Walsh
The Eighties
The Eighties
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
Life Below Zero
Life Below Zero
Below Deck Mediterranean
Below Deck Mediterranean
A Football Life
A Football Life
Destination America Presents
Destination America Presents
Ride with Norman Reedus
Ride with Norman Reedus
Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal
Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal
Locked Up Abroad
Locked Up Abroad
All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals
All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals
Twisted
Twisted
Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
The FBI Files
The FBI Files
Killer Kids
Killer Kids
Paranormal State
Paranormal State
American Experience
American Experience
Dirty Jobs
Dirty Jobs
Nature
Nature
Destination Truth
Destination Truth
Investigation Discovery Specials
Investigation Discovery Specials
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
Disappeared
Disappeared
No Man Left Behind
No Man Left Behind
Apocalypse: WWI
Apocalypse: WWI
Alaska State Troopers
Alaska State Troopers
Our Night Sky
Our Night Sky
Indie Sex
Indie Sex
Good Eats
Good Eats
I Am Homicide
I Am Homicide
Nellyville
Nellyville
Dr. G: Medical Examiner
Dr. G: Medical Examiner
Planet Earth
Planet Earth
Taboo
Taboo
Vice
Vice
The World At War
The World At War
Gangsters: America's Most Evil
Gangsters: America's Most Evil
American Gangster
American Gangster
Mighty Ships
Mighty Ships
Car Matchmaker
Car Matchmaker
Ice Road Truckers
Ice Road Truckers
D.B. Cooper: Case Closed?
D.B. Cooper: Case Closed?
Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole
The Devils Ride
The Devils Ride
American Masters
American Masters
Animal Fight Night
Animal Fight Night
What on Earth?
What on Earth?
Slednecks
Slednecks
I Am Cait
I Am Cait
Strange Sex
Strange Sex
Surviving Disaster
Surviving Disaster
Lost Tapes
Lost Tapes
Frontline
Frontline
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Unwrapped
Unwrapped
Most Evil
Most Evil
Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files
Bering Sea Gold
Bering Sea Gold
Modern Marvels
Modern Marvels
Unsealed: Alien Files
Unsealed: Alien Files
Survivorman
Survivorman
Secret Lives of Women
Secret Lives of Women
Making a Murderer
Making a Murderer
Livin' Lozada
Livin' Lozada
Ghost Hunters International
Ghost Hunters International