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
Sex On//
Sex On//
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
Real Sex
Real Sex
Autopsy
Autopsy
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
Nature
Nature
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
American Experience
American Experience
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
The FBI Files
The FBI Files
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Haunted History
Haunted History
Empires
Empires
20/20
20/20
Taboo
Taboo
A Football Life
A Football Life
Dateline
Dateline
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
48 Hours Mystery
48 Hours Mystery
American Masters
American Masters
America The Story of Us
America The Story of Us
Snapped
Snapped
The War: A Ken Burns Film
The War: A Ken Burns Film
Killing Fields
Killing Fields
30 For 30
30 For 30
Beyond
Beyond
Diesel Brothers
Diesel Brothers
Lockup
Lockup
Secrets of the Dead
Secrets of the Dead
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Inside the NFL
Inside the NFL
Nightline
Nightline
Sexo Urbano
Sexo Urbano
Intervention
Intervention
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
Harley and the Davidsons
Harley and the Davidsons
River Monsters
River Monsters
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
How It's Made
How It's Made
Strange Sex
Strange Sex
Gangsters: America's Most Evil
Gangsters: America's Most Evil
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
NASA's Unexplained Files
NASA's Unexplained Files
Xploration Earth 2050
Xploration Earth 2050
Most Evil
Most Evil
I Survived
I Survived
Vice
Vice
Close Encounters
Close Encounters
Years of Living Dangerously
Years of Living Dangerously
The Real Story
The Real Story
Alien Encounters
Alien Encounters
Life Below Zero
Life Below Zero
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
MARS
MARS
Frontline
Frontline
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
Real Ghosts
Real Ghosts
Theater
Theater
Hunting Hitler
Hunting Hitler
The Case Of: JonBen
The Case Of: JonBen
I Shouldn't Be Alive
I Shouldn't Be Alive
A Season With
A Season With
Indie Sex
Indie Sex
Evil Twins
Evil Twins
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
World of Discovery
World of Discovery
Destination Truth
Destination Truth
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Planet Earth
Planet Earth
Survivorman
Survivorman
Legend of Croc Gold
Legend of Croc Gold
A Chef's Life
A Chef's Life
Lost Tapes
Lost Tapes
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal
Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal
Shark Week
Shark Week
Dirty Jobs
Dirty Jobs
Modern Marvels
Modern Marvels
Kindred Spirits
Kindred Spirits
Making a Murderer
Making a Murderer
Meerkat Manor
Meerkat Manor
Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files
My Crazy Ex
My Crazy Ex
Wives with Knives
Wives with Knives
Naked and Afraid: Uncensored
Naked and Afraid: Uncensored
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
Locked Up Abroad
Locked Up Abroad
Gangland
Gangland
Great Performances
Great Performances
Ride with Norman Reedus
Ride with Norman Reedus
Storm Chasers
Storm Chasers
American Gangster
American Gangster
Platinum Weddings
Platinum Weddings
What on Earth?
What on Earth?
Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole
One Born Every Minute
One Born Every Minute
Killer Kids
Killer Kids
Snapped: She Made Me Do It
Snapped: She Made Me Do It