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
Harley and the Davidsons
Harley and the Davidsons
60 Minutes
60 Minutes
Hard Knocks
Hard Knocks
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
20/20
20/20
48 Hours Mystery
48 Hours Mystery
Dateline
Dateline
Real Sex
Real Sex
A Football Life
A Football Life
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal
Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal
Snapped
Snapped
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
30 For 30
30 For 30
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
River Monsters
River Monsters
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
I Survived
I Survived
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
Autopsy
Autopsy
Sex On//
Sex On//
Intervention
Intervention
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
Taboo
Taboo
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
Nightline
Nightline
Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole
Cook's Country
Cook's Country
Indie Sex
Indie Sex
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
How It's Made
How It's Made
My Crazy Ex
My Crazy Ex
Sexo Urbano
Sexo Urbano
Ice Road Truckers
Ice Road Truckers
American Experience
American Experience
Killer Kids
Killer Kids
Nellyville
Nellyville
Bering Sea Gold
Bering Sea Gold
American Gangster
American Gangster
NASA's Unexplained Files
NASA's Unexplained Files
Locked Up Abroad
Locked Up Abroad
Gangland
Gangland
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
Diesel Brothers
Diesel Brothers
Shark Week
Shark Week
The FBI Files
The FBI Files
Planet Earth
Planet Earth
Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing
Destination Truth
Destination Truth
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
The Staircase
The Staircase
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks
Dirty Jobs
Dirty Jobs
Nightmare Next Door
Nightmare Next Door
Survivorman
Survivorman
Making a Murderer
Making a Murderer
'Til Death Do Us Part
'Til Death Do Us Part
Animal Fight Night
Animal Fight Night
Disappeared
Disappeared
Mighty Ships
Mighty Ships
Vice
Vice
Investigation Discovery Specials
Investigation Discovery Specials
Evil Twins
Evil Twins
Unsealed: Alien Files
Unsealed: Alien Files
Giada in Italy
Giada in Italy
The Devils Ride
The Devils Ride
Unlocking the Truth
Unlocking the Truth
The Vanishing Women
The Vanishing Women
A Chef's Life
A Chef's Life
America The Story of Us
America The Story of Us
Alien Encounters
Alien Encounters
Deadly Sins
Deadly Sins
War Stories with Oliver North
War Stories with Oliver North
How It's Made: Dream Cars
How It's Made: Dream Cars
The Hunt with John Walsh
The Hunt with John Walsh
National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel
Frontline
Frontline
Car Matchmaker
Car Matchmaker
Gaycation
Gaycation
Ghostly Encounters
Ghostly Encounters
How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files
The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter
Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson
Million Dollar American Princesses
Million Dollar American Princesses
Diagnose Me
Diagnose Me
Tornado Chasers
Tornado Chasers
The Most Extreme
The Most Extreme
Strange Sex
Strange Sex
Building Alaska
Building Alaska
Xploration Earth 2050
Xploration Earth 2050
Crime 360
Crime 360
Stalked: Someone's Watching
Stalked: Someone's Watching
Snapped: She Made Me Do It
Snapped: She Made Me Do It