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
60 Minutes
60 Minutes
30 For 30
30 For 30
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Dateline
Dateline
20/20
20/20
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
River Monsters
River Monsters
The Eighties
The Eighties
Autopsy
Autopsy
48 Hours Mystery
48 Hours Mystery
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
Real Sex
Real Sex
Snapped
Snapped
Nightline
Nightline
Genealogy Roadshow
Genealogy Roadshow
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
How It's Made
How It's Made
My Crazy Ex
My Crazy Ex
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
A Football Life
A Football Life
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
Disappeared
Disappeared
Taboo
Taboo
Hard Knocks
Hard Knocks
I Survived
I Survived
Shark Week
Shark Week
Life Below Zero
Life Below Zero
Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal
Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal
When Sharks Attack
When Sharks Attack
Empires
Empires
Cook's Country
Cook's Country
Sexo Urbano
Sexo Urbano
Intervention
Intervention
Indie Sex
Indie Sex
American Gangster
American Gangster
Nellyville
Nellyville
Gangland
Gangland
Ice Road Truckers
Ice Road Truckers
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
The Hunt with John Walsh
The Hunt with John Walsh
Twisted
Twisted
One Born Every Minute
One Born Every Minute
Locked Up Abroad
Locked Up Abroad
Survivorman
Survivorman
Destination Truth
Destination Truth
Planet Earth
Planet Earth
Platinum Weddings
Platinum Weddings
Diesel Brothers
Diesel Brothers
WWE The Attitude Era
WWE The Attitude Era
Investigation Discovery Specials
Investigation Discovery Specials
PBS Specials
PBS Specials
Unsealed: Alien Files
Unsealed: Alien Files
Destination America Presents
Destination America Presents
Race for the White House
Race for the White House
Bering Sea Gold
Bering Sea Gold
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
Good Eats
Good Eats
Scorned: Love Kills
Scorned: Love Kills
I Shouldn't Be Alive
I Shouldn't Be Alive
America The Story of Us
America The Story of Us
Vice
Vice
Hunting Hitler
Hunting Hitler
Alaska State Troopers
Alaska State Troopers
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
American Experience
American Experience
The Universe
The Universe
Dirty Jobs
Dirty Jobs
Frontline
Frontline
Below Deck Mediterranean
Below Deck Mediterranean
The Sixties
The Sixties
I Am Cait
I Am Cait
Nature
Nature
The FBI Files
The FBI Files
Making a Murderer
Making a Murderer
Meerkat Manor
Meerkat Manor
Deadly Affairs
Deadly Affairs
What on Earth?
What on Earth?
How It Works
How It Works
Wives with Knives
Wives with Knives
The Ghost Inside My Child
The Ghost Inside My Child
Animal Fight Night
Animal Fight Night
United Shades of America
United Shades of America
Killer Kids
Killer Kids
The Devils Ride
The Devils Ride
Port Protection
Port Protection
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
A Chef's Life
A Chef's Life
American Masters
American Masters
The Staircase
The Staircase
Extreme Ghost Stories
Extreme Ghost Stories
Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole
Haunted History
Haunted History
Human Weapon
Human Weapon