Documentary & Biography TV Shows

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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
On The Run Tour: Beyonce and Jay Z
On The Run Tour: Beyonce and Jay Z
60 Minutes
60 Minutes
48 Hours Mystery
48 Hours Mystery
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History
Dateline
Dateline
20/20
20/20
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Intervention
Intervention
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Snapped
Snapped
Top 100 Hip Hop Hits
Top 100 Hip Hop Hits
Killer Kids
Killer Kids
PBS Specials
PBS Specials
Hard Knocks
Hard Knocks
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
Shark Week
Shark Week
Nightline
Nightline
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
The Ghost Inside My Child
The Ghost Inside My Child
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
I Survived
I Survived
Ice Road Truckers
Ice Road Truckers
A Football Life
A Football Life
America The Story of Us
America The Story of Us
Fight Girls
Fight Girls
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Tsunami: Caught on Camera
Tsunami: Caught on Camera
Lindsay
Lindsay
Destination Truth
Destination Truth
American Hoggers
American Hoggers
Deadly Affairs
Deadly Affairs
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Frontline
Frontline
Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files
Hairy Women
Hairy Women
How It's Made
How It's Made
Nature
Nature
Dirty Jobs
Dirty Jobs
American Experience
American Experience
Life Below Zero
Life Below Zero
Virgin Territory
Virgin Territory
Bering Sea Gold
Bering Sea Gold
National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel
After The First 48
After The First 48
River Monsters
River Monsters
Disappeared
Disappeared
The FBI Files
The FBI Files
Latino Americans
Latino Americans
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
Twisted
Twisted
Earthflight
Earthflight
Crime 360
Crime 360
One Born Every Minute
One Born Every Minute
Dr. G: Medical Examiner
Dr. G: Medical Examiner
American Gangster
American Gangster
The Story Of The Jews
The Story Of The Jews
Tai Chi for Arthritis: 12 Lessons with Dr Paul Lam
Tai Chi for Arthritis: 12 Lessons with Dr Paul Lam
Red Rock Serenade
Red Rock Serenade
Secrets of the Dead
Secrets of the Dead
The Devils Ride
The Devils Ride
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
Mighty Ships
Mighty Ships
Locked Up Abroad
Locked Up Abroad
A Chef's Life
A Chef's Life
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
Alaska State Troopers
Alaska State Troopers
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
Taboo
Taboo
Lockup: Raw
Lockup: Raw
NOVA scienceNOW
NOVA scienceNOW
Bear Attack!
Bear Attack!
Ultimate Survival Alaska
Ultimate Survival Alaska
Evil Twins
Evil Twins
Apocalypse: WWI
Apocalypse: WWI
Through Deaf Eyes
Through Deaf Eyes
Nightmare Next Door
Nightmare Next Door
American Masters
American Masters
VICE News
VICE News
Doomsday Preppers
Doomsday Preppers
Killing bin Laden
Killing bin Laden
Unsealed: Alien Files
Unsealed: Alien Files
Real Ghosts
Real Ghosts
Planet Earth
Planet Earth
POV
POV
Surviving Disaster
Surviving Disaster
Great Performances
Great Performances
Lockdown
Lockdown
Lottery Changed My Life
Lottery Changed My Life
Monsterquest
Monsterquest
Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole
Good Eats
Good Eats
Lockup
Lockup
Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal
Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal
Survivorman
Survivorman
History Detectives
History Detectives
Metal Evolution
Metal Evolution