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
Real Sex
Real Sex
Empires
Empires
Nightline
Nightline
30 For 30
30 For 30
Dateline
Dateline
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Sexo Urbano
Sexo Urbano
Sex On//
Sex On//
River Monsters
River Monsters
The Eighties
The Eighties
48 Hours Mystery
48 Hours Mystery
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
20/20
20/20
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
Snapped
Snapped
Autopsy
Autopsy
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Intervention
Intervention
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
Vice
Vice
Gangsters: America's Most Evil
Gangsters: America's Most Evil
I Survived
I Survived
How It's Made
How It's Made
Storm Chasers
Storm Chasers
Shark Week
Shark Week
Cook's Country
Cook's Country
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Bering Sea Gold
Bering Sea Gold
Life Below Zero
Life Below Zero
A Football Life
A Football Life
Nature
Nature
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
My Crazy Ex
My Crazy Ex
Survivorman
Survivorman
Planet Earth
Planet Earth
When Sharks Attack
When Sharks Attack
Building Alaska
Building Alaska
Taboo
Taboo
Disappeared
Disappeared
Indie Sex
Indie Sex
Locked Up Abroad
Locked Up Abroad
Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal
Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal
Lost Tapes
Lost Tapes
Tornado Chasers
Tornado Chasers
American Gangster
American Gangster
The Sixties
The Sixties
American Masters
American Masters
The Staircase
The Staircase
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
This American Life
This American Life
Investigation Discovery Specials
Investigation Discovery Specials
Frontline
Frontline
Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole
Dr. G: Medical Examiner
Dr. G: Medical Examiner
American Experience
American Experience
Mighty Ships
Mighty Ships
Paranormal State
Paranormal State
Diagnose Me
Diagnose Me
Genealogy Roadshow
Genealogy Roadshow
The FBI Files
The FBI Files
The Universe
The Universe
America The Story of Us
America The Story of Us
Nellyville
Nellyville
Port Protection
Port Protection
Evil Twins
Evil Twins
Lockup
Lockup
What on Earth?
What on Earth?
After The First 48
After The First 48
Ken Burns: The National Parks - America's Best Idea
Ken Burns: The National Parks - America's Best Idea
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
Million Dollar American Princesses
Million Dollar American Princesses
Dirty Jobs
Dirty Jobs
Killer Kids
Killer Kids
Modern Marvels
Modern Marvels
Secrets of the Dead
Secrets of the Dead
Strange Sex
Strange Sex
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Ice Road Truckers
Ice Road Truckers
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet
Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson
How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works
Dogs with Jobs
Dogs with Jobs
Monkey Life
Monkey Life
The Ghost Inside My Child
The Ghost Inside My Child
Secret Lives of the Super Rich
Secret Lives of the Super Rich
Animal Fight Night
Animal Fight Night
Unwrapped
Unwrapped
Gangland
Gangland
WWE The Attitude Era
WWE The Attitude Era
I Am Cait
I Am Cait
Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files
Diesel Brothers
Diesel Brothers
POV
POV
Doomsday Preppers
Doomsday Preppers