Watch Documentary Now!
- 4 Seasons
Documentary Now! is an American mockumentary television series that first aired on IFC in August 2015. The show is a parody of popular documentaries, with each episode being a spoof of a famous documentary, reimagined with a comedic twist. The show features a rotating cast of hosts, including Helen Mirren, who introduces each episode with a straight-faced dedication to the subject matter. The other main cast members are Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, who play various characters in each episode. Each episode is created as a standalone parody, allowing viewers to pick and choose which subjects interest them most. The show has covered a broad range of topics, including cults, politics, music, and wildlife. The humor of Documentary Now! is often derived from mocking the earnestness of the documentary form, playing with conventions such as voiceovers, talking heads, and archival footage. One of the standout episodes of the first season is "Sandy Passage," which parodies the 1975 documentary Grey Gardens. The episode follows two sisters, played by Armisen and Hader, who live in squalor in a decrepit mansion in rural New York. The episode recreates the original documentary's eerie atmosphere while adding its own absurd twists. The performances by Armisen and Hader are particularly strong, as they capture the peculiar mannerisms of the original subjects while adding their own comedic flair. Another notable episode is "Kunuk Uncovered," which is a spoof of the influential 1950s documentary Nanook of the North. The episode explores the racist undertones of the original documentary and critiques the tendency of Western filmmakers to exoticize and exploit non-Western cultures. The episode is shot in black and white and features narration from Mirren, adding to the authenticity of the parody. The show's attention to detail is also apparent in the production design, which perfectly replicates the look of the documentaries it is spoofing. The show's creators pull from a diverse range of sources, including lesser-known documentaries, giving viewers a taste of the full scope of the genre. The second season of the show featured several high-profile guest stars, including Cate Blanchett, who played a series of characters in a spoof of the experimental documentary Art21. Other notable episodes from the second season include "Globesman," which is a parody of the business documentary Salesman, and "Parker Gail's Location is Everything," which is a spoof of the foodie documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Documentary Now! has been praised by critics for its clever writing and superb performances. The show strikes a perfect balance between honoring the documentaries it lampoons while also finding new ways to poke fun at the conventions of the genre. The show is a must-watch for fans of documentary films and anyone who enjoys a good laugh.