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
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
Intervention
Intervention
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Unexpected
Unexpected
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
American Experience
American Experience
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Inside the NFL
Inside the NFL
Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
Alien Encounters
Alien Encounters
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Dateline
Dateline
Taboo
Taboo
The Timeline
The Timeline
Nature
Nature
The FBI Files
The FBI Files
Disappeared
I Shouldn't Be Alive
My 600-lb Life
Ancient Aliens
48 Hours Mystery
Hunting Hitler
Undercover High
The Skinny Dip
Survivorman
Sensing Murder
Untold Stories of the E.R.
30 For 30
20/20
Dark Net
Snapped
America The Story of Us
Walking with Dinosaurs
Confessions: Animal Hoarding
Scorned: Love Kills
Life Below Zero
Killing Fields
The Bureau
World's Most Dangerous Roads
Genealogy Roadshow
NASA's Unexplained Files
Kindergarten
I Survived
River Monsters
Beyond Scared Straight
Lockup
Austin City Limits
How It's Made
Animal Fight Night
Finding Escobar's Millions
Rotten
1000 Ways to Die
Locked Up Abroad
American Gangster
Black Love
A Football Life
Diesel Brothers
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
Building Alaska
Jodi Arias: An American Murder Mystery
American Masters
How the Universe Works
American Epic
Sins & Secrets
Wicked Attraction
Secrets of the Dead
The Last Nazis
Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
Wives with Knives
The Naked Archaeologist
Poldark Revealed
The Real Story
Chasing Classic Cars
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
Dirty Jobs
Shark Week
What on Earth?
A Chef's Life
Great Performances
The Rise of the Nazi Party
Hate Thy Neighbor
Paranormal State
Cold Case Files
Nellyville
Village of the Damned
Bering Sea Gold
Inside Windsor Castle
Secret Lives of the Super Rich
Storm Chasers
Who Killed Tupac?
Deadly Sins
Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography
Independent Lens
Mighty Ships
Planet Earth