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 New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Intervention
Intervention
American Experience
American Experience
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Lockup
Lockup
Alien Encounters
Alien Encounters
Deadly Sins
Deadly Sins
River Monsters
River Monsters
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Mayday
Mayday
See No Evil
See No Evil
Tessa And Scott
Tessa And Scott
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
NASA's Unexplained Files
NASA's Unexplained Files
Secrets of the Dead
Secrets of the Dead
Unexpected
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Nature
Taboo
Disappeared
The Skinny Dip
The FBI Files
Black Love
30 For 30
American Masters
Harley and the Davidsons
Inside the NFL
How the Universe Works
Frontline
Austin City Limits
Snapped
I Shouldn't Be Alive
Hate Thy Neighbor
Stalked: Someone's Watching
The Radical Story of Patty Hearst
Grand Prix Driver
Killing Fields
Dateline
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Survivorman
Life Below Zero
Undercover High
Beyond
48 Hours Mystery
The Bureau
Walking with Dinosaurs
The War: A Ken Burns Film
American Epic
The Defiant Ones
Evil Twins
Cook's Country
Hunting Hitler
I Survived
Animal Fight Night
1000 Ways to Die
20/20
Locked Up Abroad
Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
Vietnam in HD
America The Story of Us
Close Encounters
The Alps From Above
Monkey Life
Ancient Aliens
How It's Made
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
Beyond Scared Straight
What on Earth?
Slutever
Destination Truth
American Gangster
Special Forces
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
Confessions: Animal Hoarding
Forbidden History
History Detectives
Wicked Attraction
Monsters and Mysteries in America
Surviving Evil
Animal House
World's Most Dangerous Roads
Solved
Hollywood 911
Poldark Revealed
House of Horrors: Kidnapped
Xploration Earth 2050
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History
The Perfect Murder
Shark Week
Coach Snoop
Blue Planet II
Diesel Brothers
Fish Tank Kings
Tesla's Death Ray: A Murder Declassified