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 Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
Intervention
Intervention
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
A Football Life
A Football Life
American Experience
American Experience
Vice
Vice
Yummy Mummy
Yummy Mummy
Dateline
Dateline
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
The Skinny Dip
The Skinny Dip
Women Behind Bars
Women Behind Bars
Empires
Empires
Dark Net
Dark Net
America The Story of Us
America The Story of Us
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Harley and the Davidsons
The New Edition Story
American Masters
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Snapped
Total Bellas
Untold Stories of the E.R.
30 For 30
The Bureau
Black Love
Unsolved Mysteries
Inside the NFL
Poldark Revealed
This is Life with Lisa Ling
48 Hours Mystery
20/20
Beyond Scared Straight
Diesel Brothers
NASA's Unexplained Files
Monsters and Mysteries in America
Scorned: Love Kills
Genealogy Roadshow
Billy Connolly's Route 66
Ancient Civilizations
Mayday
Tornado Chasers
Taboo
Last Chance U
Halloween Baking Championship
Epicly Later'd
I Survived
'Til Death Do Us Part
Austin City Limits
My 600-lb Life
Kindred Spirits
Planet Earth
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
Ancient Aliens
Secret Lives of the Super Rich
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks
Love Kills
Below Deck Mediterranean
Destination Truth
Released
Tabloid
Ken Burns: The National Parks - America's Best Idea
Long Strange Trip
Paranormal State
Close Encounters
First Peoples
Shark Week
Dr. G: Medical Examiner
American Gangster
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Ice Road Truckers
1000 Ways to Die
How It's Made
River Monsters
Animal Fight Night
Horror at the Cecil Hotel
Locked Up Abroad
The War: A Ken Burns Film
Caught on Camera
Good Eats
American Ripper
Hate Thy Neighbor
Frontline
Lockup
Bering Sea Gold
Survivorman
Life Below Zero
My Crazy Ex
Garage Rehab
Storm Chasers
Lockup: Raw
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet
Unusual Suspects
Haunted History