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
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Unexpected
Unexpected
The Skinny Dip
The Skinny Dip
Intervention
Intervention
30 For 30
30 For 30
CopyCat Killers
CopyCat Killers
American Experience
American Experience
Taboo
Taboo
Who Killed Tupac?
Who Killed Tupac?
Finding Escobar's Millions
Finding Escobar's Millions
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
American Masters
American Masters
Disappeared
Disappeared
Harley and the Davidsons
Harley and the Davidsons
The Bureau
Deadly Sins
The FBI Files
Dateline
America The Story of Us
Nature
Genealogy Roadshow
Most Evil
Vietnam in HD
Snapped
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
Beyond Scared Straight
How It's Made
48 Hours Mystery
Forensic Files
A Football Life
Animal Fight Night
Forbidden History
Secrets of the Dead
1000 Ways to Die
Close Encounters
Mayday
Ancient Aliens
I Survived
Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography
Untold Stories of the E.R.
The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer
Lockup
Great Performances
American Gangster
Black Love
River Monsters
Surviving Evil
Monsters and Mysteries in America
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Animal House
Ken Burns: The National Parks - America's Best Idea
Angry Planet
Dates from Hell
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
This American Life
Secrets of the Six Wives
Stalked: Someone's Watching
Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl
Disney Parks: Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes
I Shouldn't Be Alive
Village of the Damned
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Independent Lens
Nellyville
Good Eats
Dirty Jobs
Paranormal State
Diesel Brothers
Planet Earth
Austin City Limits
Ice Road Truckers
Bushcraft Build-Off
Locked Up Abroad
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks
The Blue Planet
Last Chance U
Surviving Disaster
White House Christmas
Life Below Zero
My Crazy Ex
Unusual Suspects
Lockdown
The Devils Ride
Love Kills
See No Evil
Gangland
Alien Encounters
The Cromarties
Shark Week
Ride with Norman Reedus
Slednecks
Storm Chasers
People Magazine Investigates