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
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Snapped
Snapped
Life Below Zero
Life Below Zero
30 For 30
30 For 30
20/20
20/20
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Intervention
Intervention
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Garage Rehab
Garage Rehab
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
Diesel Brothers
Diesel Brothers
Gangsters: America's Most Evil
Gangsters: America's Most Evil
The 2000s
The 2000s
All or Nothing: Manchester City
All or Nothing: Manchester City
Lindsay
Lindsay
Forbidden: Dying for Love
Forbidden: Dying for Love
Evil Twins
Evil Twins
Dead Silent
Dead Silent
Paranormal State
Paranormal State
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
Below Deck Mediterranean
Below Deck Mediterranean
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
The Sixties
The Sixties
Dateline
Dateline
Dead North
Dead North
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
I Survived
I Survived
My Crazy Ex
My Crazy Ex
Disappeared
Disappeared
Black Love
Black Love
Unexpected
Unexpected
Crime 360
Crime 360
Shadow of Doubt
Shadow of Doubt
I Am Homicide
I Am Homicide
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
Kindergarten
Kindergarten
Solved
Solved
Bering Sea Gold
Bering Sea Gold
I Shouldn't Be Alive
I Shouldn't Be Alive
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Total Bellas
Total Bellas
Animal Cops: Phoenix
Animal Cops: Phoenix
Behind Bars: Rookie Year
Behind Bars: Rookie Year
NASA's Unexplained Files
NASA's Unexplained Files
After The First 48
After The First 48
A Season With
A Season With
Meerkat Manor
Meerkat Manor
Six Degrees of Murder
Six Degrees of Murder
Surviving Evil
Surviving Evil
48 Hours Mystery
48 Hours Mystery
Second Wives Club
Second Wives Club
Ocean Warriors
Ocean Warriors
Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files
Ice Road Truckers
Ice Road Truckers
This is Life with Lisa Ling
This is Life with Lisa Ling
Just Another Immigrant
Just Another Immigrant
The Killing Season
The Killing Season
The Day I Almost Died
The Day I Almost Died
Hunting Hitler
Hunting Hitler
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Dangerous Persuasions
Dangerous Persuasions
The '80s Greatest
The '80s Greatest
Secret Space Escapes
Secret Space Escapes
Jeremy Wade's Mighty Rivers
Jeremy Wade's Mighty Rivers
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Iron & Fire
Iron & Fire
The Eleven
The Eleven
Livin' Lozada
Livin' Lozada
American Gangster
American Gangster
America Inside Out With Katie Couric
America Inside Out With Katie Couric
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
Heroes Cotidianos
Heroes Cotidianos
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Storm Chasers
Storm Chasers
Rooster & Butch
Rooster & Butch
The Secret Life of Kids
The Secret Life of Kids
The Curse of Civil War Gold
The Curse of Civil War Gold
Lockdown
Lockdown
House of Horrors: Kidnapped
House of Horrors: Kidnapped
River Monsters
River Monsters
Guilty Rich
Guilty Rich
Pool Kings
Pool Kings
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
Sins & Secrets
Sins & Secrets
Flipping Virgins
Flipping Virgins
Drain the Oceans
Drain the Oceans
The Bureau
The Bureau
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
Alaska Mega Machines
Alaska Mega Machines
CopyCat Killers
CopyCat Killers
Killing Fields
Killing Fields
The FBI Files
The FBI Files
Impossible Engineering
Impossible Engineering
Laurieann Gibson: Beyond the Spotlight
Laurieann Gibson: Beyond the Spotlight