Great TV Documentary Shows

by shawnevans666 | created - 13 Apr 2016 | updated - 25 Jul 2016 | Public
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1. The Nature of Things (1960– )

60 min | Documentary

Various science documentaries are presented.

Stars: David Suzuki, Jennifer Gardy, Niobe Thompson, Sarika Suzuki

Votes: 179

2. Horizon (I) (1964– )

50 min | Documentary

British documentary series that covers a variety of subjects in science and philosophy.

Stars: Paul Vaughan, Jack Fortune, Dilly Barlow, Colin Riach

Votes: 966

3. Nova (1974– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary

Science documentaries about various topics.

Stars: Jay O. Sanders, Craig Sechler, Lance Lewman, Will Lyman

Votes: 2,347

4. Arena (1975– )

Documentary

Wide-ranging arts program.

Stars: Gavin Millar, Kenneth Tynan, Jonathan Miller, John Walters

Votes: 172

5. Austin City Limits (1975– )

60 min | Documentary, Music

Established singer-songwriters and acclaimed newcomers perform country, blues, rock, folk, bluegrass, and related styles of music from Studio 6A of public television station KLRU (formerly KLRN) at the University of Texas at Austin.

Stars: Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Patty Griffin

Votes: 233

6. The South Bank Show (1978– )

53 min | Documentary

ITV's long-running arts series presented by Melvyn Bragg.

Stars: Melvyn Bragg, Ian McKellen, Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett

Votes: 123

7. Cosmos (1980)

TV-PG | 780 min | Documentary

Astronomer Carl Sagan leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe.

Stars: Carl Sagan, Jaromír Hanzlík, Jonathan Fahn, Alan Belod

Votes: 37,093

8. The New Music (1981– )

Music

Various upcoming music acts are profiled and interviewed.

Stars: Noel Gallagher, Paul Arthurs, Janna Lynne White, Siouxsie Sioux

Votes: 22

9. Nature (1982– )

60 min | Documentary, Family

Documentary series exploring various global wildlife issues and subjects.

Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Chris Morgan, George Page, David Attenborough

Votes: 564

10. Frontline (1983– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Documentary, News

Investigative journalist documentaries.

Stars: Will Lyman, Sarah Childress, Priyanka Boghani, Arun Rath

Votes: 1,653

11. American Masters (1985– )

TV-14 | 90 min | Documentary, Biography

Documentary series focusing on great American artists and personalities.

Stars: Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, Tony Bennett, Lee Grant

Votes: 774

12. Biography (1987– )

60 min | Documentary, Biography

The life stories of various historical figures and celebrities are told.

Stars: Jack Perkins, Peter Graves, Harry Smith, Robert J. Thompson

Votes: 1,603

13. Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow (1987)

160 min | Documentary, Biography

A series about the life, career and works of the movie comedy genius.

Stars: Lindsay Anderson, Charles Lamont, William R. Cox, Loyal T. Lucas

Votes: 491

14. American Experience (1988– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A series showcasing documentaries on American history.

Stars: David McCullough, David Ogden Stiers, Michael Murphy, Oliver Platt

Votes: 1,599

15. The Men Who Killed Kennedy (1988–2003)

Documentary, History

A detailed examination of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, with emphasis on the discrepancies and inconsistencies in the government's official version of events.

Stars: Hilary Minster, Robert J. Groden, Gary Mack, Cyril H. Wecht

Votes: 542

16. P.O.V. (1988– )

Documentary

POV, a cinema term for "point of view," is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. Since 1988, POV has presented more than 300 of the best, boldest and most... See full summary »

Stars: Stacey Abrams, Rashida Tlaib, Lucy McBath, Veronica Escobar

Votes: 150

17. Golden Age of Rock'n'Roll (1991– )

60 min | Music, Documentary

Hosted by John Sebastian, this classic series explores the music of and the stories behind the Golden Age of Rock'n'Roll.

Stars: John Sebastian, Roger McGuinn, The Beatles, Chuck Berry

Votes: 13

18. American Justice (1992–2005)

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary, Crime

Bill Kurtis hosts this documentary series that profiles criminal cases involving high profile murders, serial killers, and organized crime. Each episode culminating with the justice dispensed by the American legal system in each case.

Stars: Bill Kurtis, Sonny Vellozzi, Linda Fairstein, F. Lee Bailey

Votes: 664

19. Baseball (1994–2010)

TV-PG | 1,140 min | Documentary, History, Sport

A documentary on the history of the sport with major topics including Afro-American players, player/team owner relations and the resilience of the game.

Stars: John Chancellor, Daniel Okrent, Ossie Davis, Paul Roebling

Votes: 3,812

20. Inside the Actors Studio (1994– )

TV-PG | 65 min | Talk-Show

Famous actors, directors and writers reminisce about their careers and the philosophy behind their craft.

Stars: James Lipton, Ellen Burstyn, Elena Kobylina, Bradley Cooper

Votes: 4,839

21. The History of Rock 'n' Roll (1995)

Documentary, History, Music

The history of rock n' roll and pop music are explored are explored via interviews and footage of well-known music stars.

Stars: Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Pete Townshend

Votes: 89

22. Forensic Files (1996–2011)

TV-14 | 30 min | Documentary, Crime

A series featuring detailed accounts on how notable crimes and diseases were solved through forensic science.

Stars: Peter Thomas, Tom Bevel, Skip Palenik, Lowell Levine

Votes: 4,984

23. Behind the Music (1997–2014)

Documentary, Biography, Music

Musical artists, their careers, their highs, their lows and everything in between are profiled and interviewed.

Stars: Jim Forbes, David Wild, Rick Rubin, Russell Simmons

Votes: 1,313

24. Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science (1997–2001)

Crime

This series features interesting crimes stories where forensic science played critical role in solving.

Stars: Graham Greene, Brian Paul, Lorretta Bailey, Noah Cappe

Votes: 106

25. City Confidential (1998–2006)

50 min | Crime, Documentary

City Confidential features real life stories in a wide variety of American cities. While many of these stories deal with murder, some also deal with attempted murder, and public officials caught in compromising situations, among other things. The cities featured vary widely in size, from the smallest village to the largest urban areas.

Stars: Paul Winfield, Keith David, David Madison, Marc Wanamaker

Votes: 481

26. Ramsay's Boiling Point (1998– )

30 min | Reality-TV

The series charts the first few months of Gordon Ramsay's new restaurant. The first episode was filmed very soon after Ramsay resigned from one restaurant (and effectively shut it down), ... See full summary »

Stars: Gordon Ramsay, Jack Davenport, Marcus Wareing

Votes: 260

27. Cold Case Files (1999– )

TV-14 | 44 min | Documentary, Crime

Unsolved crimes locked away in dusty file cabinets. Time is an ineffectual balm. Painful memories are left to a victim's loved ones. What happens when a killer gets away with murder? Thanks... See full summary »

Stars: Bill Kurtis, Dave Reichert, Kathy Mills, Melvyn Foster

Votes: 1,478

28. Independent Lens (1999– )

Documentary

Different celebrity host present a new independent documentary.

Stars: America Ferrera, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 473

29. Secrets of the Dead (2000– )

TV-PG | 56 min | Documentary, History, Mystery

Mysteries involving notable historical events, people and locations are scientifically examined.

Stars: Liev Schreiber, Jay O. Sanders, Salima Ikram, Addison Bain

Votes: 467

30. Storyville (1997– )

45 min | Documentary, Biography

Series showcasing the best in international documentaries.

Stars: John M. Francis, Doug Block, Janet Suzman, Gary Korkala

Votes: 127

31. First Person (2000–2001)

Not Rated | 491 min | Documentary, Biography

Amazing series primarily using Errol Morris' invention the Interrotron for unusual people to tell their outré stories directly into the camera to the viewer. Almost every half-hour ... See full summary »

Stars: Errol Morris, Michael Stone, Charles Butler, Andrew Capoccia

Votes: 332

32. The Passionate Eye (2005– )

Documentary

A Canadian television series presenting documentaries from different times and covering a wide variety of topics.

Stars: Wendy Mesley, Jack Davenport, Mary Bissell, Andrea Collins

Votes: 48

33. Beyond the Glory (2001–2005)

Not Rated | 60 min | Documentary, Biography, Sport

Biographical series focused on sports stars.

Stars: D.B. Sweeney, Jay Mohr, Michael Irvin, Bobby Bowden

Votes: 73

34. How It's Made (2001– )

TV-G | 24 min | Documentary

Television series that documents how various everyday products are made.

Stars: Brooks T. Moore, Tony Hirst, Lynne Adams, Lynn Herzeg

Votes: 6,539

35. Jazz (2001)

114 min | Documentary, History, Music

A survey of the musical form's history and major talents.

Stars: Keith David, Wynton Marsalis, Gary Giddins, Kevin Conway

Votes: 2,038

37. Imagine (2003– )

TV-14 | 60 min | Biography, History

Wide ranging BBC arts programme.

Stars: Alan Yentob, Tracey Emin, Chuck Close, Richard Rogers

Votes: 90

38. MythBusters (2003– )

TV-PG | 44 min | Documentary, Mystery, Reality-TV

A weekly documentary in which two Hollywood special effects experts attempt to debunk urban legends by directly testing them.

Stars: Robert Lee, Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Kari Byron

Votes: 50,343

39. Seven Wonders of the Industrial World (2003)

TV-PG | 50 min | Documentary, Drama, History

Drama-documentary series which describes some of the key technological achievements of the industrial age.

Stars: Robert Lindsay, Ron Cook, John Walters, Michael Carter

Votes: 426

40. The First 48 (2004– )

TV-14 | 60 min | Crime, Mystery, Reality-TV

The series follows detectives during the hours immediately following a homicide.

Stars: Dion Graham, Dave Walker, Nathan Schilling, Jason White

Votes: 2,938

41. 30 Days (2005–2008)

60 min | Documentary, Reality-TV

An unscripted, documentary-style program where an individual is inserted into a lifestyle that is completely different from his or her upbringing, beliefs, religion or profession for 30 days.

Stars: Morgan Spurlock, Alexandra Jamieson, Scott Bridges, Ryan Hickmott

Votes: 1,887

42. I Shouldn't Be Alive (2005–2012)

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

Re-enactments of real-life tales of human survival against the savage elements, dangerous climates and physical hazards.

Stars: Eric Meyers, Paul McGann, Greg Rasmussen, Mykel Hawke Pierce

Votes: 1,936

43. Ten Days to Victory (2005 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 120 min | Documentary, Action, Drama

Ten individuals, ten dramatic stories, ten extraordinary days, all leading to the big historical event: the end of the worst war the world has ever known, World War 2.

Director: Tim Conrad | Stars: Gareth Abel, Jeanne Bowser, Bill Corday, John Currie

Votes: 41

44. Planet Earth (2006)

TV-PG | 538 min | Documentary

Emmy Award-winning, 11 episodes, five years in the making, the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC, and the first to be filmed in high definition.

Stars: David Attenborough, Sigourney Weaver, Thomas Anguti Johnston, Huw Cordey

Votes: 168,830

45. The War (2007)

TV-14 | 124 min | Documentary, History, War

A seven-part series focusing on the many ways in which the Second World War impacted the lives of American families.

Stars: Keith David, Katharine Phillips, Tom Hanks, Paul Fussell

Votes: 4,838

46. 30 for 30 (2009– )

TV-G | 60 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A collection of documentary films focused on sports.

Stars: Dick Vitale, Brent Musburger, William C. Rhoden, Mike Tyson

Votes: 4,383

47. MysteryQuest (2009– )

60 min | Documentary, History, Mystery

6.4