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
Unexpected
Unexpected
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Intervention
Intervention
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
American Experience
American Experience
CopyCat Killers
CopyCat Killers
Empires
Empires
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
The FBI Files
The FBI Files
Finding Escobar's Millions
Finding Escobar's Millions
30 For 30
30 For 30
Taboo
Taboo
The Skinny Dip
The Skinny Dip
Disappeared
Disappeared
Who Killed Tupac?
Beyond Scared Straight
Dateline
The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer
America The Story of Us
American Masters
Most Evil
Snapped
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
48 Hours Mystery
My 600-lb Life
Ancient Aliens
How It's Made
A Football Life
Surviving Evil
The Bureau
Secrets of the Dead
Forbidden History
Angry Planet
Nature
Harley and the Davidsons
Tornado Chasers
I Survived
Lockup
Animal Fight Night
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
River Monsters
1000 Ways to Die
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Locked Up Abroad
Animal House
Ken Burns: The National Parks - America's Best Idea
Secrets of the Six Wives
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Navy Seals: Untold Stories
Dates from Hell
Sins & Secrets
Nimrod Nation
Shark Week
Mayday
Disney Parks: Disneyland Resort: Behind the Scenes
I Shouldn't Be Alive
The Devils Ride
Dirty Jobs
The Cromarties
Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography
Bushcraft Build-Off
Nellyville
Black Love
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
People Magazine Investigates
American Gangster
Surviving Disaster
Life Below Zero
Ice Road Truckers
Great Performances
Good Eats
Secret Lives of the Super Rich
Killer Kids
Below Deck Mediterranean
The Ghost Inside My Child
Gangland
Kindred Spirits
White House Christmas
Inside the NFL
My Crazy Ex
Austin City Limits
What on Earth?
The War: A Ken Burns Film
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Building Alaska
One Born Every Minute
Diagnose Me
Chasing Classic Cars
Independent Lens
American Hoggers
The Blue Planet
See No Evil
Village of the Damned
Nightmare Next Door