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
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Black Love
Black Love
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
Lockup
Lockup
Disappeared
Disappeared
Intervention
Intervention
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
Empires
Empires
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Hustle & Soul
Hustle & Soul
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
River Monsters
River Monsters
See No Evil
See No Evil
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
Harley and the Davidsons
Harley and the Davidsons
The FBI Files
Dateline
Tessa And Scott
Deadly Sins
American Experience
Frontline
Forbidden: Dying for Love
The Bureau
The Skinny Dip
Sensing Murder
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Snapped
The Devils Ride
Stalked: Someone's Watching
I Shouldn't Be Alive
Unexpected
Alien Encounters
Unmasking A Killer
American Dynasties: The Kennedys
Taboo
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
Diesel Brothers
NASA's Unexplained Files
Mayday
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Genealogy Roadshow
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Life Below Zero
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
Marcia Clark Investigates The First 48
America The Story of Us
Beyond Scared Straight
Wives with Knives
Vietnam in HD
Ancient Discoveries
Deadly Affairs
I Survived
American Gangster
How the Universe Works
Facing Evil
Tornado Chasers
Survivorman
Bering Sea Gold
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
The Curse of Civil War Gold
Slutever
Breaking Homicide
Planet Earth
The War: A Ken Burns Film
How The States Got Their Shapes
History Detectives
Locked Up Abroad
Deep Wreck Mysteries
Forbidden History
FBI: Criminal Pursuit
The Staircase
Beyond
Good Eats
Austin City Limits
Below Deck Mediterranean
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Hunting Hitler
American Race
Flipping Virgins
Storm Chasers
Nightline
Horror at the Cecil Hotel
Secret Lives of the Super Rich
Nellyville
How It's Made
Chasing Classic Cars
How It's Made: Dream Cars
World's Most Dangerous Roads
Haunted History
Secrets of the Dead
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Confessions: Animal Hoarding
Navy Seals: Untold Stories
Ken Burns: The National Parks - America's Best Idea