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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
All or Nothing: Manchester City
All or Nothing: Manchester City
Just Another Immigrant
Just Another Immigrant
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
The Fourth Estate
The Fourth Estate
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Unexpected
Unexpected
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
Snapped
Snapped
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
30 For 30
30 For 30
Dateline
Dateline
Below Deck Mediterranean
Below Deck Mediterranean
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Intervention
Intervention
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks
Diesel Brothers
Diesel Brothers
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
The 2000s
The 2000s
Disappeared
Disappeared
I Survived
I Survived
Being Serena
Being Serena
Shark Week
Shark Week
Mayday
Mayday
River Monsters
River Monsters
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
The Staircase
The Staircase
Hard Knocks
Hard Knocks
Dirty Jobs
Dirty Jobs
Total Bellas
Total Bellas
How It's Made
How It's Made
Locked Up Abroad
Locked Up Abroad
Being: Liverpool
Being: Liverpool
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
Pink Collar Crimes
Pink Collar Crimes
Life Below Zero
Life Below Zero
Black Love
Black Love
The Last Defense
The Last Defense
Lockup
Lockup
Dead North
Dead North
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
Destination Truth
Destination Truth
Lost in Transition
Lost in Transition
The Skinny Dip
The Skinny Dip
48 Hours Mystery
48 Hours Mystery
Pool Kings
Pool Kings
Deadly Sins
Deadly Sins
Harley and the Davidsons
Harley and the Davidsons
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Drain the Oceans
Drain the Oceans
Good Eats
Good Eats
The Perfect Murder
The Perfect Murder
Phenoms
Phenoms
Beachfront Bargain Hunt: Renovation
Beachfront Bargain Hunt: Renovation
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
See No Evil
See No Evil
I Shouldn't Be Alive
I Shouldn't Be Alive
What on Earth?
What on Earth?
How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works
Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
Survivorman
Survivorman
Crime 360
Crime 360
Lost Tapes
Lost Tapes
Jodi Arias: An American Murder Mystery
Jodi Arias: An American Murder Mystery
Paranormal State
Paranormal State
Meerkat Manor
Meerkat Manor
Building Alaska
Building Alaska
Cultureshock
Cultureshock
The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter
The Eighties
The Eighties
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet
Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet
Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files
In Search Of
In Search Of
Garage Rehab
Garage Rehab
Frontline
Frontline
Lockup: Raw
Lockup: Raw
All or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks
All or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks
Six Degrees of Murder
Six Degrees of Murder
The Curse of Civil War Gold
The Curse of Civil War Gold
People Magazine Investigates
People Magazine Investigates
Flipping Virgins
Flipping Virgins
Breaking Homicide
Breaking Homicide
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Bering Sea Gold
Bering Sea Gold
Jeremy Wade's Mighty Rivers
Jeremy Wade's Mighty Rivers
Planet Dinosaur
Planet Dinosaur
The Layover
The Layover
Planet Earth
Planet Earth
Taboo
Taboo
Modern Marvels
Modern Marvels
America The Story of Us
America The Story of Us