Last Updated: December 12th
There’s nothing better than finding a good documentary on Netflix, but sometimes you’re craving a little more depth than the average two-hour film can give. Enter the documentary series, a slightly lesser known category that will help entertain and educate you through the day and into the night. Let’s take a tour through some of the best documentary series on Netflix to get you started.
Conflict (2015) (1 Special)
Tag along with war photographers into some of the most dangerous parts of the world, from Afghanistan to Sudan to South Africa. Each episode takes you to a conflict zone with a different photographer, each giving their unique look into a region being torn apart by strife. This documentary series isn’t for the faint of heart as there are shots of violence and death scattered through each of the six episodes. These photographers risk their lives to capture what is happening to the civilian populations in often overlooked parts of the world. The results can be haunting.
Making A Murderer (1 Season)
This is one of Netflix’s most popular documentary series, and you’ll understand why after one episode. The show follows the case of Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, who were arrested for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. But what initially appears to be a clear-cut case becomes much more questionable once filmmakers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi take you inside a system that seems designed to generate guilty verdicts rather than discover the truth.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (1 Season)
The follow up to the critically acclaimed ’80s Carl Sagan series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey features the same passion and enthusiasm for space and astrophysics as the original. Neil deGrasse Tyson takes over as host and endeavors to put the universe into perspective, ditching dense textbook science explanations for a style of storytelling designed to spark the imagination of viewers no matter what their age. The show is executive produced by Star Trek showrunner Brannon Braga and Family Guy‘s Seth MacFarlane, who help ensure the journey is entertaining and humorous throughout.
The Sixties (1 Season)
CNN’s ongoing decades-based documentary series provides a “remember when” account of all the major beats across US history from 1960 up to 2000. Executive produced by Tom Hanks, the series ties together reels of archival footage with interviews from scholars, celebrities, and the people who were there to give you a solid glimpse into the mindsets and emotions of the times, if not the most in-depth information on any singular topic. Episodes touch on cultural zeitgeists like the British Invasion or specific moments like the Kennedy Assassination. 1968, one of the most tumultuous years in the history of America, gets an hour all to itself. While The Sixties is the strongest, there’s still lots to enjoy in follow-up series The Seventies and The Eighties.
Ken Burns: The Civil War (1 Season)
Ken Burns is a prolific documentary maker whose style of storytelling set the standard for decades to come. 1990’s The Civil War was his first series and tied together over 16,000 archival photos from the 1860s with first-hand accounts taken from the letters of those leading the country right down to the soldiers who fought and died on the battlefield. Those that love the Ken Burns signature style displayed here will undoubtedly enjoy his other documentary series currently on Netflix like Prohibition, The War (on World War II), The West, and The Roosevelts.