Last Updated: June 4th
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.
1 season, 1 episode | IMDb: 7.8/10
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
2 seasons, 20 episodes | IMDb: 8.7/10
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.
Wild Wild Country
1 season, 6 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10
This series from Netflix has inspired plenty of parodies since it’s release — SNL did a particularly good one here — but the subject matter of the show is decidedly less funny. The documentary paints a portrait of controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) who became something of a God to his many followers in the 70s. Along with help from his assistant, Ma Anand Sheela, he created a community of his followers in Oregon in the early 80s, causing a scandal, one the included a mass poisoning and an assassination attempt on a U.S attorney.
1 season, 8 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10
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 battle of the sexes or specific moments like the Watergate break-in.
Ken Burns: The Civil War
1 season, 9 episodes | IMDb: 9.1/10
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.