30 best documentary series you should watch
Before, it was very common to see long and short films of documentaries, but in the past this has changed a little. It is now much easier to find documentary series, which allows the subject to be better explored and to have more testimonials. After all, what was done in up to 2 hours, can now be performed in several 1-hour episodes for each one.
Of course, with so many documentary series being released in the last few years, it is difficult to decide which one to watch next. To help you choose the series with the subject that most interests you, we have listed some of the best documentaries in this format.
If you're curious, just check out our suggestions below. Enjoy!
1. Bandits on TV
To open our list of documentary series, we have a Brazilian work. Bandits on TV shows the case of Wallace Souza, a former presenter of a police and political program in Manaus.
Basically, after spending years reporting crimes on TV, he was accused of being involved with them. Each episode presents evidence and testimonies from both sides, so it is difficult to know the truth. Of course, this makes the series perfect for a marathon.
2. Criminal investigation
Another good addition to our list of documentary series is Criminal Investigation. It started in 2012 and already has 7 seasons that you can check on Netflix without interruption.
For those who do not know, the series tells the main criminal cases that we have seen in Brazil. There are many famous cases with details, interviews and information about the investigation of each one.
3. Inside the World's Severe Prisons
We know that prisons are home to criminals and that, in Brazil, conditions are less than ideal. Series like Carcereiros show a part of this reality, but it is still a work of fiction.
Inside the World's Most Severe Prisons is a documentary series that travels the globe and shows the conditions of penitentiaries considered the most dangerous. Honduras, Ukraine, Colombia and Brazil itself are part of some of the episodes.
4. The Staircase
This is one of the most interesting documentary series on our list. It started in 2001 and only gained its real ending in 2018 on the streaming service. She follows the trial of Michael Peterson, accused of killing his wife.
He always swore innocence, but ended up spending years in prison. It is with evidence of corruption by experts that the case reopens and he has a new chance to defend himself.
Although all the images are real, the plot is so full of twists and turns that it looks like fiction.
5. Making a Murderer
To be accused of a serious crime that he did not commit, to spend almost 20 years in prison, to be released and accused of another crime shortly after seems like fiction, but it is real. This absurd plot is told in Making a Murderer, one of the first Netflix series in this documentary format.
It tells the story of Steven Avery, who had the exact fate we told above. Believe it or not, he is still in prison accused of a murder he says he did not commit.
6. Don’t Fuck With Cats
Despite being quite difficult to watch at times, this series can be quite rewarding. In it, we accompanied a group of people wanting to discover the identity of a psychopath who killed several cats and posted the videos online.
They get several leads and fear he will start killing humans soon, but the police don't pay much attention to the case. Of course, that changes when the investigator's fear comes true and the death of a man is posted on the internet.
The series has only 3 episodes, so it's pretty easy to watch at once. It is just not easy to endure the anger of those who mistreat so many animals and still try to play the victim.
7. Our Planet
If you want something more to do with the environment, Our Planet is our suggestion. This is a series of eight episodes that talks about the relationship between humanity and planet Earth.
Each episode focuses on an environment, such as forests, oceans and icy areas. It is worth saying that the series stands out a lot for its impressive visuals.
Other than that, there is a great focus on showing how we are destroying our planet with actions that we don't even notice.
If you like the singer Beyoncé, you need to watch Homecoming as soon as possible. However, it is worth mentioning that this documentary series does not simply focus on her life as a celebrity.
Instead, the focus is entirely on your creative process and the backstage of one of your biggest shows. You see all the details of how she produces, choreographs and interprets in her shows.
9. The Most Extraordinary Houses in the World
Here is a documentary series for those who like architecture and design. Each episode takes us somewhere in the world and an unusual home, showing how it is possible to make things work if we think a little differently.
In the first season, the presenters take us to projects in environments such as forest, mountain and coast. In the second, we visit homes in countries like the United States, Spain and India, among others.
This series brings the logistics, production and consumption of drugs in several countries. Important to understand combat-related issues, Dope shows the perspective of those involved in this relationship: public security forces, consumers and the criminals themselves.
The documentary travels the world, showing how these operations work in countries like Mexico, the Netherlands and the United States, among others.
11. Wild Wild Country
This documentary focuses on guru Osho Rajneesh and how he founded a city with his followers in the middle of the United States' desert. Everything started to go wrong when the inhabitants of the clandestine city come into conflict with the residents who were already there.
The event turned into a kind of civil war, which eventually deposed the governor of the small state, neighboring California. Wild Wild Country tells how the city emerged, how it ascended and ended.
12. Dogs only
Only Dogs is the perfect documentary for those who want something lighter and full of cuteness. This series shows several exciting stories lived by small animals and their caregivers.
It also focuses on the importance of coexistence between human and animal. Especially the impact that one has on the other's life.
13. The 13th Amendment
The 13th Amendment shows how the American judicial and prison system has a bias against the country's black population, the most imprisoned. Its name makes reference to the 13th amendment in the country's Constitution, which abolished slavery.
This is definitely an important documentary to understand how much of the structure of our society is still racist and why it should be tackled.
Explaining is definitely one of the best documentary series to learn about new things. In each episode, a more modern subject is explained in different ways, which includes music, sexuality and nutrition.
The format itself is very cool, as it looks more like a dialogue. Other than that, each episode is only 20 minutes long, so it's pretty easy to watch.
15. The Keepers
If you like to watch series with a lot of suspense and investigation, The Keepers is a good choice. It basically tracks the unsolved murder of nun Cathy Cesnik.
No security or government agency was able to clarify the crime, but the documentary's director goes beyond the issues addressed during the process, suggesting that the case involved sexual abuse and an intimate relationship between the church and the state.
16. Talking to a serial killer: Ted Bundy
Released shortly before the arrival of the film starring Zac Efron, Talking to a serial killer: Ted Bundy talks about the real life of the famous serial killer.
Unlike the film, which presents a dramatization of life and cases, the documentary brings Ted Bundy's own perspective on his crimes. The documentary features a timeline, tracing the criminal's history before he even committed the murders.
The documentary is a way of understanding how the mind of a criminal of this scale works. He also criticizes the American judicial system and how it has disrupted the case.
17. One Strange Rock
For those who want to learn more about our planet, One Strange Rock is one of the best documentary series to see. Narrated by Will Smith, it brings the perspective of several astronauts who have already had the opportunity to see our planet from outside it.
The documentary features incredible images of our planet, taken in about 45 countries. You will see different species of animals, geographic formations and all kinds of strangeness that we can find on Earth.
18. Toys that marked the time
Toys that marked the season is a great option for those who want to feel good nostalgia. It tells the story of the main fevers in the toy industry, with curiosities about terms and production and sales tactics for the children of the time.
Did you know that Commandos in Action were called action figures so as not to look like parents were buying dolls for their male children? And that the design of He-Man and Transformers were created solely for the purpose of selling toys? This is the kind of thing you’ll learn in Toys That Make an Epoch!
19. Abstract: the Art of Design
Abstract: the Art of Design talks about contemporary art and design, as its name implies.
Throughout the episodes, she shows us the different branches of this art, interviewing specialists and showing their creative processes. Ideal to better understand the craft for those who are laymen or to present new perspectives on how professionals can use their tools.
20. World War II in Color
If you like history and want to understand a little more about World War II, this is a great series to see. Through rare documents and digitally colored images, the documentary portrays some of the strategies used in battles.
The 13-episode series shows some of the most important moments of the conflict, such as Hitler's decision to invade Russia and the United States entering the war, triggered by the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbor base.
21. Heads of Trafficking
Even if you haven't watched it, you may have heard of the famous Narcos series. Following its success, Netflix released a documentary series called “Bosses of Trafficking”.
Basically, it explores a little bit of some of the biggest drug dealers in the world. Of course, that includes Pablo Escobar and his gigantic cartel.
22. The Confessed Killer
There is no shortage of documentary series about murderers and crimes. This is something that we can see even by the number of them on our list today, for example.
In the case of “The Assassin I confess”, the story is a little different. Everything starts out normal, with a man being arrested and confessing to his previous murders.
He gives details, names, detailed descriptions of the victims' appearance and everything that would be normal for someone making their confessions. The problem comes when the police realize that there are hundreds of murders, many that took place in a short time and at long distances from each other.
That's when the possibility comes that he is lying. But how would you know so many correct details of the murders then? This is what the series aims to show.
23. The disappearance of Madeleine McCann
Years after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal, it is still not known what really happened to her. She simply disappeared at night during a vacation with her parents.
This miniseries addresses the theme and tries to show everything that is known to date of the mystery. Unfortunately, there are not many clues, but it is a good example of how things went wrong in the case.
24. Conan Without Borders
Anyone who has watched Conan O’Brien’s talk show knows that the host usually travels a lot. On these trips, he usually makes several videos showing more of the local culture and people.
Everything is done with a lot of humor, which makes the trips even more interesting. Recently, these trips have been turned into a series that you can check out on Netflix.
25. On the Dirty Money Route
Our next suggestion is On the Dirty Money Route. This documentary series aims to show several cases of organized and corporate corruption in the world.
The episodes cover many famous companies and personalities, including Donald Trump and the former HSBC bank. You can follow the scams and the investigation in detail, so it's very interesting.
26. The Royal House of Windsor
For those who have already watched The Crown series, this documentary can be very interesting to check out. It addresses the life of the British royal family over the past few decades.
It is very detailed information on how the family managed to survive in the midst of political maneuvers, power struggles and rumors. It is definitely worth it for anyone who wanted to know more about the British monarchy.
Considering that food is one of the most important things in our life, it is more beneficial to know where the food we eat comes from. In Rotten, the focus is exactly that throughout his episodes.
He doesn't just focus on animal products, like other documentaries. Its goal is to show the way that any food, even those considered healthy, are treated and supplied to us.
We only warn you that you probably won't want to know about certain types of food after watching it. At least for a while.
As the name of this series suggests, it deals with people who have disappeared in some way. We followed testimonies and information provided by the families of these missing persons.
Even after years, these family members do not give up and do their best to find their loved ones. Despite being a very heavy topic, it is one of the series of documentaries that we recommend watching.
29. Ugly Delicious
Here is a really cool suggestion for those who like food-related series. In it, we see chef David Chang taking his friends to try dishes from very different cultures.
As the name suggests, the appearance of the dishes leaves much to be desired, but the taste is quite the opposite. It is worth checking and making your mouth water.
30. Macabre Tourism
We always see documentary series that show tourism in different and unusual places. In this series that you can follow on Netflix, journalist David Farrier goes further.
He visits places like radioactive ponds or seemingly haunted forests. All of this only gives a more macabre and interesting touch if you want to watch it.
Did you like the documentary series?
Did you take advantage of our list to discover some of the best documentary series you can watch today? So don't forget to leave your comment telling us what you think of the suggestions.
Also tell us if there are other series of this type that you saw on Netflix or other apps to watch movies and series that you would like to see here.