So the world has gone mad for Tiger King, and being released just as most of the world went into lockdown, could only have helped its viewer ratings soar. Netflix’s documentary series game is seriously strong – so we wanted to point out a few other shows that you might have overlooked or not seen, and if you haven’t, then you really should!
FLINT TOWN – Released a couple of years ago now, Flint Town follows the police force and other residents living in this poverty-hit Michigan town. There are moments when you wonder whether you are actually watching reality, or an episode of The Wire. The focus is predominantly on the police force, their backgrounds, stories, and what they have to deal with – with some politics and everyone else’s lives muddled in. What makes Flint Town so special? Well it is known to be one of the most violent cities in America recovering after a cover-up involving its water supply being contaminated. It is gripping to watch, considering it is a docu-series, and very beautifully shot. The subjects the director has chosen to follow are interesting and keep the story very real. A certain hidden gem! 8 Episodes / 45 Mins
AMERICAN VANDAL – We recommend the first series of this mockumentary, if you’re looking for something a bit more lighthearted. This show is genius – American Vandal centres on an incident where someone has spray painted multiple penis’ on their teacher’s cars and all fingers of blame are pointing to one guy. Another student, Peter Maldonado, decides to try and prove the guys innocence by filming his own detective work into who really did the crime. This is a wonderfully put-together satire of the current documentary drama craze and social commentary on the role of social media. It’s good fun if you need a break from all the heavy stuff going on. There is a second series which involves everyone shitting themselves on campus, but we passed on that!
8 Episodes / Times vary
WILD WILD COUNTRY – Long before Don’t F*ck With Cats, Fyre Festival, and Tiger King, there was this incredible documentary about a guru who decides to build a Utopian city in the middle of Oregon. The guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, buys himself a ranch and invites all his followers in an attempt to a create his city that starts to take over within the state. Yes, you read that right, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Chapman Way’s documentary is perfectly crafted with opinions from all sides, to allow you to make your own mind on who the good and bad guys really are. This series was the next best documentary series that came after Making a Murderer that really started to show Netflix’s eye for a good documentary. It is beautifully crafted and we must mention the absolutely haunting soundtrack composed by Brocker Way. You must see this!
6 Episodes / 1hr 5mins
THE STAIRCASE – Some of you probably caught this series , which was released and much talked about, a couple of years ago. As docu-series go this one just doesn’t stop hooking you in. One of the problems with these popular types of series is that they fall flat in the middle or feel too long – but in this instance, director Jean-Xavier De Lestrade has put together 4 years into 10.5hrs worth of episodes. It is totally enthralling and will leave you asking many questions! Would love to hear your theories!
13 Episodes / 50mins
THE INNOCENCE FILES – You might have already caught this series as it is pretty fresh onto Netflix, but at the same time it might have passed you as there is so much stuff hitting our TVs it’s hard to know where to begin! I think it is really important that you watch When They See Us – the heart-breaking dramatisation of the Central Park Five. Why? Well this tragic story will set you up with what to expect in the The Innocence Files and you need to be aware of it and what the amazing Innocence Project is about.
The Innocence Files highlights some of these cases, where innocent people have been jailed for a crime they did not commit and the injustice, and sometimes corruption, that surrounded it. It is deeply upsetting, moving, and infuriating, but it is essential viewing – the work the Innocence Project do is incredible. As the series goes it is a slow start but rewarding – stick with it.
Of course there are 100’s more out there – we’d love to hear any ‘under the radar’ shows you might have caught and recommend! Let us know in the comments below or on our social pages!