Warning: your new binge starts here.
Netflix’s documentary offering is now so vast that it’s proving to be one of the biggest producers of real-life drama around and with a whole host of options dropping every month, we've rounded up the best documentaries available to watch on Netflix right now. Consider your documentary fix sorted as we bunker down for another day of self-isolation as the Coronavirus continues to shut down our day to day lives.
Nothing could provide more of an escape than Zac Efron's new docu-series, Down to Earth with Zac Efron, which will appear on Netflix from 10th July. The new TV show is set to air on Netflix and will see the actor travel across the globe via France, Puerto Rico, Iceland, London (rude - didn't fancy getting a date in with us, hun?), Costa Rica, Lima, Sardinia, and Iquitos. Zac's aim from the series was to educate himself in sustainability and wellness saying, "We're travelling around the world to find some new perspectives on some very old problems."
"Food, water and energy are all the main staples for modern life," he continued when discussing the show. "We're going to see some top eco innovators to see how change is an inside job. And we're going to be eating really, really well. We need to start rethinking how we consume everything, from our food to our power Change has to start somewhere. Maybe it's about time we all changed. It's time to get down to earth."
In case you needed to know Zac is modelling a very fetching beard throughout and there are some topless scenes. Not that we are thirsty or ANYTHING.
If you are however looking for something thought-provoking then Athlete A, a one-off documentary film, is a must-see and important watch. The documentary, directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, sheds a light on the USA team Gymnasts who stood up against their abuse at the hands of the team doctor, Larry Nassar. The courage of the survivors will stay with you for a very long time.
If you are looking for something to watch and escape with then delve into the lives of some of your favourite popstars in some eye-opening music documentaries. In Miss Americana Taylor Swift opens up about her life in the most candid of ways. The singer who has given us hit after hit is seen shaking off the haters and severe negativity as she creates music and navigates a new relationship. You will have a whole new respect for the singer at the end of this documentary which was first shown at the Sundance Film Festival.
You can also take a look behind the scenes at the life of Lady Gaga as she prepares for her show-stopping Super Bowl performance. Gaga: Five Foot Two also gives us a unique look at the trials and tribulations the iconic singer has to deal with every day including her battles with an illness that put a stop to her touring.
If true crime documentaries are more your thing then Netflix serves that up in spades. The tragic story of Gabriel Fernandez is one of the latest docu-drops from the streaming site to cause a stir. If you still haven't seen Tiger King, which follows a truly WILD zookeeper who attempts to have an animal rights activist killed when she launches a campaign against him, then what are you doing with your life?
Here is our list of the best Netflix documentaries to watch now.
If those don't take your fancy then never fear as there are plenty of new releases on Netflix for you, take a look at our pick below and if you love a good binge-watch check out the best true crime documentaries and date night movies, or our ultimate roundup of the best tv series in the meantime.
A new documentary from Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk sheds new light on the years of abuse female gymnasts on Team USA suffered at the hands of Olympic doctor, Larry Nassar. It is a very powerful one-off documentary film about the power of survivors.
Down to Earth with Zac Efron
Ever dreamt of a romantic getaway from Zac Efron? Well, dreams do come true thanks to Netflix as the actor is set to appear in his own travel documentary series which lands on 10th July. We. Can't Wait.
This documentary has it all: murder, multiple marriages, cults, hitmen, drug lords and big cats as we follow the life of Joseph Schreibvogel, a zookeeper in America who comes up against an animal rights activist.
Surviving R. Kelly
Once a celebrated musical artist, R. Kelly has experienced a fall from grace after a number of women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against him. This powerful documentary explores R. Kelly, toxic masculinity and his victims through a series of powerful interviews with the survivors of R. Kelly.
One of the most talked-about documentaries this year, the six-part series follows the revered cheerleading team, Navarro College Bulldogs from Corsicana as they attempt to win the national title. However, not everyone will make the competition mat...
Ever wondered what it is really like to be Taylor Swift? This documentary takes a BTS look at the life of the pop star as she navigates making new music, haters and a new relationship. She is truly a queen.
Don't F**k With Cats
A group of online amateur detectives attempt to track down a killer who starts by uploading videos of him torturing cats before he takes it another step further. It's dark.
Ever wondered what babies are thinking? Or what they really want? Well this documentary series takes a look at the brain waves of babies and it goes some way in answering the long asked question, is it nature or nurture when it comes to human development?
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
This documentary shows how Aaron Hernandez went from a celebrated NFL star to a convicted killer as Netflix traces his spiralling mind through interviews with fellow players, friends and family. There are so many twists and turns, you won't believe your eyes.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez
This heartbreaking and incredibly-done documentary is about an eight-year-old boy who was tortured and abused by his mother and her boyfriend until he died from the torment. We get a shocking insight into how law enforcement and family services ignored signs of abuse, into the trial of Gabriel's killers, as well as the charges brought against the four social workers assigned to the case — something that had never happened before.
Selena Gomez's eye-opening Netflix documentary about the shocking reality of undocumented immigrants living in the United States has been widely praised for highlighting a growing problem. “A huge part of why I wanted to be a part of this is to also be a voice for so many people who can’t and are terrified to speak about it,” stated Selena. You won't want to miss a minute.
Devil Next Door
Five-part documentary series Devil Next Door explores the real-life case of John Demjanjuk, who was sentenced to death in 1988 for having been a guard at a Nazi concentration camp during WW11, which he vehemently denied. Was he guilty? Was he wrongfully convicted? You'll have to tune in to find out.
Yet Demjanjuk adamantly insisted it was a case of mistaken identity and that he wasn't the man people said he was. So, was he wrongfully convicted or was he trying to deny his disturbing past?
First, it was Katy Perry, then Lady Gaga and then Netflix confirmed a feature-length documentary with the one and only Beyoncé. Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé will celebrate the singer’s historic 2018 performance at Coachella, which saw her become the first black woman to headline the California festival. Yaaas queen B!
A classic David Attenborough series, guiding you through the wonders of nature; exploring the deep depths of the marine world to the unknown, this educating series lets you explore the diverse natural beauties of the world.
The Disappearance of Madeline McCann
Another absorbing documentary all about the case of Madeline McCann’s disappearance! I can assure you for 8 hours you are glued to the tv, watching back to back episodes, wanting to know more. This gripping series leaves you bringing your inner detective to the surface…. What happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen?
Ted Bundy Tapes
This engrossing series is all about the notorious killer Ted Bundy. This includes archival footage and audio recordings made on death row and present-day interviews… this leaves you with all over body shivers and every hair standing upright! Prepare to hear the most unheard-of actions.
Knock Down The House
Your weekend viewing is sorted by way of Knock Down The House, a compelling feature-length film about four remarkable women who ran primary campaigns in the 2018 midterm elections. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – the youngest woman in history to be elected into Congress at 29 – stands out as the star of the show.
Street Food takes you on a tour of the world’s best street food - a true foodie’s dream.
The shocking real-life story about a young woman who was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi.
Abducted in Plain Sight
Literally, everyone is talking about this mind-blowing documentary about an Idaho family whose sociopathic neighbour becomes fixated on their 12-year-old daughter. Prepare to have your mind blown.
Directed by Chris Smith, this mind-blowing investigative documentary tracks the infamous story of ‘the greatest party that never happened’. Prepare to be gripped, entertained and horrified in one 90 minute sitting.
A documentary series that celebrates the deep bonds between humans and their canine companions. Heaven!
Three Wives, One Husband
In this fascinating Netflix documentary, filmmakers spend one year in the Mormon community of Rockland Ranch where it is tradition for men to have more than one wife. While it will leave the feminist in you raging, it is SO addictive. We challenge you to not binge the whole series in one sitting.
Wild Wild Country
You’ve probably heard of Wild Wild Country as it’s been storming our social media feeds since its worldwide release on 16 March. The six-part documentary follows Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, an Indian spiritual guru and alleged sex cult leader, who created a ‘utopian city’ in the desert in 1980s Oregon. It’s a story ‘full of unbelievable twists’, so it’s no wonder the series has already received a 100% rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes.
Do you ever find yourself laughing uncomfortably when the universe is against you? Those times where, when everything seems so bleak, you find yourself saying “You’ve just got to laugh!”. That’s exactly what comic Tig Notaro did, and her legendary stand-up set is the basis for this documentary. The set where, in 2012, she announced her breast cancer diagnosis, shortly after being diagnosed with a severe bacterial infection, and the death of her mother. Her search for humour in the midst of devastation is unforgettable.
Bobby Sands: 66 Days
In 1981, Bobby Sands – an imprisoned Provisional Irish Republication (IRA) soldier – lead a hunger strike at HM Prison Maze in Northern Ireland. He, along with nine other hunger strikers, lost his life after 66 days, aged 27. This documentary gives us an insight into Bobby’s beliefs – and his final journey.
The Defiant Ones
This four-part documentary miniseries follows the partnership between music legends Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre, co-founders of Beats Electronics. If you’re a Dre fan: you’ll love it. If you’re not a Dre fan: you’ll still love it.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
There's a reason this seriously compelling documentary, about the life and work of Nina Simone, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Feature). This remarkable woman was so much more than a singer and musician – she was an activist who wanted real change – and this movie, with her most-loved music, shows that.
The Ivory Game
As African elephants become even more endangered, filmmakers and wildlife activists take on poachers and ivory dealers in this must-watch doc.
This is another new docu-series, which is gathering serious attention. And we can see why. From the point of view of the police force in Flint, Michigan, we're taken into the heart of the town's troubles, from poisonous water to crime, drugs and poverty. It's unflinching and impossible not to binge.
Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold
Just finished What Happened, Miss Simone? and craving another story of an inspirational woman? Look no further than Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold. Directed by her nephew, the literary icon reflects on her incredible career, and the personal struggles she's faced along the way.
Daughters of Destiny
Filmed over 7 years, Daughters of Destiny follows a group of girls in rural India, who are part of the country's most impoverished families. The girls attend the Shanti Bhavan school, which provides free education to poverty-stricken children. You'll be totally absorbed in, and bowled over by, their journey for a brighter future.
Gaga: Five Foot Two
Picking up where Katy Perry's documentary left off, this film reveals the woman behind the meat dress. Filmmaker Chris Moukarbel follows Lady Gaga as she records her latest album, Joanne and her journey towards her now-infamous Super Bowl half-time performance, including her battles with severe illness.
Whitney: Can I Be Me
Unpacking one of the most troubled and talented stars of recent times, Nick Broomfield discovered the forces and people who made and broke Whitney Houston.
Making A Murderer
After spending nearly twenty years in prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit, Steven Avery took revenge against his prosecutors and filled a lawsuit against Manitowoc County and the key characters in his arrest. Whether or not, he did in fact commit the murder of twenty-five-year-old, Teresa Halbach the case has become of the most discussed crime mysteries of recent times.
This heartwarming documentary follows fashion icon, Iris Apfel. Famed for her love of a jolly good accessory or ten on one arm at once, this film by critically acclaimed, Albert Maysles is a fantastic tribute to the nonagenarian and interior designer's wit and style.
Novelist, Michael Peterson called 911 in 2001 claiming he had found his wife covered in blood, having fallen down the stairs of their house. However, the Police and medical team who attended the scene believed the injuries were that of someone who had been murdered. The husband became chief suspect and a blaze of publicity followed his trail before he was acquitted of any crime. Featuring interviews with the suspect, his legal team, family and friends this documentary is one of the best 'who did it' docuseries around.
This article originally appeared on Glamour UK.