2010 televised documentary schedule

The kinds of documentaries that interest me most are like reality TV: they focus on people, and find narratives and drama in real lives and real situations. Best of all, they nearly always have something to teach us even as they entertain and surprise.

This list include notable television debuts of film or made-for-TV documentaries that meet my definition, so it’s not a definitive list of all nonfiction film on TV.

As always, times are in ET (usually the same for PT); you should check networks’ web site schedules, particularly for PBS, and also for repeat broadcasts or last-minute changes.

  • Inside KA by Cirque du Soleil [G4, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m.]
  • Big River Man [Planet Green, Jan. 9 at 10 p.m.]
  • The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special — In 3-D! On Ice! directed by Morgan Spurlock [Fox, Jan. 10]
  • Brace for Impact [TLC, Jan. 10 at 9 p.m.]
  • Copyright Criminals [PBS, Independent Lens, Jan. 12 at 9 p.m.]
  • Young@Heart [PBS, Independent Lens, Jan. 12 at 10 p.m.]
  • The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan [PBS, Jan. 19 at 9 p.m.]
  • Biker Chicks: Leather and Lace [National Geographic, Jan. 20 at 9 p.m.]
  • Taboo: Fat [National Geographic, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m.]
  • Animal Planet Investigates: Dog Fighting Exposed [Animal Planet, Jan. 25 at 10 p.m.]
  • A Family is a Family is a Family: A Rosie O’Donnell Celebration [HBO, Jan. 31 at p.m., repeats]
  • This is My Africa [HBO 2, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m., repeats]
  • Taboo: Narcotics [National Geographic, Feb. 3 at 10 p.m.]
  • What’s On Your Plate? [Planet Green, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m.]
  • Ten9Eight: Shoot for the Moon [BET, Feb. 7 at noon]
  • The Black List: Volume 3 [HBO, Feb. 8 at 8:30 p.m., repeats]
  • Inside Polygamy: Life is Bountiful [National Geographic, Feb. 10 at 9 p.m.]
  • Facing Ali [Spike, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m.]
  • Reporter [HBO, Feb. 18 at 9:30 p.m., repeats]
  • Mayday! Bering Sea [Discovery, March 3 at 9 p.m., repeats]
  • Setara: An Afghan Fallen Star [HBO, March 18]
  • Afghan Star [HBO, March 18 at 9 p.m.]
  • An Omar Broadway Film [HBO 2, March 24]
  • A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism [HBO, April 2]
  • Christian Siriano: Having a Moment [Bravo, April 5 at 10 p.m.]
  • Independent Lens: Unmistaken Child [PBS, April 7 at 10 p.m.]
  • Independent Lens: Blessed is the Match [PBS, April 13 at 10 p.m.]
  • Making the Crooked Straight [HBO2, April 14 at 8 p.m.]
  • Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country [HBO, April 20 at 9:30 p.m.]
  • Independent Lens: Garbage Dreams [PBS, April 27 at 10 p.m.]
  • Children of Africa: The Lazarus Effect [HBO 2, May 5]
  • Sergio [HBO, May 6 at 8]
  • Children of Africa: Music By Prudence [HBO 2, May 12]
  • Children of Africa: Saving Africa’s Witch Children [HBO 2, May 26 at 8]
  • I Knew It Was You [HBO, June 1 at 9 p.m.]
  • Smash His Camera [HBO, June 7 at 9 p.m.]
  • For Neda [HBO, June 14 at 9 p.m.]
  • Jaws: The Inside Story [Bio, June 16 at 9]
  • Kevorkian [HBO, June 28 at 9 p.m.]
  • No One Dies in Lily Dale [HBO, July 5 at 9 p.m.]
  • The Rainbow Warriors of Waiheke Island [Documentary Channel, July 9 at 8:30 p.m.]
  • A Small Act [HBO, July 12 at 9 p.m.]
  • An Omar Broadway Film [HBO, July 14 at 8 p.m.]
  • Lucky [HBO, July 19 at 9 p.m.]
  • Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County [HBO, July 26 at 9 p.m.]
  • 12th and Delaware [HBO, Aug. 2 at 9 p.m.]
  • El Espiritu De La Salsa [HBO, Aug. 9 at 9 p.m.]
  • Cropsey: The Urban Legend [Investigation Discovery, Aug. 13 at 9 p.m.]
  • Witness: Katrina [National Geographic Channel, Aug. 23 at 9 p.m.]
  • If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise [HBO, Aug. 23 and 24 at 9 p.m.]
  • Woman Rebel [HBO2, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m.]
  • The Cove [Animal Planet, Aug. 29 at 9 p.m.]
  • Giuliani’s 9/11 [National Geographic Channel, Sept. 6 at 9 p.m.]
  • Witness: D.C. [National Geographic Channel, Sept. 6 at 10 p.m.]
  • My Trip to Al-Qaeda [HBO, Sept. 7]
  • The Fence [HBO, Sept. 16]
  • Eleven Minutes [Logo, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.]
  • Teenage Paparazzo [HBO, Sept. 27]
  • War Don Don [HBO 2, Sept. 22]
  • Al Franken: God Spoke [Documentary Channel, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m.]
  • After the Spill: The Last Catch [National Geographic Channel, Sept. 28 at 9 p.m.]
  • Sins of My Father [HBO, Oct. 4 at 9 p.m.]
  • William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible [PBS, Oct. 21 at 10 p.m.]
  • Monica & David [HBO, Oct. 14]
  • The Promise: The Making of “Darkness of the Edge of Town” [HBO, October]
  • Dark Light: The Art of Blind Photographers [HBO 2, October]
  • The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner [HBO 2, Nov. 3]
  • Wartorn: 1861-2010 [HBO, Nov. 11]
  • Public Speaking [HBO, Nov. 22 at 10 p.m.]
  • Restrepo [National Geographic, Nov. 29 at 9 p.m.]
  • Wishful Drinking [HBO, December]
  • Top 10 Monks [HBO 2, December]
  • Grizzly Man [Planet Green]
  • No Impact Man: The Documentary [Planet Green]
  • Sins of My Father [HBO, fall]
  • Space Dive [National Geographic Channel, fall]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.

A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.