50 Documentaries To See Before You Die countdown starts tonight

Documentary feature films are the smarter, older cousin of reality TV, and there are many, many amazing documentaries that tell true, often important stories in artistic and, yes, thoroughly entertaining ways. From a real-life thriller about dolphin slaughter to an honest look at Joan Rivers, there’s a lot of great documentary film being produced now–and of course, there’s a lot that’s been produced in the past.

To highlight some of the best, Current will air a mini-series that counts down the 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die starting tonight. Hosted by Morgan Spurlock, the director and star of the great film Super Size Me and other films, the series features talking head interviews, clips, and Spurlock interviewing documentary filmmakers and subjects.

The series airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET throughout August, and the network describes it as “a celebration of the most remarkable and moving documentaries released in the past 25 years” and says the series “examines how the documentary feature has evolved into an increasingly popular genre, becoming a major box office draw and impacting contemporary American culture in ways never seen before.”

There are clips of the series on Current’s site, and here are the first seven minutes:

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.