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 Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.