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Late summer and fall 2021 documentary TV schedule and guide

Late summer and fall 2021 documentary TV schedule and guide

Welcome to a new reality blurred feature: a quarterly guide to documentary films and nonfiction specials on TV. If you’d like to see what’s ahead, scroll down and browse by month and week.

First, a little backstory: In my quest to keep you updated on the nonfiction television, I’ve decided to retire my weekly “This week on reality TV” stories, replacing it instead with a redesigned reality TV schedule and this new documentary guide. I keep updating my quarterly schedules constantly, and for the “this week” stories, found myself spending several hours every week rewriting those lists—and then being frustrated by how quickly my “this week” story could be out of date, like when a network or streaming service announced a premiere a day or two before an actual premiere.

In this new documentary guide, and the redesigned reality TV premiere guide, I’ve now divided the list visually by both months and weeks—and can link directly to the current week. So you’ll be able to see what’s premiering that week, and I’ll keep it updated even as new information comes in. Just look for the links on realityblurred.com’s front page. Meanwhile, I’ll still publish occasional “this week” guides when there’s a particularly notable or exciting week.

Things you should know

This guide includes feature documentaries that are premiering on broadcast, cable, premium, and streaming TV services, from PBS to HBO, Netflix to Hulu, Discovery+ to Disney+. Some of those premieres are theatrical films making their television debuts, while others are original to television.

This list does not include documentary series—which I define, somewhat arbitrarily, as documentaries that have multiple episodes airing over multiple weeks or nights. Documentary series will always be listed on my reality TV schedule and guide.

In this guide, all times listed are in ET/PT, and were accurate at the time of publication. I frequently update this list, but since TV networks and streaming services sometimes change their schedules, make sure to check your guide or other TV listings (and please do let me know if you see something that’s changed).

Program descriptions in quotation marks indicate text that has come directly from network press releases, the show’s website, or other official materials.

I welcome any additions or changes to this list, especially because I want this to be as comprehensive and accurate a list as possible. If you have any updates, additions, or corrections, please e-mail me. Thank you!

Late summer and fall 2021 documentary premieres on TV


August | September | October | November | December


August 2021

Week of Aug. 15, 2021

Untold: Deal with the Devil (Netflix, Tuesday, Aug. 17). “boxer Christy Martin opens up about her battles in and out of the ring.”

Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes (Netflix, Wednesday, Aug. 18). “British serial killer Dennis Nilsen narrates his life and crimes via a series of chilling audiotapes recorded from his jail cell”

In the Same Breath (HBO, Wednesday, Aug. 18, at 9). “recounts the experiences of people on the ground in the earliest days of the novel coronavirus and the way two countries dealt with its initial spread”

The Smartest Kids in the World (Discovery+, Aug. 19). follows four American teenagers who go abroad to study in the Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, and South Korea – nations that dramatically outperform the US in education”

Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground (HBO Max, Thursday, Aug. 19). “honors Henry Hampton’s masterpiece Eyes on the Prize (1987-1990)” that “explores the profound journey for Black liberation through the voices of the movement”

Week of Aug. 22, 2021

Bring Your Own Brigade (Paramount+, Friday, Aug. 20). “An investigation into our landscape’s hidden fire stories and on-the ground experiences of firefighters and residents struggling through deadly fires

Mr. SOUL! (HBO Max, Aug. 22). Explores “the first national variety show to provide expanded images of African Americans on television” that offered “an unfiltered and uncompromising celebration of music, politics, dance, Black literature, and poetry”

Hitler’s Secret Bomb (Science Channel, Sunday, Aug. 22, at 8). “During WWII, US, German and Japanese scientists embarked on a frantic race to unlock the secrets of nuclear fission and create the world’s first nuclear bomb”

Cold Blooded Alaska (Discovery+, Aug. 24). “uncovers Alaska’s most disturbing crimes and unpacks the extraordinary lengths law enforcement working in the Last Frontier must take to bring killers to justice”

Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed (Netflix, Wednesday, Aug. 25): “The never-before-seen story behind the prolific landscape artist and host of The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross”

John of God: The Crimes of a Spiritual Healer (Netflix, Wednesday, Aug. 25): “medium João Teixeira de Faria rises to international fame before horrifying abuse is revealed by survivors and prosecutors”

Lily Topples the World (Discovery+, Thursday, Aug. 26). “follows 20-year-old sensation Lily Hevesh – the world’s most acclaimed domino toppler and the only girl in her field – as she rises as an artist, role model, and young woman”

Week of Aug. 29, 2021

The Price of Freedom (CNN, Sunday, Aug. 29, at 9). “explores gun violence in America and the history of the National Rifle Association (NRA)”

The Song of the Butterflies (El canto de las mariposas) (PBS, Monday, Aug. 30, at 10). “follows Rember Yahuarcani, an Indigenous painter from the White Heron clan of the Uitoto Nation in Peru” who returns home and “confronts the horrors his community faced as a result of the rubber boom in Peru, immersing himself in the past so that he can rediscover his own creativity”

Generation 9/11 (PBS, Tuesday, Aug. 31, at 9). “focuses on the stories of seven children whose fathers died that day, and reveals how an entire generation was shaped by the tragedy and its aftermath”

September 2021

9/11: Inside the President’s War Room (Apple TV+, Sept. 1). “explores the events of September 11, 2001 through the eyes of President Bush and his closest advisors”

Doctor’s Orders (Discovery+, Sept. 3). “wanders into the wild world of motorcycle gangs to explore the sordid truth behind a woman’s planned murder, orchestrated by a husband who believed he was too powerful to get caught”

Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James (Showtime, Friday, Sept. 3, at 9). “an intimate yet propulsive look at Rick James, one of rock, funk and R&B’s most legendary and often underappreciated figures”

Yannick—An Artist’s Journey (PBS, Friday, Sept. 3, at 9). “the music director of the Metropolitan Opera’s meteoric rise to become one of the most acclaimed and sought-after music directors of his generation”

Week of Sept. 5, 2021

CIA vs. Bin Laden: First In (Reelz, Sunday, Sept. 5, at 8). “features interviews with 18 people including senior CIA leaders who played critical roles in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, many of whom have accounts that have never been told until now”

The Chameleon Killer (ID, Sunday and Monday, Sept. 5 and 6, at 9). “detectives take viewers through a convoluted case that led to the capture of an evasive serial killer”

Ten Steps to Disaster: Twin Towers (Smithsonian, Monday, Sept. 6, at 9). “the ten steps that led to the Twin Towers disaster and what America needs to do to confront future threats”

Changed Forever 9/11 (WORLD, Monday, Sept. 6, at 9:30). “offers three storytellers who reveal how 9/11 changed their lives and the world itself”

Rebuilding Hope: The Children of 9/11 (Discovery+, Sept. 7). “Four families with children who were born after their fathers were killed on 9/11 share their stories of bravery and inspiration”

America After 9/11 (PBS, Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 9). Frontline’s look at “how four presidents responded to that fateful day and the fear it unleashed”

The Women of 9/11 (ABC, Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 9). “Four inspiring women who survived trauma and loss on 9/11 share their stories of finding purpose and peace after two decades”

Too Soon: Comedy After 9/11 (Vice, Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 9). “explores how stand-up comedians, Broadway performers, late-night hosts, Saturday Night Live cast members, The Onion staffers and a plethora of performers managed to help their audience laugh even in the darkest of days”

Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11 (MSNBC, Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 10). “In the wake of 9/11, hundreds of people recorded their stories. 20 years later, these same voices return”

Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali (Netflix, Sept. 9). “Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali’s extraordinary bond cracks under the weight of distrust and shifting ideals”

The Women and the Murderer (Netflix, Sept. 9). “follows a police chief and a murder victim’s mother in their unflagging efforts to find and prosecute a serial killer in 1990s Paris”

9/11: The Legacy (History, Friday, Sept. 10, at 7). “an intimate look into the profound impact and legacy this tragic day had on America’s children through the subsequent days and 20 years that followed”

Rise And Fall: The World Trade Center (History, Friday, Sept. 10, at 8). “a chronological look at the conception, construction and destruction of the World Trade Center towers”

Return of the Taliban (Showtime, Friday, Sept. 10, at 8). “a deeper look at the militant group that seized control of the country in 11 days, following the U.S. military withdrawal”

Detainee 101 (Showtime, Friday, Sept. 10, at 9). “unpacks the mysteries surrounding John Walker Lindh, the young American found on the battlefield in Afghanistan alongside the people who were supposed to be his enemy”

9/11: Four Flights (History, Saturday, Sept. 11, at 8). “tells the riveting and emotional human stories of those aboard each doomed jetliner”

9/11: I Was There (History, Saturday, Sept. 11, at 10). “an intimate portrayal of the events of September 11 captured by ordinary people who chose to pick up their video cameras that day”

Week of Sept. 12, 2021

Desert One (History, Sunday, Sept. 12, at 8). “tells the story of the failed US rescue attempt of American hostages being held at the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran in 1980”

Sandra Day O’Connor: The First (PBS, Monday, Sept. 13, at 9). American Experience’s profile of “the Supreme Court’s first female justice” 

You vs. Wild: Out Cold (Netflix, Sept. 14). “Bear Grylls is back for another exciting interactive movie”

Once Upon a Time in Queens (ESPN and ESPN2, Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 14 and 15, at 8). “traces the origins of the 1986 team back to the late 1970s, when the Mets were a listless, struggling franchise – and New York City was nearly bankrupt.”

Boeing’s Fatal Flaw (PBS, Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 9). “tells the inside story of the fastest selling jet in Boeing history, how a software system that was supposed to keep people safe led to their deaths, and how intense market pressure and flawed oversight contributed to a catastrophic crisis”

Schumacher (Netflix, Sept. 15). “The life of Michael Schumacher, who rose to a Formula One icon thanks to a daring and defiant spirit, is explored in this insightful documentary”

Bat Superpowers (PBS, Sept. 15, at 9). “NOVA meets the scientists who are decoding the superpowers of the bat”

My Heroes Were Cowboys (Netflix, Sept. 16). “Robin Wiltshire, an immigrant inspired by the iconography of the Hollywood western, finds meaning and redemption through the art of horse training”

Move Fast and Vape Things (FX and Hulu, Friday, Sept. 17, at 10). “How did the founders of Juul lose their way and end up accused of addicting a whole new generation?”

Black Power: A British Story of Resistance (Amazon, Sept. 17). “examines how the Black Power movement came into being in the UK in the late 1960s and fought back against police brutality and racism, challenging the British establishment and helping to shape a new political and cultural landscape in the UK”

Subnormal: A British Scandal (Amazon, Sept. 17). focuses on “one of the biggest scandals in the history of British education, where Black children in the 1960s and ‘70s were disproportionately sent to schools for the so-called ‘educationally subnormal'”

Week of Sept. 19, 2021

Voices Magnified: Mental Health Crisis (A&E, Monday, Sept. 20, at 10). “showcases honest and personal stories of Americans from across the country highlighting the critical issue of mental health in America”

Heval (Curiosity Stream, Sept. 23). “explores the gripping real-life story of British-born actor Michael Enright, who abandoned his Hollywood career to volunteer for the fight against ISIS in Syria”

The Toolbox Killer (Peacock, Sept. 23, then Oxygen, Oct. 3). “America’s most sadistic serial killer, Lawrence Bittaker, describes his 1979 killing spree”

Savage X Fenty Show (Amazon, Sept. 24). “Rihanna’s Emmy nominated Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3 is an immersive fashion experience that combines fashion, dance, and music with iconic architecture and unforgettable performances”

The Show (Showtime, Friday, Sept. 24, at 9). “chronicles the massive undertaking behind one of the most iconic musical performances of the year”: “the making of the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show”

Controlling Britney Spears (FX and Hulu, Friday, Sept. 24, at 10). “an explosive follow-up documentary by the same team [who produced Framing Britney Spears], featuring new allegations from insiders with intimate knowledge of Britney’s daily life inside the conservatorship”

Week of Sept. 26, 2021

Escaping Captivity: The Kara Robinson Story (Oxygen, Sunday, Sept. 26, at 7). “a gripping first-hand account of a teenager’s tenacious will to survive a serial killer”

Citizen Hearst (PBS, Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 27 and 28, at 9). American Experience’s profile of “William Randolph Hearst, who, by the 1930s, controlled a vast media empire, achieving unprecedented power”

Britney vs Spears (Netflix, Sept. 28). “Journalist Jenny Eliscu and filmmaker Erin Lee Carr investigate Britney Spears’ fight for freedom by way of exclusive interviews and confidential evidence.”

I Promise (YouTube, Sept. 28). “tells the story of LeBron James’ efforts to close the achievement gap in his hometown of Akron, Ohio through the eyes of the inspiring students who are resetting expectations of their futures”

Destination Porto: The Unimaginable Journey (Paramount+, Oct. 28). “award-winning soccer journalist and CBS Sports analyst Guillem Balagué provides an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at his months-long travels across a Europe”

In Their Own Words: Jimmy Carter (PBS, Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 8). “the inspiring story of a long-shot outsider who fought his way to the top office in the world, beat the odds against him again and again”

Speak Sis (OWN, Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 9). “an in-depth conversation regarding mental health and trauma impacting the Black community”

In Their Own Words: Elon Musk (PBS, Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 8). “how Musk went from bullied boy to young innovator to self-taught rocket scientist, ultimately becoming one of the richest men in the world”

The Cannabis Question (PBS, Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 9). “a new film exploring our relationship with cannabis, uncovering what scientists have discovered about the plant’s effects on the body and brain, including its potential risks and medicinal benefits, and the demonization and criminalization that has disproportionately harmed communities of color”

October 2021

A Sinister Sect: Colonia Dignidad (Netflix, Oct. 1). “A colony of German Christians with a charismatic and manipulative leader establishes itself in Chile and becomes instrumental to the dictatorship”

My Name is Pauli Murray (Amazon, Oct. 1). “Overlooked by history, Pauli Murray was a legal trailblazer whose ideas influenced RBG’s fight for gender equality and Thurgood Marshall’s civil rights arguments. This is a portrait of their impact as a non-binary Black luminary: lawyer, activist, poet, and priest who transformed our world”

Vince Carter: Legacy (Crackle, Oct. 1). “explores the transformation of the NBA’s longest career athlete, Vince Carter, from dunking into history, playing through the pain, and evolving to create a legacy”

All Or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs (Amazon, Oct. 1). “a behind-the-scenes look at the 2020-2021 NHL season”

The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 Years of Walt Disney World (ABC, Friday, Oct. 1, at 8). “will take viewers through Walt Disney World’s humble beginnings in the swamplands of Florida and its evolution into a cultural phenomenon”

Week of Oct. 3, 2021

The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet (Discovery Channel, Sunday, Oct. 3, at 4 p.m., and Discovery+, Oct. 3). Earthshot Prize Council members “showcase the environmental challenges facing our planet as well as introduce us to inspiring leaders who are working to provide vital real world solutions to repair our planet.”

Fruits of Labor (PBS, Monday, October 4, at 10). POV says “Ashley, a Mexican American teenager, dreams of graduating high school, but increased ICE raids in her coastal California community threaten the family’s stability since her mother is undocumented”

The Prison Breaker (Discovery+, Oct. 5). “Richard McNair’s friends and family, the law enforcement officers whom he betrayed, and the journalists pursuing the truth, tell their versions of interactions with one of America’s most wanted criminals”

Lights, Camera, Acciòn (PBS, Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 9). “a celebration of the incredible impact Latinos have made in Hollywood — past, present and future, with a focus on the exciting new wave of talent that is blazing their own trail in the industry”

Five Years North (World, Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 8). “the story of Luis, an undocumented Guatemalan boy who arrives in New York City with little support and many responsibilities, and Judy, a veteran ICE agent who must weigh the human cost of her work”

American Masters‘ documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It (PBS, Tuesday, October 5, at 9). “how Moreno defied her humble upbringing and racism to become one of a select group of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award winners”

Mr. A & Mr. M: The Story of A&M Records (EPIX, Dec. 5 and 12 at 10). “an in-depth look at the record label of the same name that helped foster the careers of some of the most well-known artists in the music industry”

Fauci (Disney+, Oct. 6). With “unprecedented access to Dr. Fauci,” offers”a revealing portrait of one of our most dedicated public servants”

Particles Unknown (PBS, Oct. 6, at 9). “NOVA joins an international team of neutrino hunters whose discoveries may change our understanding of how the universe works

15 Minutes of Shame (HBO Max, Oct. 7). “examines social behavior by embedding with individuals from across the U.S. who have been publicly shamed or cyber-harassed”

Justin Bieber: Our World (Amazon, Oct. 8). “takes viewers backstage, onstage and into the private world of the global superstar as he prepares for a record-breaking New Year’s Eve 2020 concert.”

Jacinta (Hulu, Oct. 8). “follows a young woman who struggles to find stability amid years of addiction and reconnect with the daughter she left behind”

Week of Oct. 10, 2021

Cured (PBS, Monday, Oct. 11, at 10). Independent Lens’s documentary that “follows the psychiatrists and activists who fought to remove homosexuality from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in the early 1970s”

Convergence: Courage in Crisis (Netflix, Oct. 12). “spans eight countries and 9 individual stories … [and] follows everyday citizens across the globe as they rise to the challenges of this upheaval in extraordinary ways”

Making Malinche: A Documentary by Nacho Cano (Netflix, Oct. 12). “Join the creative process behind Nacho Cano’s new musical based on the love story of Malinche and Hernán Cortés and the merging of their two worlds”

American Reckoning (PBS, Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 9). “the killing of NAACP leader Wharlest Jackson in Natchez, Mississippi in 1967, a family’s search for answers, and the history and limits of a federal effort to right wrongs in our country’s past”

Taliban Takeover (PBS, Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 9). Frontline “delivers an on-the-ground report from Kabul, examining the uncertainty and fear among the Afghan people and revisiting the lead-up to the U.S. defeat and the Taliban’s return”

Convergence: Courage in a Crisis (Netflix, Oct. 13). “Beginning at the onset of the pandemic, the documentary follows everyday citizens across the globe as they rise to the challenges of this upheaval in extraordinary ways”

Arctic Drift (PBS, Oct. 13, at 9). “Join scientists on the biggest Arctic research expedition of all time”

What Happened, Brittany Murphy (HBO Max, Oct. 14). “an intimate, in-depth character portrait of actor Brittany Murphy, going beyond the headlines to explore the mysterious circumstances surrounding her tragic death at 32”

Crutch (Discovery+, Oct. 14). “an intimate look into award-winning dancer and cutting-edge performance artist Bill Shannon”

The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+, Oct. 15). “shows just how the group became a cultural touchstone representing a range of contradictions”

Passion Play: Russell Westbrook (Showtime, Friday, Oct. 15, at 9). “an intensely personal examination of one of the most dynamic and complex figures in professional sports”

La Frontera with Pati Jinich (PBS, Friday, Oct. 15 and 22, at 9). “acclaimed chef and James Beard Award-winning host Pati Jinich … experiences the region’s rich culture, people and cuisine”

Letters to Eloisa (PBS, Friday, Oct. 15, at 10). “tells the story of Cuba’s José Lezama Lima, an all but forgotten figure of the Latin American literary boom that included Gabriel García Márquez, Octavio Paz and Mario Vargas Llosa”

Week of Oct. 17, 2021

Newsworthy (WORLD, Monday, Oct. 18, at 9:30). “the behind-the-headlines stories of the people who bring us the news”

Becoming Helen Keller (PBS, Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 9). “Revisit Helen Keller’s rich career and explore how she perpetually put her celebrity to use to advocate for human rights in the pursuit of social justice for all, particularly women, the poor and people with disabilities”

Found (Netflix, Oct. 20). “After DNA tests reveal them to be cousins, three girls adopted by different American families travel to China in hopes of meeting their birth parents.”

My Garden of a Thousand Bees (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 8). The 40th season premiere of Nature focuses on “Martin Dohrn, a veteran wildlife cameraman and a bee enthusiast, [who] embarked on a special challenge … to film all the bees he could find in his tiny urban garden”

Four Hours at the Capitol (HBO, Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 9). “features never-before-seen footage and vivid first-hand accounts from lawmakers, staffers, police officers, protesters, and rioters who stormed the Capitol building where the electoral votes were being counted”

Secrets of the Dead: Magellan’s Crossing (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 10). “Five hundred years ago, Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set sail … laying the groundwork for colonization and globalization still felt today”

Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+, Oct. 21). “follows the singular actress as she reckons with the next chapter of her life after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis”

Flip a Coin: ONE OK ROCK Documentary (Netflix, Oct. 21). “Unable to tour in 2020, the members of ONE OK ROCK work for months to put on an online concert that matches the energy of their in-person shows”

The Green Wave (Crackle, Oct. 21). “the incredible true comeback story of the Summerville High School basketball team after their coach Louis Mulkey, a dedicated firefighter, dies in a catastrophic fire”

Climate Games (YouTube, Oct. 23). “follows content creators and elite athletes over two special episodes as they undertake spectacular challenges designed to deliver a key climate message”

Week of Oct. 24, 2021

Civil War (or, Who Do We Think We Are) (MSNBC, Sunday, Oct. 24, at 10). “a look at how Americans portray the story of their Civil War, revealing a nation haunted by an embittered past and the stories it refuses to tell”

Resilience (WORLD, Monday, Oct. 25, at 9:30). “features three Houston-based tellers sharing tales of difficult obstacles that helped them learn to bend, not break”

Things We Dare Not Do (PBS, Monday, Oct. 25 at 10). “In the small Mexican coastal village of El Roblito, 16-year-old Ñoño … works up the courage to tell his family he wants to live his life as a woman”

Sex: Unzipped (Netflix, Oct. 26). “Saweetie will be joined by sex experts, talking heads, and a crew of sex-positive puppets who are representative of the broad spectrum of sex and sexualities that exist in real life to help address and describe some of the biggest myths, misconceptions, and experiences when it comes to sex and identity”

Brave Mission: Rewild the Planet (YouTube, Oct. 27). “explores how the environmental impact of an illegal coal trade is threatening both human and gorilla ways of life and how a new sustainable energy solution may be the answer”

Season of the Osprey (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 8). “cameraman Jacob Steinberg has achieved unlimited access to an osprey nest and captured the struggles, failures and triumphs of a single osprey family”

The Motive (Netflix, Oct. 28). “Decades after a 14-year-old boy brutally killed his family in Jerusalem in 1986, this documentary revisits the horrifying crime”

Now Hear This: Beethoven’s Ghost (PBS, Friday, Oct. 29, at 9). “Scott Yoo and fellow musicians undertake a recording of Beethoven’s most personal music at a historic Berkshires manor to explore the composer’s brilliant career”

From Hell to Hollywood (iTunes, Oct. 26). “tells the story of Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photojournalist Nick Ut” whose “prize-winning photo, ‘The Terror of War,’ is credited with helping bring an end to the Vietnam War”

Nature: Season of the Osprey (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 8). “meet an osprey family on a small saltmarsh at the delta of the Connecticut River … Paul Giamatti narrates”

A Closer Look with Trina (ALLBLK, Oct. 28). “features Trina opening up about her rise to fame, misconceptions from the public, and more”

Week of Oct. 31, 2021

November 2021

History of Mother Earth: Gaia Uncovered (BBC Select, Nov. 1). “Historian Bettany Hughes travels to Greece, Egypt, Istanbul and the UK to unravel the secrets the ancient world can teach us, questioning whether the past has the answers to how we can have a future on this earth”

The Co-Ed Killer: Mind of a Monster (Investigation Discovery, Monday, Nov. 1, at 9). “explore[s] Ed Kemper “The Co-Ed Killer” and Herbert Mullin, two serial killers who operated at the same time in Santa Cruz, California”

North By Current (PBS, Monday, Nov. 1, at 10). “Filmmaker Angelo Madsen Minax returns to his rural Michigan hometown after the death of his young niece” and “examines family, faith, and trans identity”

Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis (Netflix, Nov. 2). “In this animated documentary short, WWII vets reveal a secret US military camp near Washington where Jewish soldiers hosted and interrogated Nazi POWs”

Police on Trial (PBS, Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 10). “an extraordinary on-the-ground view of the trial of the Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd”

Lords of Scam (Netflix, Nov. 3). “traces the rise and crash of scammers who conned the EU carbon quota system and pocketed billions before turning on one another”

Nature: The Elephant and the Termite (PBS, Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 8). “Witness the creation of the waterhole, one of Africa’s greatest wildlife meeting places manufactured by giant elephants and tiny termites”

Space Titans (Discovery+, Nov. 4). “will follow the world’s most successful entrepreneurs who are putting billions of dollars on the line to launch a revolution in space.”

Being Blago (Hulu, Nov. 5). “a story about [former Illinois Governor Rod] Blagojevich’s life after prison – his journey, purpose, lost power, search for redemption, and if he plans to reenter politics”

A Cop Movie (Netflix, Nov. 5). “walks the line between fact and fiction, delving into corruption in the Mexican police through the experiences of two officers”

The Oratorio: A Documentary with Martin Scorsese (PBS, Friday, Nov. 5, at 9). “the long-forgotten story of the 1826 performance that brought Italian opera to New York City”

Attica (Showtime, Saturday, Nov. 6, at 9). “recounts in vivid detail the five-day 1971 prison rebellion at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York, which took the lives of 29 inmates and 10 hostages”

Week of Nov. 7, 2021

Lost Tombs of the Maya (Science, Sunday, Nov. 7, at 8). “will follow a team using the latest technology to search for clues to what caused the Maya to abandon their cities”

Four Seasons Total Documentary (MSNBC, Sunday, Nov. 7, at 10). “the definitive story of one of the most viral pop culture moments in recent history — the Four Seasons Total Landscaping Press Conference”

Ferguson Rises (PBS, Monday, Nov. 8, at 10). “the aftermath and protests following Michael Brown Jr.’s killing through a wide range of community members”

Dear Rider (HBO, Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 9). “a celebration of the life and vision of Jake Burton Carpenter (1954-2019), the pioneer who propelled the sport of snowboarding into a global and cultural phenomenon”

Born in the Rockies (PBS, Wednesday, Nov. 10 and 17, at 8). “Follow the lives of the courageous animal families struggling to survive in one of the most challenging habitats on Earth”

3212 Un-Redacted (Hulu, Nov. 11). “When ODA 3212, an elite U.S. Special Forces team is caught in a surprise attack deep in the Saharan Desert, killing four soldiers” the military tries “to hide the full truth”

Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers (YouTube, Nov. 11). “a unique look into the creative mastery and turbulent personal life of the legendary rock star, capturing the period of 1993-1995”

The Young Leaders: One Young World Stories (Ovation, Thursday, Nov. 11, at 7). “the story of six young leaders from diverse backgrounds who are creating a better future”

Hidden Heroes: The Nisei Soldiers of WWII (History, Thursday, Nov. 11, at 8). “tells the lesser-known, inspiring story of the Japanese American soldiers of WWII who fought for the ideals of American democracy and became the most decorated military unit for its size and length of service in United States history”

Mayor Pete (Amazon, Nov. 12). “will take viewers inside Buttigieg’s headline-generating campaign to be the youngest U.S. President, providing an unprecedented intimacy with the candidate, his husband Chasten, and their team”

Set! (Discovery+, Nov. 12). follows “a group of feverishly determined table setters vie for the ‘Best of Show’ ribbon at the Orange County Fair table setting competition”

Murdered & Missing in Montana (Oxygen, Friday, Nov. 12, at 8). “focuses on the disappearance and mysterious deaths of three Indigenous girls, leaving their families and community with many unanswered questions and without any closure”

Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possible (Showtime, Friday, Nov. 12, at 8). “spotlights Garnett’s remarkable career and the progressive moments that defined it”

Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight (Discovery+, Nov. 13). “Baskin and her husband Howard, along with their team, get their hands dirty and investigate the treatment of big cats, often coming into direct confrontations with dangerous operators”

Week of Nov. 14, 2021

Lost Cities of the Trojans (Science, Sunday, Nov. 14, at 8). “In Turkey, investigators have unlocked new secrets about the past – excavating ruins of a city that some believe could be Troy itself. Did the war really take place at this spot? And could the Trojan Horse myth be based on a real event?”

In the Dark of the Valley (MSNBC, Sunday, Nov. 14, at 10). “A Southern California mother discovers that the Santa Susana Field Lab, the site of one of  the largest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, is located only 7 miles from her home. Concealed from the public eye for 20 years and never fully cleaned up, she grapples with the idea that the site may be responsible for exposing her daughter and community to cancer-causing radioactive waste”

Ascension (Paramount+, Nov. 15). “an exploration of the pursuit of wealth and the paradox of progress in modern China, and examines what living the so-called ‘Chinese Dream’ looks like today”

Sabaya (Paramount+, Nov. 15). “takes us inside the most dangerous refugee camps in the Middle East, Al-Hol, in Syria” as “Mahmud, Ziyad and their group risk their lives trying to save Yazidi women and girls being held there by ISIS as sabaya (sex slaves)”

Storm Lake (PBS, Monday, Nov. 15, at 10). “A dogged family-run paper in Iowa gives citizens the scoop on forces threatening to overwhelm their precarious small-town existence”

A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks (HBO, Monday, Nov. 15, at 10). “Best known for his iconic portraits of everyday Black Americans in all their pain, ordinariness and glory, photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks shot everything from fashion to Malcolm X, Gloria Vanderbilt and Muhammed Ali”

The Wimbledon Kidnapping (Sundance Now, Nov. 16). “Britain’s first ever hostage and ransom case galvanized the nation in 1969”

American Exile (PBS, Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 10). “Brothers Manuel and Valente Valenzuela both volunteered and fought in Vietnam. Fifty years later, they are among thousands of veterans who are being deported”

Lead Me Home (Netflix, Nov. 18). “Fighting just to survive, California’s homeless population suffers as housing costs soar, pushing more of the disadvantaged onto the streets”

Jagged (HBO, Thursday, Nov. 18, at 8). “explores [Alanis Morissette’s] beginnings as a young Canadian pop star, the rocky path she faced navigating the male-dominated music industry, and the glass ceiling she shattered on her journey to becoming the international icon”

The Line (Apple TV+, Nov. 19). “featuring exclusive interviews with SEAL Team 7 about the 2018 case in which a U.S. Navy SEAL platoon accused its chief, Eddie Gallagher, of war crimes”

Procession (Netflix, Nov. 19). “Six men who were sexually abused by Catholic clergy as boys find empowerment by creating short films inspired by their trauma”

Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson (FX and Hulu, Friday, Nov. 19, at 10). “examines the racial and cultural currents that collided on the Super Bowl stage, and explores how the incident impacted one of the most successful pop musicians in history”

The Hunt for Planet B (CNN, Saturday, Nov. 20, at 9). “follows scientists as they build and plan for the December launch of NASA’s Webb Space Telescope”

Week of Nov. 21, 2021

Caesar’s Doomsday War (Science, Sunday, Nov. 21, at 8). “explores the events of the war and the Gaul people, tracing their origins and follows the events that gave them such a terrifying reputation in Rome”

Chasing Ghislaine (Discovery+, Nov. 22, and ID, Friday, Dec. 3, at 8). “Chasing Ghislaine will change everything we think we know about the Epstein saga and the woman at the center of it all”

JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass (Showtime, Monday, Nov. 22, at 7). Oliver Stone’s “look at the vast archive of material that has been declassified, re-examined and placed in the public records since JFK

Duty Free (PBS, Monday, Nov. 22, at 10). “After 75-year-old Rebecca is fired from her lifelong job, her son takes her on a series of bucket list adventures while reflecting on America’s plight of ageism and insecurity”

Hayden & Her Family (WORLD, Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 8). “brings viewers into the Evanston, Illinois home of the Currys, who are raising twelve children, five of whom are adopted from overseas and have special needs”

Home from School: The Children of Carlisle (PBS, Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 9). “dives into the history of the flagship federal boarding school and chronicles the modern-day journey of tribal members who seek to recover what remains of the Arapaho children more than 100 years after they perished”

Shots Fired (PBS, Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 10). “With police shootings in Utah reaching record highs amid a nationwide debate over police accountability, Shots Fired offers a one-of-a-kind look at the shootings in the state over the past decade, drawing on a unique database begun by The Salt Lake Tribune”

Becoming Cousteau (Disney+, Nov. 24). “Capt. Jacques-Yves Cousteau was one of the 20th century’s great explorers, a filmmaker and beloved adventurer who documented the exotic wonders below the ocean”

Keep Sweet (Discovery+, Nov. 24). Focuses on Warren Jeffs, who “demanded absolute loyalty, and instituted complete adherence to the religion, requiring strict dress codes, banishing community celebrations and casting out followers who didn’t fall in line”

World Pet Games (Fox, Thursday, Nov. 25, at 8). “Pet owners will showcase just how skilled their furry friends are in five outrageous events including an Interspecies Race and Dunk Off, a Cat Obstacle Course, an Extreme Dog Catch and a Dog High Jump”

DMX: Don’t Try to Understand (HBO, Thursday, Nov. 25, at 8). “focuses on a year in the life of rapper Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons as he is released from prison in early 2019 and attempts to rebuild his career”

The Beatles: Get Back (Disney+, Nov. 25, 26, and 27). Directed by Peter Jackson, “takes audiences back in time to the band’s intimate recording sessions during a pivotal moment in music history”

Dig Deeper: The Disappearance of Birgit Meier (Netflix, Nov. 26). “After Birgit Meier vanishes in 1989, police missteps plague the case for years. But her brother never wavers in his painstaking quest to find the truth”

Demon in the White House (Discovery+, Nov. 26). “aims to uncover if the presidential home is haunted by something demonic, and if so, what it could possibly want”

Cusp (History, Friday, Nov 26, at 9). “an intimate and authentic glimpse into American girlhood when the constraints of adolescence clash with the growing desire for personal agency”

Queen of Meth (ID, Friday, Nov. 26, at 9). “a deeply personal journey unraveling how one of America’s most infamous, unexpected drug lords, Lori Arnold, turned addiction into a criminal enterprise”

When Philip Met Missy (ID, Saturday, Nov. 27, at 9). “chronicles the dark side of a love story, beginning with a seemingly innocent meet-cute that spirals into something more sinister: revealing twisted secrets and a murder for hire plot”

Doctor’s Orders (ID, Sunday, Nov. 28, at 9). “Pagan motorcycle gang snitch Andrew ‘Chef’ Glick revels every dark detail that led to the 2021 murder of local New Jersey radio host April Kauffman”

Mojave Mystery – Vanished in the Desert (HLN, Sunday, Nov. 28, at 9). “An avid outdoorsman vanishes near the mysterious Area 51. Searchers find his cell phone near a mine shaft, but no sign of Kenny”

Week of Nov. 29, 2021

14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible (Netflix, Nov. 29). “Climber Nims Purja leads a team of Sherpas with a goal to climb all 14 of the peaks over 8,000 meters in seven months, shattering the record of seven years”

The Housewife & the Shah Shocker (Hulu, Nov. 29). “dives into the bombshell accusations against The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City cast member Jen Shah and her alleged involvement in a long-running telemarketing scheme that preyed on the elderly”

Life of Crime: 1984-2020 (HBO, Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 9). “tells the full story of three friends from Newark, New Jersey whose lives have been defined by and torn apart by their addictions”

December 2021

The Crown’s Ancient Forest (Smithsonian, Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 8). “cameras capture a wild and magical place of ancient beauty that’s hardly changed since King William the Conqueror proclaimed it as his hunting grounds some 900 years ago”

Listening to Kenny G (HBO, Thursday, Dec. 2, at 8). “a humorous but incisive look at the saxophonist Kenny G, the best-selling instrumental artist of all time”

Adrienne (HBO, Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 8). “a celebration of the life and work of the actor, filmmaker, wife and mother [Adrienne Shelly] and a personal exploration of grief”

Tomorrow Is A Long Time: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan (AXS TV, Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 8). The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde “[explores] what initially drove her to cover some of Dylan’s most important works, while shining a light on the immense passion she has for her craft”

The Rescue (Disney+, Dec. 3). “chronicles the against-all-odds story that transfixed the world in 2018: the daring rescue of twelve boys and their coach from deep inside a flooded cave in Northern Thailand”

To Live and Die in Alabama (Hulu, Dec. 3). “Three police officers died in a shootout at a drug house in Alabama. One man was sentenced to death for the shootings, even though he was never accused of even touching the murder weapon. This is the story of Nathaniel Woods”

Money Heist: From Tokyo to Berlin (Netflix, Dec. 3). “It’s the end of an era for the showrunners and actors behind “Money Heist,” who share secrets about filming while saying goodbye to the beloved series”

The Hunt For The Chicago Strangler (Discovery+, Dec. 3). “remembers the women whose lives were taken and explores the close-knit communities that have been victimized by fear and loss”

Video Music Box (Showtime, Friday, Dec. 3, at 8). “chronicles the longest-running music video show in the world, Video Music Box, launched and hosted in New York City by visionary DJ and MC Ralph McDaniels”

Mr. A & Mr. M: The Story of A&M Records (EPIX, Dec. 5 and 12, at 10). “an in-depth look at the company’s distinct approach of focusing on their artists, discovering unique talent and evolving with the ever-changing music industry”

Week of Dec. 6, 2021

Voir (Netflix, Dec. 6). “visual essays celebrating Cinema and the personal connection we each have to the stories we see on the big screen”

The Forever Prisoner (HBO, Monday, Dec. 6, at 10). “tells the chilling story of Abu Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee subjected to the CIA’s program of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs), later identified as torture”

The Slow Hustle (HBO, Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 8). “chronicles the still unsolved death of Baltimore police detective Sean Suiter, fatally shot in the head in 2017 while in the line of duty, and explores the ongoing speculation about what really happened that day”

Mr. Saturday Night (HBO, Thursday, Dec. 9, at 8). “tracks [Robert] Stigwood’s journey from managing artists such as Eric Clapton and the Bee Gees, to producing the hit shows ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ ‘Tommy,’ and ‘Evita,’ to forever changing the way film studios approached movie soundtrack synergy”

Craft in America (PBS, Dec. 10, at 9 and 10). “Harmony bridges art forms, exploring the power of music and craft,” while “Jewelry explores the artistry and impact of personal adornment.”

Ricky Powell: The Individualist (Showtime, Friday, Dec. 10, at 8). “the against-all-odds-story of New York City photographer Ricky Powell, who rose to worldwide fame while capturing one of the wildest, most electric times in popular culture”

The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime, Saturday, Dec. 11, at 8). “blends dramatic reconstructions with never-before-heard recordings, intimate home movies, behind-the-scenes material, and newly restored classic films to reveal a side of the worldwide icon that – until now – has been shrouded in mystery”

Week of Dec. 12, 2021

The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe (Discovery+, Dec. 13). “pulls the curtain back on the multi-level marketing company and features interviews with retailers, warehouse workers, designers and others whose lives were profoundly impacted by the organization”

Gordon Ramsay’s Road Trip: European Vacation (Fox, Monday, Dec. 13, at 8). Gordon Ramsay, Gino D’Acampo, and Fred Siriex take “an epic European vacation through Italy, France and Scotland to discover all the best food and fun in each of their home countries.”

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (HBO, Monday, Dec. 13, at 10). “a rare window into the early days of Sesame Street, revealing the creators, artists, writers and educators who together established one of the most influential and enduring children’s programs in television history”

Gordon Ramsay’s Road Trip: Christmas Vacation (Fox, Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 9). Gordon is “taking pals Gino D’Acampo and Fred Siriex deep into a winter wonderland to find the home of Santa Claus himself.”

Puff: Wonders of the Reef (Netflix, Dec. 16). “A baby pufferfish travels through a wondrous, microscopic world full of fantastical creatures as he searches for a home in the Great Barrier Reef”

Dead Asleep (Hulu, Dec. 16). “did a remorseful Randy Herman Jr. really commit a brutal murder in his sleep, or was it a convenient cover story?”

Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss (HBO, Thursday, Dec. 16, at 8). “an intimate and often eye-opening exploration of the life and all-too-short career of wunderkind rapper Juice WRLD”

Rolling Like Thunder (Showtime, Friday, Dec. 17, at 8). “the secret underground world and history of freight train and graffiti culture, uncovering stories of myth-like artists, remarkable romances, competitive graffiti crews, and battles with the institution”

Week of Dec. 19, 2021

Dead Man’s Switch (Discovery+, Dec. 23). “A young cryptocurrency exchange CEO suddenly and mysteriously dies on his honeymoon in India, sparking an international scandal and leaving $215 million of investors’ money inaccessible to anyone”

Stories of a Generation – with Pope Francis (Netflix, Dec. 25). “Pope Francis and other men and women all over the world aged 70+ — both famous and everyday people — share their life stories with young filmmakers”

Unapologetic (PBS, Monday, Dec. 27, at 10). “an inside look into the ongoing movement work that transformed Chicago, from the police murder of Rekia Boyd in 2012 to the election of mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2019”

In Their Own Words: Angela Merkel (PBS, Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 8). “profiles Angela Merkel, who will step down this year after 16 years as Germany’s chancellor”

Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer (Netflix, Dec. 29). “will examine how the danger and depravity of New York’s Times Square in the late 1970s and early 1980s made it possible for one man to commit — and nearly get away with — unthinkable acts”

January 2022

Week of Jan. 2, 2022

Gordon Ramsay’s Road Trip: Greek Vacation (Fox, Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 8). “Gordon Ramsay and his best friends, Gino D’Acampo and Fred Siriex … eat, drink and laugh their way through this Greek adventure

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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