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Documentaries on TV or streaming in winter 2022

Documentaries on TV or streaming in winter 2022
Opera singer Marian Anderson sings while standing in the Lincoln Memorial, where she performed an Easter Sunday concert in 1939. (Photo by Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo via PBS)

As documentaries proliferate across the TV landscape, I’ve started collect premiere dates together in one place, to make for easy reference for all feature docs and special one-off nonfiction TV shows.

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

While I occasionally include multi-part documentaries here, this list generally does not include documentary series, which I define—arbitrarily and imperfectly—as documentaries that have multiple episodes airing over multiple weeks, mirroring episodic television. Those kinds of 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 feel free to 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!

Winter 2021/2022 documentary premieres on TV

December | January | February

December 2021

Week of Nov. 28, 2021

Fruitcake Fraud (Discovery+, Dec. 1). “Over the course of nine years, a whopping $17 million was embezzled from Corsicana, Texas’s revered Collin Street Bakery, the world’s most famous purveyor of Fruitcake. This documentary takes viewers to the heart of the small town rocked by the scam.”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Chasing Ghislaine (ID, Friday, Dec. 3, at 8). “an in-depth and revelatory look at the woman who is accused of sharing a twisted and chilling partnership with [Jeffrey] Epstein”

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”

To Live and Die in Alabama (FX and Hulu, Friday, Dec. 3, at 10). “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”

When Buildings Collapse: Disaster in Surfside (Discovery, Saturday, Dec. 4, at 8). “pieces together a moment-by-moment account of the disaster, recounts the rescue and recovery efforts and explores factors that could have contributed to the building collapsing”

Week of Dec. 5, 2021

Valley of the Queens (Science, Sunday, Dec. 5, at 8). “archaeologists decode ancient inscriptions hidden deep in underground tombs, to discover the lost stories of the most powerful women in Ancient Egypt”

White Power on Trial: Return to Charlottesville (CNN, Sunday, Dec. 5, at 9). “retraces the events in Charlottesville that led nine plaintiffs to sue 25 defendants, including high-profile white nationalists, neo-Nazis and organizations designated as hate groups, who they say planned, carried out and celebrated a weekend of violence and intimidation”

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”

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

White House Christmas 2021 (HGTV, Sunday, Dec. 12, at 6). “will spotlight the iconic home’s brilliant holiday displays, including 78,750 dazzling lights, more than 10,000 ornaments, 6,000 feet of ribbon and 41 Christmas tree”; Genevieve Gorder hosts

Alex Murdaugh: Death. Deception. Power. (Oxygen, Sunday, Dec. 12, at 8). the “unfolding story of South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh, currently charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report” whose “wife Maggie and son Paul were found brutally murdered in June 2021”

Secrets of the Celtic Grave (Science, Sunday, Dec. 12, at 8). “In a remote corner of the United Kingdom, a bizarre iron age grave has been uncovered. More than 2000 years old, this new discovery sheds new light on a critical moment in history when Imperial Rome’s war machine came to conquer Britain”

Ken and Barbie Killers: The Lost Murder Tapes (ID, Sunday and Monday, Dec. 12 and 13, at 9). “Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka painted a picture-perfect relationship of a beautiful young couple in love” but “were orchestrating a horrific crime spree across Canadian suburbs and recording their evil brutality on tape”

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”

Murders at Starved Rock (HBO, Dec. 14 and 15 at 8). “exploring the 1960 brutal murders of three women in Starved Rock State Park in LaSalle County, Illinois, and the decades of questions and doubts that have haunted the son of the prosecutor in the case, as the man found guilty seeks to clear his name after sixty years in prison”

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”

Shatner in Space (Amazon, Dec. 15). “details the events before, during, and after [William] Shatner’s life-changing flight—which made him the oldest person to ever travel to the cosmos—and the growing friendship between the Star Trek icon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos”

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”

Drew’s Dream Car (Discovery+, Dec. 18). “Drew Scott enlists the help of master mechanic Ant Anstead to design and build the custom car of his dreams”

Out of Stock: Supply Chain Crisis (Discovery, Saturday, Dec. 18, at 8). “explores the complex shipping system at its best and how it has broken down”

Week of Dec. 19, 2021

North Pole to North Star (Discovery, Sunday, Dec. 19, at 8). Alaskan Bush People stars “The Browns will spruce things up to make this Christmas a joyous one to remember, including a one-of-a-kind Secret Santa exchange with original Brown-crafted gifts for each other”

Reopening Night (HBO, Monday, Dec. 20, at 10). “follows the cast, crew and staff of the world-famous Public Theater as they prepare to mount an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives … following more than a year of closures in the city”

Beyond Hubble: The Telescope of Tomorrow (Science, Tuesday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 26, at 10). “The world’s most powerful observatory—the James Webb Space Telescope—is set for launch this month after over 25 years of development and construction. Science Channel … will take viewers inside this incredible feat of technology and its launch with two specials”

Beanie Mania (HBO Max, Dec. 23). “a layered and riveting look at how a children’s toy spawned an unprecedented investment bubble and a frenzy of American greed”

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”

Week of Dec. 26, 2021

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”

The Super Bob Einstein Movie (Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 9). “explores Einstein’s unlikely discovery and enduring career, sharing the many evolving layers of his comedy from the people that knew him best”

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”

Earth Emergency (PBS, Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 8). “climate scientists explain how warming caused by human activity is setting in motion Earth’s own natural mechanisms, releasing additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and further heating up the planet”

Where Chefs Eat (Cooking Channel, Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 9). “Ted Allen knows about food. The Emmy and James Beard Award-winning personality is also a New York Times best-selling author and has long connected with viewers on Food Network’s fan-favorite culinary competition Chopped. Now fans have a chance to follow this food lover extraordinaire out of the studio and onto the town as he embarks on a mission to find the places where chefs, the ultimate foodies, break bread and satisfy their appetites.”

January 2022

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts (HBO Max, Jan. 1). “an enchanting making-of story through all-new in-depth interviews and cast conversations, inviting fans on a magical first-person journey through one of the most beloved film franchises of all time”

Week of Jan. 2, 2022

Carole King & James Taylor: Just Call Out My Name (CNN, Sunday, Jan. 2, at 9). “celebrates King’s and Taylor’s relationship of 50 years” and follows “their expansive 2010 concert tour”

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

Eggs Over Easy (OWN, Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 9). Keshia Knight Pulliam narrates a documentary about “the often taboo subject of infertility in the Black community and brings Black women together for an enlightening and empowering dialogue about the sometimes unpredictable path to motherhood”

American Insurrection (PBS, Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 10). “One year after extremists attacked the US Capitol on January 6, correspondent A.C. Thompson and the team behind the award-winning Documenting Hate series continue their investigation”

Preserving Democracy: Pursuing a More Perfect Union (PBS, Thursday, Jan. 6, at 9). “examines the pursuit of democracy within our nation and others, addressing political divisiveness and regression as well as progress – from the birth of the U.S. to the domestic assault on the Capitol complex and its aftermath”

Affluenza Teen: The Friends Speak (Reelz, Saturday, Jan. 8, at 8). Ethan “Couch received a lenient sentence when a jury agreed that he had been sheltered by wealth his entire life and did not develop a sense of consequences and morals. Now … people intimately connected to the story sit down to share their experiences including Kevin McConnell who was first on the scene of the crash which also injured his son Lucas”

BTK: Confession of a Serial Killer (A&E, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 8 and 9, at 9). “provides unprecedented access into the mind of [Dennis] Rader who is currently serving 10 consecutive life sentences”

Week of Jan. 9, 2022

Scott Peterson: The Friends Speak (Reelz, Sunday, Jan. 9, at 8). Scott Peterson “was sentenced to death and is now serving life in prison despite his continuous pleas of innocence” for the murder of his wife; “six people involved with the story share their experiences”

Ailey (PBS, Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 9). “Discover the legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey, whose dances center on the Black American experience with grace, strength and beauty. Featuring previously unheard audio interviews with Ailey, interviews with those close to him and an intimate glimpse into the Ailey studios today.”

Butterfly Blueprints (PBS, Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 9). “Discover how butterfly science is inspiring groundbreaking technology, including more efficient solar power cells, and bulletproof vests stronger than Kevlar”

Use of Force: The Policing of Black America (Peacock, Jan. 14). “examines police brutality against people of color and explores a path forward to address this critical issue” and “shines a light on not only the circumstances of these cases but how to improve the system as a whole and heal the communities they impact”

Scream: The True Story (Discovery+, Jan. 14). “Scream may be one of the most successful horror movie franchises of all time, but the real fright lies in its terrifyingly true roots – the horrific story of serial killer Danny Rolling, aka The Gainesville Ripper”

King of the Con (Discovery+, Jan. 14). an “inconceivable story of deception, redemption and deception again across four decades, exposing Barry Minkow as one of the most unbelievable conmen to ever exist”

Week of Jan. 16, 2022

A Reckoning in Boston (PBS, Monday, Jan. 17, at 10). “A white filmmaker sets out to document students of color enrolled in Boston’s Clemente Course in the Humanities. He finds out that when it comes to exploring the city’s history of racism and gentrification, it’s his own education he needs to reckon with”

The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman (Netflix, Jan. 19). “a cruel conman masquerades as a British spy while manipulating and stealing from his victims and their families”

Animals with Cameras (PBS, Wednesday, Jan. 19 and 26, at 8). “Animals become wildlife cinematographers when they are fitted with lightweight, specially designed cameras in this two-part series that features turtles, sharks, koalas, bats, kangaroos and more”

Alaskan Dinosaurs (PBS, Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 9). “A team of intrepid paleontologists discovers that dinosaurs thrived in the unlikeliest of places—the cold and dark of winter in the Arctic Circle. … A dinosaur expedition explores a remote, treacherous, and stormy terrain where the team knows that every bone they find there will likely be a first, adding up to a unique picture of a lost northern world.”

Red Elvis: The Cold War Cowboy (CuriosityStream, Jan. 20). “showcases the extraordinary story of the American who defected to the East at the height of the Cold War and became a superstar”

Picabo (Peacock, Jan. 21). “the first career-spanning film chronicling the life of Picabo Street, the alpine skiing icon of the 1990s and [Lindsey] Vonn’s childhood hero”

Great Performances – Reopening: The Broadway Revival (PBS, Friday, Jan. 21, at 10). “pulls the curtain back on some of Broadway’s most popular shows, revealing how the New York theater industry undertook the monumental process of turning the lights back on after its longest hiatus in history due to the COVID-19 pandemic”

Radford Returns (Discovery+, Jan. 22). “follows the rebirth of the iconic British car company at the hands of a team of car enthusiasts, each tasked with recreating their own version of Lotus’ Type 62, a high-performing sports vehicle”

Week of Jan. 23, 2022

Three Songs for Benazir (Netflix, Jan. 24). “a documentary short revealing the extraordinary story of two Afghan teens in a camp for displaced people in Kabul”

Not Going Quietly (PBS, Monday, Jan. 24, at 10). “Ady Barkan’s life was upended when he was diagnosed with ALS at age 32. But after a chance encounter with a U.S. Senator on an airplane catapults him to fame, Ady and a motley crew of activists barnstorm across the country, igniting a movement for universal healthcare in a journey that transforms his belief in what is possible for his country and his family”

Neymar: The Perfect Chaos (Netflix, Jan. 25). “Beloved worldwide but also a lightning rod for critics, Neymar shares the highs and lows of his personal life and brilliant football career”

Ancient Maya Metropolis (PBS, Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 9). “The ancient ancestors of today’s Maya people thrived in large sophisticated cities across Central America for centuries. Why, around 750 CE, did they begin to abandon many of their major cities? Archaeologists investigate dramatic new evidence of the catastrophic droughts and instability that pushed cities beyond their limits”

The Hate We Can’t Forget: A Holocaust Memorial Special (Smithsonian, Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 10, and MTV, Monday, Jan. 31, at 10). “follows four Holocaust survivors who share their harrowing stories with kids from school districts that don’t teach the history of the Nazi slaughter of six million Jews. Host Julianna Margulies explores the impact and legacy of the Holocaust on a new generation of Gen Z and millennials – and the dangers of forgetting.”

Janet Jackson (A&E and Lifetime, Jan. 28 and 29 at 8). “This will be the definitive story on Janet Jackson. One of the best-selling and highest-earning artists in music history, Janet has enjoyed immense levels of success, experienced incredible tragedy, and endured a tumultuous private life in the face of extraordinary public scrutiny.”

Undeniable: The Truth To Remember (CBS and Paramount+, Saturday, Jan. 29, at 8). “follows five Holocaust survivors who share their harrowing stories with a diverse group of students from Hastings High School in Houston, Texas, a school that does not traditionally teach the history of the Holocaust”

The Chicago Mob: Deadly Associates (Reelz, Saturday, Jan. 29, at 8). “the story of how one family did the impossible in helping to bring down the venerable Chicago mob.”

Week of Jan. 30, 2022

Russia’s Wild Tiger (Nat Geo WILD, Sunday, Jan. 30, at 9). “focuses on the Amur tiger, which was recently on the brink of extinction with only 30 cats in existence. Now, there are nearly 600. In order to film the essence of this special tiger, the program was filmed across two years from 80 different cameras located in each tiger sanctuary in the Far East, including the Sikhote-Alin mountains, Land of Leopards National Park, Bikin National Park, Anyuysky National Park and many more.”

Missing in Brooks County (PBS, Monday, Jan. 31, at 10). “Migrants go missing in rural South Texas more than anywhere else in the U.S. For many families whose loved ones have disappeared after crossing the Mexico border, one activist detective is their last hope”

February 2022

On Safari (JOURNY, Feb. 1). “Combining comfort with adventure, Ghanaian-born host Sika Osei takes us into the heart of the African wild while indulging in the comfort and hospitality of the most incredible and luxurious Big 5 safari lodges on the continent.”

Princess Anne: The Seven Loves of Her Life (True Royalty TV, Feb. 1). “looks the Queen’s only daughter’s complex and at time scandalous life life; from her relationship with an Olympic champion to her husband, former equerry to the Queen”

Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth To Power (Starz, Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 8). “tells the complex story of Representative Barbara Lee, a steadfast voice for human rights, peace and economic and racial justice in the US Congress who cut her teeth as a volunteer for the Black Panther Party and was the lone vote in opposition to the broad authorization of military force following the September 11th attacks”

The Tinder Swindler (Netflix, Feb. 2). “Posing as a wealthy, jet-setting diamond mogul, he wooed women online then conned them out of millions of dollars. Now some victims plan for payback”

Arctic Sinkholes (PBS, Wednesday, Feb. 2, at 9). “Over the last several years, residents of a remote corner of the Arctic started coming across mystifying formations: huge, yawning holes in the ground, one more than 80 feet wide – deep enough to swallow a 15-story building. … NOVA follows teams of scientists to Alaska, Canada, and Siberia as they attempt to get to the bottom of this bizarre phenomenon – and what it could mean for our planet.”

The Humboldt Current (CuriosityStream, Feb. 3). “Powered by deep-sea upwelling from Antarctica, this chilly ocean river is responsible for the extreme dryness of the Atacama Desert and the moist, temperate rainforests of Chile. It creates the massive fishery of Peru, provides nesting habitat for countless seabirds and rare marine mammals, and cools a harsh, volcanic wasteland so that penguins can live in the tropics. We’ll reveal the catalysts behind the Current’s powerful life-giving engine as we follow it from the frozen south to the scorching north” 

Puppy Bowl Presents: The Winter Games (Discovery+, Feb. 3). “five extraordinary teams of trainer and dog face off against each other to see who will be named the top canine athlete when it comes to showmanship and talent and take home the gold. Hosted by Kym Whitley, this all-new special is filled with high-stakes drama as each team competes in three rounds of increasing competition and challenges which includes a series of show-stopping trick combinations and an epic round of speed and agility” 

And Just Like That…The Documentary (HBO Max, Feb. 3). “offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the new chapter, “And Just Like That…” Featuring new and returning cast members, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis, as well as writers, costume designers, producers, and crew – many of whom reassume their previous positions”

Torn (Disney+, Feb. 4). “On Oct. 5, 1999, Alex was tragically lost alongside cameraman and fellow climber David Bridges in a deadly avalanche on the slopes of the Tibetan mountain Shishapangma. Miraculously surviving the avalanche was Alex’s best friend and climbing partner, renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker. After the tragedy, Anker and Alex’s widow, Jennifer, fell in love, married, and Anker stepped in to help raise Alex’s three sons. In 2016, 17 years after their deaths, Lowe’s and Bridges’ bodies were discovered, and Lowe’s family journeyed to the remote Himalayan mountains to recover the men’s remains.”

Phat Tuesdays (Amazon, Feb. 4). “celebrates Phat Tuesdays at The Comedy Store, the influential comedy showcase that helped launch the careers of some of the most famous Black comedians in the industry today”

Bon Jovi: Frontman (REELZ, Saturday, Feb. 5, at 8). “a look at how the Bon Jovi founder and lead singer turned one of the most anarchic and decadent lifestyles as a rock star into a corporate leadership role”

Week of Feb. 6, 2022

The Tuck Rule (ESPN, Sunday, Feb. 6, at 8:30). “examines one of the most controversial plays in sports history, twenty years after it took place … Without the Tuck Rule, Tom Brady wouldn’t have won his first playoff game – and who knows where his destiny might have gone from there. But whether what happened on January 19, 2002 was the right call or a terrible call, divine providence or deep conspiracy, one thing is certain: The life of Tom Brady, as well as the life of the Hall of Famer who hit him on the play, Brady’s college teammate Charles Woodson, was forever changed that night.”

Love & The Constitution (MSNBC, Sunday, Feb. 6, at 10). “follows Representative [Jamie] Raskin for over three years as he fights to defend democracy during Donald Trump’s presidency and in the second impeachment trial, and navigates intense personal tragedy amidst the loss of his son, who passed away just days before the January 6th attack on the Capitol”

Riveted: The History of Jeans (PBS, Monday, Feb. 7, at 9). “Discover the fascinating story of this iconic American garment. From their roots in slavery to the Wild West, hippies, high fashion and hip-hop, jeans are the fabric on which the history of American ideology and politics are writ large.”

Love & Hip Hop: Lineage to Legacy (VH1, Monday, Feb. 7 and 14, at 9). “cast members from powerhouse franchises Love & Hip Hop and Black Ink Crew will come together” to “examine the harsh effects of slavery and challenging stereotypes about Black culture, while also celebrating Africa’s rich history, music, craftsmanship, style, dance and food”

Clotilda: Last American Slave Ship (National Geographic, Monday, Feb. 7, at 10, then Disney+ and Hulu starting Feb. 11). “about the most intact slave shipwreck found to date and the only one for which we know the full story of the voyage, the passengers and their descendants. … Descendants of the passengers share how their ancestors turned a cruel tragedy into an uplifting story of courage and resilience”

Owned: A Tale of Two Americas (PBS, Monday, Feb. 7, at 10). “weaves together the racist history of mid-century housing policy in America and the ramifications of the 2008 housing market collapse”

Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands (PBS, Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 9). “Discover an international singer who captivated royalty in Europe and defied the conscience of 1939 America. Watch rare archival footage and hear audio recordings exploring her life and career from the Metropolitan Opera to the State Department”

Penguins: Meet the Family (PBS, Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 8). “Enjoy a unique celebration of one of Earth’s most iconic and beloved birds, featuring all 18 species of penguins in footage for the first time ever, from New Zealand, Cape Town, the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica. Experience penguins’ heart-warming family dynamics, astonishing adaptations and remarkable behaviors.”

Secrets in the Scat (PBS, Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 9). “Meet Scott Burnett, an Australian biologist who believes that the key to understanding any animal is understanding its poop”

Profiled: The Black Man (Discovery+, Feb. 12). “examines the origins of the widespread stereotypes that have permeated society and impacted the lives of Black men in America for centuries” via “historical footage, real-life testimony, and commentary from an array of renowned thought leaders” 

Puppy Bowl Presents: Puppy Mania (Discovery+, Feb. 12). “Puppy athletes and their amateur trainers adorably battle it out in three rounds of competition.”

KISS: Frontmen (REELZ, Saturday, Feb. 12, at 8). “reveals how [Gene] Simmons and [Paul] Stanley made it work and the drastic risks they took to keep the band alive”

Week of Feb. 13, 2022

Bulletproof (PBS, Monday, Feb. 14, at 10). “Take a provocative look at fear, violence and what it means to be safe in the classroom in the age of mass shootings”

Saving the Restaurant (SOMM TV, Feb. 15). “Following Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey for the entire pandemic lockdown, this is one of the greatest restaurateur’s struggle to save restaurants in America.”

The American Diplomat (PBS, Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 9). “At the height of the Cold War, the U.S. State Department remained one of the last federal agencies to truly desegregate. … Learn the story of the fight for inclusion in American diplomacy through the lives of three African American ambassadors: Edward R. Dudley, Terence Todman and Carl Rowan”

Icahn: The Restless Billionaire (HBO, Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 9). “explores the fascinating contradictions at the heart of the famed financier, Carl Icahn”, and “probes Icahn’s humble roots, his business acumen, and his obsessive drive to stay atop America’s corporate hierarchy”

American Reckoning (PBS, Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 10). “examines Black resistance to racist violence in Mississippi, the murder of local NAACP leader Wharlest Jackson, and his family’s decades long hope for justice amid the ongoing federal effort to investigate civil rights era cold cases”

Great Mammoth Mystery (PBS, Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 9). “Sir David Attenborough drops in for tea at the modest suburban home of Neville and Sally Hollingworth, amateur fossil collectors in southwest England. He’s there to look at some of the unusual objects that decorate their living room—including giant tusks and massive molars that belonged to extinct mammoths”

Secrets of the Salisbury Poisonings (Discovery+, Feb. 17). “In 2018, double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned in Salisbury, England. Now, the people involved and explosive new evidence tell the story of the tragic events that turned the small town into the center of a global murder plot”

Lincoln’s Dilemma (Apple TV+, Feb. 18). “Narrated by Jeffrey Wright and featuring the voices of Bill Camp as Abraham Lincoln and Leslie Odom, Jr. as Frederick Douglass, the series is a 21st century examination of a complicated man and the people and events that shaped his evolving stance on slavery.”

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing (Netflix, Feb. 18). “Investigators reveal how Boeing’s alleged priority of profit over safety could have contributed to two catastrophic crashes within months of each other”

Uprooted (Discovery+, Feb. 18). “tells the story of Keith Warren, who was 19 years old when his body was found hanging from a tree in 1986. The police ruled it a suicide at the scene. The tree was cut down, his family was not informed for over six hours, no autopsy was performed and no criminal investigation was ever opened. Keith’s sister, Sherri, has spent the last 34 years investigating her brother’s death, and looking for closure. She is closer than she’s been in decades, but can one woman fight a corrupt justice system?”

Alien Abduction: Betty and Barney Hill (Discovery+, Feb. 18). “Betty and Barney Hill received global attention as the world’s first widely reported alien abductees. They became pop culture figures through a best-selling book, magazine excerpts and numerous media appearances. Decades later, in an intimate first-person interview, their niece, Kathleen Marden, shares her lifelong mission to expose the truth behind the Betty and Barney Hill alien abduction.”

Alient Abduction: Travis Walton (Discovery+, Feb. 18). The story of an alleged alien abduction now considered to be a hoax that was eventually adapted into the movie Fire in the Sky.

Whitesnake: Story of Their Songs (REELZ, Saturday. Feb. 19, at 8). “presents the stories behind the six songs that defined their career with original members guitarist Bernie Marsden and bass player Neil Murray sharing stories of the group’s early days”

Week of Feb. 20, 2022

America’s Deadliest Rock Concert: The Guest List (Reelz, Sunday, Feb. 20, at 8). “the deeply personal stories of lives forever altered by the tragic Station nightclub fire that left 100 people dead, more than 200 injured, and devastated the tight-knit community of West Warwick, Rhode Island”

LBJ: Triumph and Tragedy (CNN, Sunday and Monday, Feb. 20 and 21, at 9). “Weaving together dramatic first-hand accounts from the last surviving members of LBJ’s inner circle, never-before-broadcast archival material and LBJ’s own voice from secretly recorded audio tapes, Emmy Award-winning director Pat Kondelis crafts an intimate portrait of a larger-than-life figure, who left behind a complicated and polarizing legacy.”

Apart (PBS, Monday, Feb. 21, at 10). “This intimate portrait examines the impact of America’s war on drugs through three mothers attempting to rebuild lives derailed by drugs and prison. As Tomika, Lydia, and Amanda prepare to rejoin their families after years of incarceration, they enter an innovative prison program in Cleveland, Ohio where they lean on each other and mentors who have also been in prison.”

Black Patriots: Heroes of the Civil War (History, Feb. 21, at 11). “takes a close look at one of the most studied, debated, and dissected periods in American history, the Civil War, and the heroic figures whose bravery and selfless contributions helped define and reshape the reality of a democracy”

Fannie Lou Hamer’s America (PBS, Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 9). “Explore and celebrate the life of a civil rights activist and the injustices in America that made her work essential. Public speeches, personal interviews, and powerful songs of the fearless Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist paint a moving portrait of one of the civil rights movement’s greatest leaders.”

American Horses (PBS, Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 8). “NATURE turns its cameras to the uniquely American horse breeds that helped shape our nation, such as the Mustang, Appaloosa, Morgan and Quarter Horse. Each breed has a unique story to tell and each story is rooted deep in the American experience.”

A Bee’s Diary (Smithsonian, Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 8). “Scientists are learning that each bee in a hive is an individual, with its own personality. Told from the point of view of just two bees – a elderly ‘winter bee’ who nurtures the new generation, and a young forager who grows as the colony expands – this special reveals the secrets of a bee’s life from a completely new perspective”

Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches (HBO Max, Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 9). “offers a new approach to understanding Douglass’ story, guided entirely by  his own words about this country’s struggle for Black freedom and equality. Together with his autobiographies, the writings chart Douglass’ rise from a passionate young agitator to a composed statesman, and ultimately to a disenchanted but still hopeful older man”

Augmented (PBS, Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 9). “MIT biophysicist Hugh Herr envisions a world where amputees have access to brain-controlled robotic limbs so advanced that they actually improve on the body. At age 17, Herr’s own legs were amputated due to frostbite after he and a friend got lost in a blizzard and nearly died while climbing New Hampshire’s Mount Washington. Frustrated by the simplistic prosthetic legs he was given, Herr set out to remedy their design”

Predicting My MS (PBS, Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 10). Jason “DaSilva looks back on the challenges he’s faced, delves into the science behind MS, and investigates the potential risk factors that may––or may not––have contributed to his rare diagnosis”

Wasteland (Paramount+, Feb. 24). “examines the terrible impact waste and garbage are having on America’s waterways” and “will explore the unique challenges various regions must overcome in order to preserve the health and prosperity of their residents and the country as a whole”

Destination Fear: Trail to Terror (Discovery+, Feb. 24). “Dakota Laden takes his sister Chelsea Laden and best friends Tanner Wiseman and Coalin Smith on a journey to test their limits of fear. Dakota does not tell anyone where they are going, just that they will be sleeping alone for five consecutive nights in five of the most haunted locations in America.”

Freedom on the Range (INSP, Saturday, Feb. 26, at 8). “highlights five legendary Black cowboys who helped tame the Old West: Nat Love, Bose Ikard, Bass Reeves, Bill Pickett, and George McJunkin. These men made their way to the Western Frontier and discovered a new sense of freedom that allowed them to rise above the legacy of slavery and transcend the color barriers of their time.”

Week of February 27, 2022

Alice Cooper: Frontman (REELZ, Sunday, Feb. 27, at 8). “dives into his life story from near death experiences and his deep religious faith to memorable hits and unforgettable stage antics”

Megaphone for Conspiracy: The Alex Jones Story (CNN, Sunday, Feb. 27, at 9). profiles “the far-right radio and internet host, and outspoken conspiracy theorist” and his “rise from the fringes of public access television to creating a wide-reaching media empire that touched the Trump White House”

Trayvon Martin: 10 Years Later (BET, Monday, Feb. 28, at 8). “looks back at the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and how it became a turning point for how Americans view and confront the deaths of young Black men”

For documentaries with airdates in March or later, see the spring 2022 documentary schedule

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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.


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