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Fall 2022 documentaries on TV and streaming

Fall 2022 documentaries on TV and streaming
Bibi, a lion that's part of the Marsh Pride in Maasai Mara, Kenya, stars in PBS's Lion: The Rise and Fall of the Marsh Pride (Photo by Simon Blakeney via PBS)

There are a lot of unscripted and reality TV shows coming to TV this fall, and also many feature documentaries and reality show specials with subject as varied as Harriet Tubman, hazing in colleges, HIV, and Armie Hammer.

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

For documentaries that premiered before Sept. 1, 2022, and may still be streaming, refer to the summer 2022 documentary premiere guide.

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 be listed on my reality TV schedule and guide.

In this guide, all times listed are in ET/PT, and are accurate at the time of publication. I update this list frequently, but since TV networks and streaming services often change their schedules, sometimes at the last minute, please check your guide or other TV listings.

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

I always welcome updates, additions, and corrections to this list, so I can make it as comprehensive, accurate, and useful as possible. Just e-mail me. Thank you!

Fall 2022 documentary premieres on TV

September | October | November | December | January

September 2022

House of Hammer (Discovery+, Sept. 2). [Armie] “Hammer’s meteoric rise to fame came crashing down as victims came forward with disturbing stories of bondage, cannibalism fantasies, branding and that was just the beginning. The rape and abuse allegations brought against Armie Hammer in 2021 shocked Hollywood insiders and fans across the globe. This docuseries begins in 2020 at the peak of Hammer’s rise to fame. Featuring exclusive revelations from Armie’s aunt, Casey Hammer, and multiple survivors of Armie’s alleged abuse, the docuseries brings to light the dark secrets – ranging from accusations of violence and abuse to political manipulation and financial fraud –  hidden within one of America’s most prominent families.”

Jack Osbourne’s Night of Terror: UFOs (Discovery+, Sept. 3). “Osbourne teams up with his actor friends Jason Mewes (“Clerks,” “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”) and Jamie Kennedy (“Scream,” “Son of the Mask”) to venture out” to “Utah’s Uinta Basin”

Week of Sept. 4, 2022

McEnroe (Showtime, Sunday, Sept. 4, at 8). “takes viewers inside the mind of [John McEnroe,] one of the most controversial tennis players in the history of the sport as he traverses the streets of New York City over the course of a single night, retracing his life in previously unseen archival footage. From his upbringing in Douglaston, N.Y., to a Wimbledon semifinals run as an 18-year-old qualifier, to his sole year at Stanford University winning the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships and his Hall of Fame professional career where he captured seven Grand Slam singles titles, the documentary covers everything inside and outside the lines”

The Murders Before the Marathon (Hulu, Sept. 5). “explores an unsolved triple-murder mystery that rocked a quiet Boston suburb in 2011 and its possible link to the infamous Boston Marathon bombing”

Murders at the Burger Joint (Discovery+, Sept. 5). “In 1978, four teenagers working at the Burger Chef in Speedway, Indiana are abducted and driven 20 miles away where they are all brutally murdered. The deaths shock the community and baffle police because there is no physical evidence or, it seems at first, no witnesses. A dedicated group of friends, family, and law enforcement remain obsessed with solving this horrendous crime.”

American Ninja Warrior: Family Championship (NBC, Monday, Sept. 5, at 8). “Ten ninja families compete relay-style on a six obstacle course in teams consisting of three family members. The top four teams face off in a Power Tower tournament but only one family will be crowned American Ninja Warrior Family Champions.”

The Baby Business (CNN, Monday, Sept. 5 at 9). “CNN Anchor Alisyn Camerota takes a closer look at the ups and downs of the booming fertility field”

Shock Docs: The Visitors (Travel Channel, Monday, Sept. 5, at 9). “For the first time in nearly 40 years, [Whitley] Strieber agrees to return to the cabin and the stone circle that marks the spot of his first abduction, while investigative journalist Melissa Tittl and UFO researcher Jeff Belanger conduct a paranormal investigation. Could this property still be a portal to an alien world, or is there something about Strieber himself that remains a beacon to the visitors?”

Love & Stuff (PBS, Monday, Sept. 5, at 10). “‘How do you live without your mother?’ Filmmaker Judith Helfand asks this unbearable question twice: as a daughter caring for her terminally ill mother, and as an “old new mom,” single parenting her much-longed-for adopted baby girl. With footage from 25 years of first-person filmmaking, shiva babka and 63 boxes of dead parents’ ‘stuff,’ the film asks: what do we really need to leave our children?”

Get Smart with Money (Netflix, Sept. 6). “Financial advisers share their simple tips on spending less and saving more with people looking to take control of their funds and achieve their goals”

Lies, Politics and Democracy (PBS, Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 9). “tracks major political decisions made over the past seven years and lays bare the deep fissures that resulted”

Indian Predator: The Diary of a Serial Killer (Netflix, Sept. 7). “When a suspect is found in a journalist’s murder, the case is considered closed until a secret diary suggests 13 more victims — and possible cannibalism.”

Marvel Studios Assembled: The Making of Thor: Love and Thunder (Disney+, Sept. 8). “Settle in with the likes of Taika Waititi, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, and Tessa Thompson, as they divulge the secrets behind the creation of Thor: Love and Thunder. Through in-depth interviews with cast and crew, along with raw, unseen footage from the set and beyond, ASSEMBLED pulls back the curtain on the God of Thunder’s fourth feature film.”

Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return (Disney+, Sept. 8). “With never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes footage, colorful personal stories and meaningful moments, […] showcases the making of Lucasfilm’s original limited series. […] Director Deborah Chow, cast and crew reflect on their journey to tell a new story with iconic Star Wars characters Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader and Princess Leia, while introducing new heroes and villains into the saga along the way.”

Dancing with the Stars: The Pros’ Most Memorable Dances (Disney+, Sept. 8). “a look back on the 20 most memorable dances of thirty seasons of Dancing with the Stars’ chosen by the Pro-Dancers. Hosted by Derek Hough, Kym Johnson, Cheryl Burke, and Brandon Armstrong, we’ll see them countdown to their most unforgettable performance—highlighting everything from the best Mirrorball-winning performances over the years, to iconic opening numbers, Emmy-winning dances, and unforgettable celebrity mishaps.”

Gutsy (Apple TV+, Sept. 9). “features Hillary and Chelsea as they embark on a thought-provoking journey to speak with pioneering women artists, activists, community leaders and everyday heroes who show us what it truly means to be gutsy. The series shows Hillary and Chelsea as you’ve never seen them before, revealing their special mother-daughter bond and the unique, multi-generational way they approach the important and timely issues highlighted in each episode.”

Love & Marriage: Huntsville (OWN, Sept. 10, Saturdays at 8). “Melody Shari and Martell Holt, Kimmi and Maurice Scott, Marsau and LaTisha Scott, Destiny Payton-Williams, as well as Tiffany and Louis Whitlow … navigate their businesses, friendships and relationships in Huntsville, Alabama”

Week of Sept. 11, 2022

Hazing (PBS, Monday, Sept. 12, at 10). “Building on years of countless hazing-related tragedies and grappling with his own experiences, [Byron] Hurt (“Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” “Soul Food Junkies”) explores the function, politics, and consequences of pledging rituals at universities and colleges across the U.S. Through a series of intimate interviews with victims’ families, survivors, and his fellow fraternity brothers, Hurt and the film’s participants reflect on the realities of hazing, and question the purpose of these ongoing rite-of-passage rituals in sororities, fraternities, and other groups.”

Facing Suicide (PBS, Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 9). “will introduce viewers to a diverse group of Americans who have been affected by suicide, including high school basketball champions on a Native American reservation in Montana, who responded to the suicide crisis in their community with a prevention campaign that went viral; the wife of a Midwestern farmer who is determined that she and her children will live a full and hopeful life after her husband’s death; and a Black woman in Charlotte, NC, who overcame her own mental health challenges to become a suicide prevention advocate. The film also features leading scientists, practitioners, and innovative thinkers whose discoveries in neuroscience, genetics, psychology, and other fields are revealing the true nature of the problem as well as promising solutions.”

Sins of Our Mother (Netflix, Sept. 14). “Lori Vallow was known to friends and family as a devoted mother of three, a loving wife, and a woman of God. But over the past three years, something went very wrong: Now Lori is in jail, waiting to stand trial for conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of her fourth husband, her fifth husband’s wife, and her two youngest children. For the first time, Lori’s surviving son Colby steps forward to provide exclusive insight into his family’s backstory as well as their present-tense narrative as Lori faces justice. At the heart of this three-part series is a single burning question: how did a seemingly normal woman become the most notorious mother in America?”

Hell of a Cruise (Peacock, Sept. 14) “When passengers and crew members boarded the luxury Diamond Princess cruise ship in January of 2020, they had no idea that the deadly novel coronavirus boarded the ship with them turning the floating paradise into their worst nightmare. With access to hours of never-before-seen self-shot footage from passengers, this premium two-hour feature documentary will explore what went wrong and why only one week later were other cruise ships sent out to sea—where the same nightmare occurred again.”

Lion: The Rise and Fall of the Marsh Pride (PBS, Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 9). “tells the epic story of the famed lion family as they battle for survival in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve. Filmed for over 30 years by the BBC and others and known worldwide, the Marsh Pride is facing its toughest fight yet as conflict between the lions and humans increases. A powerful and often heart-wrenching tale of shifting loyalties, bloody takeovers, complex family dynamics and sheer resilience, the lions’ story is told by those who filmed them, tried to protect them, lived alongside them — and by some who ultimately want them dead.”

Terim (Netflix, Sept. 15). “Legendary manager Fatih Terim recounts his football journey, from his playing days to coaching and leading several teams to championship glory”

Skandal! Bringing Down Wirecard (Netflix, Sept. 16). “Upstart payment firm Wirecard wowed the financial industry with its runaway success — until a tenacious team of journalists exposed massive fraud.”

Mija (Disney+, Sept. 16). “features Doris Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, two daughters of undocumented immigrants from Mexico who are both navigating their careers in the music industry. Seeking to provide for their families while achieving their dreams, Doris and Jacks bond over the ever-present guilt of being the first American-born members of their undocumented families and the financial risks of pursuing their dreams. For them, the pressure of success is heightened because it is their family’s hope for green cards and family reunification.”

The Grand Tour Presents: A Scandi Flick (Amazon Prime Video, Sept. 16). “Jeremy, Richard and James head for the icy wastes of the Scandinavian Arctic Circle. At the wheel of their three favourite rally cars the boys embark on a catastrophe-filled adventure that takes in Cold War submarine bases – frozen lake racetracks, crashes and ski resort chaos as they drag their homemade houses from the coast of Norway to the Russian Border. ”

Week of Sept. 18, 2022

Runaway Mom: The Sherri Papini Story (HLN, Sunday, Sept. 18, at 10). “Police in Redding, CA were baffled by the disappearance of married young mom of two, Sherri Papini, while out for a jog. Weeks later she reappears, dazed, battered, and bruised. When investigators uncover a shocking ruse involving an ex-lover, it becomes clear there is even more to this story than they originally thought. Runaway Mom: The Sherri Papini Story features stunning details about her past and the pattern leading up to her disappearance, chilling audio from the 911 call placed by Papini’s husband, and illuminating interviews with lead investigators, community members, and former Mayor of Redding Missy McArthur.”

The Journey Of India (Discovery+, Sept. 19). “As India completes 75 years of being a nation, preserving precious traditions while hurtling towards modernity, a set of six films will celebrate the diversity she offers to the world – from faith and spirituality to action packed cinema, from progress in sustainability to intricate craftsmanship, from iconic cuisine to a rapidly growing industry.”

The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist (Netflix, Sept. 21). “First there was the reality series, then came a Hollywood movie— but the truth about the Bling Ring burglaries has never been told…until now. 10 years after the notorious heists, the culprits have served their jail time and are coming forward to tell the real story behind the Hollywood Hills home-invasions that gripped the nation. A cautionary tale for teens today, the docuseries shows what can happen when a fame-and-celebrity-obsessed culture meets the rise of social media and spins wildly out of control.”

Escape From Kabul (HBO, Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 9). “unfolds over 18 monumental days in August 2021,  from the U.S. withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan  through the subsequent evacuation of tens of thousands of Afghan citizens from Kabul airport after the Taliban seized the city. This deeply immersive and emotional documentary combines never-before-seen archival footage from those on the ground at the airport, with exclusive interviews with people who were there throughout the period, including Afghan citizens attempting to flee, U.S. Marines tasked with managing the evacuation, and Taliban commanders and fighters who had recently taken the city.”

Batali: The Fall of a Superstar Chef (Discovery+, Sept. 22). “Featuring exclusive interviews and shocking revelations, this ground-breaking documentary exposes the disturbing underbelly of the restaurant industry through the dramatic story of Mario Batali, one of the most powerful and popular chefs in America. Behind the charisma and charm lurked a dark side that eventually caught up to him when multiple women came forward with horrific accounts of harassment and their powerlessness in fighting back.” 

Cenizas de la Gloria/Ashes from Glory (Vix+, Sept. 22). “explores the peculiar relationship between sports and crime. The triumphs and downfalls of six athletes offer a portrait of contemporary Mexico. Their stories reveal that there is no match more intense than life”

The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone (Netflix, Sept. 22). “Sharing her journey from child to teen activist, Georgie Stone looks back at her life and historic fight for transgender rights in this documentary”

Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter (ABC, Thursday, Sept. 22, at 9). “Honoring the life and legacy of the remarkable storyteller, activist and philanthropist Norman Lear” with “intimate conversations, special performances and surprise reunions that pay homage to the man behind some of television’s greatest stories in celebration of his 100th birthday”

Point of View: A Designer Profile: Joanna Gaines (Discovery+, Sept. 24). “This profile features Joanna Gaines reflecting on her journey to becoming a designer and shares her new plans to restore the historic Cottonland Castle in Waco, Texas.” 

Week of Sept. 25, 2022

A Trip to Infinity (Netflix, Sept. 26). “This documentary profiles pioneers of math and physics around the world who are trying to explain infinity — and find it.”

Asteroid Impact Live: Dart Mission (Discovery Channel and Science Channel, Monday, Sept. 26, at 6). “the NASA feed of DART as the mission undergoes its final leg of its journey to make a first attempt to alter the course of an asteroid by intentionally crashing a spacecraft into it. The spacecraft has a camera with a feed back to Earth that will provide live, stunning visuals to the Discovery and Science audiences during the mission’s approach to the two asteroids.”

Delikado (PBS, Monday, Sept. 26, at 10). “Palawan is one of Asia’s tourist hotspots. But for a small network of environmental crusaders struggling to protect its spectacular forests and seas, it is more akin to a battlefield. Delikado follows three land defenders as they try to stop politicians and businessmen from destroying the Philippines’ ‘last ecological frontier.'”

11 Minutes (Paramount+, Sept. 27). “takes viewers inside the heart-stopping stories of terror and survival experienced by those who were at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas” during the mass shooting

Eat the Rich: The GameStop Saga (Netflix, Sept. 28). “This humorous documentary series follows a group of millennial misfits who banded together online to rescue their beloved GameStop from the clutches of Wall Street bigwigs, in a viral David vs. Goliath story for the 21st century”

Sex, Lies and The College Cult (Peacock, Sept. 28). “the shocking and unnerving true story of how a father and professional conman, Larry Ray, brainwashed students of Sarah Lawrence College into an abusive sex cult that upended their lives, and the lives of their families. The documentary chronicles decade-long abuse, extortion, sex trafficking and forced labor told in some of the victim’s own words. Through dark and personal footage, a portrait of the world inside this group is revealed – all rooted in manipulation and dark secrets”

Hostages (HBO, Sept. 28 and 29, at 9). “On November 4, 1979, Iranian student activists stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking over 60 Americans hostage […] With never-before-seen archival footage and revelatory new interviews with the American hostages and Iranian hostage-takers alike, the series is a gripping chronicle of one of the most dramatic international deadlocks in American history, a deep dive into the geo-political history that led to the crisis, and an exploration of the political fallout that reverberates today”

Nova: Saving Venice (PBS, Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 9). “Rising seas and sinking land threaten to destroy Venice. Can the city’s new hi-tech flood barrier save it? Discover the innovative projects and feats of engineering designed to stop this historic city from being lost to future generations.”

Ghost Adventures: Devil’s Den (Travel Channel, Thursday, Sept. 29, at 9). “Zak Bagans, Aaron Goodwin, Jay Wasley and Billy Tolley are in Downey, California, to investigate the shuttered Los Padrinos Juvenile Detention Center, given the ominous designation of the “Devil’s Den” by both guards and inmates.”

The Curse of Robert the Doll (Travel Channel, Friday, Sept. 30, at 8). “Considered the most haunted doll in the world, Robert the Doll lives behind glass in a museum in Key West, Florida, where every year thousands of visitors who fail to follow his rules find themselves cursed. Victims have experienced illness, injury, accidents and even death. But what makes Robert curse his victims? What evil entity lives inside this doll? This latest Shock Docs installment explores the true origin of Robert the Doll, uncovers the story of Robert’s first owners in 1905, and seeks to find out why this doll is so nefarious.”

October 2022

Beyond the Headlines: Gabby Petito (Lifetime, Saturday, Oct. 1, at 10). “will chronicle the twists and turns of the tragic road trip through the lens of Gabby’s social media presence as told both by the people who knew her best and a community of online strangers and cyber sleuths who ended up banding together to ultimately solve this shocking homicide. Two timelines were unfolding in the Gabby Petito story—a private one and a very public one.”

Week of Oct. 2, 2022

Nothing Compares (Showtime, Sunday, Oct. 2, at 10). “charts Sinéad OʼConnorʼs phenomenal rise to worldwide fame and examines how she used her voice at the height of her stardom, before her iconoclastic personality led to her exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on O’Connor’s prophetic words and deeds from 1987 to 1993, the film presents an authoritative, richly cinematic portrait of this fearless trailblazer through a contemporary feminist lens.”

Mysteries Decoded Presents: Spirit Squad (The CW, Monday, Oct. 3, at 9). “follows paranormal investigator Sara Gray, psychic medium Steffany Strange, and paranormal researcher Brittney Crabb as they join to investigate the haunting of the historical Leonis Adobe residence in California, quickly discovering there might be larger supernatural forces at play”

The Last Out (PBS, Monday, Oct. 3, at 10). “Three Cuban baseball players leave their families and risk exile to chase their dreams of playing in the United States. At the shadowy nexus of the migrant trail and pro sports, The Last Out chronicles their harrowing journey, from immigration obstacles to the broken promises of dubious agents. Against all odds, these young athletes try to hold onto their hope while fighting for a better life for their families”

Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom (PBS, Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 10). “a rich and nuanced portrait of the woman known as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, who repeatedly risked her own life and freedom to liberate others from slavery. Born in Dorchester County, Maryland—2022 marks her bicentennial celebration—Tubman escaped north to Philadelphia in 1849, covering more than 100 miles alone. Once there, she became involved in the abolitionist movement and, through the Underground Railroad, guided an estimated 70 enslaved people to freedom. She would go on to serve as a Civil War scout, nurse and spy, never wavering in her pursuit of equality. Featuring more than 20 historians and experts and grounded in the most recent scholarship, the film goes beyond the standard narrative to explore what motivated Tubman, including divine inspiration, to become one of the greatest freedom fighters in our nation’s history.”

Prince Andrew: Banished (Peacock, Oct. 5). “unpacks the tumultuous story of how Prince Andrew, Duke of York – formerly regarded as the attractive, beloved son of Queen Elizabeth II and decorated naval officer – whose behavior antics throughout his career as a Royal brought scandal and disgrace to the 1200-year legacy of the British Royal Family”

The Trapped 13: How We Survived The Thai Cave (Netflix, Oct. 5). “members of the Thai youth soccer team tell their stories of getting trapped in Tham Luang Cave in 2018 — and surviving”

Nova: Ending HIV in America (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 9). “Almost 40 years after the discovery of HIV, could we be on the verge of ending the AIDS epidemic in America? How did scientists tackle one of the most elusive deadly viruses to ever infect humans? Can innovative drugs bring new infections to zero?”

Generation Porn (Discovery+, Oct. 6). “explores the explosion and effects of internet pornography across the world through those who watch, produce and star in adult movies”

Aftershock: Everest and the Nepal Earthquake (Netflix, Oct. 6). “Survivors’ firsthand accounts and actual footage fuel this emotional docuseries about the deadly 2015 earthquake that shook Nepal”

The Joys and Sorrows of Young Yuguo (Netflix, Oct. 6). “teen Yuguo goes on the adventure of a lifetime as he leaves China to pursue his passion for Romanian literature and culture”

Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes (Netflix, Oct. 6). “explores the warped mind of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer through newly-unearthed recorded interviews with his legal team, revealing the ways that race, sexuality, class and policing allowed him to prey upon Milwaukee’s marginalized communities”

The Redeem Team (Netflix, Oct. 6). “tells the story of the US Olympic Men’s Basketball Team’s quest for gold at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 following the previous team’s shocking performance four years earlier in Athens”

Our American Family (AMC+, Oct. 7; Sundance TV, Sunday, Oct. 23 at 10). “provides an honest, unfiltered look at a close-knit Philadelphia family dealing with generational substance abuse. Captured at a pivotal “nothing to lose” moment, for over the course of a year, five family members tired of life with addiction on center stage, each struggle to transcend their crippling histories” 

Week of Oct. 9, 2022

The Journey of India (Discovery+, Oct. 10). “Narrated by Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, the series weaves a tale of India’s legacy with contributions from a range of esteemed personalities and leaders. Spanning a wide range of subjects, this one-of-a-kind series provides an in-depth look at the nation’s progress, influences, and accomplishments during the past 75 years; from advancements in science and technology and their ambitious and successful space missions to the world of cinema that not only entertains but also inspires.”

Accepted (PBS, Monday, Oct. 10, at 10). “follows four high school students at T.M. Landry, a prep school in Louisiana known for its viral videos of seniors being accepted to the Ivy Leagues, and sending 100% of its graduates to college. But an explosive NY Times article exposes the controversial methods of its dynamic founder – and the fiction of higher education’s promise”

Island of the Sea Wolves (Netflix, Oct. 11). “Explore wild, wondrous Vancouver Island, where the ocean nurtures all life, from bald eagles who go fishing to sea wolves who swim in frigid waters”

38 at the Garden (HBO, Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 9). “chronicles the extraordinary ascendance of point guard Jeremy Lin during his landmark 2012 season with the New York Knicks. Lin, an undrafted Harvard graduate, shocked fans, stunned his teammates and galvanized Asians around the world when he scored 38 points at Madison Square Garden against the Los Angeles Lakers, solidifying Lin’s hot streak and the ‘Linsanity’ craze”

Becoming Frederick Douglass (PBS, Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 10). “the inspiring story of how a man born into slavery became one of the most prominent statesmen and influential voices for democracy in American history. Born in 1818 on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, he escaped from slavery in 1838 and went on to become the most well-known leader of the abolitionist movement. A gifted writer and powerful, charismatic orator, it is estimated that more Americans heard Douglass speak than any other 19th-century figure, Black or white. The documentary explores how Douglass controlled his own image and narrative, embracing photography as a tool for social justice, and the role he played in securing the right to freedom and complete equality for African Americans.”

I Love You, You Hate Me (Peacock, Oct. 12). “chronicling the rise and fall of Barney the Dinosaur’s furious backlash — and what it says about the human need to hate. From Barney-bashing to frat parties to homicidal video games, something in American society broke into a million pieces, and it’s never been put together again… or is this just who we were all along?”

Tut’s Toxic Tomb (Discovery Channel, Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 8) “Paleoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi unravels the gripping science behind the Tutankhamun curse. As she discovers if toxins inside the tomb and on the treasures can explain a number of ‘curse deaths’. A journey shining fresh light on this global legend.”

Nova: Computers vs. Crime (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 9). “Across the country, artificial intelligence is helping inform decisions about policing and criminal sentencing. This timely investigation digs into the hidden biases, privacy risks, and design flaws of this controversial technology.”

A Radical Life (Discovery+, Oct. 13). “Filmmaker Ricki Stern takes an unfiltered look at the former First Lady of ISIS, Tania Joya, who for 12 years was married to John Georgelas, the highest ranking American in ISIS. This is the exclusive stranger-than-fiction story of two star-crossed lovers hungry for power and Islamic supremacy told through Tania’s unique POV as Islamic Soldier, wife and mother.”

Week of Oct. 16, 2022

Kids Baking Championship: Trick or Eat (Food Network, Monday, Oct. 17, at 8). “four fan-favorite bakers from last season dare to return to a kitchen that has been transformed into a spooky Halloween haunt. Duff Goldman and Maneet Chauhan challenge them to create a ‘Halloween Mask Pie’ using ingredients the bakers collect by trick-or-treating. But beware, there is a sudden, shocking twist. What isn’t scary is the impressive $10,000 prize package of baking tools and equipment that goes to the best pie-maker.”

LiSA Another Great Day (Netflix, Oct. 18). “Glimpse into the world of the songstress known as the ‘Anime Song Queen’ as she reflects on the first decade of her career and looks to the future”

Mama’s Boy (HBO, Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 9). “centers around the upbringing of the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Milk, Dustin Lance Black. Traveling back to the places where he grew up, Black explores his childhood roots, gay identity and close relationship with his mother, who overcame childhood polio, abusive marriages and Mormon dogma, while becoming Black’s emotional rock and ultimately, the inspiration for his activism.”

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Peacock, Oct. 19). “expands the record on Rosa Parks’ overlooked accomplishments and the importance of her drive and fight to overcome racial injustices and rampant inequalities. In short, what we are taught in school about Rosa Parks is a mere fraction of the full story about who she truly was” 

Nature: Running with the Beest (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 8). “The Great Migration in East Africa is a spectacle that can be seen from space and is one of the most impressive mass movements of land animals on Earth.  Over a million wildebeest, alongside zebra, gazelle and elands journey in a quest to find fresh grass. Two Maasai guides, Derrick Nabaala and Evalyn Sintoya, have spent the last 10 years tracking the wildebeest as they migrate through Kenya’s Mara ecosystem. The great migration is part of their cultural heritage, and they expose the modern-day conflict between people and wildlife and share new ideas for co-existence in a changing world.”  

Nova: Can Psychedelics Cure? (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 9). “Mind-altering drugs—or psychedelics—have been used for thousands of years. Today, scientists are discovering their potential for profoundly positive clinical impacts, helping patients struggling with afflictions like addiction and depression.”

Descendant (Netflix, Oct. 21). “Descendants of the enslaved Africans on an illegal ship that arrived in Alabama in 1860 seek justice and healing when the craft’s remains are discovered”

Week of Oct. 23, 2022

TikTok, Boom. (PBS, Monday, Oct. 24, at 10). “explores how a social media app, best known for videos of teenagers dancing, became the flashpoint of a geopolitical controversy between two superpowers—the U.S. and China. This Sundance favorite explores the impact of an app that eclipsed Silicon Valley to become a global cultural phenomenon reshaping the world. A cast of Gen Z influencers is central to the film, making this one of the most needed and empathetic films exploring what it means to be a digital native.”

Fugitive: The Curious Case of Carlos Ghosn (Netflix, Oct. 26). “From his rise as a business mogul to his plummet into international notoriety, this true crime documentary examines the bizarre story of Carlos Ghosn”

Nature—Canada: Surviving the Wild North (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 8). “Canada is a vast country, with the largest intact forest on the planet, more than two million lakes and rivers, and the longest coastline on Earth. This wild and rugged outpost is home to some of the world’s most astonishing wildlife, such as polar bears, coastal wolves, Canada lynx and harp seals. Journey from the high arctic and tundra and to the boreal forests, to discover how life manages to survive in the Wild North, where getting the timing right and seizing seasonal opportunities can make the difference between life and death.”

Nova: Ocean Invaders (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 9). “Lionfish–long prized in home aquariums–have invaded the Atlantic. Dive deep with host Danni Washington to investigate what makes the lionfish such a successful invasive species, how it’s wreaking havoc, and what can be done about it.”

Earthstorm (Netflix, Oct. 27). “Storm chasers, survivors and first responders recount their harrowing experiences with volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes”

My Encounter with Evil (Netflix, Oct. 28). “A chilling series about how three women faced evil; from their very own voices we learn horrifying real testimonies about possessions, infestations and exorcisms”

I Am A Stalker (Netflix, Oct. 28). “told from the perspectives of stalkers and survivors”

Ghosts of Flight 401 (Travel Channel, Friday, Oct. 28, at 8). “On December 29, 1972, Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing over 100 souls. Soon after, ghosts from Flight 401 began to haunt the land and other airplanes. … on the 50th anniversary of the crash, paranormal investigator Steve Shippy and psychic medium Cindy Kaza will attempt to make contact with the ghosts of Flight 401 and find out the horrifying truth about what really happened that fateful night.”

Week of Oct. 30, 2022

World’s Funniest Animals: Halloween (The CW, Monday, Oct. 31, at 8). “gets into the spooktacular fun with host Elizabeth Stanton giving us a peak into the cutest animals in their Halloween splendor”

The 13 Scariest Movies of All Time (The CW, Monday, Oct. 31, at 9). “Dean Cain counts down the best in horror films”

Nature—Woodpeckers: The Hole Story (PBS, Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 8). “239 species of woodpeckers live on every continent except Antarctica and Australia, playing a powerful role in every ecosystem they inhabit. Woodpeckers come in all shapes and sizes, each uniquely engineered for their particular lifestyles. Filmmaker Ann Johnson Prum (Nature: Super Hummingbirds) pecks away at what makes woodpeckers so special.”

November 2022

Week of Nov. 6, 2022

Mickey: Story of a Mouse (Disney+, Sunday, Nov. 6). “Director Jeff Malmberg and Academy Award-winning producer Morgan Neville (who previously teamed up for Won’t You Be My Neighbor?) examine the cultural significance of the nearly 100-year-old cartoon mouse”

Nature: American Ocelot (PBS, Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 8). “Wildlife filmmaker Ben Masters follows one of the United States’ most endangered wild cats: the ocelot. Go on a brush dive into the deep South Texas chaparral to meet the biologists studying the rare cats, the ranchers with the habitat and the cats themselves. Through camera trap cinematography, witness a never-before-seen glimpse into the struggle, love and determination required of a mother ocelot to raise her young successfully.”

Week of Nov. 20, 2022

Midwives (PBS, Monday, Nov. 21, at 10). “Chronicles two women who run a makeshift medical clinic in a region torn apart by violent ethnic divisions. Hla, the owner, is a Buddhist in western Myanmar, where the Rohingya, a Muslim minority, are persecuted and denied basic rights. Nyo Nyo is a Muslim and an apprentice. Encouraged and challenged by Hla, Nyo Nyo is determined to become a steady health care provider for her people.”

American Masters – Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On (PBS, Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 9). “chronicles Sainte-Marie’s rise in New York’s Greenwich Village folk music scene through her groundbreaking career. Consistently recognized for being ahead of her time, Sainte-Marie’s music reveals her most sincere opinions. Early in her career she spoke out against the Vietnam War with her song ‘Universal Soldier’ and against readily available opioids with ‘Cod’ine.’ Sainte-Marie also changed perceptions of Indigenous people in music, film and television.”

December 2022

Week of Dec. 11, 2022

Let the Little Light Shine (PBS, Monday, Dec. 12, at 10). “National Teachers Academy (NTA) is considered a beacon for Black children: a top-ranked, high-performing elementary school in the fastest growing neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. As the neighborhood gentrifies, a wealthy parents’ group seeks to close NTA and replace it with a high school campus. How will the NTA community fight to save their beloved institution?”

January 2023

Week of Jan. 15, 2023

I Didn’t See You There (PBS, Monday, Jan. 16, at 10). “Spurred by the spectacle of a circus tent outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker launches into a meditative journey exploring the history of freakdom, vision, and (in)visibility. Shot from director Reid Davenport’s physical perspective – mounted to his wheelchair or handheld – I Didn’t See You There serves as a clear rebuke to the norm of disabled people being seen and not heard”

Week of Jan. 22, 2023

American Masters: Roberta Flack (PBS, Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 9). “illuminates where reality, memory and imagination mix to present music icon Roberta Flack, a brilliant artist who transformed popular culture, in her own words. With exclusive access to Flack’s archives of film, performances, interviews, home movies, photos, hit songs and unreleased music, the film documents how Flack’s musical virtuosity was inseparable from her lifelong commitment to civil rights.”

For documentaries premiering on and after Sept. 1, 2022,
see the fall 2022 documentary schedule, which will be published on Sept. 1.

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About the author

  • 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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