The best television documentary biographies are as engaging as a scripted series, while also sharing real lives. The best biography documentary series ever shown on television tell the tales of people - from celebrities to average folks who led extraordinary lives. If you’ve been looking for the best biography documentaries to add some enjoyable education to your TV nights, this list of the best art and art history documentary series of all time will help you figure out what needs to go into your queue.
Some documentary biography series follow individuals for the full run of the show, such as The Defiant Ones, or any documentary series that follows the life of historical figures such as Churchill or Napoleon. Many other documentary biography series use an anthology format and tell the story of different people each episode. 30 for 30, Behind the Music, and even E! True Hollywood Story tell peoples' stories with a mix of reenactment, file footage, and information from experts in the field.
Which shows do the best job sharing information about the lives of famous people? Vote up the best biography documentary shows and add any biographical documentary series that are missing.
Premiered: August 17, 1997Behind the Music is a television series on VH1. It originally ran from 1997 to 2006, before it was stopped and only aired new episodes sporadically. The series places its generality on documentation... more
Premiered: March 6, 2020Hillary (Hulu, 2020) is a documentary miniseries directed by Nanette Burstein. A look at the life and work of Hillary Rodham Clinton, interweaving biographical chapters of her life with... more
Premiered: February 16, 1997
Premiered: October 6, 200930 for 30 is the umbrella title for a series of documentary films airing on ESPN and its sister networks and online properties. The series highlights important people and events in the sports world... more
Premiered: November 11, 2016Roman Empire (Netflix, 2016) is an American/Canadia docuseries directed by Richard Lopez, and based on historical events. Narrated by Sean Bean, the series chronicles the reign of Commodus, the... more
Premiered: October 4, 1988American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards,... more
Premiered: June 23, 1986American Masters is a PBS television show which produces biographies on artists, actors and writers of the United States who have left a profound impact on the nation's popular culture. It is... more
Premiered: April 15, 2006Final 24 is a Canadian documentary series which airs on the Discovery Channel and Global Television Network. Released in Canada in 2006, the series explores the last 24 hours of the life of a person,... more
POVPOV is a Public Broadcasting Service public television series which features independent nonfiction films. POV is an initialism for point of view. POV is the longest-running showcase on television... more
VH1's LegendsLegends is a music biography television series on VH1. Originally sponsored by AT&T Corporation, this series documents those artists who have made a significant contribution to music history to be... more
Premiered: 1987Biography is a documentary television series that had three original runs, twice on CBS and the current on A&E then The Biography Channel then FYI. It was originally a half-hour filmed series... more
Private CenturyPrivate Century is a 2007 biographical documentary TV miniseries written and directed by Jan Sikl....
Paul Merton's Silent ClownsSilent Clowns (BBC Four, 2006), also known as Paul Perton's Silent Clowns, is a documentary television miniseries. The show contains profiles of some of the greatest stars of silent comedy.... more
Premiered: March 25, 2012Finding Your Roots (PBS, 2012) is an American family history and genealogy television documentary series hosted by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. In each episode, celebrities are presented with a... more
The ChurchillsThe Churchills is a documentary series presented by David Starkey. He tells the story of the two greatest war leaders the country has ever known, both of whom had the surname Churchill. Everyone... more
The Men Who Built AmericaA.J. Achinger
Premiered: October 16, 2012The Men Who Built America is a History six-hour, four-part miniseries docudrama broadcast in Fall 2012, and on the History Channel UK in Spring 2013. The series focuses on Cornelius Vanderbilt, John... more
BeethovenPaul Rhys, Charles Hazlewood
Premiered: 2005Beethoven (aka The Genius of Beethoven) is a 2005 BBC dramatized television documentary miniseries. The show follows the life and music of Ludwig van Beethoven.... more
Persons of InterestMercia Deane-Johns, Haydn Keenan
Premiered: 2013Persons of Interest (2013) is an Australian biographical documentary television series. In each episode, a person of interest is given their previously secret intelligence file and attempts to answer... more
Premiered: March 31, 2017Five Came Back (2017, Netflix) is a three-part American documentary based on the 2014 book Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by journalist Mark Harris. Five Came Back... more
Premiered: July 9, 2017The Defiant Ones (HBO, 2017) is an American documentary miniseries directed by Allen Hughes. Examining the partnership between Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, and their leading roles in a chain of... more
Premiered: September 22, 2017Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus (Cinemax, 2017) is an American animated comedy television series created by Mike Judge, Richard Mullins and Dub Cornett. Narrated by Judge, the series is... more
I Am the AmbassadorRufus GiffordI Am the Ambassador (Netflix, 2014) is an American documentary series. The series follows the life and career of Rufus Gifford, an openly gay man who served as U.S. Ambassador to Denmark for... more
Premiered: April 27, 2018Bobby Kennedy for President (Netflix, 2018) is a documentary series. This four-part documentary series weaves together rare and exclusive footage of attorney general, U.S. senator, and presidential... more
- 01Tom vs Time (Facebook Watch, 2018) is an American documentary web television series created by Gotham Chopra. The six-episode series follows New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and provides an... more
Premiered: 2018Hook'd (Crackle, 2018) is a four-part docuseries that takes a look into the personal and competitive life of "Dragon Ball FighterZ" rising star HookGangGod.... more