The best documentary miniseries offer a more in-depth look at their subject than a film but are also digestible in a shorter time than longer shows. The best documentary miniseries ever shown on television may have episodes that are an hour long each but have a defined arc and a clear end. If you’ve been looking for the best limited series documentaries to add some educational value to your TV nights, this list of the best documentary miniseries of all time will help you figure out what needs to go into your queue.
Both the BBC and Netflix have solid histories of creating short documentary shows that tell their stories in no more than a dozen episodes. Even the expansive subjects of Planet Earth II or Natures Great Events are summed up in just six parts. Some series are even shorter, with only two or three episodes - great if you want to spread your documentary viewing across a couple of evenings. Cooked is a food documentary with only four parts that match with each of the four natural elements, and Yellowstone thoroughly examines the natural wonder in only three episodes.
Which miniseries do the best job sharing their subject in six episodes or less? Vote up the best documentary miniseries and add any limited documentary series that are missing.
Premiered: 2016Planet Earth II (BBC One, 2016) is a British nature documentary series presented and narrated... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: March 6, 2020Hillary (Hulu, 2020) is a documentary miniseries directed by Nanette Burstein. A look at the... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2018Wild Wild Country (Netflix, 2018) is a documentary series directed by Maclain and Chapman Way.... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2015The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO, 2015) is a documentary miniseries directed... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2008Stephen Fry in America is a six-part BBC television series in which Stephen Fry travels across... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2009Each year, the planet is transformed through some of the most breathtaking natural events... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2017The Defiant Ones (HBO, 2017) is an American documentary miniseries directed by Allen Hughes.... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2018Death Row Chronicles (Bet, 2018) is a six-part documentary series that chronicles the rise and...
Premiered: 2019The Case Against Adnan Syed (HBO, 2019) is an American documentary television miniseries.... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2006Prehistoric Park is a six-episode Docu-fiction television mini-series that premiered on ITV on... more on Wikipedia
- 11Murder Mountain (Netflix, 2018) is an American true crime documentary television miniseries.... more on Wikipedia
- 12Dirty Money (Netflix, 2018) is an American documentary television series documenting various... more on Wikipedia
- 13Wonders of Life is a five-part television documentary series presented by physicist Professor... more on Wikipedia64
Wonders of Life
- 14Five Came Back (2017, Netflix) is a three-part American documentary based on the 2014 book... more on Wikipedia64
Premiered: 2020McMillions (HBO, 2020) is a crime documentary series directed by James Lee Hernandez and Brian... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2019Tricky Dick (CNN, 2019) is a documentary television miniseries constructed from CNN archives.... more on Wikipedia
- 17The Death of Yugoslavia is a BBC documentary series first broadcast in 1995, and is also the... more on Wikipedia52
The Death of Yugoslavia
Premiered: 2011Wonders of the Universe is a 2011 television series produced by the BBC, Discovery Channel,... more on Wikipedia
Wonders of the Solar SystemBrian Cox
Premiered: 2010Wonders of the Solar System is a 2010 television series co-produced by the BBC and Science... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 2005Life in the Undergrowth is a BBC nature documentary series written and presented by David... more on Wikipedia
- 21Based on his acclaimed new book with science writer Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design,...55
Stephen Hawking's Grand DesignBenedict Cumberbatch
- 22Life Story (BBC One, 2014) is a British natural-history television miniseries. The six-part... more on Wikipedia55
- 23Cooked (Netflix, 2016) is a documentary miniseries directed by Alex Gibney. Explored through...55
Premiered: 2018James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction (AMC, 2018) is an American documentary television... more on Wikipedia
Premiered: 1973Jack the Ripper is a six-part BBC television drama made in 1973, in which the case of the Jack... more on Wikipedia