Top 42 Best Documentary Series on Netflix Of All Time

By Amanda Guarragi
Published: February 10, 2023 (Last updated: 3 weeks ago)
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Bookmark this page as we celebrate and list what is deemed to be the Top 42 Best Documentary Series on Netflix Of All Time.

The reason why the majority of audiences enjoy watching docuseries is that they’re more realistic. These stories are grounded in real-life events that become more intriguing than re-enactments or actors ever could. They aren’t overly dramatized, but they do create an impact.

The documentary series on this list are the best on Netflix of all time. By using IMDb and its rating scale, the series below are listed from lowest to highest to give the most accurate score. 

Top 42 Best Documentary Series on Netflix Of All Time

42. Running From the Truth: Alex Schwazer (2023) 

The docu-series explores the life of Schwazer and how he navigated the scandal. He loved the sport that he participated it, and due to miscommunication and one bad situation, he tries to get back to how things used to be. 

Official Premise: After being banned for doping, gold medalist Alex Schwazer enlists one of his accusers to help him mount a comeback in time for the Tokyo Olympics. 

Cast: Alex Schwazer, Michael C. Pizzuto, Kathrin Freund 

IMDb rating: 7.6

41. Bill Russell: Legend (2023) 

There have been plenty of basketball legends over the years and it’s always important to highlight those who have made an impact. Bill Russell is one of those men and this docu series honours him quite well.

Official Premise: Features interviews and personal archives from the life and career of NBA legend Bill Russell. 

Cast: Larry Bird, Satch Sanders, Bill Walton 

IMDb Rating: 7.9

40. Amend: The Flight for America (2021)

To have someone with a platform like Will Smith look into the Constitution the way he does in this docuseries is important. His status as a trusted and beloved actor gives the audience a connection that’s different than someone they don’t know.

Official Premise: Will Smith hosts this look at the evolving, often lethal, fight for equal rights in America through the lens of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

Cast: Will Smith, Bryan Stevenson, Larry Wilmore

IMDB Rating: 8

39. Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy (2022)

Kanye West has been in the public eye for a very long time and was a very important artist. His influence is heard throughout the music industry, but his shift into business and growing a global brand has changed him.

Official Premise: Follows the life of Kanye West, in an intimate portrait as he bulbs his way from singer to businessman and becomes a global brand.

Cast: Ye, Naeem Ghefari, Kid Cudi

IMDB Rating: 8

38. The Keepers (2017)

There are very few series that highlight convents and the nuns who reside there. In this series, there is one particular nun that made a huge impact and to this day her death is mourned.

Official Premise: A seven-part docuseries about the unsolved murder of a nun and the horrific secrets and pain that linger nearly five decades after her death.

Cast: Gemma Hoskins, Abbie Schaub, Virginia Anzengruber

IMDB Rating: 8

37. Our Great National Parks (2022)

Nature documentaries tend to give others a new perspective on how beautiful national parks can be. Humans tend to take things for granted and there are ways to appreciate the small things.

Official Premise: A five-part documentary series about the world’s most breathtaking national parks and the wildlife that live there.

Cast: Barack Obama

IMDB Rating:  8

36. Don’t F**K With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (2019)

Murder docuseries are what Netflix capitalizes on the most out of everything. All of these stories are presented to viewers in an unbiased way to show the thought process from both sides.

Official Premise: A group of online justice seekers track down a guy who posted a video of himself killing kittens.

Cast: Deanna Thompson, John Green, Claudette Hamlin

IMDB Rating: 8

35. The Mind, Explained (2019)

Many wonder what goes on in our brains with how difficult life can be sometimes. This docuseries explores the mind and how humans are wired.

Official Premise: Ever wonder what’s happening inside your head? From dreaming to anxiety disorders, discover how your brain works with this illuminating series.

Cast: Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Jewel Jordan

IMDB Rating: 8

34. Down to Earth with Zac Efron (2020)

After some downtime and time out of the spotlight, Zac Efron did something he truly loved. He explored nature. He unplugged, went off the grid, and took a whole camera crew with him.
 
Official Premise: In this travel show, actor Zac Efron journeys around the world with wellness expert Darin Olien in search of healthy, sustainable ways to live.

Cast: Zac Efron, Darin Olien, Steve Hoffman

IMDB Rating:  8

33. Wild Wild Country (2018)

It takes one person to change a community and Osho was the one to do that in this docuseries. He changed the face of a lot within Oregon country and people took notice.

Official Premise: When Osho, the world’s most controversial guru, builds a Utopian city deep in the Oregon country, conflict with the locals escalates into a national scandal.

Cast: Ma Anand Sheela, Philip Toelkes, Jane Stork

IMDB Rating: 8.1

32. Cheer (2020)

Before Cheer there was Dance Moms and it’s roughly the same premise. Competitive college athletes can get ruthless because this is what they’ve been fighting for their whole life.

Official Premise: In the small town of Corsicana, Texas, hard-driving head cheer coach Monica Aldama demands perfection from her team of competitive college athletes.

Cast: Monica Aldama, Gabi Butler, La’Darius Marshall

IMDB Rating: 8.1

31. Dirty Money (2018)

Over the years, the rich get richer, but not by playing nice. This docuseries shows the lines that have been crossed and how corrupted the underground market is.

Official Premise: Documents various stories about exposing the greed, corruption, and crime spreading through the global economy.

Cast: Matt Taibbi, Fisher Stevens, Alex Gibney

IMDB Rating: 8.1

30. Night on Earth (2021)

This nature series shows how different creatures can be during the night and it’s interesting because it’s a side of animals that we don’t really see.

Official Premise: This nature series’ new technology lifts night’s veil to reveal the hidden lives of the world’s creatures, from lions on the hunt to bats on wings.

Cast: Samira Wiley, Alessandra Mastronardi, Beren Saat

IMDB Rating: 8.1

29. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez (2020)

It takes a strong person to look into the death of a young California boy, especially when there is a known cycle of abuse by people that he trusted.

Official Premise: Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger investigates the tragic death of an 8-year-old California boy who endured horrific abuse by his mother and her boyfriend, along with the fractured and complex systems that failed to protect him.

Cast: William Guirola, Wyatt Hinz, Alfredo Tavares

IMDB Rating: 8.1

28. Sunderland Till I Die (2018-2020)

As we’ve seen in many shows and movies, football fans do not joke around. They are loving and dedicated fans who want to see their team at their best.

Official Premise: Highlights the unfailing passion Sunderland residents have for their beloved football club, taking viewers through the highs and lows of SAFC’s 2017-18 season in the Championship following its relegation the previous year.

Cast: Aiden McGeady, Nick Barnes, George Honeyman

IMDB Rating: 8.1

27. Monty Python Almost the Truth (2009)

Fans of Monty Python will appreciate this docuseries as it does get into the depths of this comedy group. It explores their unity, humor, and the comedians they’ve influenced.

Official Premise: This documentary explores the history of the British comedy group Monty Python. Features interviews with the five surviving members plus other comedians and artists whose careers have influenced.

Cast: Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin

IMDB Rating: 8.1

26. Cooked (2016)

Like any other art form, cooking is rather important and can be seen differently. Music, art, and film awaken other senses, while food is an expression of taste that Michael Pollan explores.

Official Premise: As he tries his hand at baking, brewing, and braising, acclaimed food writer Michael Pollan explores how cooking transforms food and shapes our world.

Cast: Michael Pollan, Samin Nosrat, Isaac Pollan

IMDB Rating: 8.1

25. Pretend It’s A City (2021)

If you love the city of New York, there’s no better way to explore it than with Fran Lebowitz and Martin Scorsese. They discuss so many wonderful things that make the city what it is.

Official Premise: Wander the New York City streets and the fascinating mind of the wry writer, humorist, and raconteur Fran Lebowitz as she sits down with Martin Scorsese.

Cast: Fran Lebowitz, Martin Scorsese, Michael Alexis Palmer

IMDB Rating: 8.1

24. Love on the Spectrum U.S. (2022)

This docuseries explores the dating life of those on the autism spectrum and is a way for others to connect with everyone who wants to find love.

Official Premise: It follows people on the autism spectrum as they navigate the world of dating and relationships.

Cast: Dani Bowman, Kellie Jones, Subodoh Garg

IMDB Rating: 8.2

23. WW2 In Colour: Road to Victory (2021)

Many can appreciate the historical footage found in this docuseries because of how life-changing this war was.

Official Premise: Gripping historical footage and expert commentary give detailed insights into the leading figures and decisive turning points of WW2.

Cast: James Holland, Geoffrey Wawro, Joshua Levine

IMDB Rating: 8.2

22. The Chef Show (2019)

If you’ve watched Chef by Jon Favreau then you know how enthusiastic he is about food and finding unique chefs to bring into the kitchen.

Official Premise: Writer, director, and food enthusiast Jon Favreau and chef Roy Choi explore food in and out of the kitchen with accomplished chefs and celebrity friends.

Cast: Jon Favreau, Roy Choi, Aaron Franklin

IMDB Rating: 8.2

21. Life in Colour (2021)

Not many people realize how animals use colors in their lives because it’s never really been explored by anyone, until now.

Official Premise: Exploring the many ways animals use color throughout their lives.

Cast: David Attenborough, Joerg Wiedenmann

IMDB Rating: 8.2

20. Bobby Kennedy for President (2018)

The Kennedys are a family that have experienced so much in the public eye and Robert Kennedy went through something a bit different.

Official Premise: This four-part documentary series weaves together rare and exclusive footage of attorney general, U.S. senator, and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in the 1960s.

Cast: Paul Schrade, Peter Edelman, Harry Belafonte

IMDB Rating: 8.2

19. Chef’s Table France (2016)

There are good chefs everywhere around the world, and they all bring unique dishes to the table. This French edition shows the chefs in and out of the kitchen.

Official Premise: The French edition goes inside the lives and kitchens of some of the world’s most renowned French chefs. Each episode focuses on a single chef and their unique look at their lives, talents, and passion from their piece of culinary heavens.

Cast: Alain Passard, Alexandre Couillon

IMDB Rating: 8.2

18. Somebody Feed Phil (2018)

People enjoy watching others travel around the world sampling different foods and that’s why Phil Rosenthal has fun in this series.

Official Premise: Phil travels around the world sampling food and tradition with friends and a sense of humor.

Cast: Phil Rosenthal, Monica Horan, Lily Rosenthal

IMDB Rating: 8.3

17. Abstract: The Art of Design (2017)

If you’re fascinated with the way modern technology is designed then this series will help you explore what shapes the world we live in.

Official Premise: A look beyond blueprints and computers into the art and science of design, showcasing great designers from every discipline whose work shapes our world.

Cast: Platon, Cas Holman, Ian Spalter

IMDB Rating: 8.3

16. November 13: Attack on Paris (2018)

One of the most devastating days to ever happen in Paris has been documented to show the aftermath of this day.

Official Premise: This chronicles the terrorist attack in Paris on November 13th, 2015.

Cast: Francois Hollande, Jimmy, Line

IMDB Rating: 8.3

15. Five Came Back (2017)

What many don’t realize is that filmmakers also risked their lives in World War 2 when documenting everything that happened at the time.

Official Premise: The wartime contributions of five prominent Hollywood film directors during World War 2 are profiled.

Cast: Steven Spileberg, Guillermo del Toro, Meryl Streep

IMDB Rating:  8.3

14. Medal of Honor (2018)

There are many war heroes that people haven’t even heard about and this docuseries shows the lengths these people went to in order to defend their country.

Official Premise: A hybrid docu/live-action anthology series that portrays stories of personal sacrifice that resulted in the highest military distinction: the Medal of Honor.

Cast: Josh Charles, Daniel Ray Rodriguez, David Petraeus

IMDB Rating: 8.3

13. Last Chance U: Basketball (2021)

College sports can get pretty rowdy and intense and this docuseries takes a look at how gritty it can get between players.

Official Premise: Explore the honest and gritty look inside the world of community college basketball.

Cast: Dezmond Washington, Rob Robinson, John Mosley

IMDB Rating: 8.3

12. Last Chance U (2016)

College football is probably the most competitive out of all the other sports anyone can apply themselves to. This docuseries is intense and really explores what happens in and out of the locker room.

Official Premise: Intense look inside the world of junior college football, chronicling the stories of players and coaches in the classroom and on the field.

Cast: Ron Ollie, Brittany Wagner, Buddy Stephens

IMDB Rating: 8.4

11. Hip Hop Evolution (2016)

It’s always interesting to see the roots of certain genres of music and in the case of Hip-Hop, the origin may be surprising for some viewers.

Official Premise: MC and journalist Shad Kabango meets with Hip-Hop’s biggest stars to retrace how Hip-Hop became the world’s most popular music but realizes that Hip-Hop’s true legacy is something much more profound.

Cast: Shad, LL Cool J, Alonzo Williams

IMDB Rating: 8.4

10. Headspace Guide to Meditation (2021)

The past couple of years have been very difficult for so many people and it’s important to re-center yourself and your mind. Meditation does help and this guide will change your perception of it.

Official Premise: Over the course of eight animated episodes, Andy Puddicimbe – former Buddhist monk and co-founder of the globally beloved Headspace meditation app – takes viewers through the benefits and science behind meditation.

Cast: Andy Puddicimbe

IMDB Rating: 8.4

9. Chef’s Table (2015)

Much like the French edition of this series, audiences get to see a different side of the chefs inside the kitchen. The chefs share their secrets and their inspiration for certain dishes.

Official Premise: This docuseries goes inside the lives and kitchens of six of the world’s most renowned international chefs. Each episode focuses on a single chef and their unique look at their lives, talents and passion from their piece of culinary heaven.

Cast: Ruth Reichl, Massimo Bottura, Dan Barber

IMDB Rating: 8.5

8. The Surgeon’s Cut (2020)

Surgeons do the lord’s work and it’s really difficult for them to go through any type of surgery. In this docuseries, audiences get an inside look into the mind of four surgeons from around the world.

Official Premise: This doc profiles four ground-breaking surgeons from around the world, each with a visionary approach to their craft.

Cast: Lin Gallagher

IMDB Rating: 8.5

7. Formula 1: Drive to Survive (2019)

For you racing fans out there, this docuseries highlights the Formula One World Championship over multiple seasons. It’s a stressful time for these drivers and their teams, and it’s entertaining to watch.

Official Premise: Docuseries following the FIA Formula One World Championship across multiple seasons.

Cast: Will Buxton, Jack Nicholls, Lewis Hamilton

IMDB Rating: 8.6

6. Love on the Spectrum (2019)

Again, this series is really important for those on the spectrum because different relationships are shown.

Official Premise: A documentary series following young adults on the autism spectrum as they explore the unpredictable world of love, dating, and relationships.

Cast: Brooke Satchwell, Michael Theo, Mark Radburn

IMDB Rating: 8.6

5. Making a Murderer (2015-2018)

This was one of the first docuseries that was released on Netflix and audiences were feeding into it. It was the most interesting exposé about a man and his possible crimes.

Official Premise: Filmed over a 10-year period, Steven Avery, A DNA exoneree who, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, finds himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime.

Cast: Steven Avery, Dolores Avery, Laura Nirider

IMDB Rating: 8.6

4. Greatest Events of WW2 In Colour (2019)

Another World War 2 docuseries that colorizes the archive footage that many haven’t seen before. There was color back then, but the black and white make it seem that it was even older than it was.

Official Premise: A series of colorized archive footage of important events during World War 2.

Cast: Derek Jacobi, Geoffrey Wawro, James Holland

IMDB Rating: 8.7

3. Lenox Hill (2020)

To focus on one particular hospital and see what happens in each department is a tough watch. But for those interested in the medical field, this is something to look into.

Official Premise: An intimate look at the lives of four doctors – two brain surgeons, an emergency room physician, and a Chief Resident OGBYN – as they navigate the highs and lows of working at the renowned Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Cast: John Boockvar, David Langer, Amanda Little-Richardson

IMDB Rating: 8.7

2. The Last Dance (2020)

This docuseries shows the career of Michael Jordan when he played for the Chicago Bulls. He is one of the best athletes in history and this shows the rise of his career.

Official Premise: Charting the rise of the 1990s Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, one of the most notable dynasties in sports history.

Cast: Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen

IMDB Rating: 9.1

1. Our Planet (2019)

Another nature docuseries that David Attenborough is part of is one of the highest-rated series on Netflix. There is so much to explore and it shows how gorgeous our planet is.

Official Premise: This series focuses on the diversity of habitats around the world, from the remote Arctic wilderness and mysterious deep oceans to the vast landscapes of Africa and the diverse jungles of South America.

Cast: David Attenborough

IMDB Rating: 9.3

And that completes our Top 42 Best Documentary Series on Netflix Of All Time. What’s your favorite documentary series on Netflix? Comment below.

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