It’s a Saturday night. You’re warm, fuzzy, under the covers, and have the remote aimed straight for the TV. But — bear with me — maybe instead of going straight for Keeping Up With the Kardashians, you can put your screen time to more productive use. Something that grabs you with a compelling story, provides multifaceted perspective, and introduces you to a corner of the world that you had been unfamiliar with before.
Documentaries aren’t just the stodgy, stuffy programming you zoom by on PBS. In fact, these films can often be swashbuckling and adventurous (especially when they focus on wildlife and, as you’ll see on this list, killer whales). Who needs movies when you could see the world’s real-life characters so often featured in documentaries?
Often, documentaries occupy the fascinating intersection between journalism and storytelling. In these selections, you’ll see stories told about people, places and things, in extremely innovative ways.
So, we’ve sold you. While documentaries do provide such crucial glimpses into lesser-known pockets of the universe, rarely do they reach wide distribution. That’s what makes Netflix and other streaming services so crucial. All of these fully streamable documentaries are available with the click of a button. Press play and let the knowledge of octogenarian fashionistas and mysterious photographers, disappeared singers and pent-up killer whales zoom through you.