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Great Documentaries and historic interviews


AFJF
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I've lost interest in most "main stream" TV and movies.  I've come to prefer documentaries or interviews with historical figures.

In London for the day and meeting a friend at a pub called "The Dog and Duck".  Been there several times for drinks as it's his favorite London pub and I enjoy it as well.  Turns out The Dog and Duck was also the favorite pub of George Orwell.  Loved Animal Farm and 1984.  Remembered this old doc I enjoyed and wondered who else likes documentaries and history.

 

 

In terms of great documentaries, I just finished watching one on Explorer Ernest Shackleton.  Reading the book now after watching the doc.  Unbelievable story of survival for months spent stranded in Antarctica.

 

Got some favorite docs?  Share 'em here.

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Peter Jackson did a fantastic job with this.   All original interviews and footage, cleaned up and colorized.   It makes you appreciate the true horror of trench warfare in WW1.   They talk about things I hadn't thought of, particularly the smell.   The smell of dead horses, bodies in no man's land, the foot rot from trench foot.  How many of these soldiers were 15 and 16 year old kids.

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I've been watching documentaries avidly since I was about 7 or 8 years old. I've seen so many good ones through the years I don't think I'll be able to recall most of them. I'll drop a few favorites though.

 

Blue Planet 1 and 2 + other BBC docs

 

Pretty much the best general ocean documentaries out there right now imo. Amazing high quality footage, amazing soundtrack (BP2 had Hans Zimmer even), and of course narrated by David Attenborough. I would also highly recommend the sister series Planet Earth I and II as well as Green Planet. Planet Earth focuses on biomes such as Caves, Deserts, Jungles, etc while Green Planet focuses entirely on amazing plant life. Just amazing nature docs highly recommend all of them and yes I've watched every episode many times. Specifically I've probably watched Episode 2 of Blue Planet (The Deep) somewhere between 50-100 times because I put it on sometimes to fall asleep to but end up watching it lol.

 

Around the world in 80 gardens

 

This one might not be for everyone but this is a series of documentaries I highly enjoyed and most of them are even on Youtube. This guy named Monty Don who I think is kind of a TV celebrity in the UK goes around the world and visits different kinds of gardens from structured European gardens made during the Renaissance to unstructured gardens in South America back to Zen gardens in Japan and so on. Not only is it interesting to see but he usually talks to the people who take care of the gardens and how long they've been doing it and what sorts of plants and trees are there.

 

How It's Made & Modern Marvels

 

 

Moving away from nature for a second we got two series that dive deep into engineering and human ingenuity. Every episode of Modern Marvels talks about some massive project and the tools and people that made it happen while How It's Made is usually more about your every day products you don't think about like a toothpick or a frozen pizza and takes you on a tour through the factories that make them. Both are great depending on what you're in the mood for.

 

Space

 

 

The Universe is a great general space documentary and covers things from specific planets to the asteroid belt and how stars are made, etc. Cosmos (I still prefer Carl Sagan's version but it is very outdated) is a lot more about our place in the universe. Brian Cox has several space documentary series he's done and all are pretty good so if you like space stuff I'd look them up.

 

Nova & Horizon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nova_(American_TV_program)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon_(British_TV_series)

 

Nova and Horizon are really broad in category and have been going for decades but they both produced some of the best docs I've seen. Highly recommend just browsing what they've made and watching anything that stands out. That's all I got off the top of my head but I will definitely be back any time I think of something or the next time I watch a good doc. And just for fun I'll end recommending not a series of docs but a standalone I watched. If you're into video games, stocks, or just general internet culture it's a fun watch.

 

 

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I’m sure not new to anyone, but Ken Burns “Civil War” is the gold standard for documentaries for me.  I’ve never found one I liked more and I’ve watched a lot.  History is my favorite genre, but also enjoy a good sports, true crime, mystery or human nature documentary as well.

 

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18 hours ago, HawkeyeJet said:

I’m sure not new to anyone, but Ken Burns “Civil War” is the gold standard for documentaries for me.  I’ve never found one I liked more and I’ve watched a lot.  History is my favorite genre, but also enjoy a good sports, true crime, mystery or human nature documentary as well.

 

Seconded. Ken Burns does great stuff but his civil war series is probably his best work.

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Oh another great series is Aerial America (and it's sister shows) on Smithsonian channel. You're basically in a plane or a drone or something and flying over very scenic areas and cities while the narrator tells you about the history of the state and maybe what you're seeing specifically like a bridge or building. According to Wikipedia other shows in the Aerial series include: "Aerial America showcases each of the 50 states from the air, with special episodes devoted to small towns, the wilderness, etc. Narrated by Jim Conrad.[6] Related shows are Sky View, featuring areas in western Europe;[7] Aerial Ireland;[8] Aerial New Zealand;[9] Aerial Africa;[10] Aerial Britain;[11] Aerial Greece;[12] China From Above;[13] and Aerial Cities, featuring selected American cities.[14]" I've seen American Cities and Aerial Ireland so I imagine the others are more or less just as good.

If you like learning stuff about America the History Channel did a good series called How The States Got Their Shapes. I haven't seen every episode but I've seen a few and it's pretty interesting.

 

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