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The best documentary series on Netflix (August 2021)

The best documentary series on Netflix (August 2021)


Ugly Delicious and Last Dance on Netflix. Pic credit: Netflix/ESPN

Netflix has become home to some of the best documentaries on any streaming service.

If a person is a fan of true crime documentaries, Netflix has them covered. Foodies and sports fans will also find plenty to love on Netflix as well.

While Netflix has plenty of documentary movies, they also have some of the best documentary series of anyone out there, from its originals to documentaries licensed from other networks.

Here is a look at the best documentary series on Netflix as of August 2021.

Updated on August 1, 2021: Every month series come and go from Netflix, and that can make it hard to keep up with the best offerings as far as current original series.

However, more new series arrives all the time and we will add new great ones as they come to this list.

Don’t F**k with Cats

Deanna Thompson (Baudi Moovan) from Don't F**k with Cats.
Deanna Thompson (Baudi Moovan) from Don’t F**k with Cats. Pic credit: Netflix

Trigger warning. Fans of true crime know that there are certain “tells” that prove someone could be a serial killer. The Netflix original “Don’t F**k With Cats” is a wild realization of this phenomenon.

Any viewers who love animals may have a difficult time viewing this show.

That said, a young man filming himself torturing and murdering cats convicts himself of a much deeper crime: the murder of another human after internet warriors help track him down.

Don’t F**k With Cats is proof that online investigators can sometimes make a difference simply by getting behind the keyboard.

Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons

Inside the World's Toughest Prisons
Raphael Rowe in Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons. Pic credit: Netflix

Irish journalist Paul Connolly (Season 1) and English Journalist Raphael Rowe (Season 2) go inside some of the most dangerous and wild prisons in the world.

They then come out and show Netflix subscribers what life behind bars in these scary prisons looks like. What makes it most interesting is that the host spends a week locked up in the notorious prisons.

He isn’t just there for a tour. 

Rowe was once wrongly imprisoned in the UK for 12 years. His experience and point of view give this show an authenticity other prison shows don’t possess.

Dark Tourist

Dark Tourist
David Farrier in Dark Tourist. Pic credit: Netflix

In Dark Tourist, David Farrier promises to travel to the most macabre and morbid places in the world.

There were eight episodes in Season 1 with Farrier acting the role of a confused out-of-place tourist stumbling upon terrible situations.

Serial killers, white separatists, vampire cults, haunted-house sadists, and oppressive warlords top the list of the narratives as Farrier visits “war zones, disaster sites, and other offbeat destinations.”

I Am a Killer

I Am a Killer
James Robertson in I Am a Killer. Pic credit: Netflix

I am a Killer takes a strange angle for fans of true crime documentaries. In this Netflix original series, it is the killers themselves who tell their stories.

This documentary series has death row inmates tell how they got there, why they committed the murders, and deliver first-hand accounts of how they did it.

Things get frightening when looking into the eyes of a killer on death row and hear him explain he doesn’t feel bad about killing someone and he would do it again.

Unsolved Mysteries

Unsolved Mysteries
Ray Rivera and his family in Unsolved Mysteries. Pic credit: Netflix

Everyone knows about Unsolved Mysteries. The original series ran for 11 seasons with Robert Stack as the host most people remember to this day.

Netflix rebooted the Unsolved Mysteries series in 2020, this time with no narrator, but still with the goal of trying to solve a myriad of unsolved mysteries. This includes both cold cases and paranormal phenomena.

The 12-episode first season on Netflix included a look at cold case murders, UFO sightings, disappearances, prison escapes, and ghost sightings.

Dirty Money

Dirty Money
Dirty Money. Pic credit: Netflix

Alex Gibney directed and produced the Netflix original documentary series Dirty Money in 2018 and exposed corruption in corporate America in interviews with the key players.

The first season dealt with some controversial moments, including Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ price gouging, HSBC’s money laundering controversy, and the finale about Donald Trump.

This led to a second season in 2020 that included episodes on Jared Kushner, Wells Fargo, and former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Ranked at 100 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes, critics praised the Netflix series’ ability to look at unethical behavior in corporations that assume no one is looking at them.

The Confession Tapes

The Confession Tapes
The Confession Tapes. Pic credit: Netflix

The Confession Tapes is a Netflix documentary series that has convicted murderers talking about their confessions.

However, the twist here is that the convicts explain law enforcement officials coerced the confessions in one way or another. The episodes then show how the crimes could have taken place other than how the police claimed they did.

While the show hasn’t helped free anyone, it does bring up how interrogations need to change to become more transparent when dealing with suspected criminals.

Forensic Files Collection

Forensic Files Collection
Forensic Files Collection. Pic credit: truTV

Forensic Files ran for 14 seasons on TLC, Court TV, NBC, and truTV, with 406 total episodes. Forensic Files II aired in 2020 with 16 more episodes.

Netflix has nine “collections” from the Forensic Files for a total of 376 episodes.

Each story has an investigation that uses DNA analysis to solve heinous crimes, bringing criminals to justice. This was the true crime documentary series that every doc series today tries to emulate.

Cold Case Files

Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files. Pic credit: A&E

Cold Case Files was a long-running A&E series that brought back cases from the past that never found a suspect and reexamined them.

Netflix has the first season of Cole Case Files from 1999 available to stream on the service. Each episode looks at an infamous unsolved case, the reasons it went cold, and how police reopened it.

There are 135 total episodes and Netflix has 15 available to stream. While it inaccurately calls it Season 1, these are actually random episodes from the first five seasons of the show.

Murder Among the Mormons

Murder Among the Mormons
An exploding car on Murder Among the Mormons. Pic credit: Netflix

In the early ’80s, the Mormon church found itself rocked with some serious scandals that questioned its legitimacy.

This scandal was based on documents unsurfaced and provided to the LDS Church. However, these items turned out to be forgeries, faked by one man to get rich by selling the secrets to the church.

When he found himself on the verge of getting caught, he murdered two men with bombs before a third bomb accidentally exploded in his own car.

Murder Among Mormons tells the story of Mark Hoffman, the man who almost brought down the entire Mormon church before he almost blew himself up and ended up in prison for his actions.

High Score

High Score
High Score. Pic credit: Netflix

High Score is a six-episode documentary series on Netflix that might be one of the best on the streaming service.

This is a look at the origin of video games told by the people who created them.

This starts off with the classic arcade games and then moved on to the early generation of home consoles and everything in between. It also showed the arrival of the NES and then Sega’s move to create the competition.

This is about as in-depth of a video game documentary as you will see.

The Last Dance

The Last Dance
Michael Jordan in The Last Dance. Pic credit: ESPN

Originally airing on ESPN, Netflix is the international home for the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance.

This is a 10-hour documentary series that traces the last season of Jordan’s amazing NBA career in Chicago where they won their final three-peat NBA Championships.

Along with Jordan’s ride to this last title, the documentary also focuses on teammates Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman and their roles in this last title.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
Joe Exotic in Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Pic credit: Netflix

Is Tiger King a great Netflix documentary series or a train crash you can’t take your eyes off from? It is a little bit of both.

The documentary is about Joe Exotic, a flamboyant man who owned an animal sanctuary in Oklahoma. The documentary then showed his downfall as he went to prison for animal abuse and accusations he hired someone to kill a competitor from Florida.

This is one of the strangest real-life stories on Netflix and was one of the biggest talking points for Netflix subscribers when it came out.

Ugly Delicious

Ugly Delicious
David Chang in Ugly Delicious. Pic credit: Netflix

Ugly Delicious has been around for two seasons on Netflix and has a perfect 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The series is a non-fiction Netflix original series that follows host David Chang as he travels and cooks.

The series is popular, as it has Chang traveling to different societies and cultures and exploring how one specific dish or food concept on each episode is prepared based on the locals.

The show also explores the history and cultural significance of popular foods. More than just a cooking show, this is a show that shows great love for talking about food and culture.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
Ted Bundy in Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. Pic credit: Netflix

Some may find it odd that our society is obsessed with serial killers and utterly fascinated with sociopaths.

No such person has been quite so fascinating as Ted Bundy.

The series Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes takes a look at the extended interviews he had while in prison.

The creepiest aspect of this Netflix offering is his charming nature. The Netflix docuseries does justice to just how charismatic this evil man truly was.

Chef’s Table

Chef's Table
Chef’s Table. Pic credit: Netflix

Director David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi) created Chef’s Table, a Netflix cooking documentary series that was so popular that it spawned spinoffs in Chef’s Table: France and Chef’s Table BBQ for a total of 38 episodes between the three.

Each episode follows the work and life of an immensely talented and ambitious chef.

With all seasons featuring restaurants, dishes and chefs from around the world, binge-watching foodies have plenty to enjoy with this tasteful streaming documentary series.



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