Staff picks: Best documentary on Netflix


Going to the documentary section of Netflix might not be everyone’s first choice, but The Bark compiled a list of their favorites. Whether you’re a sports fan or a nature enthusiast, there’s something on this list for you.

I usually do not have a whole lot of time to watch Netflix, but when I do, I usually try to watch some sort of documentary. History and social sciences are my favorite things to study, but Planet Earth has to be by far my favorite series I have seen. Narrator David Attenborough sets the tone of any landscape with his distinctive voice and witty transitions. The quality of the scenes are truly amazing, and there is an episode for everyone, ranging from mountains to deserts and beyond. [Tyler Hotz]

I’ve only voluntarily watched one documentary all the way through, and that was Bill Cunningham New York. Harvard dropout, 86-year-old photographer Bill Cunningham bicycles around New York City in order to obtain photos for his fashion column in The New York Times. He lives in a tiny apartment in Carnegie Hall, and he even used to be neighbors with Andy Warhol. So basically, he is way cooler than I will ever be. While this documentary makes me slightly (actually, super) insecure, it’s still extremely interesting, and the fashion photos make for an aesthetically pleasing experience. [Maggie Kimber]

Many of us want to travel the world, but watching someone who absolutely hates travel can be pretty entertaining too. In An Idiot Abroad, Ricky Gervais sends his friend Karl Pilkington to see the seven wonders of the world. Karl, however, hates anything he deems “weird,” which is almost everything he comes across. His commentary as he experiences foreign countries makes the series one of the best documentaries on Netflix. Part of the fun is watching him try to get out of the crazy situations Gervais sets up for him.  [Allie Gruszkiewicz]

News still surrounds SeaWorld today, so Blackfish, the documentary made about SeaWorld’s treatment of their animals, is well worth the watch. This movie only adds to my heightened emotions and makes me cry even more than I already do watching other movies and shows, but it is an extremely fascinating documentary. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about SeaWorld and the truth about the dangers involved in keeping orca whales in captivity. [Katie Matthews]

There are those who browse the documentaries on Netflix only if they have come up with nothing else to watch, but as a person who finds herself with free Friday nights too often, the documentary section on Netflix has become a close friend. Girl Rising is a documentary that follows five young girls from all over the world, and their hunt for education, rights, strength, nobility, and several other traits that a developing woman anywhere wishes to grasp. All the girls have had long, hard pasts but have found their ways to happiness. [Madison Tenney]

The best documentary on Netflix is not just one documentary – it’s a series. The 30 for 30 series by ESPN is great, and 62 of them are available on Netflix. My personal favorite is Bernie and Ernie, which is about Tennessee basketball players Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld and their time playing together for Tennessee. While The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story and The Book of Manning are not on Netflix, they are two other really good 30 for 30 productions that both relate to the University of Tennessee. [Wyeth Wilson]

If you’re an ocean lover, Blue Planet is a documentary you’ll love. It takes you deep underwater and allows you to explore amazing creatures and habitats from your couch. It’s a wonderful adventure narrated by David Attenborough from British Broadcasting Channel. [Cassidy Bailey]