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Truth is stranger than fiction in these captivating shows.

| By Bed Threads | Journal

50 Binge-Worthy Docuseries You Won’t Be Able to Switch Off

Truth is stranger than fiction in these captivating shows.

There’s no shortage of brilliant TV shows on streaming services, but we’d argue some of the most captivating fit into the docuseries category – we've all found ourselves mesmerised by David Attenborough's storytelling, right?

For those who like to stay informed while also being entertained, the docuseries genre will be right up your alley.

Below we look into 50 captivating docuseries that will have you cancelling Friday night plans for a date with your couch and TV.

True Crime Docuseries

1. American Nightmare

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Described as "The real-life Gone Girl", this newly released true-crime docuseries isn't for the fainthearted and will sit with you for a while. In 2015 Denise Huskins and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, were woken in the middle of the night by a group of intruders who abducted Huskins. But when Huskins reappears, police accuse both of them of coordinating an elaborate kidnapping hoax. This series features intense interrogation and harrowing details of Huskins’ ordeal, so buckle up if you're a true-crime junkie.

2. Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

Where can you watch it? Netflix

As teenager Luka Magnotta went on a spree of uploading videos of himself torturing and killing animals, the internet reacted by taking things into their own hands and going on a vigilante hunt to find him. Before he was found after fleeing from Canada to Berlin, he was seen online murdering an international student he met on an online dating site. You'll be gasping in disbelief throughout this shocking documentary.

3. The Jinx: Part Two

Where can I watch it? On Binge

Emmy-winning documentary series The Jinx captivated a global audience when it was released in 2015. The six-part series delved into the crimes committed by convicted murderer and real estate mogul Robert Durst. This was the first time Durst had cooperated with a journalist, and over several years, filmmaker Andrew Jarecki was able to put together a story which gained worldwide attention. Now, eight years later, the thrilling series is back in April, and continues to investigate these vicious crimes, and the aftermath caused by them.

4. The Billionaire, the Butler and the Boyfriend

Where can I watch it? On Netflix

Infamously dubbed ‘The Bettencourt Affair’ in France, this three-part series explores how a mother-daughter feud spiralled into a national scandal that involved high-ranking officials within the French government. At the centre of this titillating tale is Liliane Bettencourt, heiress of the L'Oreal empire and once the world’s richest woman, who at the time of her death in 2017 was worth upwards of $40 Billion. Enter Francoise Marie Banier, a ‘close friend’ who Bettencourt’s daughter suspected was manipulating her elderly mother, a criminal complaint, and leaked recordings of French prime minister Nicolas Sarkozy, and you’ve got a scandalous docuseries on your hands.

5. Last Stop Larrimah

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Crime junkies should add this documentary about a mystery murder to their watchlist, ASAP. Sharing the story of a tiny Aussie outback town Larrimah and its 11 inhabitants. When one of them vanishes inexplicably, suspicions arise, and a hidden history of internal conflicts is revealed among the remaining residents. Everyone is considered a suspect.

6. Bad Vegan

Where can I watch it? Netflix

After marrying an illusive man who claimed he could make her dog immortal, vegan restaurateur Sarma Melngailis finds her life veering off the rails. A tale of fame, fraud, and fugitives, this captivating docuseries recounts the insane tale of how Sarma illegally funnelled money out of her restaurant – so her new lover could pay it to a semi-divine entity offering eternal life.

7. MH370: The Plane That Disappeared

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Yep, you’re reading that right: MH370. The flight that was never found. This three-part series explores an array of different theories and conspiracies from different points of view on what could have possibly happened on the flight that went missing from Malaysia to Beijing. While the whole series should be taken with a grain of salt as the storylines are based on unproven theories, the cinematography, storytelling, and overall production makes this a must-watch documentary (even if you’re not a fan of conspiracy theories).

8. Dirty Money

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Created by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, Dirty Money is a tale of corporate corruption, securities fraud, and creative accounting. Each episode tells the story of a different business controversy, and the economic scandal that followed. This gripping docuseries brings untold secrets to the surface that changed these global businesses forever.

9. Revelation

Where can I watch it? iView

This groundbreaking documentary series exposes the criminal priests and brothers of the Catholic Church who talk for the first time about their horrific crimes. Brace yourself before viewing, there is little room for light in this three-parter, with award-winning reporter Sarah Ferguson refusing to indulge the two men responsible for some of the most prolific and notorious child abuse in Australia.

10. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

Where can I watch it? Netflix

The crushing stories from the survivors of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein fuel this docuseries. With Epstein now deceased, having reportedly taken his own life while in prison, attention has turned to co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell, who was finally arrested in July 2020. This series investigates what can happen when people with power exploit those without it. Even if you know the facts, hearing the stories directly from the victims sparks empathy for people whom you might otherwise write off as being complicit.

11. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Where can I watch it? Binge

This six-part docuseries tells the story of Michelle McNamara, the true crime writer obsessed with the anonymous man she termed the Golden State Killer. The devastating crimes ravaged sleepy suburbs of northern California in the 1970s and '80s, and the identity of the serial rapist and killer remained unknown until 2018 – two years after McNamara died of an accidental overdose. Knowing she never lived to see justice makes I'll Be Gone in the Dark all the more devastating, but the courage and resilience of the survivors, as well as the people closest to McNamara, offer hope that good can prevail.

12. Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Where can I watch it? On Netflix

Ted Bundy, a notorious serial murderer, has gained a huge amount of attention in the past year. While the dramatised version of his life starring Zac Efron brought his sordid life into the spotlight, this documentary delves a little deeper, with archival video and audio footage from death row as well as present-day interviews from those involved in the more than thirty murders committed by Bundy.

13. Madoff: Monster of Wall Street

Where can I watch it? Netflix

This 2023 true crime docuseries follows the rise and fall of financier Bernie Madoff, who orchestrated one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in Wall Street history. The scheme orchestrated by Madoff was exposed amid the 2008 financial crisis, where countless victims' lives were turned upside down trying to recoup their losses. The series follows investigators who look into the impossible numbers Madoff was producing, and how the agency continued to shrug off multiple red flags.

14. The Puppet Master

Where can I watch it? Netflix

A tale of lies, deceit and coercion, this gripping series recounts the intricate lengths a master manipulator takes to ruin people's lives. Following the tragic story of how a husband unexpectedly lost his wife after she left the house one evening with her mysterious new boyfriend. The Puppet Master puts together the pieces of countless other victims who have been manipulated into leaving their loved ones and never returning home again.

15. Making a Murderer

Where can I watch it? Netflix

If you’re a true crime fan there’s a slim chance you haven’t seen this binge-worthy series that took the world by storm in 2015 – but on the off chance you haven’t, you’re in luck, because you have a gripping two seasons ahead of you. Recounting the story of what happened on the evening that photographer Teresa Halbach was murdered, and how the suspect Steven Avery ended up behind bars for nearly two decades over a crime he did not commit. If you have a free weekend ahead of you, tell your friends you're busy, because you’ve got two whole seasons to get through.

16. Crime Scene Berlin: Nightlife Killer

Where can I watch it? Netflix

You can always rely on Netflix to deliver your true crime fix. From the makers of Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich comes this three-part docuseries focusing on Berlin’s notorious ‘Darkroom Murderer’, responsible for terrorising the city’s party scene in 2012. Following on from Netflix’s American Crime Scene series, Crime Scene Berlin: Nightlife Killer marks the first international version of the franchise.

17. Worst Roommate Ever

Where can I watch it? Netflix

With each episode revealing a different dark truth, chilling true crime series Worst Roommate Ever is sure to send a shiver up your spine. Recounting harrowing tales of seemingly harmless roommates who reveal themselves as real-life malevolent nightmares, their victims retell their terrifying stories of these unbelievable events.

Cult Docuseries

18. Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult

Where can I watch it? Netflix

When a popular TikTok dancer and influencer severs ties with her family after joining a church-affiliated management company, the dark truth behind accusations of abuse against its leader emerge. Over three captivating episodes Dancing for the Devil explores how this vindictive pastor exploits impressionable budding stars with his religious power and influence.

19. Love Has Won: The Cult Of Mother God

Where can I watch it? Binge

If you're looking for a show that will leave your mouth open in shock from start to finish, stop what you're doing and press play on this right now. Documenting the life (and death) of obscure and radical new age religious leader Amy Carlson, Love Has Won: The Cult Of Mother God shows what life was like for members of the extremist cult. Full of twists, turns, and conspiracy theories that will make you want to pause and Google things for yourself, this is the sort of show you'll think about months after finishing it.

20. Wild Wild Country

Where can I watch it? On Netflix

With just six episodes making up the series, Wild Wild Country is one you won't be able to stop once you start. A truly fascinating subject, tensions flare when a cult leader plans to build his idea of utopia in the desert in Oregon. Met with objections from other nearby locals, violence begins to break out as a result. Add this to your 'must-watch list' for something different.

21. Keep Sweet: Pray And Obey

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Examining the life of Warren Jeffs and his involvement in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Keep Sweet: Pray And Obey unveils the sickening trauma inflicted on the young women who were members of the FLDS at the same time. The four-episode series unpacks Jeffs' involvement in the church, and the insidious moves that were made to take advantage of his victims.

22. Desperately Seeking Soulmate: Escaping Twin Flames Universe

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

A captivating name, and an even more captivating story uncovered by investigative reporter and journalist Alice Hines. Asking the question “How far would you go to find your twin flame?” this 3-part docuseries delves into the wild world of Twin Flames Universe – a cult-like internet community searching for love that is still online today. Founders Jeff and Shaleia Divine have made a fortune off devoted members who play with fire to claim their ‘Twin Flame’, crossing boundaries and even binaries to find their happy ending.

23. Daughters of the Cult

Where can I watch it? Disney+

While it might seem that no cult has gone uncovered, Daughters of the Cult reminds us there are still plenty of sinister stories to be told. Over five episodes, the story of a splinter group of Mormon fundamentalist cult members led by Ervil LeBaron is told, one deadly deed at a time.

24. The Vow

Where can I watch it? Binge

NXIVM is like Scientology for the wellness-obsessed: part professional development facility, part spiritual wellbeing group. It's a sign of the times and a case study of what happens when bad people exploit those looking for meaning and purpose. Watching The Vow will make you wonder how much of what you're seeing is reenactment; there is so much footage from the inside of this pyramid scheme-turned sex cult. But the volume of footage and original material the filmmakers were able to capture comes down to the fact that they never set out to make this type of documentary at all.

25. LuLaRich

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

This four-part docuseries delves into the pyramid scheme of LuLaRoe, the clothing company that began as a multi-level marketing team scam in which people sold leggings to one another while signing up new retailers to be beneath them in the pyramid. The most frightening part? It mostly played out on Facebook. The investigative docuseries features former retailers and LuLaRoe staff members who've desperately tried to regain their lives back.

Reality Docuseries

26. Trainwreck: Woodstock '99

Where can I watch it? Netflix

If you close your eyes and think of Woodstock, most people have the same thought – rolling green hills with laidback, shoe-less folk frolicking across it while Fleetwood Mac plays in the distance – but the 1999 rendition of the music festival painted a much different picture. Trainwreck: Woodstock '99 goes behind the scenes of one of the most infamous events in music history, showing how the revival of a music festival built on love and peace, broke out in complete anarchy.

27. The Reluctant Traveler

Where can I watch it? AppleTV+

If you've got the travel bug, Eugene Levy's comedy series The Reluctant Traveler is for you. From Finland to the Maldives, follow him on his humorous escapades to the world's most beautiful and intriguing destinations, where he ventures off to experience local practices, checks in to unique accommodations, and samples traditional cuisines.

28. The Rehearsal

Where can I watch it? Binge

Created, written, directed by, and starring comedian Nathan Fielder, The Rehearsal is based on the premise of giving people the opportunity to rehearse for their own lives. What starts as a humorous and quirky experiment quickly turns into a morality tale that you can't look away from.

29. F*CK That’s Delicious

Where can I watch it? SBS

Love food and hip hop? Here’s your new favourite show. Hosted by famous rapper and former chef Action Bronson, F*CK That’s Delicious is the cooking show you didn’t know you needed. Balancing travelling around the world, visiting friends, and trying as many new foods as possible, Action Bronson hosts four unforgettable seasons full of laughs, music, and lots of eating.

30. Human Playground

Where can I watch it? Netflix

No matter what your preference is for television shows, you’re bound to enjoy Human Playground. Explore the origins and evolution of play across the globe, from marathons in the desert, to bullfighting, brutal bicycle races, and ice swimming. This six-part docuseries shows different activities that push people to the brink, physically and mentally. Including beautiful cinematography and captivating narration by Idris Elba, Human Playground is more than just a television show – it is a work of art.

31. Formula 1: Drive to Survive

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Before you roll your eyes and say “not another car show”, give at least one season of Drive to Survive a chance. Following the highs and lows of the drivers and teams in the multi-million dollar Formula 1 industry, Formula 1: Drive to Survive goes behind the scenes to give the viewer an insight into the elusive world of one of the richest and most dangerous sports. Whether you’re a fan of the sport already, or have never cared less, this is a show that everyone can sit down and enjoy.

32. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Where can I watch it? 7Plus

Universally-loved chef and author Anthony Bourdain has one goal: to travel the world in search of hidden food gems. From Lebanon to the backstreets of bustling towns in Japan, watch as Bourdain uncovers trendy hotspots and delectable eats worth travelling half way across the world for.

33. The Family

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Founded in 1935, The Fellowship (also known as "The Family") has been described as one of the most politically well-connected – and most secretly-funded – groups in the United States. It has been reported that senators and congressmen have worked with the group to pass legislation, blurring the line between church and state and affecting the lives of anyone at odds with the conservative Christian belief system. The Family is another docuseries that uncovers what can happen when one person or group wields too much power.

34. Last Chance U

Where can I watch it? Netflix

This Emmy-nominated Netflix original series follows the underdogs of junior college football – the teams that don't get much national attention. Season five follows the Laney Eagles, the 2018 national champions with a whole lot to prove, led by a powerhouse coach on a mission to unite the team in the face of one setback after another. Injuries, anguish and personal demons plague the players who find support in their community and rally together to make it through.

35. The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty

Where can I watch it? Apple TV+

Fans of Succession will want to watch The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty. This three-part docuseries covers the incredible power amassed by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who wields global influence in practically every facet of human existence. You'll learn about his influence in the British government and the rise of the extreme right in America, with a new understanding of just how much goes on behind the scenes. You'll relive the phone hacking scandal that shook Murdoch's empire ten years ago after an anonymous whistleblower reported that Fox-owned news organisations had hacked phones, bribed police and exercised improper influence in the pursuit of more power and more influence.

36. McMillions

Where can I watch it? Binge

Remember that McDonald's Monopoly promotion? How good was it knowing that not only did a large fries mean that you got to eat fries, but you also upped your chances of winning a million dollars in prizes? Turns out you never had a chance. McMillions tells the story of a former police officer who then worked as the director of security for Simon Marketing during the 1990s, and how he came to discover that none of the prize money from the game was going into the customer's pockets.

37. The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist

Where can I watch it? On Netflix

You may have seen the Sofia Coppola film based on this case, and now there is a true crime docuseries about the infamous bling ring crew. It chronicles the real-life happenings of the California-based group of teenagers who were fascinated with early 2000s high-profile celebrities. Their obsession led them to break into and steal from many of these celebrities, including Paris Hilton and Orlando Bloom, and inevitably resulted in them getting caught. In this series, you hear from two of group members, Nick Norgo and Alexis Haines.

38. Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist

Where can I watch it? Netflix

If you’re a fan of the addictive MTV show Catfish, prepare for one of the biggest catfishing sagas in history. Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist recounts the loss and heartbreak Hawaiian-American Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o went through after finding out his grandmother and girlfriend died on the same day. What makes this story of heartbreak and loss so much worse is that the girl Manti was calling his girlfriend was not the person he thought she was.

39. Ugly Delicious

Where can I watch it? Netflix

What happens when you put a James Beard award-winning Chef David Chang on a trip around the world to uncover chef secrets and food history? You get the magnificent show that is Ugly Delicious. The series follows Momofuku Founder and chef David Chang as he is joined by activists, writers, artists, and other chefs who use food to break down cultural barriers and tackle misconceptions. Lovers of, food, travel, and history will be enamoured with this show's ability to tell poignant stories while remaining light and humorous.

40. The Pharmacist

Where can I watch it? Netflix

This recently-released docuseries will tug at your heartstrings and make you pay full attention to the tragic effects of drug addiction. After losing his own son to an opioid addiction, a Louisiana pharmacist will go to great lengths to expose the corruption behind the entire industry. Keep the tissue box nearby and set in for a thrilling exposé.

41. Diagnosis

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Based on her New York Times magazine column of the same name, Dr. Lisa Sanders crowdsources diagnoses for all kinds of rare conditions in this medical mystery docuseries. It’s like a real-life episode of House, but with much higher stakes because the patients are real and they’re racing against the clock. We probably wouldn’t recommend this one to any hypochondriacs out there, though, unless you want to spend the rest of the night frantically googling your common cold symptoms on WebMD.

42. Going Home with Tyler Cameron

Where can I watch it? Prime

Okay, so dubbing this a “docuseries” might be a bit of a stretch, but we still love cheekily titled Going Home with Tyler Cameron. Over eight episodes, watch as The Bachelorette heartthrob moves back to his hometown of Jupiter, Florida, to realise his dream of starting his own construction and home renovation company. The perfect kind of content to fend off the Sunday Scaries.

43. Happy Jail

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Not only does Happy Jail deserve an award for the biggest oxymoron in a title, it also wins for uncovering a real life story much stranger than fiction. In this five-episode series, filmmakers are granted unprecedented access into the lives of inmates at CPDRC jail in the Philippines – the same jail that went viral for its ‘Thriller’ dance video in 2007.

Biopic Docuseries

44. The Beatles: Bet Back

Where can I watch it? Disney+

This three-part Beatles documentary from director Peter Jackson, strung together from never-before-seen footage in the recording studio of John, Paul, Ringo and George as they worked on songs and prepared for their famous rooftop concert. Providing a peek behind the curtain at true lyrical genius, as well as the opportunity to watch these incredibly famous figures in music history in moments of relaxation and repose.

45. The Super Models

Where can I watch it? On Apple TV

Examining the careers of legends Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington. Delving, The Super Models shows how these breathtaking icons of the ‘80s learned to speak up for themselves and each other during an era in which women were still tethered to silence.

46. Beckham

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Binge it like Beckham over four episodes of exclusive BTS footage of the world’s favourite footballer, David Beckham. Charting his rise from a challenging childhood in Chingford, Essex, to becoming a global football icon, this docuseries leaves no ball unturned. Football fans, celebrity stans, and anyone looking to spice up your life will be captivated by this story of humble beginnings to posh ever-afters.

47. Matildas: The World at our Feet

Where can I watch it? Disney+

Taking you behind the scenes of the team that has captured the hearts of a nation, this 6-part show gives us a peek into the challenges and triumphs of the Matildas in the lead-up to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Nature Docuseries

48. Planet Earth

Where can I watch it? On Binge

There’s no shortage of brilliant TV shows on streaming services, but we’d argue some of the most captivating fit into the docuseries category – we've all found ourselves mesmerised by David Attenborough's storytelling, right? Marvel at our incredible planet and the flora and fauna that thrive here while watching this series.

49. Queens

Where can I watch it? Disney+

The latest wildlife adventure from National Geographic is led by an all-female production team. The Queens docuseries traverses Alaska, Mexico, Central America and Africa, documenting animal matriarchies and female leaders in nature and their fight for survival for their families. Animal lovers and adventurers alike will be swept away by this mesmerising series.

50. Life on Our Planet

Where can I watch it? Netflix

A tale (literally) as old as time, Life on Our Planet examine’s the world’s epic 4 billion-year journey. From ruling dynasties, species living and extinct, and the cataclysmic events that reshaped the world we live in today, this insightful series will leave you captivated and informed.

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