51 Jaw-Dropping Netflix Documentaries to Watch Right Now
When your watch list starts running low, Netflix has your back with some of the most riveting and curious on-demand documentaries in the streaming realm. If you love to learn about different places, cultures, or topics you never thought to explore, Netflix's lineup of original documentaries might be perfect for you. While it's racked up a reputation for being a hub of true-crime content (think: "Making a Murderer" and "I Am a Killer"), there's actually so much more to its documentary offerings.
With a trusty Netflix account, you get a fascinating library of documentaries to help you explore the world around you. And while you can glean lots of fun factoids from them, many of these films and series feature rigorous research and offer unique insights. From celebrity-centric projects to emotionally charged music documentaries, you'll always find something that's worth your time. Really — you can check out an investigative project about a German shepherd that inherited millions of dollars ("Gunther's Millions") just as easily as you can tune into a chilling miniseries about the missing Malaysia airplane that had 239 people aboard ("MH370: The Plane That Disappeared").
Of course, you might be at a loss when it comes to picking a documentary because there are just so many to consider. If you're having trouble choosing your next educational adventure, we've compiled a comprehensive guide on the best original documentaries you can watch on Netflix.
— Additional reporting by Ginger Abbot and Amanda Prahl
Directed by Nadia Hallgren, "Becoming" follows former First Lady Michelle Obama during the tour for her memoir of the same name. The documentary digs deep into Obama's life, moving beyond her eight-year tenure as first lady and diving into her life story outside of the White House. We see her prepping for talks and events around her book, which primarily focuses on her roots growing up in a Black working-class family from the south side of Chicago. While it's an inspirational documentary that occasionally hits familiar beats of its genre, its depth and heart make it a worthy watch.
Helmed by Lana Wilson, "Miss Americana" offers a rare, if not measured, peek into the elusive Taylor Swift's life as it follows the "Anti-Hero" singer around the time she released her "Lover" album and broke her silence around her political views. While it's certainly a treat for Swifties, it stands alone as an intimate and revealing portrait of its subject, who happens to be the world's most famous pop star. While weaving together behind-the-scenes footage of her infamous tours and music-writing process, it also touches on heavier topics, including her sexual-assault trial and struggles with an eating disorder.
"How to Change Your Mind"
Based on journalist Michael Pollan's book of the same name, this docuseries follows Pollan as he explores different types of psychedelics and the ways they are being used in medicinal contexts across the globe. LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and mescaline each get their own episodes, which trace each substance's fascinating history, use, criminalization, and potential ability to solve mental health issues from PTSD to depression and beyond.
"The American Meme"
This documentary follows Paris Hilton, Josh Ostrovsky, Brittany Furlan, and Kirill Bichutsky as they all try to build successful online platforms. It also showcases the dangers of social media, the consequences of a fame-obsessed culture, the negative side of parasocial relationships and digital celebrity, and much more.
Narrated by Brie Larson, this extraordinary documentary explores the fascinating world of fungi, tracing how they help trees communicate, devour waste and convert it to energy, and so much more. Featuring incredible time-lapse footage, it also explores how fungi can be used to heal mental and physical ailments and how they could potentially help us humans reevaluate how we see the world and ourselves.
"Pamela, a Love Story"
With the buzz around "Pam & Tommy," it's worth hearing Pamela Anderson's story in her own words — the Hulu biopic series, after all, did not receive the actress's sign-off for production. Developed almost three decades after her stolen and leaked sex tape, "Pamela, a Love Story" is billed as a "humanizing portrait of one of the world's most famous blonde bombshells." The Ryan White-helmed project follows Anderson's life, starting with her small-town Canadian roots before diving into how she became an infamous sex symbol and even an unlikely Broadway star later in life as Roxie Hart in "Chicago."
"The Elephant Whisperers"
For a short, heartfelt, Oscar-winning project, add "The Elephant Whisperers" to your Netflix queue. Helmed by filmmaker Kartiki Gonsalves, this emotional 40-minute project follows Bomman and Bellie, an indigenous south Indian couple who take it upon themselves to care for an orphaned elephant named Raghu. A familial bond develops between the couple and the creature, showing how humans can coexist with animals and respect the environment. If you've been searching for Oscar winners on Netflix, it's also worth noting that "The Elephant Whisperers" won the best documentary short film award at the 95th Academy Awards.
"Gunther's Millions" is worth checking out for its weird premise alone. As the story goes, Countess Karlotta Liebenstein reportedly left her German shepherd Gunther a trust fund of $400 million, making her fur baby the owner of a yacht, several properties in Italy, and other privileges you'd probably see on "The White Lotus." Without a flicker of a doubt, there were people keen on taking advantage of Gunther's exorbitant inheritance. But if you think the idea of a wealthy dog is bizarre, the story gets even odder. Enter Maurizio Mian, the dog's celebrity handler who gathered a group of young, attractive people to live with Gunther, with cult-like rules governing their stay. Pretty soon, the outlandishness of the story put into question whether or not the countess was a real person and what Mian's elaborate end game was.
"Trainwreck: Woodstock '99"
Most of us know 1969's Woodstock as a celebration of peace, love, and music. But its 1999 revival, which featured powerhouse headliners such as Sheryl Crow, DMX, James Brown, and Rage Against the Machine, emerged as quite the opposite of all of those things. The music festival, in short, was a manifestation of absolute chaos. For three days, riots broke out in the upstate New York venue, as did vandalism, assaults, and fires. The aptly named Netflix documentary "Clusterf**k: Woodstock '99" explores what went wrong with the much-anticipated music festival reboot.
"Orgasm Inc.: The Story of OneTaste"
Rising from San Francisco's buzzy tech world, OneTaste started as a sexual wellness company promoting "orgasmic meditation," which is similar to the concept of qi in Chinese philosophy. Down the line, however, members started coming forward with allegations of trafficking and fraud, and the company, once lauded by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, stopped its operations in 2018. "Orgasm Inc.: The Story of OneTaste" dives deep into OneTaste's history and the story behind its mysterious leader, Nicole Daedone. This investigative documentary features 15 years of exclusive footage and interviews with past members to provide insight into the controversial organization.
"Running With the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee"
Many of us probably haven't put much thought into our antivirus software, but you'd be surprised to learn about the mind behind the well-known security program McAfee. "Running With the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee" is all about the titular subject's misadventures, which are honestly on par with those presented in "Tiger King." When his neighbor was murdered, for example, McAfee went on the lam and brought an entire filming crew with him. Other parts of his checkered history include making a failed bid for president, claiming to have hacked the world, and escaping from prison several times. In fact, even his mysterious death in prison has invited much speculation, which the doc covers.
While golf might take place on long stretches of grass and doesn't quite involve as much action as basketball or football, it's far from being a quiet, breezy game. To see just how competitive it can get on and off the course, follow the high-stake lives of professional golfers in Netflix's "Full Swing," an eight-episode documentary that follows a group of players during the PGA Tour and other major golf championships, such as the newly developed LIV Golf tour. Brimming with piping-hot drama, the docuseries features the personal lives and rivalries of players such as Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, and Brooks Koepka.
"Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal"
Formerly one of South Carolina's most distinguished legal families, the Murdaughs swiftly fell from grace when they found themselves pinned to multiple mysterious deaths. The unraveling started with Mallory Beach's 2019 death in a boating accident, where Paul Murdaugh was the alleged drunk boat driver. During the indictment process for the Mallory Beach case, Paul and his mother, Maggie, were found murdered in a double homicide. As the story unfolded, people noticed other deaths linked to the Murdaugh family, including that of Stephen Smith, a classmate of Buster Murdaugh, and Gloria Satterfield, a housekeeper for the Murdaughs. Netflix's "Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal" attempts to detangle all the facts that don't add up, featuring interviews with Paul's longtime girlfriend and Mallory Beach's childhood friends. Part two premieres this September.
"Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story"
"Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story" takes us into the gendered worlds of sports, skateboarding, and transitioning. In the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics, competitive skateboarding legend Leo Baker navigated rigorous, high-stakes training with an increased feeling of disconnect between how the world saw them and how they saw themselves. The sports documentary is directed by Nicola Marsh, the mind behind projects such as "Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer," and Giovanni Reda, who's known for directing short films about skating. Prepare to feel moved when you give this doc a watch.
"Money Shot: The Pornhub Story"
In the documentary film "Money Shot: The Pornhub Story," we hear from activists and performers about Pornhub's dealings over the years. Undoubtedly the most well-known adult-entertainment platform out there, Pornhub has enjoyed great success as it transformed the pornography industry, raking in billions of dollars since it emerged in 2007. Despite its strides in the industry, it hasn't had the most stellar record — it's faced harrowing accusations of sex trafficking and data harvesting. Among the most impacted by Pornhub's scandals have been sex workers, many of whom have lost income and become de-platformed amid the site's controversies.
"Girl in the Picture"
True-crime sleuths won't want to skip Netflix's "Girl in the Picture," which comes from Skye Borgman, the director of "Abducted in Plain Sight" and "Dead Asleep." In this investigative documentary, a woman dying on the side of the road leaves behind a son and a man who says that he's her husband. It turns out that the woman is Sharon Marshall, but there's more to her story than meets the eye. The narrative also focuses on Franklin Floyd — the man who kidnapped Sharon, raised her, and eventually married her. For years, he managed to conceal his identity and evade the law while exploiting Sharon for his own twisted means.
"MH370: The Plane That Disappeared"
Divided into three gripping episodes, "MH370: The Plane That Disappeared" takes on one of the most chilling mysteries in recent history. In 2014, a plane with 239 people on board suddenly disappeared without a trace. Taking passengers on a red-eye flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the plane vanished after takeoff when crossing into Vietnam airspace. With no apparent explanation, it came off the radar, which was a highly unusual scenario for a commercial flight that was supposed to be tracked at all times. Almost a decade later, the situation remains shrouded in mystery, spawning public outrage and conspiracy theories.
FIFA oversees international football (read: soccer, for us Americans), but who regulates the association? Established in the early 20th century, the organization has definitely had a dicey history with its internal conflicts and worldwide politics. "FIFA Uncovered" is a must-watch investigative documentary for soccer fans curious about the titular association's many former and ongoing controversies. Needless to say, there are a lot of scandals that go into organizing a FIFA World Cup — tune into the limited sports series to get the nitty-gritty of it all before you turn on the 2022 World Cup set in Qatar.
Between "Grey's Anatomy" and "New Amsterdam," there's no shortage of medical dramas on the small screen. But if you're curious about the stories of real healthcare workers and their patients, "Emergency: NYC" is one of the best medical documentaries to add to your streaming queue right now. The emotional docuseries will have you reaching for tissues with its depiction of a group of New York City's frontline medical workers who balance their high-stakes work with their personal lives. From EMTs on the ground to nurses and surgeons in the operating room, we see a wide range of key players who navigate emergencies on a daily basis.
"Waco: American Apocalypse"
Tiller Russell, the filmmaker behind Netflix's "Night Stalker," unravels a chilling chapter of American history with "Waco: American Apocalypse." In 1993, cult leader David Koresh came up in a 51-day standoff against the FBI at a Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX. The siege ended in tragedy, leaving nearly 80 people killed in the aftermath. Those who happened to have tuned into Paramount Network's "Waco" miniseries can supplement their viewing with this documentary project, which features exclusive access to videotapes from the FBI Negotiation Unit, unreleased news footage, and FBI recordings. Along with the details surrounding the siege, the three-episode series also touches upon the child sexual abuse allegations against Koresh, who presented himself as the key to eternal salvation.
The human species's closest relatives, chimpanzees, are some of the most intelligent creatures in the animal kingdom. Unsurprisingly, they have built fairly sophisticated social systems, too. James Reed, the codirector of "My Octopus Teacher," gives us a glimpse into the world's largest chimpanzee society, which lies in the forests of Ngogo, Uganda. In this community, the social order is a hierarchy where members scheme and connect with others to move up. When another group steps into this territory, war is imminent, and we see how political dynamics unfold beneath the lush forest canopies. Between gorgeous cinematography and Mahershala Ali's gripping voice-over, this project strikes a fascinating hybrid between a nature documentary and an action film.
"Lewis Capaldi: How I'm Feeling Now"
Lewis Capaldi is known for being a bit of a jokester on TikTok, but this Netflix music documentary takes us behind the scenes for a more vulnerable look into the life of the "Before You Go" singer-songwriter. Off the stage, Capaldi admits to his struggles with mental health, particularly anxiety, as he faces the ongoing pressure to keep up with his past successes. In this emotional, feature-length Netflix documentary, the Scottish superstar navigates the unique challenges of creating a second album. We hear not only from the Scottish superstar himself, but also his friends and family.
"Harry & Meghan"
After stepping back from the royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been busy with their philanthropic work and raising their young children. In addition to giving their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, the beloved pair have also been hard at work with creative endeavors, namely Archewell Audio and Archewell Productions. Through their production company, they've dropped "Harry & Meghan," a documentary series centered on their love story as well as their contentious relationships with the public and the royal family. We hear Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tell their story from their perspectives, in addition to seeing interviews with friends, family, scholars, and experts.
"Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives"
If you love rewatching "Tiger King" and "Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened," you'll love the next documentary from Chris Smith, the man behind both viral documentary sensations. Smith created "Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud Fugitives" to cover the case of Sarma Melngailis and a man known as Shane Fox. After Melngailis falls for Fox on Twitter, he cons her into stealing millions from her successful New York restaurant, promising that he can expand her food empire and even make her pitbull immortal. Of course, none of this happens. Watch how they get caught in a docuseries with enough twists that'll make you wonder if it's more fiction than fact.
"Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes"
Perhaps you've already tuned into Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan's "Monster" and now want the facts to supplement the star-studded dramatization. On the other hand, you might have preferred not to watch the horrifying events unfold onscreen and would rather just get the facts. In either case, "Conversations With a Killer" is finally back, this time with a three-part docuseries that unpacks serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's gruesome murders. The project features exclusive recorded interviews that Dahmer shared with his legal reps. The chilling tapes paint a clearer picture of how factors such as race, sexuality, class, and incompetent policing enabled Dahmer to hurt so many victims.
"The Most Hated Man on the Internet"
A fiercely devoted mother takes on the self-styled "King of Revenge Porn" in Netflix's "The Most Hated Man on the Internet," which hails from the producers of "Don't F**k With Cats" and "The Tinder Swindler." The notorious Hunter Moore is best known for creating a repugnant hub of revenge porn with the site "IsAnyoneUp.com," where he uploaded explicit photos of people — often without their consent. The true-crime documentary features in-depth interviews with law enforcement agents, those who've had their pictures leaked, and, of course, a victim's mother who takes justice into her own hands.
"Is That Black Enough For You?!?"
"Is That Black Enough For You?!?" follows film critic Elvis Mitchell's exploration of Black cinema throughout the decades. While touching on the origins of Black cinema, the documentary primarily focuses on one landmark decade: the '70s. The documentary's thesis is that the style, music, and talent of this revolutionary era left an indelible mark on the genre and cinema at large. It was starting from this time that Black audiences saw themselves represented in a wide range of movies. In the cultural documentary, we get interviews with icons such as Margaret Avery, Harry Belafonte, Samuel L. Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, and Zendaya.
"Our Great National Parks"
If you're curious about exploring the enormous variety of natural beauty throughout the US, then this is definitely the documentary series for you! Narrated by former President Barack Obama, this docuseries takes us on a journey to several of the most stunning national parks across the country. Each episode brings viewers up close and personal with unique plants, amazing (and sometimes endangered) animals, and absolutely stunning views. It's a fantastic introduction to all the incredible wildlife around the country, as well as a reminder of just how important it is to protect these precious ecosystems teeming with life.
"David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet"
David Attenborough documentaries — think projects such as "Life in Color" and "Our Planet" — are universally beloved for their soothing, observational narrations over lush wildlife footage, but "David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet" is a project with a more urgent plea regarding the imminent dangers of climate change. This intimate documentary paints a portrait of the broadcaster's larger-than-life career and ties it into the broader world of evolutionary history. Attenborough mourns the rapid destruction of the natural world while also offering insights into how humanity can potentially counter climate change with concrete actions.
"The Redeem Team"
In 2004, the US Olympic Men's Basketball team came home from Athens defeated for the first time after a 24-win streak. Team USA, much to the world's shock, returned to the States with only a bronze medal. After taking time to recollect, the prestigious squad scored gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. As its title promises, "The Redeem Team" illustrates the team-building process that secured wins the next time around. Along with footage of the Olympics, the sports documentary also features in-depth interviews with figures such as Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and Mike "Coach K" Krzyzewski.
"Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King"
Anyone interested in the ever-evolving crypto world has likely heard of Gerry Cotten. He founded Quadriga Fintech Solutions in Canada, which became the largest crypto exchange in the country. It had worldwide clients that helped him rise to fame until he eventually died in 2019 due to complications from Crohn's disease. However, his $250 million wealth froze because he took his account passwords to the grave. "Trust No One" follows the hunt to recover his clients' money, all while unveiling the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death and slew of Ponzi schemes. Discover every secret in this fascinating new Netflix documentary.
"Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened"
If you're hungry for a scam documentary, "Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened" deserves a spot on your streaming queue. At the center of the 2019 documentary is the much-hyped Fyre Festival organized by Ja Rule and Billy McFarland. Despite being widely promoted on social media as a luxury music experience in the Bahamas, the event turned out to be a bust. Instead of luxury villas, festival attendees found FEMA tents, prepacked sandwiches, and soaked mattresses. Interestingly enough, the documentary film was partly produced by Jerry Media, the very same social media agency that promoted the disastrous event.
Many people might know of Robert Downey Jr., but not as many may know about filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. In this poignant black-and-white documentary (aptly named "Sr."), Downey Jr. takes off the Iron Man suit and pays homage to his late father with the help of director Chris Smith. The warm and intimate project simultaneously chronicles Downey Sr.'s underground moviemaking career while shining a light on his relationship with his family. He's best known for directing and writing "Putney Swope" as well as working on projects such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Boogie Nights." In 2021, he passed away at 85 after many years of living with Parkinson's disease.
"Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street"
Netflix turns white-collar crime into a four-part thriller miniseries with "Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street." Following the vein of many preceding Netflix true-crime series, it's a combination of reenactments, commentary, and interviews. As the title promises, it follows the rise and fall of Bernie Madoff, who notoriously operated a $50 billion Ponzi scheme that went on for decades because the financial system allowed him to. A Netflix true-crime pro will tell the story: Joe Berlinger, who's known for helming "Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" and "Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel."
"Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey"
Known for producing the documentary series "Who Killed Malcolm X?", filmmaker Rachel Dretzin helms this shocking four-part true-crime documentary that follows the 2008 raid at the Yearning for Zion Ranch in West Texas. Over a decade ago, investigators came across disturbing evidence of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse within the community. Through archival footage and survivor testimonials, we get a chilling look at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the self-proclaimed prophet Warren Jeffs. With stories of forced underage marriage and pregnancy, "Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey" unveils the horrors of Jeff's cult.
"The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes"
Few celebrities have inspired the kind of devotion and curiosity as Marilyn Monroe has. Decades after her shocking death, millions of people are still curious to know more about her — and maybe unravel some of the mysteries surrounding her life. This new documentary focuses on previously unreleased interviews with some of the people closest to her, attempting to put together the truth about her decline and how Monroe's life ended the way that it did. If you're looking for a documentary that combines a touch of true crime with a close look into a fascinating, complicated public figure, this is the one for you.
"Pepsi, Where's My Jet?"
What happens when a devoted customer takes a cheeky commercial too literally? "Pepsi, Where's My Jet?" explores just that. In 1996, Pepsi started a campaign for "Pepsi Stuff," insinuating that if you purchased enough of its products, you could earn "Pepsi Points" to get things like sunglasses, leather jackets, and, preposterously, a Harrier jet. John Leonard and Todd Hoffman developed a plan to win the biggest prize of all. Leonard took to the courts when he didn't get a jet after trying to redeem seven million Pepsi points. The documentary profiles Leonard, Hoffman, and the commercial's creative team to explore the strange case decades after the judicial system came into play.
One groundbreaking project that put Netflix on the map as a reputable documentary streamer is Ava DuVernay's "13th," a provocative documentary that sharply examines the relationship between race and mass incarceration. The title comes from the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution, which ended slavery and involuntary solitude, with the exception of it being a punishment for those convicted of a crime. Through interviews with scholars, politicians, and activists, it reveals the troubling history of mass incarceration following the Civil War, diving deep into Jim Crow laws, the war on drugs, and the prison-industrial complex today.
"Take Care of Maya"
"Take Care of Maya" follows the family of 10-year-old Maya Kowalski, who was admitted to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in 2016. As Maya was treated for her rare illness, doctors determined that she was suffering from child abuse, and her parents, Jack and Beata, lost custody of her. Jack and Maya narrate what happened to the family and how they were mistreated by the system in this chilling documentary.
"The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker"
Netflix's "The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker" traces one man's rise and fall from hitchhiking hero to murder suspect. Kai Lawrence, also known as Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, became a viral online sensation after using a hatchet to fend off an attack on a utility worker in 2012. In an interview with a local news station in Fresno, CA, he claimed to "smash, smash, smash" the attacker, with whom he received a ride. But not long after the clip went viral, McGillvary became wanted for the May 2013 death of 73-year-old lawyer Joseph Galfy in New Jersey, per SF Gate.
As a musical, acting, and business icon, Jennifer Lopez is consistently relevant, so it tracks that she's getting her very own Netflix documentary. "Halftime," which alludes to her showstopping performance at the 2020 Super Bowl, follows the superstar's dynamite career and the pressures that she faces while juggling her hectic life. If you're searching for inspiration, the emotional documentary is meant to be an intimate portrait of J Lo and how she got to where she is today. And yes, her then-fiancé (now husband) Ben Affleck makes an appearance in the film.
"Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet"
Especially in today's dicey Internet climate, misinformation is a recurring topic with deeply political consequences. Known for projects such as "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz" and "The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez," director Brian Knappenberger brings viewers a six-part documentary series that follows people whose lives have been upheaved by modern misinformation. While getting to the truth of the matter, "Web of Make Believe" covers topics such as white supremacy, the IRS, Russian election interference, and more. As it looks into cases pertaining to these subjects, the series considers the dangers of misinformation on American culture and people in the Internet age.
Brought to us by the production team of "F1: Drive to Survive," "Break Point" tells the story of a group of up-and-coming pro tennis players on and off the court as they face the incredible stresses of four Grand Slams as well as the ATP and WTA tours. As these players forge their paths through a bumpy road of losses and victories, we witness a year in their lives as they brave everything from game injuries to heartbreak. Among the featured players are Iga Swiatek, the US Open champion, and Ons Jabeur, the current No. 1 Tunisian player.
"The Tinder Swindler"
Meeting a wealthy, handsome match on Tinder can cause nerves, excitement, and out-of-character behavior — which can be dangerous when your date is looking for more than a romantic connection. This proved the case for the many Tinder dates of Shimon Hayut, who loved to con women out of their life savings, breaking their hearts, and their bank accounts. "The Tinder Swindler" follows his victims as they seek revenge and try to make the internet a safer place to date. The tension and adrenaline of this unwinding mystery make it one of the best new documentaries on Netflix.
"The Martha Mitchell Effect"
"The Martha Mitchell Effect" follows the titular Cabinet wife who was silenced by the Nixon administration when she spoke out about the Watergate scandal. Before whistleblowing on Watergate, Mitchell had developed a reputation as a political gossip who would leak information to reporters from time to time (per Newsweek). Those backing Nixon essentially used gaslighting and slander tactics to discredit Mitchell and keep her quiet. The White House painted her as unstable, which lead to the popularization of the "The Martha Mitchell Effect," a phrase used to describe someone who is wrongly considered mentally ill by a medical professional, when they're actually telling the truth.
"Meltdown: Three Mile Island"
In 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania suffered one of the most infamous meltdowns in history. The producers of "Erin Brockovich" and Oscar-nominated director Kief Davidson revisit the disaster in this four-part documentary series that focuses on ordinary people who find themselves having to do extraordinary things in the face of danger. The plant's chief engineer and whistleblower, Richard Parks, shares his perspective, as do many members of the community that were affected by the meltdown. Dramatic reenactments, archival footage, never-before-seen home video, and in-depth interviews give viewers a new look at the worst nuclear incident in US history.
"Cyber Hell: Exposing an Internet Horror"
The "Nth Room" scandal, based out of South Korea, turned out to be one of the most shocking cybersex crimes in recent memory. This documentary explores how what seemed to be an ordinary, anonymous online chatroom turned out to be a pipeline for manipulation, blackmail, exploitation, and abuse. Women and girls — some just teenagers — were entrapped by promises that never came through and blackmailed into horrifying and compromising videos. The documentary reveals the true horrors behind the ring, which was ultimately found responsible, and just how far-reaching the case became by the time it was solved.
This shocking true-crime doc follows the disturbing story of a fertility doctor who violated the trust and security of his patients. After a woman's at-home DNA test reveals multiple half-siblings she never knew about, she uncovers a shocking scheme involving donor sperm and a popular fertility doctor, Donald Cline. The investigation uncovers a decades-long series of abuses by Cline, who replaced donor sperm with his own for dozens of fertility treatments. This resulted in around 50 children who never knew they were biologically related to the doctor their parents trusted with such a personal medical situation.
"Disclosure" takes a critical look at how transgender and gender-nonconforming people have been portrayed in film and television throughout the years. Speaking with transgender actors, media stars, and activists like Laverne Cox, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Angelica Ross, Chaz Bono, Lilly Wachowski, and more, the documentary paints a broad picture of how transgender representation has made its way on screen before and presents a vision of how things could be in the future.
"Anna Nicole Smith: You Don't Know Me"
This documentary chronicles the life of Anna Nicole Smith, who went from a model to tabloid fodder before her tragic death. The documentary, directed by Ursula Macfarlane, tries to capture all the complexities and complications of her life and the way she was treated unfairly in the press.
"Muscles and Mayhem: An Unauthorized Story of American Gladiators"
"Muscles and Mayhem: An Unauthorized Story of American Gladiators" tells the true story behind the hit '90s television series "American Gladiators." It dives into the show's blockbuster success but also the toll it took on the series's competitors.