15 Best Docuseries on Netflix Right Now

15 Best Docuseries on Netflix Right Now

October 18, 2023

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Docuseries have no doubt become one of the most bingeable genres. With the best one, the compelling combination of jaw-dropping facts and human narrative grips you and doesn’t let go. But there’s more to Netflix’s docu-section than Tiger King and the true crime it’s notorious for. From explorations of modern society to archival explorations of the past, we present the top 5 docuseries streaming on Netflix right now.

11. Ugly Delicious

8.0

Country

United States of America

Actors

David Chang, Peter Meehan

Moods

Docu-series, Instructive

Man, don’t watch this show hungry. Each episode traces the traditions, the history, and the lore surrounding much-loved types of food. It’s a food show, to be sure, and it will surely whet your appetite, but award-winning rebel chef and creator of the New-York-based restaurant Momofuku, David Chang, also has a mission: to challenge notions of authenticity, to call out snobbism, and to break down cultural barriers. While exploring pizza, for example, he travels to Japan to check out a new pizza in a Michelin-star restaurant, but also hits up a Domino’s. He talks about why microwaves are good for you and why MSG isn’t bad for you—and why demonizing MSG has a racist history. Despite being an important proponent of the food industry, Chang has a fuck-it attitude towards it. There is a reason the name of his high-brow brand sounds like “m*therf*cker”. Part mouth-watering food TV, part op-ed on foodie culture, this is one of the best cooking shows you can watch today.

12. Street Food

8.0

Country

United States of America

Actors

Daniel Lee Gray, Philip Hersh

Moods

Docu-series, Instructive

When I learned about Street Food the first time, I was reluctant to sit through yet another Netflix cooking show. They’ve made so many that when I want to bring up an episode with a friend I forget if I saw it in Ugly Delicious, Chef’s Table, Salt Fat Acid Heat or others. I can’t say that Street Food is a different format. It uses the same slow-motion takes of food, the same close-ups on chefs and the same style of interviews. Here is the thing though. Street Food might be similar to other Netflix cooking shows, but it’s also better than them in almost every way. Much better. It’s only 30 minutes long per episode, so it doesn’t indulge in egos or stray into unrelated stories. It doesn’t showcase kitchens where only the rich eat, like Chef’s Table often does, but stalls that are accessible to everyone. And in the best way, it connects the story of the food makers to the food. The show is mostly about middle-aged to senior women, and people who do not make that much money. It’s not about glamorous young chefs. It’s about food stripped away from any marketing or showbiz. Real cooking, real chefs, real diners. In its unpretentious nature, Street Food feels euphoric.

13. College Behind Bars

8.0

Moods

Docu-series, Thought-provoking, Uplifting

This documentary from Ken Burns is a selection of stories from prisoners enrolled in a competitive college program. Many of the prisoners are in maximum-security facilities, some for serious crimes.

Seeing their difficult imprisonment conditions, the struggles they come from, and yet their incredible determination to excel in their education – it’s all such a humbling and emotional affair.

14. Immigration Nation

8.0

Moods

Docu-series

For three years, the makers of this docuseries gained in-depth access to ICE and other government agencies to document the current state of the U.S. immigration system.

Immigration Nation looks at how ICE functions from within, but it also focuses on the human toll of its methods. When a migrant freezes to death, an officer calls his distraught father to notify him. It quickly becomes apparent that the officer is using the same call to try to establish if the father is in the U.S. legally or if he should be deported.

The show also makes an important point of noting that the harshness of the U.S. immigration system didn’t start with the current administration. “Prevention through deterrence” Clinton-era policies, for example, forced migrants towards desert routes, killing around 10,000 people from dehydration.

15. Lenox Hill

7.5

Country

United States of America

Moods

Docu-series

This docuseries is a straightforward account of what actually happens in emergency rooms and about people who dedicate their lives to this extremely demanding work.

Set in a New York hospital that has struggled in the past to compete with bigger establishments, it follows two brain surgeons, an OBGYN, and an ER physician.

If you like ER, Grey’s Anatomy, or anything similar, and want to know how it actually works – this is a great show. Hint: reality is light years away from how ERs are usually depicted.

Lenox Hill a tough watch that might not be for everyone — there are people diagnosed with horrible things and pretty much every single scene is highly emotional.

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