From Thrilling Sports To Gripping True Crime: Best Netflix Documentaries To Watch


In an age where streaming services reign supreme, documentaries have surged in popularity, carving out a significant niche on platforms like Netflix. Known for their compelling narratives and insightful perspectives, documentaries offer a real-world escape, engaging viewers with enlightening and enthralling stories.

Whether you’re captivated by the adrenaline rush of sports or the intricate details of a criminal case, Netflix’s vast documentary selection caters to all tastes.

Documentaries were the top TV genre to watch in the UK in 2023

Documentaries captivate, educate, and offer deep dives into various themes and topics. Recently, there’s been a noticeable shift towards documentary viewing, with audiences gravitating towards more substantive, thought-provoking content. This trend is reflected in the viral nature of several Netflix documentaries that have sparked widespread discussion and debate across numerous social platforms.

In recent years, titles like Tiger King and The Social Dilemmahave dominated the charts and influenced public discourse, proving that documentaries can be wildly entertaining and fiercely educational. Statista data from last year shows that UK consumers’ preferred TV content genre in 2023 was documentaries and dramas, further highlighting how well the category performed.

This growing interest in documentary shows highlights a collective desire for authenticity and realness, steering viewers away from scripted drama to the riveting truths laid bare in documentaries.

True Crime Documentaries

The fascination with true crime documentaries stems from a deep-seated curiosity about the darker aspects of human nature and the justice system. True crime documentaries delve into mysteries and legal battles that are as bewildering as they are captivating, offering a glimpse into the minds of perpetrators and the tireless efforts of those seeking justice.

Netflix has become a prime destination for true crime enthusiasts, with a continuously expanding library of the best true crime documentaries that probe deeper into various facets of crime and punishment.

What Jennifer Did is a standout entry in this genre and is one of the most recent additions to Netflix’s catalogue. This documentary provides a chilling look at a complex case involving Jennifer Pan who hired men to kill her parents.

Through actual police footage, this chilling true crime documentary covers the true story of how Jennifer orchestrated a home invasion which led to her being convicted of first-degree murder.

Making A Murderer is perhaps one of the most talked-about true crime series on Netflix. This true crime documentary walks viewers through the controversial case of Steven Avery, a man from Wisconsin who was wrongfully convicted and, after new evidence, was freed after 18 years in prison.

However, his story takes a dramatic turn when a few years after his release he is arrested and later convicted of murder. Released on Netflix in 2015, Making A Murderer won several Primetime Emmy Awards and is still considered one of the best true crime documentaries to watch.

Sports Documentaries

The appeal of sports documentaries lies in their ability to transport viewers into the heart of the action, providing an insider’s look at the intensity, passion, and drama that fuel the world of sports. These narratives go beyond the game, offering a deeper understanding of the athletes and the sheer perseverance that defines their careers.

Over the years Netflix has curated a compelling collection of sports documentaries that capture the essence of competitive sports.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive is a thrilling series that has attracted die-hard Formula 1 fans and even generated new interest in Formula 1 racing. The documentary provides an exclusive peek behind the scenes of the Formula 1 racing world, showcasing the personal and professional challenges drivers and teams face throughout the championship season.

With breathtaking racing footage and candid interviews, the series reveals the high stakes, rivalries, and incredible skill in one of the world’s most dangerous and glamorous sports.

Beckham is a standout Netflix sports documentary focusing on the illustrious career of David Beckham, one of football’s most iconic figures. Nominated for two BAFTA awards, Beckham was released on Netflix in 2023 and featured never-before-seen footage documenting David Beckham’s rise to global football stardom.

The popular sports documentary features interviews with family and friends and takes viewers through Beckham’s life, capturing professional and personal challenges and highlights.

Nature Documentaries

Nature documentaries hold a special appeal for audiences as they unveil the staggering beauty and complexity of the natural world, offering a close-up view of environments and species that many might never see firsthand.

Netflix’s commitment to bringing visually stunning and informative entertainment to our TV screens is evident in its impressive documentary lineup that explores the planet’s biodiversity and the urgent environmental issues facing it today.

My Octopus Teacher is a profoundly moving documentary that charts a unique relationship between a filmmaker and a wild octopus he encounters while freediving in a South African kelp forest. The film is a beautiful, immersive portrayal of the octopus’s daily struggles and achievements, capturing her cleverness, resilience, and the surprising emotional bond she forms with the filmmaker.

This captivating nature documentary became so popular that it won Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards in 2021.

Our Planet, narrated by the legendary Sir David Attenborough, is a spectacular series that spans the globe, showcasing the world’s diverse habitats from the remote Arctic wilderness and mysterious deep oceans to the vast landscapes of Africa and diverse jungles of South America.

With its breathtaking cinematography and compelling, scientifically informed narrative, this wonderful nature documentary showcases the world’s beauty yet also stresses the delicate balance of ecosystems and the dire impacts of climate change on wildlife and their habitats.