Frontline — The best hour on television, and the best documentaries produced today. Frontline is this sites most recommended source for documentary films; it does not disappoint. Frontline is a weekly one-hour series that airs on the Public Broadcasting System, and that has, over the past two decades, provided over 300 long-form documentaries on various subjects, including politics, society, and personal stories. Frontline is also innovative when it comes to its resources on the web. When you go to their site you are provided with basic information on the programs, but each program has its own unique site, that can be accessed from the main page. Frontline in recent years has taken the step of showing a icon in the documentaries when more information on a particular subject can be accessed on the web. Their sites are well designed and provide even more valuable information on their film subjects, than is possible in its one-hour format. More than a hundred Frontline episodes are now available to be viewed online in their entirety.
NOVA — NOVA, a science focused documentary series on PBS, represents how documentary programs can be important to well being of a society. In a era where belief in the paranormal is strong and growing, NOVA stands as a program that promotes the scientific method, and solves the unexplained by searching for truth. Don’t let the thoughts of high school science classrooms turn you off to this series, because NOVA feels more like an adventure then any classroom lecture. Whether it is addressing how the pyramids where made, obscure mathematical formulas, or the extinction of the dinosaurs, NOVA makes the subjects interesting, and yes, they make science interesting.
P.O.V. — A summer series on PBS, P.O.V. shows documentaries that are produced entirely independently, and not within the PBS system. This distinction allows for a considerable number of diverse films to appear on PBS that would otherwise be unlikely to find a audience on PBS or any other national audience broadcast. P.O.V. has shown some of the best theatrical documentaries, such as Roger & Me and Hearts of Darkness, but it primarily shows documentaries from independent filmmakers that would otherwise not have the ability to get their films to a audience. Many of the films are very personal in their focus, but most of the films will appeal to any fan of documentaries. P.O.V. also has very interactive web site, and when the films are showing in the summer season, discussion groups, among other features are offered over the web. Filmmakers with a finished film should consider submitting it.
The Sundance Channel — A channel devoted to the spirit of the film festival of the same name; The Sundance Channel is the TV network of independent film in the U.S.. The Sundance Channel is part of the Showtime networks, and is available on all major satellite providers. Sundance provides a number of great films that are unlikely to be seen on other channels and this included documentary films. Every Monday night they premiere a new documentary film. If you live in a area with limited access to independent films, this Channel can be your belated life-line to the world of documentary films. Highly recommend for all type of films including docs.
The Independent Film Channel — IFC shows a variety of independent films, but has a limited library on which to draw. It shows several documentary films a month, but is better at providing original programming that provides information on the independent film industry. Since the channel is often bundled with other stations in the general programming packages, if you happen to receive it, enjoy.
PBS — Beyond its documentary series, the Public Broadcasting System can be counted on to provide a considerable number of additional documentaries each year. Examples include Ken Burn’s Civil War, Nerds 2.0.1, and a variety of other documentaries that usually deal with subjects that are more historical than contemporary. Documentary Films .Net provides scheduling information on these programs in our News page.
Cinemax – The Cinemax Reel Life series is an eclectic showcase of distinctive, independent documentaries with a wide range of subject matter and styles. They present many award winning independent films for the first time on television, as well as providing funding for their own original productions.
The Documentary Channel – Focuses on documentarys that have not had commercial releases. Their intended focus is to show films made by individuals and not studios. Available on some local cable stations as well as DirecTV.
The History Channel — Historical documentaries