The Best Documentaries to Stream on Netflix Now That We’re All Stuck at Home

'Cheer' on Netflix.
Photo: Netflix.

Another day of isolation in the age of the novel coronavirus means another opportunity to catch up on all those shows and films you promised yourself you’d eventually watch. Well, the time has come, dear social distancer: You can finally dig your teeth into the best Netflix documentaries on the platform.

If you’re doing the good samaritan’s work of staying at home (if your occupation allows) to prevent the spread of COVID-19, chances are, you’ve already exhausted your typical binge series. One can only watch The Office so many times before feeling like their brain is turning to mush. Which is where this list comes in handy.

Here at StyleCaster, we’ve rounded up a few documentary options that are bound to, at the very least, teach you something, and at most, will restore your faith in humanity. We could all sure use some of that last one right about now.

Read on for five documentary and docuseries options available to stream on Netflix in 2020.

Babies (2020)

A newbie to the platform, Babies couldn’t have dropped at a better time. The 2020 docuseries follows 15 babies over the course of one year since their birth, tracking their neurological, physical, and emotional development. If you, uh, are terrified at the prospect of having children, don’t worry—this docuseries balances equal parts cutesy baby faces with fascinating findings over childhood development. You’ll come away from it with less baby fever, and more with a newfound respect for everything that these little human minds manage to accomplish in 12 months. It’s a hopeful glimpse into future generations that we could all use, every day.

Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (2019)

Whew. Getting into the synopsis of Don’t F**k With Cats starts to give a little too much away, but just know that this three-part docuseries (essentially a trio of 90-minute, movie-length episodes), is one of the most startling and expertly crafted true crime titles on Netflix right now. A worthy watch if you’re an Internet Culture snob, or better yet, for anyone who enjoys a winding mystery.

Cheer (2019)

If you were ever involved in an “unofficial” sport, please raise your hand. Looking at you, childhood and teenage figure skaters, dancers, and cheerleaders alike. Thanks to Cheer, you finally have your proof that what you were doing was just as rigorous—if not more so—than what your local baseball league was up to! Netflix’s late-2019 docuseries follows a college team of competitive cheerleaders as they practice, sacrifice, and injure themselves in a quest for success at the National Championship. And the results are absolutely awe-inspiring.

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019)

Remember the infamous Fyre Festival of 2017? Funny how that absolute snafu of an event seems to pale in comparison to the recent concert cancellations in light of COVID-19. But when both Netflix and Hulu released documentaries focused on the failed festival, it delivered a trenchant glimpse of what was yet to come: Corporate greed, selfish mismanagement, and the irresponsibility of some of America’s elite class (hello, anyone who decided they were too young or too rich to quarantine like the rest of us). Now’s a good a time as ever to take a glimpse back at Netflix’s version of the events. Hopefully, there’s still yet something to learn from it all.

Dogs (2018)

You don’t even have to be a dog lover to love this series. (Full disclaimer: I am, but stay with me.) Netflix’s Dogs is, above all else, a docuseries focused on relationships and connections—even if they’re among humans and their furry friends. We see the lengths that some will go to save their companions: In one instance, a student hopes to retrieve his dog from war-torn Syria; in another, an Italian dog is the answer to his owner’s livelihood. A series has never made me cry and beam with hope as much as this one.

share