Truth is often stranger than fiction…

Yeah escaping in the fantastical is fun, but have you ever dived head-first down the rabbit hole of real-world documentaries?

Netflix has a whole library full of true stories that are often, stranger than fiction. These our some of our favourite picks of the moment.

The White Helmets

A stark boots-on-ground look inside a conflict-ravaged Syria. The short film tells the story of three Syria Civil Defence volunteers, as they emerge from training straight into the brutal reality of bomb-torn Aleppo. This documentary explores what humanity can be found, when seeking it amongst the rubble of collapsed buildings.

 Short film, run-length 40 minutes. 18+

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

This wild crime docu-series was a 2020 pandemic phenomenon. And we’ve got a ‘feline’ it’s all down to that “just one more episode” cocktail of mystery, intrigue, charisma and eccentric characters. Zoo owner Joe ‘Exotic’ Maldonado-Passage’s life spirals out of control following some shady dealings and a ‘murder-for-hire’ controversy in the underbelly of the big cat breeding world. Practically guaranteed to leave you all Shere-Khan up.

One series, seven episodes, approx individual run-length 47 minutes, 18+ 

When They See Us 

So cards on the table here, this isn’t a documentary in the true sense of the term. It’s a dramatisation of the true story of five young Harlem teens falsely accused of horrific crimes against a woman in Central Park. It makes the list because of its documentary-esqe shooting style, observing the impact of the accusation on the families of those involved. And because it equates to an outstanding piece of reporting, told through award-winning performances.

One Series, four episodes, approx individual run-length 70 minutes, 18+

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Our Planet 

From the makers of Planet Earth, this Sir David Attenborough narrated nature documentary series is filled with drama, spectacular visuals and tales from species on the brink of extinction. In addition to illuminating the fascinating aspects and complicated entanglements of individual animals, Our Planet investigates man’s impact on the plight of these species. And on what must be done to save them, before it is too late.

One Series, eight episodes, approx individual run-length 50 minutes, 7+

Money Heist: The Phenomenon

Step one for this item on the list would probably be making sure you’re up-to-date with the thrill-packed show the documentary is based on, Money Heist (or Casa De Papel to call it by its native Spanish name). Lest spoilers heist your day. The documentary takes a BTS (behind the scenes) look at the global popularity of the series, and why we find ourselves falling in love with these characters, who at first glance are just a band of violent criminals.

Film, run-length 57 minutes. 18+