Streaming has greatly influenced how people watch their favourite shows and movies. With limited choices on pay TV, viewers now have much more accessible options to the best shows that they can watch — which includes documentaries.
It all changed with the arrival of Netflix in Australia. With it came an influx of endless choices of shows and movies that viewers can watch at their own convenience — and only needing internet connection to stream to their content. This range of shows on offer from Netflix include captivating and thought-provoking docos that cover just about every genre from around the world.
The Best Social & Cultural Documentaries on Netflix
With today’s current situation across the globe, Netflix’s social and cultural documentaries have become more relevant than ever. These docos provide substantial insight into the different ways people live, giving viewers a much wider perspective about the world that’s much bigger than what they’ve known.
From looking into living more with less, to witnessing what goes on behind every captivating image by photographers, our top 8 picks of the best social and cultural docos are sure to move and even entertain you. Check out our lineup below and start streaming on Netflix.
1. FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
It was only a matter of time before an extensive documentary is done about the greatest party that never happened, not to mention one of the greatest frauds every committed in this millennial-driven society. Regardless of the controversy surrounding the production of this doco — being co-produced by Jerry Media, the social media agency responsible for promoting and covering up the festival itself — Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened still garnered positive reviews on how it presents different layers on this mess and how it reveals the horrors of too much wealth and entitlement.
Wine lovers come together for this documentary that follows four candidates, who are attempting to pass the very difficult Master Sommelier examination. It starts off with taking a look at the personal lives of these candidates, as well as their varying motives for wanting to take and pass the test. As the date of examination nears, tensions are high and everyone is on edge as each of them take the extensive history, geography, and culture of wine to heart in hopes of making it.
3. Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things
How might your life be better with less? This documentary explores the lives of minimalists from all walks of life — including entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, architects, and even families — and how living with less has led them to have more meaningful lives. This docu takes viewers on a more intimate look at radical minimalism, and how it can be more beneficial and less daunting than it seems.
4. One of Us
One of Us chronicles the lives of three former members of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, New York. Each one of these individuals details their struggles with being ostracized from their former families and community, while also revealing their own reasons for leaving in the first place. Not only do they retell their past lives, but they also recount their experience with religious doubt, as well as with both domestic and childhood sexual abuse.
5. Wild Wild Country
Wild Wild Country goes inside the controversial Rajneeshpuram community headed by Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), as well as his one-time personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela. Located in Wasco County, Oregon, the community has been said to be involved in a number of crimes, including attempted murder, arson, wiretapping, and many more — all in the name of their radical beliefs and doctrines.
6. Chef’s Table
One of Netflix’s first original documentary series, Chef’s Table already now has six seasons of featuring renowned chefs from different parts of the globe. Each episode focuses on the life and career of a chef — highlighting their artistry, genius, and genuine passion for creating and cooking food. From Michelin-star chefs to those rallying behind the ethical use of nature into their foods, Chef’s Table is a treat for food-lovers and to those who simply love a good biographical story.
7. Tales By Light
A joint venture between National Geographic and Canon, Tales By Light follows a number of professional photographers around the world and allows them to tell the full story behind the beautiful images they capture. Now on its third season, Tales By Light has continued to highlight the raw environment behind the camera — be it a life of poverty or the struggle to preserve and protect marine life and exotic tribes.
8. Christiane Amanpour Sex & Love Around the World
Hosted and reported by CNN’s award-winning journalist Christiane Amanpour, Sex & Love Around the World dives into how adults from six global cities celebrate love and accentuate sex in their own way, culture, and tradition. Christiane Amanpour also explores how roles for men and women in relationships are changing and evolving in relation to sex, love, marriage, family, and even divorce.
Stream the Best Docos Now on Netflix!
Netflix is home to an expanding library of content, which includes some of the most moving and captivating documentaries ever made. Best part is how you can find them all in one convenient place, and with new documentaries being added in every month! Make sure to check back in as we change up the list from time to time as new docos come in from Netflix.