Self-Isolating? Do Some Learning With the Best Netflix Original Documentaries

With the coronavirus Covid-19 making headlines throughout the world it’s likely that you’ve already watched the Netflix docu-series “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak” but there are plenty of other Original documentaries on Netflix. If you’re unlucky enough to be affected by the current pandemic and are stuck indoors self-isolating then you may just want to make use of your time by watching some of the many factual documentary films and series available on the streaming service.

But how do you know which ones to watch? Well, here are the top 20 Netflix Original documentaries and docu-series (according to our own unique rating system) – so why not take a look and let us know which are your favourites?

So, without further ado here are the top 20 Netflix Original documentaries as of today (14th March 2020):

1) Our Planet
New on Netflix Rating: 91%
Year: 2019
Duration: 1 Season
Genre: Science & Nature Documentaries, Nature & Ecology Documentaries, Family Watch Together TV, Science & Nature TV, US TV Programmes, Docuseries
Experience our planet’s natural beauty and examine how climate change impacts all living creatures in this ambitious documentary of spectacular scope.
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2) Virunga
New on Netflix Rating: 89.4%
Year: 2014
Duration: 1hr 40m
Genre: Documentaries, Science & Nature Documentaries, Nature & Ecology Documentaries, Social & Cultural Documentaries, British Films
The Oscar-nominated true story of the rangers risking their lives to save Africa’s most precious national park and its endangered gorillas.
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3) Chasing Coral
New on Netflix Rating: 87.25%
Year: 2017
Duration: 1hr 29m
Genre: Documentaries, Science & Nature Documentaries, Nature & Ecology Documentaries
Divers, scientists and photographers around the world mount an epic underwater campaign to document the disappearance of coral reefs.
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4) 13TH
New on Netflix Rating: 87.2%
Year: 2016
Duration: 1hr 40m
Genre: Documentaries, Social & Cultural Documentaries
In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.
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5) Abstract: The Art of Design
New on Netflix Rating: 86%
Year: 2017
Duration: 2 Seasons
Genre: Social & Cultural Documentaries, Lifestyle, US TV Programmes, Docuseries
Step inside the minds of the most innovative designers in a variety of disciplines and learn how design impacts every aspect of life.
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6) HOMECOMING: A film by Beyoncé
New on Netflix Rating: 85.67%
Year: 2019
Duration: 2hr 17m
Genre: Concerts, Documentaries, Music & Concert Documentaries, Social & Cultural Documentaries, Biographical Documentaries, Music & Musicals, Rap & Hip-Hop
This intimate, in-depth look at Beyoncé’s celebrated 2018 Coachella performance reveals the emotional road from creative concept to cultural movement.
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7) The Square
New on Netflix Rating: 85.6%
Year: 2014
Duration: 1hr 44m
Genre: Documentaries, Social & Cultural Documentaries, Political Documentaries, Middle-Eastern Films
This Emmy-winning, street-level view of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution captures the astonishing uprising that led to the collapse of two governments.
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8) Cuba and the Cameraman
New on Netflix Rating: 85.25%
Year: 2017
Duration: 1hr 54m
Genre: Documentaries, Social & Cultural Documentaries
Emmy-winning filmmaker Jon Alpert chronicles the fortunes of three Cuban families over the course of four tumultuous decades in the nation’s history.
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9) Winter on Fire
New on Netflix Rating: 84.8%
Year: 2015
Duration: 1hr 38m
Genre: Documentaries, Social & Cultural Documentaries, Political Documentaries
Over 93 days in Ukraine, what started as peaceful student demonstrations became a violent revolution and full-fledged civil rights movement.
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10) Shirkers
New on Netflix Rating: 84.5%
Year: 2018
Duration: 1hr 37m
Genre: Documentaries, Biographical Documentaries
In 1992, Sandi Tan and her friends shot a quirky film on the streets of Singapore. Then the footage disappeared, sending her on a hunt for answers.
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11) Chef’s Table
New on Netflix Rating: 84%
Year: 2018
Duration: 6 Volumes
Genre: Food & Travel TV, US TV Programmes, Docuseries
In this Emmy-nominated series, meet culinary stars around the world who are redefining gourmet food with innovative dishes and tantalizing desserts.
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12) Our Planet – Behind The Scenes
New on Netflix Rating: 84%
Year: 2019
Duration: 1hr 3m
Genre: Science & Nature Documentaries, Nature & Ecology Documentaries, Family Watch Together TV, Science & Nature TV, US TV Programmes, Docuseries
Years spent recording footage of creatures from every corner of the globe is bound to produce a bit of drama. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look.
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13) The White Helmets
New on Netflix Rating: 84%
Year: 2016
Duration: 40m
Genre: Documentaries, Social & Cultural Documentaries
As daily airstrikes pound civilian targets in Syria, a group of indomitable first responders risk their lives to rescue victims from the rubble.
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14) The Battered Bastards of Baseball
New on Netflix Rating: 83.8%
Year: 2014
Duration: 1hr 19m
Genre: Documentaries, Sports Documentaries, Historical Documentaries, Sports Films
The colorful true story of the Portland Mavericks, a scrappy, independent baseball team of underdogs started by actor Bing Russell in the 1970s.
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15) Sense8: Creating the World
New on Netflix Rating: 83.67%
Year: 2015
Duration: 25m
Genre: US TV Programmes, Docuseries
Go behind the scenes and around the world with the “Sense8” cast and crew in this in-depth look at how the hit series is made.
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16) Dancing with the Birds
New on Netflix Rating: 83.5%
Year: 2019
Duration: 51m
Genre: Documentaries, Science & Nature Documentaries, Nature & Ecology Documentaries
From ruffling their majestic feathers to nailing im-peck-able courtship routines, birds in paradise flaunt their best moves in hopes of landing a mate.
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17) Formula 1: Drive to Survive
New on Netflix Rating: 83.5%
Year: 2020
Duration: 2 Seasons
Genre: Sports Documentaries, US TV Programmes, Docuseries
Drivers, managers and team owners live life in the fast lane — both on and off the track — during each cutthroat season of Formula 1 racing.
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18) The Defiant Ones
New on Netflix Rating: 83%
Year: 2017
Duration: Limited Series
Genre: Music & Concert Documentaries, Biographical Documentaries, US TV Programmes, Docuseries, Music & Musicals, Rap & Hip-Hop
Director Allen Hughes (“Menace II Society”) traces the rise of music legends Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and chronicles their groundbreaking partnership.
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19) The Edge of Democracy
New on Netflix Rating: 83%
Year: 2019
Duration: 2hr 1m
Genre: Documentaries, Political Documentaries
Political documentary and personal memoir collide in this exploration into the complex truth behind the unraveling of two Brazilian presidencies.
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20) November 13: Attack on Paris
New on Netflix Rating: 82.5%
Year: 2018
Duration: Limited Series
Genre: Social & Cultural Documentaries, French TV Programmes, Docuseries
Survivors and first responders share personal stories of anguish, kindness and bravery that unfolded amid the Paris terror attacks of Nov. 13, 2015.
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And the runners up…: Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (2019)Grass Is Greener (2019)American Factory (2019)Hip-Hop Evolution (2020)Sunderland ‘Til I Die (2018)Team Foxcatcher (2016)End Game (2018)Bobby Kennedy for President (2018)Night on Earth (2020)Street Food (2019)

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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