The streaming giant is always releasing riveting new docs, from Pamela Anderson’s retrospective Pamela: A Love Story to the scandalous Depp V Heard and Attenborough’s latest Our Planet. We’ve put together a list of the best Netflix documentaries you should watch next.
Pamela: A Love Story
This acclaimed retrospective doc looks back at the career of an American cultural icon. Pamela Anderson dominated TV and news in the 90s with Baywatch, but here she tells her story in her own words.
Taking you beyond the headlines and the paparazzi shots, Pamela: A Love Story goes from her early modelling career and rise to fame as C.J Parker, her various rocky romances and the fallout of her sex tape scandal, to her life as it is now. There are excerpts from her diaries and home videos from the height of her fame, archive interview clips and plenty of her own thoughts on the media that has followed her and others for so long.
The Deepest Breath
Enjoy documentaries about people doing incredible feats? You might want to check out The Deepest Breath, a Netflix docufilm that follows Italian diver Alessia Zecchini as she attempts to break the world record for a free dive using fins, aiming to go over 100m underwater. The extraordinary challenge is enticing to those with the steel to brave it, but it’s also highly dangerous- and Zecchini’s story becomes one of high-stakes drama as she and fellow diver Stephen Keenan drop to depths that will make your pulse race. It’s not all plain sailing (or swimming), but the film is one of the most unique sports documentaries on Netflix, so if you don’t mind braving the deep, this is one to watch.
Take Care of Maya
Powerful and thought-provoking, Take Care of Maya is an engrossing but emotional watch. Following the story of nine-year-old Maya Kowalski, it shines a light on some of the complex moral issues of modern medicine and hospital care.
Admitted to the hospital for serious stomach pains in 2016, she and her family soon learn that Maya actually has a rare condition, complex regional pain syndrome, and needed urgent medical care. But the team of doctors led by Dr. Sally Smith believes her circumstances to be suspicious and accuse Maya’s mother, Beata, of being neglectful and abusive, and take Maya into custody. The documentary features interviews with Maya’s family as their recount their experiences following her separation and the flawed rigidity of childcare in the US.
One of Netflix’s more controversial documentaries (and let’s be honest, there are quite a lot of those), Money Shot: The Pornhub Story is a frank and uncensored look at the porn industry and the success of the hugely popular website Pornhub.
It charts some of the site’s successes and attempts to provide a less exploitative platform for performers, as well as its controversies and issues with illegal content being uploaded by users. Unafraid of addressing its subject matter rather than tip-toeing around it, the film features interviews with models as well as some of the site’s employees, giving an overview of the industry and the ethics surrounding it.
Get a peek behind the, err, racquet in Netflix’s tennis docuseries Break Point, which recently dropped a second batch of episodes in June. Tracking some of the biggest stars in the tennis world as they embark on the tennis tour and vie to cement their place in sporting history, Break Point is like the Drive to Survive of the tennis world.
The show is made in association with the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and the WTA Women’s Tennis Association to give an insight like no other into what it takes to win. Nick Kyrgios , Matteo Berrettini, Paula Badosa, Maria Shakkari and Felix Aurger-Aliassime are just some of the names that feature, as the series focuses on the Australian and French Opens in the first part, as well as the US Open, ATP and WTA finals and Wimbledon in the second. It’s great for tennis fans and those who don’t know their Nadal from their Warwinka alike.
Depp V Heard
You might think you know everything about the celeb trial of the century, but Netflix is betting you don’t. Depp V Heard, the newly released docuseries on Johnny Depp and Amber Heard ’s very public feud and legal battle, not only covers the ins and outs of the trial but wants to take you beyond the court and testimonies to the coverage of the trial itself.
Interviews with key players and reporters give insight into how the trial ended up being shaped by the huge media attention and reception on social media. With both Depp and Heard being supported and vilified online, did Twitter, Facebook and TikTok play a big part in how things turned out? Across three episodes, Netflix puts together the case that this was the first “trial by TikTok.”
Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street
Telling the story of the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street is for all true crime fans out there who can’t resist a tale of crimes and deceits. Bernie Madoff, who was arrested for his schemes back in 2008, swindles billions from investors by scamming them and promising gains and profits that would never come. At one point Madoff was even chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange, and it took years before he was swooped on by FBI agents.
This four-part docuseries recounts the whole tale, with in-depth interviews with Madoff’s employees and others who knew him. It also gives a fascinating inside into Wall Street and how it can be manipulated, leading to a domino effect on companies. If you loved Tiger King, you’ll enjoy this one.
Our Planet II
When it comes to documentaries, you can’t beat a bit of Attenborough, and Netflix has recently released his latest nature extravaganza, Our Planet II. Still going strong, the legendary broadcaster takes you to the world’s most awe-inspiring and mundane habitats to show you every inch of our globe.
There’s plenty of eye-candy footage of animals interacting with each other, stalking prey and evading predators, from polar bears, sharks, locusts, buffalo and many others, all with the inimitable narration of Sir David. But Our Planet II comes with a message as well, warning of the perils of climate change that impact the environment every day. The theme is how and why animals move and migrate across the planet, and if you’ve got a good TV, makes for amazing viewing.