The 10 best TV documentaries of 2019 8 months ago

The 10 best TV documentaries of 2019

If you love documentaries, these are all essential.

While new and returning TV shows are a massive draw for audiences, there's no denying the growing appeal of the documentary genre. In fact, you could argue that no other TV format has seen the same amount of growth in recent years.

On this note, we've decided to look at some of our favourite documentaries from the year just gone, a number of which featured on Irish television.

Where applicable, we've also provided a Metacritic/IMDB rating for the documentaries on the list below in case you're still on the fence about watching them and in need of a little extra convincing.

In no particular order, we loved all of these...

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Available on Netflix)

Metacritc rating: 75%

Plot: An exclusive behind the scenes look at the infamous unraveling of the Fyre music festival.

Watch it because: There's a reason why the world was talking about Evian water. A horror film played out on Instagram.

Where to watch it: Netflix

I Love You, Now Die

Metacritic rating: 77%

Plot: The two-part documentary directed by Erin Lee Carr examines the 2017 case against Michelle Carter for involuntary manslaughter for the 2014 suicide death of her boyfriend Conrad Roy after hundreds of text messages appear to show she encouraged him to kill himself.

Watch it because: Yes, the story is sensational but there's a massive degree of balance and sensitivity displayed in Erin Lee Carr's film. It raises questions, but the most interesting ones are about the viewers' willingness to judge and their prejudice to others.

A very clever take on how an audience consumes media and creates its own verdicts, prior to all the facts coming out.

Where to watch it: Sky Crime and Sky Go.

Bes documentaries 2019

The Irish Revolution

IMDB rating: 8.5/10

Plot: The story of the Irish war of independence 1919 to 1922

Watch it because: The archive footage is excellent and the use of drones for filming and new interviewees makes it feel fresher than other Irish historical features.

When RTÉ get their documentaries right, they're excellent and this felt new, exciting and, most importantly, entertaining.

Where to watch it: RTÉ Player

Who Shot Garrett Phillips?

Metacritic rating: 84%

Plot: The two-part documentary directed by Liz Garbus looks into the 2011 murder of a white 12-year-old named Garrett Phillips and the arrest of Nick Hillary, a black soccer coach, who was ultimately acquitted.

Watch it because: It's the spiritual sequel to Making A Murderer and just as polished.

Where to watch it: Sky Crime and Sky Go.

Bes documentaries 2019

Muhammed Ali - What's My Name

Metacritic rating: 85%

Plot: The two-part documentary about the iconic boxer, directed by Antoine Fuqua, features some previously unseen archival footage.

Watch it because: There's a reason why he's the greatest and even if you've seen countless features on 'The Champ', there's a cinematic quality to the way in which Fuqua shoots and edits the documentary.

Where to watch it: Sky Go.

Surviving R. Kelly

Metacritic rating: 86%

Plot: The six-part documentary series features interviews with the young women who allege to have suffered sexual, mental and physical abuse from the R&B singer as well as music industry professionals, journalists, former employees and family members of Kelly.

Watch it because: It's haunting and necessary to see.

Where to watch it: Netflix

R Kelly

Our Planet

Metacritic rating: 88%

Plot: The eight-part series from Planet Earth and Blue Planet director Alastair Fothergill was filmed over four years with 4k cameras and narrated by David Attenborough.

Watch it because: You know that the production value on an Attenborough feature is going to be spectacular - One Planet, Seven Worlds is further proof of this - but the binge-watch appeal of this one on Netflix elevates it even further.

Where to watch it: Netflix

Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History

IMDB rating: 9.1/10

Plot: Documentary series offering new insights into the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Watch it because: It's one of the finest pieces of TV to chart all aspects of a pivotal period of Irish history.

Where to watch it: BBC iPlayer (Geoblocked though)

Bes documentaries 2019

Don't Fuck With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

IMDB rating: 8.4%

Plot: A group of online justice seekers track down a guy who posted a video of him killing kittens.

Watch it because: In a weird way, the subject matter encapsulates the decade, as some of the horrific aspects of internet culture side and the ability of the web to do good all come together.

Marvel at the intense, straining work of online sleuths as they desperately try to discover the location and identity of an anonymous man who likes to kill cats.

Things spiral, get out of control and go incredibly dark. A bit like the Internet then.

Where to watch it: Netflix

Bes documentaries 2019

Laura Brennan: This Is Me

Rating: N/A

Watch it because: The documentary follows the final chapters of Laura Brennan's life as she deals with terminal cervical cancer while living life to the fullest.

A timely and powerful reminder of why her life continues to mean so much as her legacy lives on in the tireless work of Laura and her family to raise awareness of HPV vaccine campaign.

Three words that mean an awful lot. Thank you, Laura.

Where to watch it: RTÉ Player