Hulu is the place to go for time-shifted TV watching, but the service has a deep library of content to rival that of Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max. Between Hulu originals and licensed content, the service offers a wide variety of documentaries, from true crime stories like Sasquatch--which isn't about Bigfoot at all--to human interest stories like Minding the Gap and Soleil Moon Frye's Kid 90 film.
Director: Bing Liu
Genre: Human Interest
Minding the Gap, by director Bing Liu, tells the story of how skateboarding shaped his and his friends' lives. It's not going to reveal any horrible truths about life, but it will let you into an intimate world of young kids growing up quickly.
Director: Todd Douglas Miller
The Apollo 11 moon landing is one of the most thoroughly documented events in American history, so it's hard to bring something new, but this documentary eschews talking heads for a more experiential look at the moment. Apollo 11 tells the story in the present tense with archival footage from NASA, and even the score uses instruments available at the time, in 1969, to complete the experience.
Diriector: Penny Lane
The Satanic Temple is the kind of thing you usually expect to hear about in frightened tones from pearl clutchers. This documentary looks at what the Satanic Temple--different from the Church of Satan--really gets up to, like fighting for social progress, the separation of church of state, and defense of human rights. Scary stuff.
Directors: Betsy West, Julie Cohen
This documentary covers the life of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from the workouts she did to keep herself fit into her eighties to her many accomplishments to, of course, her detractors. This is a necessary documentary about the most well-known and influential modern Supreme Court Justice.
Director: Nathan Grossman
Can you imagine being a world-famous figure, getting attention from celebrities, politicians, and the public before you're even 18? Environmental activist Greta Thunberg is no stranger to the attention at this point. Director Nathan Grossman began following Thunberg even before her weekly strikes helped propel her onto the world stage, and this documentary takes viewers behind the scenes to see Greta in the moments before her famous speeches.
Director: Raoul Peck
I am Not Your Negro, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, tells the story of race in America through the writings of author James Baldon and the lives of him and other figures of the civil rights movement, and then connects that era to modern civil rights movements like Black Lives Matter.
Director: Samuel D. Pollard
From 1963 until his assassination on April 4, 1968, the FBI extensively surveilled Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the orders of FBI head J. Edgar Hoover. This documentary reminds us of how Americans perceived the civil rights leader at the time and goes into detail about all the ways the United States government and FBI in particular worked to discredit him.
Director: Soleil Moon Frye
Genre: Pop culture/celebrity
We know Frye as Punky Brewster, but when she wasn't wearing mismatched shoes and getting trapped in fridges, she was carrying around a video camera--back when they had their own bags--and documenting the lives of herself and her famous friends and their unique (and often destructive) childhood.
Director: Josh Greenbaum
Genre: Pop culture/comedy
Remember that time Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Dana Carvey, and Robert Smiegel had their own show written by people like Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show), Robert Carlock (30 Rock), and Dino Stamatopoulos (Community)? Probably not--the Dana Carvey show, which ran for only 8 episodes, was guaranteed to succeed thanks to its legendary cast but failed when the network gave them too much freedom and ended up with Bill Clinton breastfeeding babies during a White House address.
Director: Scott Barber
Genre: Pop culture
Some of the documentaries in this list are hard-hitting, but The Orange Years is a love letter to the heyday of Nickelodeon in the late '80s and early '90s. The documentary goes all-in on nostalgia, covering everything from classic slime shows like You Can't Do That On Television and Double Dare to shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark, All That and, of course, Doug. You won't get any juicy gossip, but there's tons of love to be had.
Director: Christopher Quinn
If you've ever even considered whether or not the meat you're eating is ethical, you might want to check out Eating Animals. This documentary explores factory farming both in how it mistreats animals and the people working in the industry.
Director: John Chester
Genre: Food/Human interest
Biggest Little Farm tells the story of two Los Angelinos who decide to leave their city life behind to make a life farming. The documentary covers triumphs and farm-destroying disasters like snails and coyotes. Rural nostalgia meets real world farming.
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Genre: Animal rights
Killer whales are apex predators, the top of the food chain, and that makes them fascinating to watch, but dangerous to keep in captivity. Blackfish follows the story of captive orca Tilikum, involved in the deaths of three people.
Director: Kief Davidson
Genre: True Crime
Based on the book of the same name, this documentary looks at the Zodiac Killer, from a different point of view. Gary Stewart, adopted as a child, seeks out his birth family. A sketch of the Zodiac Killer looks disconcertingly like his biological father, and things spiral from there as Stewart seeks the truth about his father--and maybe about the Zodiac Killer.
Director: Joshua Rofé
Genre: True Crime
Ostensibly about the legendary forest creature, this documentary is really about the forests of northern California and the illegal cannabis farms that were squirreled away deep within. It starts light and gets dark quickly as investigator David Holthouse puts himself in more and more danger.
Directors: Sheena M. Joyce, Don Argott
Genre: Celebrities/True Crime
The DMC DeLorean is one of the most iconic cars in the world thanks to its unique look and prominent place in 1985's Back to the Future, but the story behind its creator is just as interesting. Alec Baldwin plays John DeLorean in this pseudo-documentary, which combines reenactments and behind-the-scenes footage to tell the story of a singular auto maker caught up in cocaine trafficking.
Director: Jed Rothstein
WeWork made its name providing rentable workspaces for people without offices, but the company quickly expanded far beyond its value and crashed as a result. This documentary looks at founder Adam Neumann, the company's fast ascent, and his ousting following the scandal around the company's IPO.
Director: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
The billion-selling doll known as Barbie lets its fans, young and old, pretend to be just about anything they want, but promotes an unhealthy body image. Tiny Shoulders dives deep into the history and cultural impact of Barbie.
Director: Tim Wardle
Genre: Human interest
Actually being separated at birth is incredibly rare, but it's a huge cultural trope. When it actually happens, as with triplets Bobby, Eddie and David, it makes news. This documentary follows the triplets from their initial meeting and into the investigation of just how they became separated. A seemingly whimsical story becomes sad and at times disturbing upon further investigation.
Director: Benjamin Berman
The Amazing Jonathan is a memorable entertainer who combines magic and comedy. This documentary is less about the character himself and more about the making of the documentary, which gets weirder and weirder with each turn.
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