To be extremely blunt, there are no good TV shows anymore. I’ve found myself barely scraping by until The Bachelor airs Monday nights, and even that is slightly mind-numbing. This is no way to live. However, for the past few years, Netflix has been releasing incredible documentaries, just as binge-worthy as any other TV series.

In my mind, the best documentaries make you feel like you’re not watching a documentary. The story or plotline is so captivating, it feels unreal. And in most cases, you get a bit of knowledge on something you wouldn’t have looked into before. If you’re in a TV rut, give one of these documentaries a try. 

  1. Don’t F**ck with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer

If you haven’t seen this series yet, stop whatever other TV show you’re watching and start Don’t F**ck with Cats. Fair warning, it might make your stomach turn a bit — but it’s incredibly fascinating. The show details a gruesome criminal who posts videos of his crimes online and a Facebook group that begins a manhunt to find the killer.

My roommates and I binged all three episodes in one night — it was impossible to stop watching. We started cheering for the Facebook group, made up of everyday people, who are trying to solve the mystery. As the story unfolded, my jaw kept dropping through the twists and turns. Hands down, it was one of the best true crime documentaries I’ve seen.

  1. The Game Changers

One of my male friends first told me about this documentary. He is a big gym guy, a meat-and-potatoes type of dude, and this documentary convinced him to try to go vegan for a week. I knew I needed to watch it to see how it persuaded my muscle-fiend friend to start eating plant-based. The documentary follows former UFC fighter James Wilks who, after an injury, began researching elite athletes on plant-based diets.

I loved how the documentary gave a fresh perspective. I, like many other people, know the benefits of plant-based eating, but I never knew it was compatible with an athlete’s lifestyle — and possibly better for them. I recommend The Game Changers to anyone, athlete or not, who wants to know more about eating plant-based. 

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  1. Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak

In light of all the news about the coronavirus, I started watching Pandemic hoping to learn more about global outbreaks, especially how and why they’re started. I’m a slight hypochondriac, so this stuff freaks me out — but, at the same time, intrigues me. 

Watching Pandemic soothed my mind a bit, knowing many professionals and scientists across the world are working to develop a universal vaccine. The documentary made me more and less worried at the same time. If you find science and armageddon interesting, definitely try Pandemic.

  1. Cheer

The series Cheer documents Navarro College’s cheer team, the best junior college cheer team in the nation. I didn’t know anything about cheerleading before the show, and since the cheer community is fairly small, I was surprised by how much hype the show was receiving. The team is made up of hilarious, driven and unique characters. The show breaks all your previous conceptions about cheerleading, a sport typically under-recognized. There’s just the right amount of drama mixed in, making it a very entertaining series altogether.  

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  1. Surviving R. Kelly

I’ve heard of the sexual allegations against R. Kelly, but I didn’t know the extent until I watched Surviving R. Kelly. The documentary is a haunting look at the lives of his alleged victims. They interviewed some of the women who say they were abused by R. Kelly, as well as other activists and famous singers. The stories of these women were captivating yet so horrible — I finished the series in one day because I needed to know how it all ended. Sadly, there has yet to be a conclusion; R. Kelly’s trial is still ongoing. Season two of Surviving R. Kelly isn’t on Netflix yet, but I’m anxious to watch it. 

  1. Our Planet

You can never watch enough nature documentaries. Our Planet and Blue Planet are great if you want something visually soothing but informational. It blows my mind how close the cameras get to animals and wildlife. Our Planet shows the beauty of planet Earth, but also its fragility. The producers do a fabulous job of connecting with the viewers not only through facts, but also emotion. You feel for these creatures and this planet. I cannot recommend this documentary enough!