Once upon a time, the thought of watching a documentary on a Friday night felt like being back in high school and came with a 500 word report. These days, it’s a dream. Thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Stan, interesting and even more entertaining documentaries have skyrocketed to the top of our watch list. From not 1 but 2 documentaries about the biggest fail in musical festival history to shocking investigations into famous celebrities lives, there is a doco to suit everyones interests. For the next fake tan Thursday when you just want to settle in on the couch and watch something great, here are the best documentaries to stream to avoid endlessly scrolling through Netflix.
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
Unless you lived under a rock for the first quarter of 2019, you would know what Fyre is. Also known as the greatest party that never happened, it’s an edge-of-your-seat film that documents the journey that ended with thousands of ripped off customers across the globe. Co-founder of the festival, Billy McFarland sold the dream of partying with supermodels in the Bahamas but instead ticket-holders were left with no accommodation, empty beaches and a transportation crisis. McFarland left behind a trail of unpaid debts to every single supplier involved in the festival, including influencers who were paid to be there and the residents of Great Exuma itself. It’s the perfect mix of commentary, comedy, tragedy and surprise. The best part about this documentary is that once you finish watching it on Netflix, there’s another version on Hulu. In Fyre Fraud by Hulu, Billy McFarland the festival mastermind is interview by the filmmakers who ask him point-blank about his lies and the crimes he committed to cover up the fact that the music festival he orchestrated was a poorly planned disaster. In true Billy fashion, he dodges every question like a pro but it’s still fascinating to watch nonetheless.
One of the first of many documentaries that brought light to men in power who have exploited their status and influence was Surviving R. Kelly. The documentary looks at the alleged crimes of the once chart topping musician. Like so many other stories, the rumours were just that for so long until a group of brave women came forward with their stories of heartbreaking allegations and abuse. After the 6 part series aired, celebrity R.Kelly was dropped from his record label and arrested for 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. If you’re following the #MeToo movement, this doco is a huge stride of power to all women.
Homecoming: A film by Beyonce
When a documentary has been written, directed and produced by Queen Bey herself than you know it’s going to be great. Homecoming: A film by Beyonce shows the super stars long-awaited return to the stage as the first ever black female headliner to perform at the Coachella Valley & Music Festival. It follows Bey in the 8-month lead up to Beychella and takes you behind the scenes of the months upon months of hard work, sweat and tears that went into preparing for the performance. With fan favourite hits, a full brass band, an appearance by her husband, Jay-Z and fellow members of Destiny’s Child, it’s a miracle Queen Bey is still considered human. The queen slays yet again.
Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
If you loved Zac Efron's portrayal of serial killer Ted Bundy in the Netflix Original, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, then you need to follow up with the documentary that told the real story. Conversations with a Killer was created by Joe Berlinger, the same person who made the movie. In the Netflix doc, Berlinger interviewed journalist Stephen Michaud about his revealing conversations with Bundy while he was in prison. It also includes present-day interviews, archival footage and audio recordings from Ted Bundy himself while on death row. Just like the movie it is shockingly evil, vile and wicked.
Now you have your entertainment sorted, the most important question is what snacks are you going to get?