The Radical Story of Patty Hearst (CNN)


The Radical Story of Patty Hearst (CNN) – Premieres 11th February – Miniseries

A documentary that looks into the story of Patty Hearst, the daughter of one of the richest families in the US, who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) and then ended up joining them.

Though neither Patty or her family were interviewed, the programme talks to her fiancé about her early life and the relationship before the kidnapping. Then the programme interviews attornies, authors and a member of the SLA about the group formation and how they ended up deciding on the kidnapping plot.

As documentaries go it’s an interesting watch.



Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History (CNN)


Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History (CNN) – Premieres 20th April

Docu-series that focuses on select important moments in US history and looks at how the social backdrop influenced the music produced at the time, and how the music affected the social climate.

As it covers the events in the show it uses archive footage along with interviews with musicians of the time, and the people that were involved in the events, as they describe what went on and how music played a part in it all.

For a docu-series it was reminiscent of The Seventies, where it seemed more intent in covering as many things as possible making it feel rushed and not the indepth.


Believer with Reza Aslan (CNN)


Believer with Reza Aslan (CNN) – Premieres 5th March – Cancelled

Docuseries where author and religious scholar Reza Aslan heads off around the world to meet members of the more fringe sects of larger religions.

Reza initially meets up with people of the area to ask about their religion, before explaining the fundamentals of the beliefs of the area. He then heads out to meet the members of the lesser known denominations and find out how their take on the religion differs from the main church.

There he looks into the divisions within the group, taking part a ceremony with the more extreme aspects, then meeting up member of the moderate version to see how they are spreading their word.

For a religious docuseries it doesn’t delve to deep into the background of the denomination he’s looking into but it’s still an interesting enough watch.


The History Of Comedy (CNN)


The History Of Comedy (CNN) – Premieres 9th February – Renewed

A docuseries that looks into the history of US standup comedy, this starts off looking into the early comedians that has to work within the strict obscenity laws that lead to a few being arrested just for dropping the occasional f-bomb.

While looking into three main comedians it shows how they paved the way on making blue comedy more accessible to the mainstream, and current comedians explaining how their work influenced them.

It’s a solid docuseries that does exactly what you’d expect.


Declassified: Untold Stories Of American Spies (CNN)


Declassified: Untold Stories Of American Spies (CNN) – Starts 19th June – Renewed

Recounting the use of US spies in overseas missions, this interviews the people that were in change of the missions and the spy involved with running missions on the ground. Along with talking to the people involved it also uses news footage and recreations to to aid the telling of the story.

For what it is, it manages to remain interesting throughout without it feeling like it was beginning to drag. Worth a watch.


United Shades Of America (CNN)


United Shades Of America (CNN) – Starts 24th April – Renewed

In the same vein as Louie Theroux and Balls Deep, Kamau Bell goes about visiting american subcultures, interviewing the people involved and documenting what they get up to. Interspersed throughout the show is Kamau doing brief standup introducing each part in front of a crowd, which takes away from the flow of the show.

Even though the standup bits don’t add much to the programme, it’s a decent watch.


Race For The White House (CNN)


Race For The White House (CNN) – Starts 6th March

A documentary series about previous election campaigns, where former staff of the talk about the tactics implemented and the main turning points of each of the nominees electoral bid.

As well as interviewing the former staff, it pairs it up with archive footage, a few reenactments and reveals various things that they hid from the public.

With it showing the more underhanded approaches used and how some decisions changed the fortunes it helps make it more interesting than shows like The Kennedy Files which are averse from critiquing the subject matter.