The Murder of Laci Peterson (A&E)

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The Murder of Laci Peterson (A&E) – Premieres 15th August

Crime documentary that looks into the case of Laci Peterson who went missing on Christmas Eve 2002, and which led to her husband Scott getting found guilty of her murder and given the death sentance where he is still currently on death row.

The programme begins with showing the known timeline of the day that Laci was last seen, then begins to delve into what happened after Laci was reported missing. And the show interviews family members, police officers involved and reporters that followed the case. From there it begins to show that the news coverage began to warp the public opinion of those involved, and that the police may have not done the most thorough of jobs in finding out what happened.

As a crime documentary it has more in common with Making A Murderer and The Keepers, as in how it introduces the crime and how the investigation played out. It’s a solid opening episode.

6.3/10

The Cars That Made America (History)

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The Cars That Made America (History) – Premieres 13th August – Miniseries

Using the same format as Barbarians Rising, this is a 3 part show that looks at how the car gained its popularity in the US. Using talking head snippets from NASCAR racers, historians and biographers, along with archival footage from the era. This reenacts how the car industry was born and follows the people behind the major companies, showing the innovations they made to vehicle development and the production process. 

While it’s not as interesting as the straight drama of Harley And The Davidsons, it’s an interesting enough watch if the birth of the automotive industry is your thing.

4.7/10

Lion Kingdom (Nat Geo Wild)

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Lion Kingdom (Nat Geo Wild) – Premieres 4th August

Wildlife documentary that follows three pride of lions as they go about their business during the dry season in the Ruaha National Park. As it splits the story between the prides it shows the lions as the hunt prey and fight each other over one part of territory.

The show is similar to Savage Kingdom with the use of narration over dramatising what’s happening. Though unlike Savage Kingdom this has some sense of pacing to it all, and doesn’t rely on a multitude of slo-mo shots to pad out the run time. As a wildlife documentary it’s on a par with Natures Great Race.

3.1/10

Daughters of Destiny (Netflix)

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Daughters of Destiny (Netflix) – Premieres 28th July

Documentary that focuses on five girls who are in Shanti Bhavan boarding school, a place founded by businessman Abraham George where all the students are classified as untouchables by the Indian caste system.

As untouchables the kids are deemed to be worthless and would normally grow up in poverty and be given the most basic of jobs. The school takes in the children when they are four years old and looks after them until their first day of work, where the plan is for them to break the caste system and help get their families out of poverty.

While it’s not the most easy going of documentaries it’s a fascinating watch.

5.6/10

Gone: The Forgotten Women Of Ohio (Spike)

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Gone: The Forgotten Women Of Ohio (Spike) – Premieres 22nd July

Documentary from Joe Berlinger, the director of Paradise Lost, where he looks into the unsolved case where a six women had mysteriously disappeared in the town of Chillicothe Ohio, and four had been discovered murdered.

Berlinger talks to the victims families, the police officers that worked on the case and looks at how the heroin epidemic in the town links all the women involved. As he delves into the case Berlinger gets a team together to look into the evidence to see if they can uncover exactly what happened.

The documentary has similarities to The Killing Season, with the basis of it being on the unexplained murder of women but this is more in depth. It well worth a watch.

6.4/10

Safari Live: Migration (Animal Planet)

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Safari Live: Migration (Animal Planet) – Premieres 14th July

A live wildlife programme hosted by the South African cross between Richard O’Brian and Chris Packham. In it the show follows a selection of animals as they go about their business during the migration season through the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya, while being closely followed by an wildlife expert and camerman.

Like most live wildlife shows such as Autumnwatch and the like, not much really happens as they switch between the experts, but is held together by the earlier filmed footage and host answering questions fired in by the viewers.

The show is pretty slow going and something you wouldn’t go out of your way to watch, but the host with his eccentric demeanour and passion for the subject is the highlight of the programme.

2.8/10

Akil The Fugitive Hunter (A&E)

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Akil The Fugitive Hunter (A&E) – Premieres 13th July

Narrated by Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris), this is a reality show that follows Akil who works as a bounty hunter as he and his team track down folks that have skipped bail.

It’s a lot like Dog the Bounty Hunter, where it follows them tracking one perp per episode. The one thing that makes it different to Dog would be the narration and animation segments that go into Akils backstory explaining how he got into this kind of work.

That said even for a 20 minute long programme it’s a slog to get through and pretty much forgettable.

1.4/10