Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders (Sundance TV)

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Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders (Sundance TV) – Premieres 18th November – Miniseries

True crime documentary that covers the 1959 murder of the Clutter family. In the doc it uses archive news footage, along with statements and recorded interviews of the police that covered the case. As well as having current day interviews with friends, family and the living relatives of the police members.

As it covers the events leading up to the incident and the fallout after the bodies were discovered, the doc begins to slowly bring in statements from the two men who performed the murder. Where it starts to reveal what they were doing before and after the event.

The opening ep is a slow burner, but like how Badlands Texas slowly introduced murder narrative, the gradual introduction of the killers perspective it begins to add a level of intrigue to watch the next one.

5.5/10

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The Day I Met El Chapo (Netflix)

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The Day I Met El Chapo (Netflix) – Premieres 20th October – Miniseries

Documentary that recounts the events that occurred after Mexican actress Kate del Castillo sent out a tweet that referenced the drug lord El Chapo and was widely misinterpreted.

After weathering the initial storm of news coverage, two years later Kate finds herself chatting with Fernando Sulichin and Olivier Stone where they talk about their interest in making a film about El Chapo. Kate then gets the added coincidence of El Chapos lawyers getting in contact with her about them giving the rights for Guzmans life story to her.

This then leads to Sean Penn getting involved with the project and for Kate and Sean heading off to Mexico for a face-to-face meeting with Guzman, which ultimately leads to his capture.

While showing the events of the main story, the programme also covers the history of Mexico and their love of Robin Hood style folklore, as well as the back story of both del Castillo and El Chapo. It’s worth a watch.

6.5/10

Earthworks (Viceland)

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Earthworks (Viceland) – Premieres 2nd June – Miniseries

A miniseries that follows a musical act as they head off to a part of the world where they want to document on what is happening to the region. During their time there, the act highlights what is going on and meet up with the locals to talk about how the recent events have effected them, and take some time to create some songs influence on what the’ve seen.

As a documentary it’s pretty light on any real content, as any of the information mentioned is usually the stuff that’s been mentioned numerous times before on any nature programme of worth. The show is more about showing how the trip gets to influence the songs being created, and even then they only show snippets of the tunes recorded.

The programme is a weird meld of two different types of documentaries and neither does enough to really keep any interest.

2.8/10

The Confession Tapes (Netflix)

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The Confession Tapes (Netflix) – Premieres 8th September 

A docu-series that looks into various criminal cases where the convictions have been based on apparent forced confessions.

In the episode the show recaps the sequence of events that led to the crime, then with interviews with police officers, members of the defence and their family and friends goes through what happened during the time leading to the conviction.

Along with the interviews, the programme shows the actual police interview tapes as well as archive recording of those suspects involved. Where they recount how they ended up admitting guilt to crimes they said they were innocent to.

As a crime docu-series it’s a bit like a condensed version of shows like Making A Murderer, and worth a watch if you’re into that sort of thing.

6.3/10

Fire Chasers (Netflix)

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Fire Chasers (Netflix) – Premieres 8th September 

An impressively slow going documentary about the 2016 Californian forest fires where it follows the various groups of people involved in fighting, researching and trying to prevent the infernos.

Along with showing the footage of the people working to contain the fires it also shows a few initiatives of recruiting volunteer fire fighters from a womens prison, a photographer who chases the fires to record time lapse footage, showing how it spreads, and local government meetings where they explain how bark bugs are helping in the regularity of the fires.

The documentary as a whole is a slog to get through mainly due to the excessively slow pacing to it all, where it helps making anything that could be interesting become a dull bit of viewing.

2.4/10

Epicly Later’d (Viceland)

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Epicly Later’d (Viceland) – Premieres 6th September

The TV version of the Vice web series, this is a docu-series that looks at the life and careers of famous and legendary skateboarders.

In it the host meets up with the boarder in question where they discuss how they started, and the highs and lows they’ve been through. Along with having talking head bits from family members, friends and other skaters there is a fair amount of archive footage thrown in to the mix, and it gets into decent detail of the persons life.

If you like stuff such as King Of The Road it’s an interesting bit of viewing.

5.8/10

The New Age of Terror (History)

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The New Age of Terror (History) – Premieres 20th August – Miniseries

Two part documentary that looks into how modern terrorism groups formed and evolved since the 9/11 attack. In it the show has interviews from former military types, historians and local experts as they explain how the War on Terrorism has effected the approaches of the various groups and in some ways escalated their rise.

As a documentary a lot of its subject matter it shows has already been covered and explained in similar documentaries, and recovering of this makes it a grind to get through.

3.7/10