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

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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

The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway (Oxygen)

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The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway (Oxygen) – Premieres 19th August

A docu-series that follows the father of Natalee Holloway, a teenager that went missing in Aruba five days after her High School graduation in 2005, as he receives new information 12 years later that could finally reveal what exactly happened to her.

The first ep sets up the series by recounting the case, where it highlights the main suspects and how the local police appeared to be doing the bare minimum is trying to solve the disappearance. After that the father receives information from the PI is hired after Natalees initial disappearance, telling him that the new source seems credible, and together they meet him to find out what he knows.

As a crime documentary it has more similarities to Missing Dial than Making A Murderer as it’s following a family member trying to find out what happened. For an opening episode it does the job.

5.6/10

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