Fact Over Fiction: Why I’m Watching More Documentaries Than Ever Before

I don’t know about you, but I’ve recently found myself being more intrigued by documentaries and docu-series than with the fiction that’s being released right now. It could be my age, the current state of fiction, or just the state of content right now.

But what I do know is that it’s the truth. And maybe it’s that truth is often stranger – or more attention-grabbing – than fiction.

Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Hulu, Netflix, and even just YouTube seems to be providing more intriguing real documentaries than fictional content to catch my eye. I’m not talking about all time on those platforms, but it’s accurate about now.

Like most folks, I still have comfort films – The Fifth Element, Real Genius, Twister. They’re all from long ago and, yes, I still watch them on the regular. I’m also a fan of Marvel and Star Wars, but I haven’t felt the unnerving need to watch any of the new stuff that has recently come out upon its immediate release. I’m even less inclined to feel the need to go to the theaters, because of that same reason. I don’t get FOMO for new movies anymore.

ESPN Plus’s Man in the Arena, however? I couldn’t get enough of it. Will Smith’s Welcome to Earth on Disney Plus? Welcome to my watch list. Netflix has Formula 1: Drive to Survive; The Andy Warhol Diaries; Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner; Pretend It’s a City; and a bunch of Monty Python docs. YouTube even put out a full Tom Petty Wildflowers making-of documentary.

Every platform seems to have a plethora of new content on the documentary front, even if some of it is years or decades old.

New action adventures? New Pixar? New Bond? I have to say, some of it I’ve seen, some of it I haven’t yet, but I don’t have the same pulse-driving need to go watch them immediately.

Is it me? Perhaps. I’m not getting any younger, after all. Is this my Civil War historian phase? Am I the documentary guy now? I just feel stuck in an era where even the freshest fictional tales feel like straight rehashes and homage-driven remakes from decades ago. Documentaries, on the other hand, will teach me or at least show me something new and authentic.

In the last few years, I’ve seen more great music documentaries than I have in a long time. ESPN’s 30 for 30 is spinning off new documentaries and the ESPN platform has gone in on biographical content like many of the others.

So, perhaps it isn’t just me? Perhaps it’s the easiest compelling story to tell that we haven’t seen before. Because it isn’t always about knowing how it ends.

If you’re watching more documentaries than before, welcome to the club. Let me know what I’ve missed or just what you’ve thoroughly enjoyed.