Documentary Now!: Season 1 (2015)

SEASON:

Season 1
Documentary Now!

Critics Consensus

Boasting a talented cast and smart writing, Documentary Now! is a clever send-up of non-fiction filmmaking, though some may find themselves outside the narrow scope of its humor.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 29

95%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 329

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Episodes

Air date: Aug 20, 2015

A program that features mockumentaries about faux people and events begins with a spoof of "Grey Gardens," which examines an unusual mother-daughter duo who live as recluses in a run-down mansion.

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Air date: Aug 27, 2015

The seminal documentary "Kunuk the Hunter" is examined in an attempt to determine what is real and what is fiction.

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Air date: Sep 3, 2015

Two journalists set out to track down a notorious Mexican drug lord.

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Air date: Sep 10, 2015

The wrongful conviction of a man sentenced for a 1986 murder is investigated.

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Air date: Sep 17, 2015

A look at an Iceland festival that celebrates Al Capone.

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Air date: Sep 24, 2015

Part 1. A profile of a seminal soft-rock band called the Blue Jean Committee.

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Air date: Sep 24, 2015

Conclusion. A history of a seminal soft-rock band called the Blue Jean Committee.

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Tv Season Info

News & Interviews for Documentary Now!: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Documentary Now! Season 1

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (16)

A clever series that emulates the styles of great documentaries past and applies them to fanciful (nonsensical) people and events.

Nov 5, 2015 | Full Review…

These parodies are filmed with loving detail imitating the style as well as the look of each film, yet they're not content with being just parodies.

Aug 21, 2015 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

Documentary Now! is so wonderfully silly it may take viewers a moment to recognize just how smart it is, too.

Aug 21, 2015 | Full Review…
Top Critic

[It's] one of the best laughers on cable.

Aug 21, 2015 | Full Review…

There are enough moments -- and quite a lot of them in Episode 3 -- to keep this ambitious enterprise on track and well worth a roll 'em.

Aug 20, 2015 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Top Critic

If the show's creators can keep coming up with fresh takes on their subjects - and their track record suggests they can - Documentary Now! will deserve a long run.

Aug 19, 2015 | Full Review…
Top Critic

This is a mockumentary show from people who love documentaries, and that fun balance of praise and parody shines through.

May 23, 2019 | Full Review…

Documentary Now! has plenty of class and character, but its missing a drop of unbridled mania that allows the laughs to lead the story, rather than the other way around.

May 23, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The show featuring Bill Hader and Fred Armisen takes on the entire genre of documentary with each episode featuring a meticulously crafted spoof of a classic documentary that is catnip for cinephiles and a joy for comedy fans.

Oct 29, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Fred Armisen and Bill Hader immerse themselves in the mockumentary genre with this offbeat six-part series that lovingly parodies notable documentaries and "honors some of the most important stories that didn't actually happen."

Nov 5, 2015 | Full Review…

Documentary Now got picked up for its second and third seasons even before its first episode aired, so we can't wait to see what Hader, Armisen and Meyers have in store next week.

Nov 5, 2015 | Rating: 9.5/10 | Full Review…

For film and comedy geeks, it's a late-summer treat.

Nov 5, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Documentary Now!: Season 1

  • Oct 10, 2020
    Bill Hader is one severely mad genius, praise to Armisen too.
  • Jun 20, 2020
    The "grey gardens" spoof episode and the two part episodes of the Blue Jean Committee are gold.
  • May 29, 2020
    A very clever parody series that consistently impresses in terms of presentation. With each episode being a spoof of a renowned documentary (this season include knocks at Grey Gardens, Nanook Revisited, The Thin Blue Line), Documentary Now is certainly eclectic, and the filmmaking really replicates the look and format of the originals. This template tends to lead to some highly subversive jokes (the Vice parody is particularly spot on), and often yields unpredictable resultes. Granted, some viewers may not be in on the joke if they haven't seen the originals, but creators/stars Fred Armisen and Bill Hader really make the most of their background in sketch comedy here, playing a plethora of different roles with all-too necessary deadpan delivery. At a time where both documentaries and spoofs have become less topical, Documentary Now proves both have real staying power!
  • Jan 02, 2020
    You won't find two guys having more fun being so ridiculous.
  • Sep 04, 2019
    While not every episode is a must see, Each is entertaining, but some just shine brighter than others, including an very strong start to the season through the first 3 episodes specifically.
  • Sep 02, 2019
    Brilliantly hilarious.
  • Dec 29, 2017
    Hilarious. This mockumentary takes advantage of all the right moments to create a darkly funny assortment of parodies. Not exactly what I expected, though. A little darker.
  • Aug 02, 2016
    smart, laugh out loud comedy. incredibly talented actors.
  • Apr 26, 2016
    I haven't laughed so hard in ages. Much needed laughter.
  • Jan 25, 2016
    This is a review of the pilot episode as posted on The Qtv Review (http://wp.me/p6yEUF-1j): What this series is, is amazing. There's no question about it. Hence, IFC renewing it for two more seasons before the premiere of the first episode. They have tremendous faith in the minds behind this show, as well they should. I doubt anyone would think a ship helmed by Seth Meyers, Bill Hader, and Fred Armisen could be steered wrong. Unless you hate them. Which most likely means you're bitter about them having the career you want. Sucks you for. I like them. They set out to create mockumentaries based on high-profile documentaries, while recreating their styles as much as possible. And so far (granted, we're only one episode into the initial 6-episode run, but...), they've succeeded. Immensely. First up is the infamous Grey Gardens, the 1975 doc portraying the lives of mother-daughter hermit duo living in their dilapidated East Hampton mansion. If you've had the pleasure (or displeasure, depending on your perspective) of watching the original tale of Big & Little Edie Beale, you should undoubtedly enjoy Documentary Now! as Meyers et al. lovingly painted a picture of Big & Little Vivvy in their home, Sandy Passage. By "lovingly," of course, I mean "meticulously." And by "painted a picture," I mean "created a sufficiently creepy found footage short horror film." I, myself, found the original documentary rather touching. Yes, both Edies had a loud relationship (the nicest way I can think to put it), but that's just the way some people communicate. The New Yorker in me understands screaming at a relative simply because the louder you are, the better they'll understand. (...Right?) They enjoyed their memories more than creating new ones. Or, at least they did when the documentary was made. Mothers die and children move on and time passes and changes are forced upon us. It happens. And it happened to our misses Beale. It's worth noting, however, that when Little Edie was able to sell the home, she did it with the caveat that it never be torn down. That strikes me, again, as wanting to preserve memories. No matter what they are. See? Sort of touching, am I right? Having said that... I could definitely see how one could find the creepiness in that documentary. I could list the reasons why, but they're now on film in the form of the first Documentary Now! episode. They've taken every reason to possibly be even slightly scared of Grey Gardens and turned it into a genius 21-minute piece of entertainment. The show is billed as a comedy, which it is, but don't expect many laugh-out-louds unless you've seen Grey Gardens. Essentially, you have to be in on the joke. I assume this is why they've chosen more prolific documentaries to affectionately poke fun at. If you haven't seen them, though, it just gives you an excuse to watch more things. And who's mad at that? Don't threaten me with a good time, I say. So, in summation: If you find funny people funny, you'll enjoy Documentary Now! If, on top of laughing at funny people, you sincerely enjoy documentaries, you'll thoroughly enjoy Documentary Now! If, on top of laughing at bitches and watching non-fiction, you also love getting the shit scared out of you by found footage horror films, you'll enjoy Documentary Now! ten-fold. (Or the first episode at least.) Also, Helen Fucking Mirren hosts the show. Did I forget to mention that? It's a pretty big deal.

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