Documentary TV Shows

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Top Gear
  • Top Gear (2002)
  • Comedy, Documentary,
  • Top Gear is a British television show about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the world's most widely watched factual television programme. It began in 1977 as a conventional motoring magazine show. Over time, and especially since a relaunch in 2002, it has developed a quirky, humorous and sometimes controversial style. The show is currently presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, and has featured at least three different test drivers known as The Stig.
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Top Gear 2002
Gold Rush
  • Gold Rush (2011)
  • Documentary, Reality,
  • Gold Rush follows three teams of miners who risk everything in the face of an economic meltdown - their families, their dignity, and in some cases, their lives - to strike it rich mining for gold in the wilds of Alaska and the Yukon Territory.
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Gold Rush 2011
The Grand Tour
  • The Grand Tour (2016)
  • Comedy, Documentary,
  • Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are back with a show about adventure, excitement and friendship... as long as you accept that the people you call friends are also the ones you find extremely annoying. Sometimes it's even a show about cars. Follow them on their global adventure.
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The Grand Tour 2016
Austin City Limits
  • Austin City Limits (1975)
  • Documentary,
  • Austin City Limits is an American public television music program recorded live in Austin, Texas by Public Broadcasting Service Public television member station KLRU, and broadcast on many PBS stations around the United States. The show helped Austin to become widely known as the "Live Music Capital of the World," and is the only television show to receive the National Medal of Arts, which it was awarded in 2003. Initially created to celebrate the music of Texas—featuring western swing, Texas blues, Tejano music, progressive country, and rock n' roll—the series has gone on to feature regional, national and international artists performing a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, alternative country, alternative rock, folk music, and jam band. The show inspired the creation of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, an annual live music festival at Zilker Park in Austin.
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Austin City Limits 1975
NOVA
  • NOVA (1974)
  • Documentary,
  • NOVA is a United States popular science television series produced by WGBH Boston. It is broadcast on Public Broadcasting Service in the U.S., and in more than 100 other countries. The series has won many major television awards. Nova often includes interviews with scientists doing research in the subject areas covered and occasionally includes footage of a particular discovery. Some episodes have focused on the history of science. Examples of topics covered include the following: Colditz Castle, Drake equation, elementary particles, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, Fermat's Last Theorem, global warming, moissanite, Project Jennifer, storm chasing, Unterseeboot 869, Vinland, and the Tarim mummies. The Nova programs have been praised for their good pacing, clear writing, and crisp editing. Websites accompany the segments and have also won awards.
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NOVA 1974
Life Below Zero
  • Life Below Zero (2013)
  • Documentary, Reality,
  • When bears, wolves and foxes are your only neighbors, life can be pretty lonely. Add minus-60-degree days and a constant battle for the most basic necessities, and you have the daily challenges of people who live in remote corners of Alaska. This series takes viewers deep into an Alaskan winter to meet six tough and resilient residents as they try to stay one step ahead of storms and man-eating beasts to make it through to spring. The closest neighbor to Sue Aikens is more than 300 miles away. Eric Salitan subsists solely on what he hunts and forages. Chip and Agnes Hailstone catch fish for currency in bartering for supplies, and Andy and Kate Bassich use their pack of sled dogs for transportation.
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Life Below Zero 2013
Australian Story
  • Australian Story (1)
  • Documentary, News,
  • Australian Story is a national weekly documentary series, produced and broadcast on ABC Television. Since 1996 Australian Story has featured many Australians from diverse backgrounds and reputations. Examples include Hazel Hawke, rugby league coach Wayne Bennett, Australia's first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard, comedian & broadcaster Red Symons, actor and author William McInnes, former Governor-General Peter Hollingworth, fashion designers Sass & Bide, art-activist Van Rudd, Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin and actress and singer Belinda Emmett. Lower profile Australians have also been profiled, such as Sabina Wolanski who was the Holocaust survivor chosen to represent the six million dead at the opening of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. There is no reporter narration – the stories are 'told' by the profile subjects and other individuals such as friends, family, colleagues and critics. The program aims to present a varied and contrasting picture of contemporary Australia and Australians, both known and unknown. But on the whole, the personal approach to story-telling has been very well received with the program winning many professional awards including seven Walkley Awards for excellence in journalism and four consecutive Logie Awards.
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Australian Story 1
Ghost Adventures
  • Ghost Adventures (2008)
  • Documentary, Mystery, Reality,
  • Paranormal investigator Zak Bagans and his crew, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin, search for haunted locations both domestically and internationally. During their investigations, Zak and crew acquaint themselves with the general area; interview locals about the hauntings; and go face-to-face with the evil spirits who reportedly haunt these locations.
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Ghost Adventures 2008
Mayday
  • Mayday (2003)
  • Drama, Documentary,
  • Revealing the dark truth that aviation safety improves one crash at a time, Mayday investigates legendary aviation disasters to find out what went wrong and why. Based on cockpit voice recorders, accident reports and eyewitness accounts, every episode also features interviews, state-of-the-art CGI and gripping reenactments.
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Mayday 2003
60 Days In
  • 60 Days In (2016)
  • Documentary, Reality,
  • An unprecedented look at life behind bars at Indiana's Clark County Jail as seven innocent volunteers are sent to live among its general population for 60 days without officers, fellow inmates, or staff knowing their secret.
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60 Days In 2016
Once Upon a Time in Mexico
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
  • Comedy, Documentary,
  • MythBusters is a science entertainment television program created and produced by Australia's Beyond Television Productions for the Discovery Channel. The show's hosts, special effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, use elements of the scientific method to test the validity of rumors, myths, movie scenes, adages, Internet videos, and news stories.
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Once Upon a Time in Mexico 2003
Teen Mom
  • Teen Mom (2009)
  • Documentary, Reality,
  • Teen Mom is an American reality television series which aired from December 8, 2009, until August 28, 2012, on MTV. It follows the lives of four girls from the first season of 16 and Pregnant as they navigate their first years of motherhood. The series also focuses on the themes of their changing relationships between family, friends, and boys, while highlighting the struggles teenage mothers have to go through to raise their children. The series aired a total of four seasons. The pilot episode was the network's highest-rated premiere in over a year, with 2.1 million total viewers; the record was surpassed by the controversial series Skins, which had 3.26 million viewers. The first season finale brought in 3.6 million viewers. The second season finale pulled in over 5.6 million viewers, at which time a spin-off Teen Mom 2 was announced for January 11, 2011. The third season premiered on July 5, 2011, and the final season premiered on June 12, 2012.
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Teen Mom 2009
Four Corners
  • Four Corners (1961)
  • Documentary, News,
  • Four Corners is Australia's longest-running investigative journalism/current affairs television program. Broadcast on ABC1 in Australia, it premiered on 19 August 1961 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. Founding producer Robert Raymond and his successor Allan Ashbolt did much to set the ongoing tone of the program. Based on the Panorama concept, the program addresses a single issue in depth each week, showing either a locally produced program or a relevant documentary from overseas. The program has won many awards for investigative journalism, and broken many high-profile stories. A notable early example of this was the show's epoch-making 1962 exposé on the appalling living conditions endured by many Aboriginal Australians living in rural New South Wales.
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Four Corners 1961
Expedition Unknown
  • Expedition Unknown (2015)
  • Documentary,
  • Expedition Unknown chronicles the adventures of Josh Gates as he investigates iconic mysteries across the globe. Gates begins by interviewing key eyewitnesses and uncovering recent developments in the story, then springboards into a fully immersive exploration. This authentic, roughshod adventure leads Gates closer to the truth behind these unanswered global enigmas, such as the disappearance of Amelia Earhart’s plane. Josh Gates is an adventurer and avid explorer with a unique brand of humor and passion for off-the-map excursions.
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Expedition Unknown 2015
30 for 30
  • 30 for 30 (2009)
  • Documentary,
  • 30 for 30 is the umbrella title for a series of documentary films airing on ESPN and its sister networks and online properties. The series, which highlights people and events in the sports world that have generally received small amounts of attention, has featured two "volumes" of 30 episodes each, a 13-episode series under the ESPN Films Presents title in 2011-2012, and a series of 30 for 30 Shorts shown through the ESPN.com website.
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30 for 30 2009
Homicide Hunter: Lt Joe Kenda
  • Homicide Hunter: Lt Joe Kenda (2011)
  • Documentary, Reality,
  • Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda is an American documentary television series showcasing the career of retired Colorado Springs police detective Joseph Kenda. In each episode, Kenda recounts a murder investigation on which he worked, going from the 911 call to the final resolution of the case. Through re-enactments, discussions with investigation teams, and interviews with victims' families and other involved persons, the show highlights Kenda's successes with his 400 homicide case history and 92 percent solution rate.
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Homicide Hunter: Lt Joe Kenda 2011
American Masters
  • American Masters (1986)
  • Documentary, News,
  • American Masters is a PBS television show which produces biographies on artists, actors and writers of the United States who have left a profound impact on the nation's popular culture. It is produced by WNET in New York City. The show debuted on PBS in 1986. Groups or organizations featured include: Actors Studio, Algonquin Round Table, Group Theatre, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Women of Tin Pan Alley, Negro Ensemble Company, Juilliard School, the Beat Generation, The Singer-songwriters of the 1970s, Sun Records, Vaudeville, and Warner Bros. Pictures.
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American Masters 1986
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
  • The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (2010)
  • Documentary,
  • The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is an American reality television series on Bravo that debuted on October 14, 2010. It is the sixth installment in the network's The Real Housewives franchise.
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The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills 2010
Back Roads
  • Back Roads (2015)
  • Documentary,
  • Heather Ewart swaps reporting from political corridors of power to a new beat around the bush. Along the way she visits remote towns and regions to discover some of this country's most remarkable and inspiring communities.
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Back Roads 2015
Planet Earth
  • Planet Earth (2006)
  • Documentary,
  • David Attenborough celebrates the amazing variety of the natural world in this epic documentary series, filmed over four years across 64 different countries.
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Planet Earth 2006
Intervention
  • Intervention (2005)
  • Documentary,
  • Intervention is an American television reality show dealing with the struggles faced by many different kinds of addicts. Each episode follows one or two participants, each of whom has a substance dependence or other mentally and/or physically damaging problem. The subjects believe they are being filmed for a documentary on their problem, but their situations are actually being documented in anticipation of an intervention by family and/or friends. During the intervention, each participant is given an ultimatum: go into rehabilitation immediately, or risk losing contact, income, or other privileges from the loved ones who instigated the intervention. Often, other tactics are used to persuade the addicted person into treatment, which vary depending on the situation; some of these include threats to invoke outstanding arrest warrants, applying for custody of the addict's children, foreclosing on the addict's property, and break-up of marriages or other relationships. The producers usually follow up months later to monitor the addicted person's progress and film it for "follow-up" episodes of the series or for shorter "web updates" available on the show's website. On May 24, 2013, A&E announced that they were cancelling the show with the remaining episodes to begin airing in June 2013. The series finale aired on July 18th, 2013—the episode concluded with reflections from past addicts and a thank you from the producers to the interventionists, family members, treatment centers, and addicts themselves.
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Intervention 2005
American Experience
  • American Experience (1988)
  • Documentary, News,
  • American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards, about important or interesting events and people in American history. A trademark of the series is its ability to take lesser-known events in history, such as the history of Coney Island or Tupperware, and expand on the topic, showing how that event reflected larger, more important themes in American culture or society. The series premiered on October 4, 1988, and was originally titled The American Experience, although the "The" was dropped during a later brand and image update. The show has had a presence on the Internet since 1995, and more than 100 American Experience programs are accompanied by their own websites, which have more background information on the subjects covered as well as teachers' guides. The show is produced primarily by WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts, though occasionally in the early seasons of the show, it was co-produced by other PBS stations such as WNET in New York and KCET in Los Angeles. The documentaries are extensively researched, often taking years to complete. Some programs now considered part of the American Experience collection were produced prior to the creation of the series. Vietnam: A Television History was one of them, airing in 1983 after taking six years to assemble. Also, in 2006, American Experience rebroadcast Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, the first half of the award-winning 1986 documentary about the African American civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s.
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American Experience 1988
How the Universe Works
  • How the Universe Works (2010)
  • Documentary,
  • A users' guide to the cosmos, from the Big Bang to galaxies, stars, planets and moons: where did it all come from and how does it all fit together? A primer for anyone who has ever looked up at the night sky and wondered.
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How the Universe Works 2010
Cyberwar
  • Cyberwar (2016)
  • Documentary,
  • Ben Makuch travels the world to meet with hackers, government officials, and dissidents to investigate the ecosystem of cyberwarfare.
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Cyberwar 2016
Ancient Aliens
  • Ancient Aliens (2010)
  • Documentary, Mystery,
  • Ancient Aliens is an American television series that premiered on April 20, 2010 on the History channel. Produced by Prometheus Entertainment, the program presents hypotheses of ancient astronauts and proposes that historical texts, archaeology and legends contain evidence of past human-extraterrestrial contact. The show has been criticized for presenting pseudoscience and pseudohistory. The series' de facto pilot was a TV special of the same name that aired on March 8, 2009. The second season began on October 28, 2010, and the third season began airing July 28, 2011. Season four premiered on February 17, 2012 but on H2 instead of the History channel. In June 2012, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos announced on Coast to Coast AM that the series has been renewed for a fifth season. Season 5 premiered on December 21, 2012.
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Ancient Aliens 2010
Horizon
  • Horizon (1964)
  • Documentary,
  • Horizon is a current and long-running BBC popular science and philosophy documentary programme.
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Horizon 1964
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (2013)
  • Documentary,
  • Bourdain travels the across the globe to uncover little-known areas of the world and celebrate diverse cultures by exploring food and dining rituals. Known for his curiosity, candor, and acerbic wit, Bourdain takes viewers off the beaten path of tourist destinations – including some war-torn parts of the world – and meets with a variety of local citizens to offer a window into their lifestyles, and occasionally communes with an internationally lauded chef on his journeys.
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Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown 2013
Weediquette
  • Weediquette (2016)
  • Documentary,
  • VICE correspondent Krishna Andavolu chronicles the science, culture, and economics of the emerging "green" economy. Each episode explores the impact of marijuana legalization across the United States and internationally, examining how people on all sides of this issue are reacting to the growing popularity and acceptance of this remarkable plant.
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Weediquette 2016
Hunting Hitler
  • Hunting Hitler (2015)
  • Documentary,
  • An FBI cold case that has laid dormant for 70 years, leads a group of world-renown investigators on the ultimate manhunt to finally answer the question: Did Adolf Hitler survive World War II?
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Hunting Hitler 2015
Police Interceptors
  • Police Interceptors (2008)
  • Documentary,
  • Police Interceptors is a British TV documentary series that profiles the work of a police ANPR Intercept Team in Essex, United Kingdom and in series 4 profiles the work of South Yorkshire Police's Road Crime Unit and Derbyshire Police's Road Policing Unit. In the fifth series the program profiles the work of Cumbria Constabulary following their Roads Policing Unit. The documentary has been broadcast by Channel 5 since the first episode on 9 May 2008.
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Police Interceptors 2008
VICE
  • VICE (2013)
  • Documentary, News,
  • Vice is a documentary TV-series created and hosted by Shane Smith of Vice magazine. Produced by Bill Maher, it uses CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria as a consultant, and covers topics such as political assassinations, young weapons manufacturers, and child suicide bombers using an immersionist style of documentary filmmaking. It aired on HBO in April 2013. Rolling Stone wrote that the show "feels a little like your buddy from the bar just happened to be wandering through eastern Afghanistan with a camera crew."
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VICE 2013
The Curse of Oak Island
  • The Curse of Oak Island (2014)
  • Documentary, Mystery,
  • The Curse of Oak Island follows brothers Marty and Rick Lagina originally from Kingsford, Michigan through their effort to find the speculated - and as of yet undiscovered - buried treasure believed to have been concealed through extraordinary means on Oak Island. The brothers became fascinated with the island after reading the January, 1965 issue of Reader's Digest magazine which featured an article on the Restall family's work to solve the mystery of the so-called "Money Pit." No one knows what's buried at Oak Island. Theories range from pirate treasure to Shakespeare's Lost Folios to a priceless religious artifact brought over by the Knights Templar. The myths of the island have proven irresistible to many, including historical figures like John Wayne, Errol Flynn and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who all financed or took part in digs in what's become one of the longest treasure hunts in history.
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The Curse of Oak Island 2014
24 Hours in Police Custody
  • 24 Hours in Police Custody (2014)
  • Documentary,
  • Bedfordshire Police allowed more than 80 cameras to follow their work for this landmark documentary series
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24 Hours in Police Custody 2014
24 Hours in A&E
  • 24 Hours in A&E (2011)
  • Documentary,
  • 24 Hours in A&E is a British medical documentary set in King's College Hospital. 91 cameras filmed round the clock for 28 days, 24 hours a day in A&E it offers unprecedented access to one of Britain's busiest A&E departments.
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24 Hours in A&E 2011
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014)
  • Documentary,
  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey invents new modes of scientific storytelling to reveal the grandeur of the universe and re-invent celebrated elements of the original series, including the Cosmic Calendar and the Ship of the Imagination. Uniting scepticism and wonder, and weaving rigorous science with visual, emotional and spiritual elements, it is a transcendent experience – a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale we know.
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Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey 2014
Grand Designs
  • Grand Designs (1999)
  • Documentary,
  • Grand Designs is a British television series produced by Talkback Thames and broadcast on Channel 4 which features unusual and often elaborate architectural homebuilding projects. The programme has been presented by Kevin McCloud since it first aired in April 1999, and 141 episodes have been broadcast in twelve series.
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Grand Designs 1999
Planet Earth II
  • Planet Earth II (2016)
  • Documentary,
  • David Attenborough presents a documentary series exploring how animals meet the challenges of surviving in the most iconic habitats on earth.
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Planet Earth II 2016
Rick Mercer Report
  • Rick Mercer Report (2004)
  • Comedy, Documentary, News,
  • Rick Mercer Report is a Canadian television comedy series which airs on CBC Television. Launched in 2004 and hosted by comedian Rick Mercer, the weekly half-hour show combines news parody, sketch comedy, visits to interesting places across Canada, and satirical editorials, often involving Canadian politics. The show's format is similar in some respects to satirical news shows like Mercer's prior series, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and to Jon Stewart's The Daily Show – however, the Mercer Report's on-location segments are usually played relatively straight in comparison to those on the other shows, since participants are usually aware of Mercer's identity and purpose, showing similarity to Stephen Colbert's The Colbert Report. The first two seasons aired on Monday nights – hence the original name, which was likely also a pun on the then-current name of CBC's main Sunday news broadcast, Sunday Report. The Mercer Report now airs Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. on CBC. Repeats air regularly on both CBC and The Comedy Network. The program is recorded in front of a live audience at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre in Toronto, Ontario, except for the on-location and rant segments. These segments are shown to the studio audience during taping, with their reactions recorded for broadcast.
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Rick Mercer Report 2004
Bluegrass Underground
  • Bluegrass Underground (2011)
  • Documentary,
  • A musical adventure series emanating from the Volcano Room, a subterranean amphitheater 333 feet below McMinnville, Tennessee at historic Cumberland Caverns. Celebrating the diversity of America's musical heritage with artists from the full spectrum of genres: Bluegrass, yes but also Americana, Country, Soul, Blues, Rock N Roll, Gospel, Folk, and everything between.
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Bluegrass Underground 2011
Frontline
  • Frontline (1983)
  • Documentary, News,
  • Frontline is a public affairs television program that produces and broadcasts in-depth documentaries about various subjects. Produced at WGBH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts and distributed through the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States, the program has been critically acclaimed and received numerous awards. Some programs are made by independent filmmakers and broadcast as part of the Frontline series. Since the series debut, there have been more than 500 films broadcast. Although primarily seen through television, the program shows a large portion of their shows in interactive webcasts on their main website.
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Frontline 1983