While HBO may have one of the smaller selections when it comes to the streaming services, it also has one of the better ones. Their selection is carefully curated and there is no deadweight here.
But today we are all about one of my favorite genres of all, documentaries. HBO has an amazing collection of original and rare documentaries available to stream. Here are the ten best of the moment.
Beware the Slenderman (2016)
This documentary looks at a real-life case of the apparent supernatural making people commit horrendous crimes.
Directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky, it looks at the Slender Man stabbing, in which two girls attempted to murder one of their friends, apparently to appease a monster called Slender Man, which they discovered and got involved with online.
A Dangerous Son (2018)
This documentary looks at what it is like for families when they have a child that is a little bit different and the enormous lack of support and understanding that still exists.
It follows three families, each of which has a child with a serious emotional or mental illness. We follow them as they seek support and treatment, and also just dealing with the little things day-to-day.
At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019)
By now almost everyone has heard about the USA Gymnastics scandal in which the team doctor Larry Nassar was accused of abusing young gymnasts.
This documentary delves into the case. Rather than looking at the specifics of the abuse, it looks at the environment and culture of the sport which enabled a predator to work uninhibited for so long.
The Final Year (2017)
For those still craving more politics in the current heavy political news cycle, this documentary looks at the final year of the Obama administration.
Specifically, it looks at foreign policy in that year, primarily following Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Ambassador Samantha Power, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)
It is a bit of a surprise that such a revealing film about Scientology was able to be made in today’s Hollywood, where the religion still holds great sway.
The movie tells the history of Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and also examines how celebrities interact with the church. As you would expect, there are many stories from ex-members who describe significant exploitation.
Leaving Neverland: Michael Jackson and Me (2019)
This controversial documentary is considered by many to be the final world on “was he or wasn’t he”, and considered by others to be an opportunist release after the death of the music legend.
It tells the stories of two boys, now men, that claim to have been abused by Michael Jackson. Some of the biggest questions raised are around how their parents could be so blind to what was going on.
The Price of Everything (2018)
This movie looks at the real value of art, and why people might be willing to pay millions for one piece and nothing for another.
It includes interviews with some of the most important names in the contemporary art world. It asks questions about what we value, and how art can exist in today’s money-driven, consumer-based society.
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (2018)
There are few people who weren’t surprised by the suicide of beloved comedian Robin Williams and learning about his struggle with depression.
This documentary celebrates the life and work of the comedian, and also reveals parts of the man that were widely unknown. It includes interviews with Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Billy Crystal, and others.
One of the most influential filmmakers of all time, it was only a matter of time before a film was made about the man and his career.
This might be worth watching just to spot all the Hollywood stars and film power players that appear and give interviews. It both celebrates his work and reminds us where he was a pioneer and the legacy that he has left on filmmaking.
Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop (2015)
This movie looks at the scary prospect of thought policing through the now-infamous case of the Cannibal Cop, who was charged for conspiring to kidnap women in order to eat them.
The cop, Gilberto Valle, made the case that it was just a fantasy and nothing that he intended to actually do, but the prosecutor managed to convince the jury otherwise.
What To Watch Next?
Documentary fans are very well served by the streaming services, and there is lots of great content available to watch right now. Check out our lists of the best documentaries currently streaming on Hulu and Prime Video.