My Top 10 Documentaries

This will be a list of my favourite documentaries that were one-offs, meaning that they were only made as a one time thing, either as one movie length show, or a single season comprising of 15 episodes or less. I’ll make another post some other time about my favourite documentary series’. I was going to put them all together, but I realized that with the amount of documentary stuff I watched I’d never be able to keep the list relatively short if I did that, so I’m splitting it. I really enjoyed the new format I tried in my Top Horror Films post, so I’ll see if I can integrate it into my longer articles, making them easier to read. At least, that’s what I think. Am I right? Is it a good format? Let me know!

And now, without any further ado, let’s get this show on the road! 😀

NUMBER TEN

10 Gates of Hell

 

10 GoHTitle: Gates of Hell
Made by/for: History channel
Released in: 2010
Subject: Ancient beliefs that hell was a real place that could be reached from the physical world.
Narrated by: George Kourounis
Written by: Stephen Dost
5 Second Synopsis: A lot of ancient cultures believed that not only was Hell real, but it could be reached from certain places on Earth. We follow guides to seven such places to uncover the stories and mythologies each place holds.
Why I love It: I wasn’t sure I’d actually like this one,since I don’t particularly enjoying watching religious stuff, but I love ancient history, and mythology was a huge part of most ancient cultures, so I gave it a try, and I’m glad I did. It was very interesting, providing facts, and not just preaching fire and brimstone, which is what I was afraid of.

 

NUMBER NINE

9 Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue

 

9 NiRWaBTitle: Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue
Made by/for: Lux Digital Pictures
Released in: 2009
Subject: Horror movies
Narrated by: Lance Henriksen
Written by: Joseph Maddrey
5 Second Synopsis: An exploration of the appeal of horror films, with interviews of many legendary directors in the genre.
Why I love It:  I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain myself here. It’s a documentary about horror films, how could I not love it?? hehe

 

NUMBER EIGHT

8 Ancients Behaving Badly

 

8 ABBTitle: Ancients Behaving Badly
Made by/for: History channel
Released in: 2009
Subject: Ancient rulers
Narrated by: Tom McCamus
Written by: unknown
5 Second Synopsis: Historians discuss the rulers of the ancient world, and a psychologist tries to profile them by examining their deeds.
Why I love It: It’s entertaining as well as informative, as all the good documentaries are. The animations are cool, too.

 

NUMBER SEVEN

7 C

 

NCOS7200Title: Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey
Made by/for: National Geographic channel
Released in: 2014
Subject: The universe, cosmology and physics
Narrated by: Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson
Written by: Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan, and Steven Soter
5 Second Synopsis: Dr Tyson leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe.
Why I love It: Cosmology and physics really fascinates me. I don’t always understand everything (I dare you to not get confused while listening to the String Theory), but I love it all the same. And when someone brilliant decides to “dumb it down” a little so laymen can get it (without treating us like morons, of course), and then pair that info with a beautiful, visual treat? Well that’s just gravy on the pie.

 

NUMBER SIX

6 Life

 

6 LTitle: Life
Made by/for: BBC Earth
Released in: 2009
Subject: Life on our planet
Narrated by: David Attenborough
Written by: Paul Spillenger
5 Second Synopsis: David Attenborough’s legendary BBC crew explains and shows wildlife all over planet earth in 10 episodes.
Why I love It: I absolutely love David Attenborough and his work, so it was a given that I’d love this one too. I find he’s got the perfect voice for narration. He rivals even Morgan Freeman! The cinematography is breathtaking, as usual, and all the information is interesting, and interestingly presented. If you haven’t seen it, I reccomend it greatly. Just make sure you get the original, and not the one redumbed, err, I mean redone in the States with Oprah narrating.

 

NUMBER FIVE

5 Blue Planet

 

5 BPTitle: The Blue Planet
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 2001
Subject: Life in the oceans
Narrated by: David Attenborough
Written by: David Attenborough
5 Second Synopsis: This documentary takes a look at the rich tapestry of life in the world’s oceans.
Why I love It: David Attenborough again. Even though it’s already 13 years old, it’s still the best series I’ve ever seen about the oceans. But, again, make sure to get the original. I don’t even understand why the Americans changed the narrator, this time they picked another actor with an accent, Pierce Brosnan. But I digress… as usual :-p

 

NUMBER FOUR

4 Planet Dinosaur

 

4 PDTitle: Planet Dinosaur
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 2011
Subject: Dinosaurs
Narrated by: John Hurt
Written by: Tom Brass & Nigel Paterson
5 Second Synopsis: An astonishing six-part series that brings to life the most incredible creatures that ever existed, dinosaurs that were more monstrous, more horrific and bizarre than ever before imagined.
Why I love It: Pre-historic life is another thing that fascinates me to no end.What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back in time and see these enormous creatures. But docs like this one are the next best thing. The animation is breath-taking and the narration is clear and interesting. A must for any dino fan.

 

NUMBER THREE

3 Into the Universe

 

3 ItUTitle: Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking
Made by/for: Discovery channel
Released in: 2010
Subject: The universe
Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch & Stephen Hawking
Written by: Stephen Hawking
5 Second Synopsis: In this comprehensive cosmology series, Stephen Hawking looks at the entire universe, from the Big Bang to the end of time.
Why I love It: Stephen Hawking’s brain, Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice, and beautiful animations of our universe? I loved this show before I even watched it.

 

NUMBER TWO

2 Planet Earth

 

2 PETitle: Planet Earth
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 2006
Subject: Planet Earth (duh 😉 )
Narrated by: David Attenborough
Written by: David Attenborough, Vanessa Berlowitz, Alastair Fothergill, and Gary Parker
5 Second Synopsis: Each 50 minute episode features a global overview of a different region or habitat on Earth, polar regions, mountains, caves, deserts, plains, fresh water, seas, the ocean, and forests.
Why I love It: Attenborough again. This might be getting a little redundant, but I couldn’t leave any of them out. There’s a reason his shows are as popular as they are, and that’s because they’re the best. Yes, it’s as good as you’ve heard. Now go watch it. The original.

 

NUMBER ONE

1 Walking with...

 

1 WwDTitle(s): Walking with Monsters; Walking with Dinosaurs; Walking with Beasts
Made by/for: BBC
Released in: 1999; 2001; 2005
Subject: Prehistoric life
Narrated by: Kenneth Branagh
Written by: Tim Haines, Michael Olmert, Kate Bartlett, Jasper James, Nigel Paterson, and Georgann Kane
5 Second Synopsis: These shows document pre-historic life on our planet, from the moment it began, until the time that humans have evolved.
Why I love It: I know I’m technically cheating here by including three shows in one, but I simply couldn’t separate them and place them in order. Being so old, a good deal of the data is out-dated, but I still love to watch these shows. They’re so well done, the narration is fun and informative, the dinosaurs are beautifully portrayed, even going so far as to “connect” with the camera, as if they were real. My son and I love to watch this together. For more up to date information, Planet Dinosaur is the way to go, but for sheer watchability (and rewatchability), these will forever hold the top spot.

 

And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed my list? Do you agree? Disagree? What are your favourite brain-food shows? Let me know! And, as usual, stay tuned for more! 🙂

M.

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Top 10 Doctor Who Episodes

Doctor Who is one of my favorite shows. I’ve only recently discovered it (recently being about a year and a half), and in that time I’ve watched (and re-watched) all the new series and got a tattoo in Gallifreyan. How’s that for devotion? I haven’t quite gotten up the nerve to watch the classic series yet, I’m generally not a fan of the old cheesy sci-fi, so I’m a little worried that it might ruin it a bit for me. So, until then, I like to re-watch my favorites. The top 3 were easy enough for me to chose, but I had a heck of a time filling in the rest, there are so many great episodes. Before I get into it, here are the 3 episodes that were thisclose to being on the list, but in the end, drew the short straw:

The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit – I re-watched this just the other day, and I’d forgotten how creepy it actually was. Doctor Who doesn’t delve into straight horror very often, but when it does, it does it right (and you can tell those are my favorites, by what’s on this list)

Human Nature / The Family of Blood – This one was so good that I almost wish the other 10 weren’t so amazing just so it could be on the list. Alas, this tear-jerker didn’t quite make the cut.

The Doctor’s Wife – I absolutely loved to finally hear Tardis speak in her own voice. Another episode to bring the tears!

And now – drum roll please! – the best of the best, my top 10 favorite episodes of Doctor Who!!

10 – The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang

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In this two-parter, a giant vessel known as the Pandorica is about to open, releasing a deadly creature, and the Doctor, along with River and Amy, try to figure out how to stop it. This episode also re-introduces Rory, in the form of a Roman centurion, and thank goodness for that, because Amy and Rory are my second favorite Who-couple, just under Ten and Rose. So (and I’ll try not to spoil too much, just in case, but seriously, if you’re reading a top 10 list without having seen it, it’s really your own darn fault), needless to say that when the box finally opens, we’re all floored by what’s inside. In the second half of the episode, we’re faced with the end of the universe, and get to see young Amelia Pond again, for she, of course, is the key to everything.

9 – The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances

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“Are you my mummy?” In this incredibly creepy two-parter, Nine and Rose travel to war-time England, and find something seriously wrong with the townspeople. A seemingly unstoppable “dead” child in a gas mask is turning others into creatures like himself. This episode also introduces us to the wonderful Captain Jack Harkness, who, I’m sad to say, did not get nearly enough air time. We need more Jack in our Who, dammit! Nine, Rose and Jack race against time to find the source of the mysterious ailment before a bomb is set to explode.

8 – The Fires of Pompeii

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Ten and Donna were aiming for ancient Rome, but got a little lost in the voyage. So they end up in Pompeii, the day before the massive volcano destroys everything and kills 20,000 people. Donna begs the Doctor to warn the people, to save as many as they can, but he insists he can’t, that this is a fixed point in time and needs to happen. Meanwhile, they discover a religious sect in the town that has a darker heart than anyone ever thought. When I first saw Donna in The Runaway Bride, I hated her, and was annoyed to find out that she’d become a regular companion in the next season. But, after toning down her character a bit, I fell in love with her, and was very, very sad to see her go. She didn’t have enough time.

7 – Hide

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Another creepy foray into horror-territory, Hide is Who’s version of the classic ghost story, and man did it deliver. Season 7 for me was pretty meh. I was sad to see Amy and Rory go, and I don’t really like Clara, she’s rather grating. But, even so, it managed to make this wonderful stand alone episode. Looking for answers concerning Clara, Eleven decides to go consult a powerful clairvoyant. When he finds her, she’s in the process of trying to contact a very old spirit who’s been said to haunt this house for well over 300 years. In helping her to contact this spirit, we get a wonderfully Whovian explanation to what some some hauntings really are.

6 – The Unicorn and the Wasp

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This delightful episode has Ten and Donna meet Agatha Christie in a genuine murder mystery. After a man is found dead in the library, the Doctor rounds up all the guests, and, with Agatha’s help, proceeds to deduce what happened to the man. As they get closer to the truth, more people die, and the culprit seems to be not of this world. Includes some absolutely hilarious interactions between Ten and Donna, this episode had me in stitches.

5 – Amy’s Choice

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It’s five years in the future, Amy and Rory are happily living in a small village with a baby on the way. On the Tardis, Eleven, Amy and Rory are hurtling towards a frozen star, the ship’s controls having been shut down. Bouncing between both realities, the trio have to figure out which world is real. Die in a dream, and you wake up. Die in life, and well…

4 – Vincent and the Doctor

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I love anything to do with Van Gogh, so I was monumentally excited when I heard of this episode. And it definitely did not disappoint. Seeing something in a Van Gogh painting that should not be there, Eleven takes Amy to the rural countryside that Vincent calls home. Befriending the turbulent painter, they ask him if they can accompany him to paint the site in question. Turns out there’s a beast only Vincent can see (for some unexplained reason, but who cares, really, right?), and the Doctor is going to use that to his full advantage. Awesome interaction between Amy and Vincent, and more kleenex was needed here.

3 – Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead

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River Song’s introductory episode is still my favorite of hers. The Doctor gets a message to meet at a library planet, but when he arrives, the whole planet is deserted. When an archeologist and her team arrive to survey the place, they find out why the planet is empty in the first place. This two-parter had me counting my shadows for days afterwards. And I was always kind of angry that things turned out the way they did for Donna. She just can’t catch a break, it would seem.

2 – The Girl in the Fireplace

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Ten, Rose and Mickey land in a seemingly deserted spaceship. Scattered all over the place are doorways to another time, 1700’s France, to be exact. The Doctor is able to cross through, and enters the life of Reinette Poisson, later in life to be known as Madame de Pompadour, consort to the king. Turns out the clockwork droids piloting the ship need her for something, but only when she’s “ready”. This one was high on the creep factor for me, simply for the disguises that the droids wear. Those masks were seriously scary!

1 – Blink

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And finally, my very favorite Who episode is our introduction to the Weeping Angels, Blink. Everything about this episode is awesome. A young woman sees a message in a old house written in 1969, but seemingly addressed to her. As she unravels the mystery, and gets more messages from the past, she is pursued by what at first seem to be stone statues. At least that’s what they are as long as you keep your eyes open. Don’t blink, don’t even blink. Blink, and you’re dead.

And that’s it for my top 10 episodes of Doctor Who! Hope you enjoyed my list, and stay tuned for more! 🙂

M.