There’s nothing quite like a great documentary to usher in the new year.
Lucky for doccie fans, there are more than just a few brilliant documentaries heading our way in 2023.
Below are our top picks.
The Lie Detector
Coming from PBS on January 3, The Lie Detector takes us back to the early 1920’s.
Around this time, law enforcement started to make new strides in the development of more scientific (and accurate) methods to determine when someone was lying. And so was born the polygraph.
The polygraph, or lie detector, completely transformed police operations, debuted at the box office, and was widely hailed as a crime-fighting tool that was nothing short of infallible.
Soon, of course, couples started to test levels of fidelity, and even corporations hopped on board to evaluate their workers for good morals and loyalty.
But eventually the premise of the lie detector became a tool for darker things and became something used to intimidate and frighten ordinary Americans.
Madoff: The Monster Of Wall Street
Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street comes to Netflix on January 4.
The doccie follows Madoff’s journey from humble beginnings to one of the most dominant and significant brokers on Wall Street.
Filmmaker Joe Berlinger takes an innovative approach that will have you perched on the edge of your seat as Madoff’s fraud and financial tricks are for the very first time revealed as dubious as they truly were.
Frontline: Pegasus Project
Another PBS masterpiece, Frontline: Pegasus Project hits our screens on January 3.
This eye-opening documentary unfolds the story of a powerful hacking tool called Pegasus.
Pegasus was sold to governments all over the world by ruthless Israeli surveillance company NSO Group. It was ultimately used to spy on those fighting for human rights, journalists, and even the fiancée of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
It promises to be a riveting watch.
Full title, Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld, is a Netflix documentary due for release on January 6.
This true crime doccie takes the viewer back to the 1990s, when a Mumbai crime lord and his network caught an entire city in their wicked net. This ultimately led to the rise of the infamous “encounter cops” who would brazenly “shoot first – ask questions later”.
POV: I Didn’t See You There
This is one of those truly insightful documentaries everybody should see as it’s as immersive as the latest FIFA World Cup odds.
Disabled director Reid Davenport is inspired as well as taken aback by the absurd sight of a circus tent outside his apartment in Oakland.
The camera is mounted on Davenport’s wheelchair, which allows viewer a unique physical perspective from the disabled person’s point of view.
This special documentary seeks to rebuke the norm of disabled people being seen but not heard, and challenges the history of freakdom, ignorance, and invisibility.
POV: I Didn’t See You There will be available on PBS on January 9.
American Masters: Roberta Flack
Music icon Roberta Flack completely transformed popular culture, and American Masters: Roberta Flack tells her incredible story in her own words.
What makes this documentary even more of a must-watch is that it draws a visible line between Flack’s musical genius and her lifelong passion for the issue of civil rights for everyone.
Watch in on PBS on January 24.