100 Must-See Documentaries Streaming on Netflix This January

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It’s a new year, and with it comes changes to the Netflix 100. These aren’t specific to 2016, however, just the usual handful of titles dropped and handful of titles added, most of them dependent on what’s now available or unavailable from Netflix Watch Instantly. Some of our longtime favorites have expired from the service over the past month, including Pina, The Missing Picture, Camp 14: Total Control Zone, Control Room and Countdown to Zero.

Fortunately, some of our other longtime favorites have returned to stream on Netflix, including the essential Nick Broomfield pair Aileen: The Selling of a Serial Killer and Aileen Wuornos: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (the latter is one of my top 10 of all time) and the devastating AIDS doc We Were Here. Meanwhile, new to the service are the restored Robert Flaherty classic Moana (aka Moana With Sound) and the new doc How to Change the World, which was named as one of the best of 2015 in our annual critics and filmmakers poll.

We also had to include the hot Netflix doc series Making a Murderer, if only because everyone’s talking about it right now. We’re not certain we’d recommend it in the long run, but it’s a current necessity. Speaking of which, last month we added the popular film The Wolfpack and now are removing it because we’re not fans and it’s time for its moment in the spotlight to end.

Now a reminder of how the Netflix 100 titles are numerically arranged:

They are mostly ranked in order of my favor with some objective authority, but there are some clumps throughout the list that obviously fit together. Some are by director, some are by genre or subject matter and some are by series. In fact, I see this whole list as being best watched in order of the rankings. There are a few double features in the bunch (Expedition to the End of the World and Encounters at the End of the World and The Act of Killing and Camp 14, for two example sets) and some groupings where I truly think the higher ranking title is best watched before a certain title or titles below it.

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(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.