• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Aug 20, 2015
Season #: 1, 2, 3
Documentary Now! Image
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

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  • Summary: Hosted by Helen Mirren, the six-episode documentary spoof series was created by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers.
  • Genre(s): Comedy, Documentary

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Aug 20, 2015
    100
    Documentary Now! is so good, you’ll be forced to reassess Meyers, whose comedy writing is so crisp and correct, he should give up his late-night NBC show because nothing he does there will ever be as good or as funny.
  2. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Aug 17, 2015
    90
    Clever. This is a funny, smart comedy for fans of documentaries or even just those who wish they had more time to watch non-fiction filmmaking. In fact, Documentary Now! is so good that it should spark more interest in the very art form it satirizes but also clearly loves.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Aug 20, 2015
    90
    The humor has as much to do with the form as the content, and much care and cleverness have been devoted to making these pieces look right, from film stock and lighting, to period graphics, to furniture and clothing; the art direction is exceptional, and as such, delightful throughout.
  4. Reviewed by: Sarah Rodman
    Aug 19, 2015
    80
    All three episodes offered varying degrees of laughs, but the “Kunuk” episode is a high-water mark.
  5. Reviewed by: Genevieve Valentine
    Aug 20, 2015
    75
    A key to the series’ success and longevity will be how well it’s able to balance the insider spoof with the satire and offer moments that do more than just painstakingly re-create; moments that remind us of the absurdities of the form and the ways we’ve been trained to see through a story.
  6. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Aug 19, 2015
    63
    Two later episodes parody the TV series "Vice" and "Nanook of the North," the 1922 silent film credited with launching the documentary genre. Both are well done, and each has a twist. Each also has an awful lot of Hader and Armisen in costume, so take that as an endorsement or as a caution, depending on your feeling about them. I didn't laugh, but maybe you will.
  7. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Aug 18, 2015
    50
    Actually, the series peaks in its opening credits and introduction, which cleverly approximate the fictional public-TV documentary showcase from which the show derives its name.... From there, though, Documentary Now! becomes an exceedingly hit-miss proposition.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Sep 3, 2015
    9
    In the golden age of comedy, Documentary Now is primetime classic comedic premium gold. 5 minutes into Dronez and I'm hysterical, I can't evenIn the golden age of comedy, Documentary Now is primetime classic comedic premium gold. 5 minutes into Dronez and I'm hysterical, I can't even look at the screen. There really isn't funny jokes in there, the whole thing, the concept, the characters, the writing, the pace, it's sizzling vibes of hilarity. Bill Hader and Fred Armisen are becoming this generations comedic icons of the television world, what a year Hader's having too. This is killer, every time I watch an episode I laugh at something else because it's not the hits, it's the high from the moment Hellen Mirrin locks in the parodying seriousness tuning the laughs in just the right direction, it's something that can be shown in a high school social studies class. Documentary Now is the funniest show out there. Expand
  2. Oct 10, 2015
    8
    Very well crafted mockumentary. Attention to detail, styling, film technique. These are not punch line jokes but the humor is in the satire.Very well crafted mockumentary. Attention to detail, styling, film technique. These are not punch line jokes but the humor is in the satire. I think my favorite is Kunuk and how it makes fun of the original in all the right places. Expand
  3. Aug 21, 2015
    6
    Bill Hader and Fred Armisen are incredibly talented, and this comedy series lends itself to mocking some of the familiar tropes inBill Hader and Fred Armisen are incredibly talented, and this comedy series lends itself to mocking some of the familiar tropes in documentaries. The pilot episode had a funny twist on "Grey Gardens," and the second episode (Available on YouTube) is a funny take on some of the overly aggressive reporting in hostile territory that seems to happen all the time. This is breezy, light-hearted entertainment. Expand
  4. Oct 21, 2016
    5
    Documentary Now is a well-produced show with mostly punchless jokes. This concept has been done so well in the past so the bar was set highDocumentary Now is a well-produced show with mostly punchless jokes. This concept has been done so well in the past so the bar was set high (Spinal Tap, Best In Show). Mostly the scripts spend too much time with the details of each episode, which are done amazingly. It seems the dialogue is hoping to be carried by the sets and costumes. The jokes are often simple nods to the situations they're in. Very neo-SNL to try and let the concept carry the sketch itself. It's frustrating because these are two funny, dedicated guys that would have been really well served by some edginess. Expand

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