The BEST National Geographic shows of all time

Every National Geographic show, ranked

We've compiled the average episode rating for every National Geographic show to compile this list of best shows!

Cosmos (2014)
star
8.92
6331 votes

#1 - Cosmos (2014)

Hosted by renowned astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos continues from its 1980 predecessor, exploring how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time. It brings to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge and transports viewers to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale. The most profound scientific concepts are presented with stunning clarity, uniting skepticism and wonder, weaving rigorous science with emotion and spirituality to form a single, united, transcendent experience.

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9/11: One Day in America
star
8.81
96 votes

#2 - 9/11: One Day in America

In official collaboration with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, this documentary series takes viewers through the harrowing moments of the historic morning of September 11, 2001.

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Origins: The Journey of Humankind
star
8.72
104 votes

#3 - Origins: The Journey of Humankind

Hosted by Jason Silva, ORIGINS: THE JOURNEY OF HUMANKIND rewinds all the way back to the beginning and explores the innovations that made us modern.

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Wild Russia
star
8.67
172 votes

#4 - Wild Russia

Sprawling over 11 time zones and two continents from Europe to the Pacific, and beyond the magnificent cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, this huge country contains a wealth of unspoilt natural wilderness. Through unprecedented access we showcase the spectacle that is Wild Russia. From east to west, via mountains, volcanoes, deserts, lakes and Arctic ice, this breathtaking six-part series uses stunning cinematography to chart the dazzling natural wonders of this vast country.

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Seconds From Disaster
star
8.57
332 votes

#5 - Seconds From Disaster

Accounts of famous technological disasters and their subsequent investigations.

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Hacking the System
star
8.56
181 votes

#6 - Hacking the System

For 15 years, Brian Brushwood has made a career out of social manipulation and thinking like a criminal and now he’s here to reveal how to avoid people who cheat the system and show you how to use the legal tips, tricks, and shortcuts to get ahead in life. One hack at a time.

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Explorer
star
8.51
401 votes

#7 - Explorer

Now in its third decade, National Geographic Explorer travels around the world exploring topical news stories. Hosted by Lisa Ling, Explorer visits locations with unique events and fascinating stories.

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National Geographic Documentaries
star
8.50
721 votes

#8 - National Geographic Documentaries

Go behind the scenes of life on our planet with National Geographic videos. Share the wonder of the natural world with educational animal videos for kids. Let National Geographic be your all-access pass with documentary videos about the U.S. State Department, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, or 9/11. Experience the past coming to life with culture and history videos, and engage more deeply with the present with science and nature.

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Drugs, Inc.
star
8.42
551 votes

#9 - Drugs, Inc.

How does the drug trade work? Can it be stopped or should it be regulated? And what are the personal costs? Those are just some of the questions answered in this miniseries, a comprehensive look at society's most abused drugs: cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana. First-person perspectives from traffickers, dealers, users, law enforcement and medical professionals detail how the drugs are processed and moved onto the streets, and the effects they have on the human body.

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Genius (2017)
star
8.36
1356 votes

#10 - Genius (2017)

The life stories of history's greatest minds. From their days as young adults to their final years we see their discoveries, loves, relationships, causes, flaws and genius.

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Ultimate Factories
star
8.35
463 votes

#11 - Ultimate Factories

Ultimate Factories also known as Megafactories is an American documentary television series that premiered in 2006 on the National Geographic Channel. The program explores the inner workings of factories worldwide. Each episode profiles the machinery and manpower behind each factory's main product, featuring close-ups, breakdowns, interviews, and side stories to show the sequence of events to produce the product in the factory. Hoff Productions was one of the principal producers of this highly successful series. It also airs in non-US markets as Megafactories.

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Megastructures
star
8.33
516 votes

#12 - Megastructures

Take an eye-popping look at the greatest structures and machines ever created as we focus on some of the world's modern-day super-human miracles of construction.

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One Strange Rock
star
8.32
334 votes

#13 - One Strange Rock

A mind-bending and thrilling journey that explores the fragility and wonder of planet Earth – one of the most peculiar, unique places in the universe.

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Life Below Zero
star
8.24
400 votes

#14 - Life Below Zero

When bears, wolves and foxes are your only neighbors, life can be pretty lonely. Add minus-60-degree days and a constant battle for the most basic necessities, and you have the daily challenges of people who live in remote corners of Alaska. This series takes viewers deep into an Alaskan winter to meet six tough and resilient residents as they try to stay one step ahead of storms and man-eating beasts to make it through to spring. The closest neighbor to Sue Aikens is more than 300 miles away. Eric Salitan subsists solely on what he hunts and forages. Chip and Agnes Hailstone catch fish for currency in bartering for supplies, and Andy and Kate Bassich use their pack of sled dogs for transportation.

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Brain Games
star
8.21
673 votes

#15 - Brain Games

National Geographic Channel's Emmy-nominated series Brain Games returns this summer with 10 new mind-blowing episodes! Host Jason Silva gets inside your head and shows you what's really going on in there with an intricate series of interactive experiments designed to mess with your mind and reveal the inner-workings of your brain. Hailed by critics as "tremendous fun" that "makes science entertaining," Brain Games turns your mind's eye inwards for a fascinating journey into the three and a half pounds of tissue that makes you... you.

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American Genius
star
8.18
134 votes

#16 - American Genius

History's greatest minds have always known that to change the world, you have to take out the competition. American Genius chronicles the competitions in innovation that pitted history’s brightest minds against each other in the race to lay claim to the future. From Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates to the Wright Brothers vs. Glen Curtiss, each episode of the show focuses on a specific rivalry, delving into the fierce power struggles, deceit, fluke timing, and raw ambition out of which innovation was born. Iconic masterminds pushed themselves to the limits of human genius, overcoming equally brilliant and ruthless competitors to turn history’s greatest ideas into reality.

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Year Million
star
8.14
85 votes

#17 - Year Million

Explore what it will be like to be human one million years into the future. Today’s brightest futurists, scientists, scholars and notable science fiction writers guide viewers through the very latest advances in technology, ideas and innovations that likely will power the evolution of our species.

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Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller
star
8.08
37 votes

#18 - Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller

TRAFFICKED provides a 360-degree view of the trafficking world from the point-of-view of the traffickers, law enforcement agents and those caught in the crossfire with access only National Geographic can provide.

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Inside Combat Rescue
star
8.07
149 votes

#19 - Inside Combat Rescue

For the first time ever, camera crews embed on a deployment to Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force’s elite rescue team, Pararescuemen or PJs, as they fly day and night, in any weather, to save those in peril on the battlefield.

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Border Wars
star
8.04
170 votes

#20 - Border Wars

The officers and agents of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) scour the inhospitable landscape at one of the busiest border crossings in the country, seeking to intercept illegal entrants from the air, on the ground, and at the port of entry. Every day thousands of men, women and children attempt to enter the United States illegally -- some looking for work, some seeking a new life and others trying to smuggle drugs or other contraband. Many will do whatever it takes, often risking their lives by crossing Arizona's treacherous Sonoran Desert. Now, follow the officers and agents who struggle every day to defend this border, including: Officer Hector Navarro, part of the anti-terrorism contraband enforcement team; Agent Simon Keller, part of an 18-man all-terrain vehicle unit that navigates desert terrain too rough for cars; Officer Oscar Peru, who patrols the vast Arizona desert from a helicopter; Officer Mark Shanley, a 26-year CBP veteran who uses his hard-won experience to supplement the official manual; and Chief Rene Felix, a Nogales native with a personal mission to keep drug smugglers out of his town.

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The '80s: The Decade That Made Us
star
7.97
157 votes

#21 - The '80s: The Decade That Made Us

A Six-Part Miniseries Event Narrated by Rob Lowe It's, like, totally tubular. The '80s: The Decade That Made Us isn't about nostalgia; it's about the history of our modern world that spawned political, technological, cultural, and social revolutions that began in the United States and went on to dominate the world. This cultural programming event is the defining biography of a generation. It's about a decade of people, decisions, and inventions that changed our future, told from the perspective of the unknowing history makers who lived these iconic moments. We worked out, worked harder, played harder and consumed more—because the 1980s was the decade when we went forward to the future.

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Great Migrations
star
7.97
209 votes

#22 - Great Migrations

Great Migrations gives the word “move” a whole new meaning. This seven-part global programming event takes viewers around the world on the arduous journeys millions of animals undertake to ensure the survival of their species. Shot from land and air, in trees and cliff-blinds, on ice floes and underwater, the shows tell the powerful stories of many of the planet’s species and their movements, while revealing new scientific insights with breathtaking high-definition clarity and emotional impact. The beauty of these stories is underscored by a new focus into these species’ fragile existence and their life-and-death quest for survival in an ever-changing world. The National Geographic Great Migrations team spent two and a half years in the field, traveling 420,000 miles across 20 countries and all seven continents to bring this ambitious production to television. Seven hours in total, Great Migrations includes four core hours chronicling epic animal migration, narrated by two-time Emmy, three-time Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin. Additional hours include a special on scientific investigation of the mysteries of animal migration; a behind-the-scenes special on the advanced technology, dramatic challenges and passion required to capture these spectacular events; and an hour-long visual concert comprised of the stunning footage set to original music. A global initiative unprecedented in the Society's storied 122-year history, Great Migrations content will also be featured across the spectrum of National Geographic platforms, including magazine articles and maps, books, DVDs, mobile and iPhone apps, games, lectures, screenings, exhibits and tours, among others. Great Migrations reveals new scientific insight, previously undocumented behaviors and the most indepth visual record of a diverse range of animal migrations, including Botswana zebras, Mali elephants, red crabs on Christmas Island (between Australia and Indonesia), flying foxes in Australia, army ants i

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Live Free or Die
star
7.97
197 votes

#23 - Live Free or Die

"Live Free or Die" explores one of America’s most remote subcultures, following five people who have left the modern world behind to live in backwoods and swamps where they hunt their own food, build their own shelters, and survive only on what they can produce with their own two hands and sharp intuition.

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Hostile Planet
star
7.93
58 votes

#24 - Hostile Planet

Hostile Planet, a six-part series executive produced by cinematographer and director Guillermo Navarro, producer Martha Holmes, Tom Hugh-Jones and Bear Grylls, draws attention to the most extraordinary accounts of animals that have adapted to the cruelest evolutionary curveballs.

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Dog Whisperer
star
7.87
607 votes

#25 - Dog Whisperer

Dog Whisperer follows well-respected animal behaviorist Cesar Millan as he works to help dogs with behavior problems, and their human families. These problems range from excessive barking to behavior, that if not corrected, could leave the owners little choice but to euthanize the dog. Mr. Millan describes his work as "rehabilitating dogs, and training people." Dog owners can learn from him ways to establish a balanced relationship with their dogs that will help to prevent these problems.

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Alaska State Troopers
star
7.83
245 votes

#26 - Alaska State Troopers

They are the first line of defense on the last frontier, the roughly 400 state troopers who patrol the rugged and unforgiving terrain of America’s largest state — Alaska. One of the toughest law enforcement agencies in the nation, these officers often travel hundreds of miles in piercing subzero temperatures to uphold the law. Responding by land, air and sea — with backup sometimes days away — they face danger to protect the people and wildlife of Alaska.

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Science of Stupid
star
7.81
187 votes

#27 - Science of Stupid

Host Richard Hammond, from the hit series Top Gear, explains the science behind videos taken from the Internet.

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Mars (2016)
star
7.76
1965 votes

#28 - Mars (2016)

The year is 2033, and humanity's first crewed mission to Mars is about to become a reality. As a clock counts down the final 90 seconds to landing, an expert crew of astronauts endures the final harrowing moments before touching down on the red planet. Even with the best training and resources available, the maiden crew of the Daedalus spacecraft must push itself to the brink of human capability in order to successfully establish the first sustainable colony on Mars. Set both in the future and in the present day, the global miniseries event MARS blends feature film-caliber scripted elements set in the future with documentary vérité interviews with today’s best and brightest minds in modern science and innovation, illuminating how research and development is creating the space technology that will enable our first attempt at a mission to Mars.

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Taboo
star
7.67
129 votes

#29 - Taboo

Around the world there are people of different cultures who take actions and decisions that seem out of the ordinary to the average westerner. Considered taboo, these people and their stories are now being known.

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Breakthrough
star
7.65
60 votes

#30 - Breakthrough

BREAKTHROUGH explores the remarkable scientific discoveries in brain science, longevity, water, energy, pandemics and cyborg technology. Lifesaving, mind-boggling innovation is a part of everyday life, so we sometimes take it for granted. It happens in the blink of an eye – on battlefields and playgrounds, in supercolliders and the International Space Station, in smart homes and smart cars. These are modern-day revolutions in how we live. Each hour-long episode is directed by a Hollywood visionary – Angela Bassett, Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Brett Ratner.

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The Long Road Home
star
7.64
271 votes

#31 - The Long Road Home

Relive a heroic fight for survival during the Iraq War, when the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood was ferociously ambushed on April 4, 2004, in Sadr City, Baghdad — a day that came to be known in military annals as “Black Sunday.”

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StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson
star
7.63
249 votes

#32 - StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Host Neil deGrasse Tyson brings together celebrities, scientists and comedians to explore a variety of cosmic topics and collide pop culture with science in a way that late-night television has never seen before. Weekly topics range from popular science fiction, space travel, extraterrestrial life, the Big Bang, to the future of Earth and the environment. Tyson is an astrophysicist with a gifted ability to connect with everyone, inspiring us all to "keep looking up." The studio audience portion of the series is filmed in the Cullman Hall of the Universe at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City — where Tyson serves as the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium.

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Wicked Tuna
star
7.43
182 votes

#33 - Wicked Tuna

Fishing is a hard life, and harder with bluefin stocks depleted. In Gloucester, Massachusetts, there's a special breed of fishermen. For generations they've used rod and reel to catch the elusive bluefin tuna. They depend on these fish for their livelihood, and the competition is brutal. Over the next 10 weeks, the most skilled fishermen will set out in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic in hopes of catching the valuable bluefin tuna. When one bluefin can bring in as much as $20,000—they'll do whatever it takes to hook up.

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The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
star
7.43
582 votes

#34 - The Story of God with Morgan Freeman

Today, for better or worse, the power of religion touches all of our lives, no matter what our faith. This is Morgan Freeman's journey to discover how our beliefs connect us all. This is the quest of our generation. This is the Story of God.

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Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks
star
7.37
43 votes

#35 - Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks

The long, cold winter has just hit New England, and while the bluefin tuna season has come to an end in Gloucester, Mass., it’s just getting started in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. After a disappointing season, several of Gloucester’s top fishermen head south to try to salvage their finances by fishing for the elusive bluefin tuna in unfamiliar Carolina waters before the experienced locals beat them to the catch. It’s a whole new battlefield and the Northern captains must conquer new styles of fishing, treacherous waters and the wrath of the Outer Banks’ top fishermen. They’re gambling on what could be a massive payday … or a huge financial loss.

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Ultimate Survival Alaska
star
7.36
74 votes

#36 - Ultimate Survival Alaska

They are some the toughest, most extreme survivalists that Alaska has to offer. Going head to head, eight men of a rare breed are about to take the ultimate test of survival in Arctic conditions that only National Geographic could inspire. Dropped in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness by bush plane, with only their raw, mountain-man ingenuity, they’ll navigate through treacherous glaciated river valleys, barren ridgelines, and high mountain peaks, battling hunger, hostile predators, and perilous weather conditions along the way. Like the original National Geographic explorers, for those who succeed there is no grand prize, just the well-fought pride of having conquered the grueling challenges that Mother Nature can throw at them. It's an epic competition series where the only prize is survival.

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Drain the Oceans
star
7.35
40 votes

#37 - Drain the Oceans

Maritime mysteries -- old and new -- come to life in this 10-episode series, combining scientific data and digital re-creations to reveal shipwrecks, treasures, and sunken cities on the bottom of lakes, seas and oceans around the world. Innovative technology allows viewers to see what lies on the floors of large bodies of water such as the Gulf of Mexico, the Nile, the Indian Ocean, the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean as if they had been drained. Then, in a quest to explain natural wonders and man-made catastrophes, stories tell of how vessels sank, what ancient geological formations reveal about life on Earth, where Nazi secrets now reside, and why so many continue to search for the legendary city of Atlantis.

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The Hot Zone
star
7.34
592 votes

#38 - The Hot Zone

Working with a secret military specialized team, U.S. Army scientist Dr. Nancy Jaax puts her life on the line to head off an Ebola outbreak before it spreads to the human population.

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Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted
star
7.18
125 votes

#39 - Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted

Follows Gordon Ramsay as he meets with indigenous people around the globe to learn about the cultures, dishes and flavors unique to each location. Each episode concludes with Ramsay challenging himself with a local food legend by his side - putting his newfound skills to the test as they cook a feast together for the natives.

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Lost Cities with Albert Lin
star
7.17
29 votes

#40 - Lost Cities with Albert Lin

Utilizing ground-penetrating radar, LiDar and 3D scanning, Lin joins boots-on-the-ground archaeologists to discover and re-create unexcavated worlds still hidden beneath the earth, including the Knights Templar in Israel, the Lost Kingdom of the Pacific in Micronesia and the city behind the legend of El Dorado: City of Gold in Colombia.

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Ultimate Airport Dubai
star
7.13
158 votes

#41 - Ultimate Airport Dubai

Less than 55 years ago, Dubai International Airport was a vast desert of sand. Today, it is a modern mecca of international air travel. With a staggering 344,000 flights, 57 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo flying in and out each year, it is the worlds third busiest airport for international passengers. In Ultimate Airport Dubai, step behind-the-scenes of Dubai Internationals three massive terminals, including Terminal 3 the largest building on earth by floor space, measuring 359 football pitches in size! With unprecedented access to all facets of this mega facility, the series follows some of the 60,000 staff working hard to keep it safe, secure, and on schedule.

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Doomsday Preppers
star
7.06
396 votes

#42 - Doomsday Preppers

Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. And with our expert’s assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears become a reality.

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Running Wild with Bear Grylls
star
7.01
388 votes

#43 - Running Wild with Bear Grylls

The famed survivalist takes A-list celebrities on journeys into the wildest locations around the world, forcing the stars to push their bodies and minds to the limit to successfully complete the adventure of a lifetime.

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Lockdown
star
7.00
30 votes

#44 - Lockdown

A series examining prison life that visits facilities in California, Ohio and Minnesota for reports on prison conditions, gang activity and supermax incarceration of dangerous criminals.

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72 Dangerous Animals: Australia
star
6.98
45 votes

#45 - 72 Dangerous Animals: Australia

Australia is full of dangerous animals – but which creature is our country’s deadliest? From the Freshwater Crocodile to the Cane Toad, we’re counting down to the most dangerous Aussie animal.

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Known Universe
star
6.97
227 votes

#46 - Known Universe

Ever wondered what would happen if you were sucked into a black hole? Or, if wormholes could make time travel a reality? And could life on Earth survive a huge meteor strike like the one that took out the dinosaurs? This series combines the most current scientific information, cutting-edge computer graphics, dramatic time-lapse sequences and everyday examples to shed light on some of the most mind-boggling aspects of our universe.

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Barkskins
star
6.69
132 votes

#47 - Barkskins

A disparate group of outcasts and dreamers battle to escape their pasts while navigating the brutal frontier hardships, competing interests and tangled loyalties at the crossroads of civilization in the New World.

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Inside the American Mob
star
6.67
107 votes

#48 - Inside the American Mob

Delve into the secret underworld of the American Mafia, as told by the criminals who lived it and the law enforcers who hunted it. This dramatic six-part series chronicles the true-life story of the modern Mob in America, as former mobsters, informants, and FBI agents expose the takedown of the deadliest and most infamous organized crime ring in U.S. history. A combination of recently declassified files, first-person accounts by federal officials and the mafioso themselves, and rare archival footage sheds a new light on the raw, violent, and corrupt underworld that gripped America for decades.

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Chasing UFOs
star
6.65
245 votes

#49 - Chasing UFOs

A team of trained investigators sets out to uncover the truth about UFOs. But they’re not just looking for more stories on extraterrestrial activity—they want answers. Risking it all, this team of scientists and UFO researchers investigate and dissect some of the most mysterious sightings on the planet to unearth stunning new evidence. The data they collect on these adventures paints an entirely new picture of what we know about these strange lights in the sky.

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Port Protection
star
6.58
65 votes

#50 - Port Protection

Port Protection is home to the few who have left behind normal society and chosen a different life in a remote Alaskan community, where survival of the individuals and community cannot sustain without the other. The stakes are high. The land is rugged and unforgiving and the seas which surround Port Protection are cold and merciless. With risk comes a reward more profound than mere survival: a world of beauty and freedom with the security of community and without the constraints of bureaucracy. In Port Protection there are no clear roads to survival, inhabitants must carve one themselves.

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