The Best Episodes of Discovery Channel Documentaries
Last Updated: Feb 12, 2019
Discovery Channel (formerly The Discovery Channel from 1985 to 1995, and often referred to as simply "Discovery") is an American basic cable and satellite television channel (which is also delivered via IPTV, terrestrial television and internet television in other parts of the world).
#1 - 9/11: After the Towers Fell
Season 2010 - Episode 10
When the Twin Towers Collapsed on September 11, 2001, thousands were feared trapped beneath the tons of steel and rubble. Rescue Workers, family, and friends rushed to Ground Zero to save the buried. These are the stories of the race to rescue survivors.
#2 - Churchill's Toyshop
Season 2015 - Episode 6
CHURCHILL'S TOYSHOP explores the secretive and strange arms race between Britain and the Nazis during WW2. Convinced that the path to victory lay in out gunning the Nazis but faced with limited resources, British weapon manufactures were forced to improvise. To combat the problem, Winston Churchill himself set-up a secret clandestine research institute, dedicated to coming up with super weapons that would give troops the edge in battle. He christened the department Military Defence 1 but it quickly becomes known as Churchill's toyshop. Using rare archive and interviews, the one-off special tells the story of the department and some of the most fantastic and improbable weapons ever created. With the help of modern experts and contemporary blue prints the series will also recreate some of the lost technology.
#3 - Pompeii Back From The Dead
Season 2011 - Episode 8
As Vesuvius rained destruction on the the Roman town of Pompeii, 74 men, women and children took refuge in a dark cellar. There, they waited, while their friends and neighbors fell victim to the heat and ash that swallowed the city. They thought they had survived the worst - instead, they became the last people to die in the disaster. The discovery of their bones - perfectly preserved - reveals much about the way the people of Pompeii lived - and died.
#4 - End of Extinction: Cloning the Tasmanian Tiger
Season 1 - Episode 116
Hidden away in a Sydney vault is a young, pickled pup. For almost 140 years, it's remained locked in its glassy tomb. But this is no ordinary pup. In fact, it's not a pup at all. It's a fetus of an animal more closely related to an Australian kangaroo. It was a marsupial which looked like a dog had stripes like a tiger, yet carried its young in a pouch. How the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, came to be extinct is a tragedy, and how it might live again is the pursuit of a scientific miracle. Is it possible or wishful thinking? Herein find the story of one man's obsession and his quest to reverse extinction.
#5 - Planes That Never Flew: The Atomic Bomber
Season 1 - Episode 136
An account of world-beating aircraft projects that were scrapped before their time. Each aircraft is recreated and shown using computer graphics. Includes archive footage and interviews. In the grip of a rapidly escalating Cold War America poured billions into developing a giant nuclear powered bomber, a plane so fantastic that it could stay aloft for months at a time. The Convair WS 125 was the ultimate doomsday machine... Recently declassified Russian Cold War era documents disclose they actually flew a prototype Atomic engined bomber.
#6 - Bermuda Triangle Exposed
Season 2011 - Episode 5
Examine the Bermuda Triangle by layer to reveal what's beneath the 440, 000 square miles of ocean in the deadly marine graveyard. Freak waves, magnetic anomalies, giant whirlpools and more have been blamed for its mysterious plane and boat disappearances.
#7 - Secrets of Seal Team 6
Season 2011 - Episode 32
For three decades, the elite government operatives of SEAL TEAM VI have existed under the radar, but now, their cover is blown. We'll uncover the classified information the government doesn't want you to know and discover the SECRETS OF SEAL TEAM 6.
#8 - Secret Life of Money
Season 2013 - Episode 9
The incredible life cycle of cash money is set to be examined by the Discovery Channel. SPOILERS: It doesn't come anywhere close to my wallet!
#9 - Everest Avalanche Tragedy
Season 2014 - Episode 7
Originally announced as a series following Joby Ogwyn's preparation as he trains to become the first person to jump from the peak of Mount Everest. The series would have culminated in attempting the stunt live on air. However due to the death of 12 Sherpa guides on April the 18th, the stunt was cancelled and instead NBC News will use the footage shot to present a special documentary highlighting the events leading up to the tragedy.
#10 - Comet Collision
Season 2005 - Episode 16
In July 2005, NASA's Deep Impact probe collided with comet Tempel 1, providing the first-ever glimpse of the interior of one of these "dirty snowballs" and valuable insight into the formation of our solar system. NASA's brilliant, but risky, plan to send a tiny, copper-plated probe hurtling directly towards the city-sized comet at a speed of 23,000 mph was a smashing success. The resulting explosion of particles provided experts with new data about the composition of life-building materials that were present in the early solar system. Watch as state-of-the-art spacecraft animation and stunning location photography bring the mission to life, taking viewers behind the scenes of NASA's high-profile mission. Follow the entire journey of the doomed Deep Impact probe, from its initial design to the extraordinary challenge of building a spacecraft that's intended to be smashed to pieces.
#11 - The Scorpion's Tale
Season 2006 - Episode 32
Scorpions belong to the oldest land-based arachnides. Over 1800 different species are known to exist. Usually, they do not surpass the size of 10cm in length, but exceptions are know, such as the Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator) which can grow up to become over 20cm in size. Scorpions mostly live at night and hide away during the day. They live mainly on insects but some species also feed on rodents and reptiles (lizards that are not big enough to be an opponent). Today humans threaten the existence of some species of scorpions. Take a look into the live of these amazing creatures!
#12 - Seven Wonders Of Ancient Rome
Season 1 - Episode 162
Documentary which explores the Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome: Circus Maximus, Trajan's Forum, Aqueducts, Baths of Caracalla, Roman Roads, Pantheon and The Colosseum.
#13 - Valley Of The T-Rex
Season 2001 - Episode 4
Join paleontologist Jack Horner on a journey into the arid badlands of Montana where more T. rex skeletons have been uncovered than any other place on earth. Follow Horner – who found five T. rex dinosaurs here in a single summer – as he scrutinizes the T. rex's arms, large olfactory lobes, tiny eye sockets and unique teeth, to gain insight into whether T. rex was a ferocious predator or an opportunistic scavenger. For example, Horner surmises that the T. rex's stumpy arms wouldn't allow T. rex to scoop up prey, indicating he may have come along after the kill. Among Jack Horner's finds is the oldest T. rex ever found. At 68 million years, it's 3 million years older than any other specimen challenging the beliefs of when T. rex roamed the Earth. Also, see a 90% complete never before seen juvenile tyrannosaur called Daspletasaurus – an earlier large meat-eating cousin of T. rex. Visit dig sites, labs and museums, and witness brilliant computer animation that visualizes how these creatures lived and died. Plus, see new evidence that could allow scientists to reach ever further back in time.
#14 - Stealth Secrets
Season 1 - Episode 2
The future of stealth flight, including bombers that can travel at five times the speed of sound, brought to life through 3-D animation
#15 - Best Kept Secrets of the Military
Season 1 - Episode 62
Here find confidential stories from the top secret files of the Pentagon: A nuclear bomb is lost off the East Coast! Could it suddenly wipe out an entire city? This bomb is still capable of a nuclear explosion, and it has never been recovered. Plus... earth shattering sky quakes rattle Los Angeles. Are they being caused by a top secret spy plane? We examine supersonic aircraft operating whose existence is not being acknowledged by the authorities. And, the government's classified doomsday plan revealed: The politicians will be safe, but what about your family? There are highly elaborate plans for the uppermost levels of the government, of course, and for you? You're on your own. Plus, new secret weapons for the twenty-first century soldier... Can technology outweigh paying top-dollar to the world's most lucrative industry?
#16 - Nostradamus Decoded
Season 2010 - Episode 2
The possible prophet might have been able to see into the future or to manipulate people's minds.
#17 - Apollo 11: The Untold Story
Season 2006 - Episode 16
When Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon in July 1969, Apollo 11 was hailed as the supreme triumph of American technology. But behind the flag waving lies a very different story: the untold account of how close the mission came to disaster. Now, nearly forty years later, men on that mission reveal what really happened on the first voyage to the moon, and unpublished NASA documents are made public for the first time. It's a tale of how primitive computer technology coupled with human errors and mechanical failures nearly caused the tragic loss of the crew. Apollo 11: The Untold Story reveals how, in deep space, the lunar module lost all contact with earth, coming within seconds of crashing. By running off course, the lunar module became critically low on fuel over inhospitable boulder-strewn lunar terrain. Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin recalls how the astronauts believed they saw a UFO some 200,000 miles from earth, an event covered up at NASA's insistence for over thirty years. We discover how Mission Control's total computing power was the equivalent of one of today's laptops while the power of the lunar module was equal to a modern digital watch. Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin reveals how a ballpoint pen saved him and Neil Armstrong from a lonely death stranded on the moon; and we discover how behind the scenes, so great were the fears that the crew wouldn't return that during the mission White House officials prepared a secret memorial speech for President Nixon to deliver to the world in the event of tragedy. Everybody thinks they know about Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong's "one small step for man", the stars and stripes planted firmly in the moon rock, the triumphant return to earth. This film, drawing on first hand testimonies from Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 flight director Gene Kranz and key personnel from the mission, reveals just how complicated that mission really was. For a group of pioneering men armed with experimental 1960s technology, Apollo 11 was a triumph against the odds that came close to ending in disaster.
#18 - America's Lost Submarine
Season 2009 - Episode 18
A vacation along Panama's Pearl Islands led Archaeologist James Delgado to an astounding discovery, the world's first working submarine, rusting on a remote beach, forgotten for over 135 years. We follow Delgado as he uncovers the mystery surrounding this maritime treasure. How did the vessel work, what killed its inventor and crew, and why did it end up here in this deserted archipelago? We also trace the amazing life of emigrated German engineer Julius Kroehl and how he invented a diving craft that was half a century ahead of its time.
#19 - Delta Company - The Push to Baghdad
Season 2005 - Episode 9
Delta Company, 1st Tank Battalion was a lead ground attack element in the 2003 Iraq War. Accompanying them for the entire three-week charge from Kuwait to Baghdad were Marine Corps combat cameraman equipped with the latest high definition cameras. Delta Company is the two-hour television special based on that combat footage, including personal accounts of the Marines as they are leading the charge. The stunning footage in this program has never been seen on television before. Highlights include dramatic tank, air, and infantry combat, briefings and interaction between soldiers, and interviews with key military participants along the road to Baghdad. With the help of a heroic lance corporal who detonates a failed line charge by hand, Delta Company overcomes the obstacles at the Diyala Bridge. The unit achieves the first opposed bridge crossing in Marine Corps history since the Korean War. Amid scattered resistance, the Delta Company tanks push through and enter the city. Soldiers interact with civilian populations, joining them in toppling statues of the former dictator. As major combat operations conclude, Marines reflect on their experience and prepare to return home.
#20 - Mile Wide Tornado: Storm Chasers Tribute
Season 2013 - Episode 12
Mile Wide Tornado: Storm Chasers Tribute centers on the severe tornado that hit near Moore, Okla., On May 20 and left 24 dead, including three storm chasers. Also included are highlights and special scenes of storm chasers Tim & Paul Samaras and Carl Young from the Discovery series, which ran from 2007 to 2011.
#21 - Seven Wonders Of Ancient Greece
Season 1 - Episode 161
Documentary which explores the Seven Ancient Wonders of Greece: the Theatre of Epidaurus, Olympia, Delphi, the Colossus of Rhodes, Santorini, The Palace of Knossos and the Parthenon.
#22 - Atlantis - The Lost Continent
Season 1 - Episode 91
Atlantis is a mirage, the fascinating myth of the lost Golden Age, a fatal attraction along centuries. Its story, handed on by Solone, one of the seven wise men of Greece, and told for the first time by Plato, fascinated people like Christophe Columbus, Napoleon and even Hitler, enchanted by the myth of an extremely progressive civilization, swept away by a flood at the dawn of history. The research for Atlantis is an enthusiastic travel across oceans and continents and ten thousand years of history. From the hidden valleys in looking for a magic, enchanting world. A marvelous adventure in the wake of tenaciously and restless was the research for its priceless treasure. A journey to look for the truth behind the legend that still goes on today to seek, in the deepest oceans Atlantis ruins, waiting to be awaken by a brave adventurer.
#23 - The World's Most Expensive Cars
Season 2012 - Episode 19
Velocity Classic Special: The Auto Union is one of the rarest & most expensive race cars in history. This special focuses on the controversy surrounding its auction in Paris France (2007).
#24 - iGenius: How Steve Jobs Changed the World
Season 2011 - Episode 53
Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman host a retrospective look and celebration of the life of Steve Jobs.
#25 - The Lost Tomb Of Jesus
Season 1 - Episode 57
In 1980, in East Talpiot, Jerusalem, a bulldozer accidentally uncovered what may be the most explosive archaeological discovery of all time. Of the ten ossuaries, or stone coffins, found inside the first-century tomb, six bore inscriptions: Jesus, son of Joseph; Maria; Mariamene (the name by which Mary Magdalene was known), Joseph, Matthew, and Judah, son of Jesus. At first dismissed by archaeologists as coincidence, the ossuaries were deposited in the endless warehouses of the Israel Antiquities Association and forgotten. Twenty-five years later, Emmy-winning journalist Simcha Jacobovici and his team, Felix Golubev, journalist and producer; Hollywood kingpin James Cameron; Paleo-biologist and best-selling author Charles Pellegrino; and renowned Biblical scholar James Tabor, took a fresh look at this astounding cluster of New Testament names. Granted unparalleled access, but battling a host of problems, the team goes in search of the ossuaries…and the lost tomb…