Alien Cities Underground
The earth's core is hollow, and home to alien races! I have a soft spot in my heart for these conspiracy-esque documentaries. There is some pretty cool stuff in here, like the discovery of an underground city that could house 20,000 people in Turkey. Also, if you're Mormon, this is a really cool documentary--Ecuadorian Indians are guardians of a cave of treasures that parallel artifacts from ancient Egypt and other Middle Eastern cultures. How could they have possibly gotten them?! This documentary postulates aliens, but I've got another theory. =) If you're not Mormon, read this book and you'll see how cool this is.
Lost Science of the Bible
I actually watched this one hoping it would be the same one I watched years ago with a similar subject, but it wasn't. Fairly entertaining, though. They made an ark of the covenant replica levitate. They talked about how water can be used to initiate a chemical reaction that creates fire (think Elijah). God is the greatest scientist.
The Antikythera Machine
Ancient civilizations are awesome. The modern concept of ancient peoples is that they were developmentally behind us, but they were still the same species, and to say they weren't capable of incredible engineering and technological feats is a bit of an insult. Take the ancient Greeks, for example. Or the Romans. They invented cuckoo clocks. Did you know that? Also, this documentary talks about the Ancient Library of Alexandria a lot, and I actually get teary-eyed thinking about how much knowledge was lost in its destruction. War is stupid! Libraries are awesome! We'd probably know how to build Egyptian pyramids today if Caesar hadn't gotten all battle-happy and burned everything.
The Real Bonnie and Clyde
I actually watched this one a while ago, but forgot to recommend it here. The classic Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway film is pretty fantastic, but the truth is even stranger than fiction in this case. Clyde Barrow is an especially tragic figure, and this documentary both moved and fascinated me. It was because of the Barrow Gang that the US Government created ways to coordinate federal searches of criminals--before Bonnie and Clyde, catching criminals was a haphazard county-to-county affair.
This is a two-part documentary focusing on the famous queen/possibly pharaoh Nefertiti. I'm kind of obsessed with her husband Akhenaten, and Egypt's history during their reign. This documentary covers a lot of it, although I tend to give Akhenaten more of the benefit of the doubt. There's all kinds of awesome stuff in this documentary, including appearances by the delightful Zahi Hawass and semi-silly reenactments. The focus is on three mummies found in KV-35...is one of them Nefertiti herself?! You'll have to watch this to find out.
BBC's How to Grow a Planet SeriesI have separate blurbs for each part of this series listed below, but just as a whole, this documentary is INCREDIBLE. All the HD glory of Discovery Channel's "Planet Earth," but with the added element of a story spanning billions of years. From the very first bacteria all the way to our own species of humanity, our planet's story is a pretty incredible one. There were times when this series actually made me weep at the beauty of the earth. (Note: This documentary sort of skips over the exact details of how evolution works, saying things like "Flowers developed seeds." For the exceptionally curious, I'd recommend brushing up on natural selection and sexual selection to get those details.)
How to Grow a Planet: Life From Light
This is an awesome overview of the beginnings of life on earth. Did you know that millenia ago, the oceans were purple? How incredible would that have been to see? This documentary has some stunning footage, and goes from the very first photosynthesizing bacteria to dinosaurs in the evolution of life on earth.
How to Grow a Planet: The Power of Flowers
Maybe we take them for granted, but life as we know it would be COMPLETELY different if it weren't for flowers. Did you know that there are some flowers who only release their pollen to honeybees, and ONLY when the honeybees beat their wings at a frequency of middle C? Did you know that some flowering trees in rain forests release 5 tons of water vapor into the air PER DAY?
How to Grow a Planet: The Challenger
Have you ever really thought about how much grass is on our planet? It's so humble, it seems like it would have been one of the first plants on earth, but scientists believe grasses came AFTER trees and flowers. This documentary is also fun because it gets into human history. Part of the reason our ancestors might have become bipedal is because they had to stand to see over the tall grasses. CRAZY. Grass has played a major role in human history--who knew?