If 'City In The Sky' Doesn't Return For Season 2, There Are Plenty Of Other Thoughtful Docs To Watch

Courtesy of BBC

Peak TV may mean that your DVR is constantly full of new shows that you feel obligated to catch up on, but that minor inconvenience is worth it when you consider just how many surprising and even strange ideas are able to make it to television. One such idea culminated in City in the Sky, a PBS documentary that will end after just three episodes on Wednesday, Feb. 22. While a documentary that looks into the airline industry with the same level of thoughtful fascination as nature or crime stories may seem a little odd, it's actually pretty fascinating. Neither PBS nor The BBC have suggested that City in the Sky will return for another season, and though they also haven't announced any sort of cancellation, it was always billed as a three-part series so the Feb. 22 episode will likely be its last.

Of course, there's always a chance the networks could choose to bring it back to delve into other aspects of the airline industry. As a co-production made by two public television networks, it doesn't need to rely too much on ratings. Although, with such a short initial season, it's possible that there's just not that much more to explore about the secret life of airports.

Luckily, no matter what happens with City in the Sky, there's no shortage of smart, interesting documentaries on TV. Here are a few you can check out if you're looking for yet another series to fill your DVR.

Chef's Table


This series, which just premiered its fourth season on Netflix, is so beautifully shot that you can almost taste the food prepared by some of the world's most talented chefs. It's calm, reflective, and will make you feel really good about any time you ate or cooked something particularly tasty and decadent.

Planet Earth


This all-time classic series is back with new episodes on BBC America, and it's still the most successful example of how to use careful editing and a wry voiceover to turn nature into a compelling narrative with heroes, villains, triumph, and tragedy.

History Of Comedy

CNN on YouTube

CNN has covered the last five decades with highly detailed docs, and now the network is tracing modern comedy, with an emphasis on standup, from its vaudevillian roots at the turn of the twentieth century to what makes us laugh now.

30 For 30


This production umbrella now boasts an Oscar nomination for O.J.: Made in America, which, if you haven't seen, you really ought to check it out. For a seven-hour doc about a someone as salacious as O.J. Simpson, it's remarkably restrained. But beyond that specific title, this pseudo-series about sports is currently in the middle of its third cycle of delving into compelling sports stories. You may have recently seen its examination on the short history of the XFL and there are more to come later this year.

HBO Docs

HBODocs on YouTube

These aren't technically a series, but the network just released three great, shorter docs that you should check out. Bright Lights is a bittersweet goodbye to Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, whose talents and relationship are beautifully captured. Beware the Slenderman is sometimes dry, but comes to life when reminding the audience that the real story here is that the two sets of parents whose daughters are at the center of a horrific crime aren't sure how they could have prevented their kids from becoming obsessed with the online urban legend. And Solitary: Inside Red Onion provides a look at just how inhumane solitary confinement can be.

Cancer & The Brain

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on YouTube

Finally, two PBS documentaries from 2016 that are also short and sweet. One, Ken Burns' Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, will make you realize the casualties of this heartbreaking disease. But the other, David Eagleman's The Brain, shows that the human brain is so fascinating that it will hopefully hold the answer to some of the world's biggest problems — and maybe even cure cancer.

With so much on TV, even a documentary about flying like City in the Sky, has a half-dozen peers that you can watch if you love the idea of unfamiliar documentary subjects or an unfamiliar style being applied to something as simple as food.