Best Mockumentary Style TV Shows, Ranked – MovieWeb

Ever since The Office, there have been 20 years of mockumentary television shows, and these are the best.
As TV documentaries have become a growing genre, and the influence of Ricky Gervais' UK show The Office rippled throughout the television landscape, it's no surprise to find a plethora of mockumentaries in their wake. Characterized by mock interviews, shaky camera, and a comical cast, mockumentaries are satires wrapped up in a documentarian style of filmmaking.
The genre provides viewers with a comedic look at every day life and helps viewers find meaning and humor the usually mundane and frustrating circumstances. Some of the funniest and most watched shows on television today are mockumentaries. Here is a list of some of the best mockumentaries to binge-watch tonight.
This show parodies all beloved cop shows with an incompetent cast of characters and overly dramatic chase sequences. Reno 911 gives an up-close and personal look at officers serving in the Reno, Nevada police department. The hilarious Comedy Central original show displays the worst and most extreme examples of common complaints against police officers. The show may not be for everyone, but its eight seasons of laughs add a new take on both mockumentaries and police shows
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Arrested Development breaks away from the interviews of the usual mockumentary, and relies on handheld cameras and voiceover to fit in with the genre. In many ways the series feels like an unobtrusive style of documentary where the camera crew observes from a fly-on-the-wall distance rather than interacting with the subjects. Arrested Development follows a family after their wealthy father goes to prison for his businesses' suspicious money management. The family struggles to adapt to their new lifestyle and keep their business afloat.
Any fan of Taika Watiti and Jemaine Clement loved their comedic impressions of roommate vampires in What We Do in the Shadows, which was then developed into a surprisingly successful, hilarious, and ingenious television series. While most of the other documentaries on this list play off of relatability and realism, What We Do in the Shadows puts viewers in a ridiculous setting where fantastical creatures live in the modern world. Yet, the in-depth interviews and detailed approach through the lens of a mockumentary camera lends a certain believability to this horror-comedy.
This TV show breaks from the traditional mockumentary storyline. Instead, Documentary Now! parodies a different famous documentary every episode. The delightful comedians and actors Bill Hader and Fred Armisen (with introductions each episode from Helen Mirren) each add their own sense of humor and industry experience to the project. With its creativity and obscure references that will enthrall cinephiles familiar with the world's great documentaries, Documentary Now! is sure to be an ego boost for film fans who love trivia, or pique the curiosity of those who don't usually enjoy the genre.
Abbott Elementary follows the daily happenings at a Philadelphian elementary school. Viewers love the non-stop comedy mixed in with an unfiltered assessment of the public school system. After just one season the season Abbott Elementary was nominated for seven Emmy Awards and won three. The show recently started its second season on September 21, 2022, and fans are excited to view all 13 new episodes.
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Everyone's favorite puppet crew has been trying to re-enter pop-culture since joining Disney's umbrella. Their recent show The Muppets encapsulates the childhood fun of the Muppets with some adult humor thrown in. The short-lived, single-season show from 2015 repeatedly calls out and makes fun of its own reliance on the mockumentary style. The series looks at the Muppets' personal lives and goes behind the scenes of their new shows. Years after the original Muppet Show Kermit and Miss Piggy still struggle to define their relationship and settle differences. With its nostalgic charm and modern takeThe Muppets makes family members of all ages crack a smile.
While other mockumentaries offer insight into life at work or school as workplace comedies, this mockumentary is one of the few that attempts to capture life in the home. Modern Family attempts to capture how family life has evolved and the unique challenges that face home life today, as its name suggest. The show follows one big family made up of three different households with children and parents of all ages. Over the show's 11 seasons, live viewers got to grow up with their favorite characters and enjoy several new phases of life. Even years later the interpersonal drama is sill as relatable and funny as when the show originally aired.
Leslie Knope may work in one of the most overlooked government departments, but that doesn't shake her determination to change the world. A wide cast of characters joins Leslie's office including a cynical boss (Nick Offerman), ditzy but sweet co-worker Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt), and handsome but dorky auditors (Rob Lowe and Adam Scott). The series follows Leslie and her office compatriots as they work to solve one local crisis after another. While Leslie's unbreakable optimism and passion makes her the brunt of many jokes, it can't help but rub off a little on the viewer.
While The Office UK probably kickstarted the genre of popular mockumentary television, the American version of The Office shows off everything great about this style of TV, and continues to inspire TV writers today. The series follows the workers at the Dunder Mifflin paper company thought their mundane trials of office work. Who knew that every-day life could provide nine seasons worth of the funniest jokes on TV.
The series not only offers laughs for all of its viewers, but also an insightful look into the different personalities. Memorable characters like Michael Scott and Dwight have become essential to meme culture and Jim and Pam are the poster children for office romances everywhere. Seeing some of the most annoying characters from our own workplaces captured on screen gives audiences both validation and new appreciation for unusual personalities.


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