Best Mockumentary-Style TV Shows, Ranked
As TV documentaries became a booming genre, and the influence of Ricky Gervais’ UK show Office Rippling across the television landscape, it’s no surprise to find a plethora of mockumentaries in their wake. Characterized by fictionalized interviews, camera shake and a comedic cast, mockumentaries are satires wrapped in a documentary cinema style.
The genre offers viewers a comedic look at everyday life and helps viewers find meaning and humor in typically mundane and frustrating circumstances. Some of the funniest and most-watched shows on television today are mockumentaries. Here’s a list of some of the best mockumentaries to watch tonight.
9/9 Reno 911
This show parodies every beloved cop show with an inept cast of characters and overly dramatic chase sequences.. Reno 911 provides an intimate and personal look at officers serving in the Reno, Nevada Police Department. Comedy Central’s hilarious original show features 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 fresh take on mockumentaries and crime shows
8/9 Development stopped
Development stopped breaks away from the usual mockumentary interviews and relies on handheld cameras and voiceover to fit the genre. In many ways, the series resembles a low-key documentary style where the film crew observes from a flying distance rather than interacting with the subjects. Development stopped follows a family after their wealthy father goes to jail for the suspicious handling of money from his businesses. The family struggles to adjust to their new way of life and keep their business afloat.
7/9 What we do in the shadows
Any Taika Watiti and Jemaine Clement fan loved their comedic impressions of roommate vampires in What we do in the shadows, which was later developed into a surprisingly successful, hilarious and ingenious television series. While most of the other documentaries on this list play on relatability and realism, What we do in the shadows puts viewers in a ridiculous setting where fantastical creatures live in the modern world. Still, the in-depth interviews and detailed approach through the lens of a dummy camera lend this horror-comedy some credibility.
6/9 Documentary now!
This TV show breaks with the traditional mockumentary script. In place, Documentary now! parodies a different famous documentary with each episode. Charming comedians and actors Bill Hader and Fred Armisen (with introductions to each episode by Helen Mirren) each add their own unique sense of humor and industry experience to the project. With its creativity and its obscure references that will seduce moviegoers familiar with the great documentaries of the world, Documentary now! is sure to be a boost for cinephiles who love trivia, or to pique the interest of those who generally dislike the genre.
5/9 Abbott Elementary School
Abbott Elementary School follows the daily events of a Philadelphia elementary school. Viewers love the nonstop comedy mixed with an unfiltered assessment of the public school system. After just one season, the season Abbott Elementary School has been nominated for seven Emmys and won three. The show recently started its second season on September 21, 2022 and fans are excited to see all 13 new episodes.
4/9 The Muppets
Everyone’s favorite puppet team has been trying to reenter pop culture since joining the Disney umbrella. Their last show The Muppets encapsulates the Muppets’ childhood fun with a little adult humor. The short-lived, single-season 2015 show repeatedly calls out and pokes fun at its own reliance on the mockumentary style. The series takes a look at the Muppets’ personal lives and goes behind the scenes of their new shows. Years after the original Puppet show Kermit and Miss Piggy are still struggling to define their relationship and settle their differences. With its nostalgic charm and modernityThe Muppets brings smiles to family members of all ages.
3/9 modern family
While other mockumentaries offer glimpses of life at work or school in the form of workplace comedies, this mockumentary is one of the few that attempts to capture life at home. modern family attempts to capture how family life has evolved and the unique challenges family life faces today, as the name suggests. The show follows a large family made up of three different households with children and parents of all ages. Over the show’s 11 seasons, live viewers have been able to grow with their favorite characters and enjoy several new phases of life. Even years later, the interpersonal drama is still as relatable and funny as it was when the show originally aired.
2/9 Parks and recreation
Leslie Knope may work in one of the most neglected government departments, but that doesn’t shake her determination to change the world. A wide range of characters join Leslie’s office, including a cynical boss (Nick Offerman), silly but sweet colleague Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt), and handsome but silly listeners (Rob Lowe and Adam Scott). The series follows Leslie and his fellow office workers as they work to solve one local crisis after another. While Leslie’s unbreakable optimism and passion make her the weight of many jokes, it can’t help but rub off on the viewer a bit.
1/9 The Office (US)
Whereas UK office probably kickstarted the popular dummy television genre, the American version of Office shows all that is great about this style of television and continues to inspire television writers today. The series follows the employees of the Dunder Mifflin paper mill who thought about their mundane hardships of office work. Who knew Everyday Life could deliver nine seasons of TV’s funniest jokes.
The series not only provides laughs for all of its viewers, but also an insightful look at the different personalities. Memorable characters like Michael Scott and Dwight have become central 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 a new appreciation for unusual personalities.