With funding as shaky as ever, the craft of historical documentaries hits new highs
Current: There was a long period when TV critics regularly wrung their hands over the death of the long-form documentary. Now PBS has several strong documentary series, and documentaries are the basic material of several cable networks. Some documentaries like Hoop Dreams have been hits in theaters. Should we stop wringing our hands now? Judy Crichton: The truth is there was always an enormous appetite for nonfiction television, and we now know how to do these films a great deal better than we ever knew before.