Winner
Locked Up Abroad – National Geographic Channel

Now in its 9th season, it’s never easy to watch. But this show’s harrowing re-enactments of true incarceration stories—like that of Ernie Brace, the longest-held
prisoner of war in the history of the Vietnam War—give us chills every time. Once transported to the “Hanoi Hilton” prison he struck up a life-saving friendship with Lt. Cmdr. John McCain, who had been shot down and also taken prisoner. Most of the stories, however, involve no one famous. They just tell the tale of unfortunate travelers who ended up imprisoned. The reenactments, combined with personal interviews, create mesmerizing and often inspiring accounts.

Honorable Mentions

20 Under 20: Transforming Tomorrow – CNBC – Profiling these future entrepreneurs (and their parents’ reactions), this doc looks at the next generation and the bright ideas ahead of us.

Enemies Within: Joe McCarthy – Smithsonian Channel – An interesting and unbiased look at McCarthy’s “legacy of tactics,” with actual footage, interviews with people knowledgeable of him and cinematic recreations.

First Ladies: Influence and Image – C-SPAN – Hosted by C-SPAN’s co-president and co-CEO Susan Swain, this rich documentary series offers a rare glimpse into each First Lady’s era, costumes, architecture and more.

Killing Lincoln – National Geographic Channel – Narrated by history buff and actor Tom Hanks, the historically accurate details in this dramatic reenactment are painstaking.

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