4 Documentaries for Deep Sea Lovers to Watch

From Blue Planet II to Aliens of the Deep, explore the twilight zone and beyond through these four deep sea documentaries.

Aug 10, 2023By Natasha Elder
documentaries for deep sea lovers

Deep sea lovers, this one is for you! If you, like so many others, find yourself captivated by the mysteries of the deep sea, today’s article was written with you in mind. We’ve scoured the depths of the documentary world to present you with this playlist of 4 deep-sea documentaries to enlighten, entertain, and educate. Grab your popcorn, and dive beneath the blankets as you prepare to dive beneath the surface.

1. Blue Planet II, 2017

blue planet cover photo seal ocean
Image credit: BBC Earth

Whether you have questions about the importance of plankton or want to learn facts about killer whales, the legendary Sir David Attenborough stands at the ready. This distinguished British broadcaster and biologist has several documentaries under his belt, but the firm favorite of the deep sea lover would have to be the award-winning second episode of Blue Planet II, aptly named ‘The Deep’.

This hour-long documentary features state-of-the-art technology, breathtaking cinematography, and an incredible array of deep sea creatures. Creatures including the following star in the show:

  • Barreleyes
  • Angler fish
  • Snailfish
  • Dragonfish
  • Humboldt squids
  • Bluntnose sixgill sharks

You can watch Blue Planet II on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Discovery+, and those in the UK can also find it on BBC iPlayer. Of course, you could always purchase it on DVD or Blu-Ray.

2. Aliens of the Deep, 2005

aliens of the deep documentary james cameron
Image credit: Amazon Prime

This next documentary has a little bit of a dramatized Hollywood feel to it, no doubt because it is a film by the one and only James Cameron. In this unique documentary, James Cameron teams up with marine biologists and NASA scientists, and together they explore the otherworldly landscape of the deep sea.

Some of the footage in ‘Aliens of the Deep’ feels unreal, and the entire film has an intentional sci-fi feel and theme to it. In it, you’ll see unique landscapes such as bubble gum coral and sea lilies and unique lifeforms including giant squid, Venus girdle, deepwater octopus, yellow goosefish, pale ghost shark, narrow-necked oceanic eel, and other incredible deep sea specimens.

It is worth noting that a large portion of this documentary is dedicated to showcasing the equipment and technology used to bring this mission to our screens. ‘Aliens of the Deep’ can be viewed on Roku, Amazon Prime, and Disney+.

3. Deep Sea Wonders, 2021

angler fish deep sea natural world
Image credit: Natural World Facts

As much as settling down to watch a movie or an episode of a television show floats most people’s boats, it isn’t the top choice for everyone. Enter YouTube! Just like there are YouTubers that every fish owner should follow, there is a (very) small selection of YouTubers that deep sea documentary lovers should follow, and at the very top of that list is Natural World Facts.

Natural World Facts is a YouTube channel that is run by a Marine Biology undergraduate student named Leo Richards. Natural World Facts has a category of videos called Deep Sea Wonders, and in it are over 50 videos ranging in length from two-minute bitesize shorts to full hour-long documentaries, but most fall in the happy medium spot of around 20 minutes long.

These Deep Sea Wonders documentaries cover every aspect of the deep sea. Some examples of the deep sea documentaries available to watch on Natural World Facts include:

4. Deep Ocean: Descent into the Mariana Trench, 2017

deep ocean david attenborough cover image
Image credit: Amazon Prime

With more than 100 documentaries to his name, it’s no surprise that another David Attenborough title is on this list. This time it’s the iconic ‘Deep Ocean: Descent into the Mariana Trench’ that is on the watch list. This is the third and final episode in the NHK series. While episode one, ‘Lost World of the Pacific’, and two, ‘Lights of the Abyss’, are fantastic in their own right, episode three stands out.

‘Descent into the Mariana Trench’ explores the deepest, darkest, and most fascinating point of the ocean. This documentary follows the NHK deep sea film crew as they embark on a two-month-long mission under the waves to go where no unmanned vessel has been able to go before. At first glance, it seems like the bottom-most pit of the ocean is barren, but soon you will see that a very small and very special selection of creatures inhabits this inhospitable space.

Though this documentary might not heavily feature illuminated alien-like creatures like other documentaries do, it shines a spotlight on just how much time and energy goes into deep sea exploration. As a viewer, you get to watch the researchers react to their findings, which is special. You can watch this documentary on Amazon Prime, and it has also been reuploaded onto several YouTube channels since it first aired.

Natasha Elder
By Natasha Elder

Natasha is a mother, a wife, a writer, and a serial cat owner. Though she is currently in mourning, her heart not ready for another feline family member just yet, she has always lived life with four paws beside her. She loves – you guessed it – cats, as well as creatures of the fluffy, scaly, and finned variety. Natasha longs to meet Sir David Attenborough one day and is passionate about responsible pet ownership