FOR all that Netflix and co have made documentaries popular, the people who make them remain relatively unknown. But there is an elite group whose names act like a guarantor of quality. Attenborough, for instance, or Theroux.

Ken Burns is definitely part of the club, some would say its pre-eminent member. From the Civil War and jazz to Vietnam and Muhammad Ali, there are few subjects in American life that Burns has not explored.

His latest mini-series, The US and the Holocaust (BBC4, Monday, 10pm) is one of his most keenly awaited, not just for its take on a particular period in American history, but for its relevance today.

Made by Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, the film is split into three two-hour parts. No-one ever accused a Burns documentary of skimming the surface of its subjects.

The first instalment opens with the Emma Lazarus poem engraved on the Statue of Liberty, welcoming in the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

In sharp contrast comes a poem written a few years later in which Thomas Bailey Aldrich asks, “O Liberty, white Goddess? Is it well to leave the gates unguarded?”

Open the gates, shut the gates, leave them open for some but not others – the arguments are as old as America and shift back and forth over time. As one historian says, everyone thinks of the US as a welcoming country, one built on immigration, when in fact shutting people out “has been as American as apple pie”.

If there was ever a clear case for throwing the gates open it would have been to usher in Jewish refugees from Nazi terror. The US did in fact admit 225,000, more than any other nation. But, as the film argues, it could have welcomed so many more in the years leading up to war in Europe. So why didn’t it? That is the question at the heart of The US and the Holocaust, and the answers make for often dismaying but always compelling viewing.

As with all Burns’ films, this one follows a familiar, almost trademark, style, with photographs and footage combining with Peter Coyote’s narration and interviews to tell the story in painstaking detail. While the historians are some of the best in their field, it is the words of those who escaped Hitler’s murderous regime that will linger longest in the mind.

Landscape Artist of the Year (Sky Arts, free to view, Wednesday, 8pm) returns for another series. Maintaining its reputation for choosing novel locations, the first heat takes place in a not so tropical Blackpool. Brrrr. Just as well the artists have the show’s famous “pods” to protect them from the elements.

Eight artists, a mix of amateur and professional, are asked to capture a sea view that includes the North Pier. Jollying them along in their efforts are hosts Joan Bakewell and Stephen Mangan.

Everyone is jolly on Landscape Artist. It’s the same with its sister programme, Portrait Artist of the Year, and why not? Adding to the anything goes air in Landscape are the 50 “wild card” artists who set up shop on the fringes of the battle in the hope of bagging a place in the semi-final.

In the Blackpool heat there are three Scots in the main competition, each with dramatically different styles. Not that we would ever play favourites. It is up to the usual judging panel of Kate Bryan, Kathleen Soriano and Tai-Shan Schierenberg to take the difficult decision of who will go through to the grand final, and eventually secure a £10,000 commission.

One of the joys and frustrations of BBC iPlayer is that there is so much on it to watch. It is easily searchable but what if you don’t know what you are looking for? What of those Rumsfeldian unknown unknowns?

Take, for instance, the aptly named Search Party (iPlayer, five series). Who knew there was space in one’s life for another comedy set among New York twentysomethings? This one is edgier than most, and it takes a while to get on its wavelength, but once there it certainly grows on you.

The Herald:

The routinely terrific Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) plays Dory, a graduate who is drifting through life, trying to find out where she fits in. “I’m just tired of things that don’t matter,” she wails.

When she sees the face of an old acquaintance from college on a missing person’s poster she feels compelled to play detective. Before you know it, other self-obsessed, hashtag-driven millennials have joined the quest, but none is as dedicated as Dory.

Imagine something that’s Scooby Doo without Scooby, mixed with a dash of Better Things and some good-old fashioned farce, and you begin to get the idea.