Wondering how to spend a long weekend when you can’t leave the house? Emily Writes has a guide to all the other wild documentary series you could watch.
Netflix’s true crime/poverty porn series Tiger King is a hit, there’s no doubt about it. It’s been the streaming service’s most popular title for nine days straight and is Rotten Tomatoes’ most popular TV series at the moment with an approval rating sitting at 98%.
If you’re hankering for some more riveting yet deeply uncomfortable viewing, Netflix and other streaming services have plenty more on offer. Here’s a list of what you can watch after you’re done with the weird saga of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin.
Abducted in Plain Sight (Netflix)
This 2017 documentary is beyond shocking. I felt absolutely numb after watching it. It covers the kidnapping of a young girl by her neighbour, but it’s so much more than that. It’s an astonishing true story of grooming, of misplaced trust, of parents who just seemed like, I don’t know, real fucking idiots. Jan Broberg, the victim of the story, has repeatedly said it wasn’t just her that was groomed by a monster – it was her whole family. It’s impossible to watch this without being punched in the face with just how much grace and courage Jan has in forgiving her parents and her assertion that they were all victims. It really does show the power of manipulation. It’s an incredible documentary.
Don’t Fuck With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (Netflix)
This true crime series begins with a graphic video of kittens being killed. It doesn’t show the worst of it, but what it does show is sickening. What begins as a story about cat lovers on the internet turning into cyber sleuths searching for a cat killer unwinds into a batshit chase for a necrophile cannibal murderer who made a snuff film and put it online. It’s a very rough watch but fascinating too – an absolute humdinger in the Shit Is Fucked genre of true crime.
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)
It’s true that there’s no greater joy than watching rich kids cry about not having aircon, but this documentary is a hell of a lot more than what it looks like on the surface. Sure, there’s some incredible meme-perfect moments like Blowjob Evian Water guy, but the real horror of this show isn’t how gullible and fucking stupid people are – it’s that there’s so little accountability by these rich pricks who left Great Exuma businesses destroyed. I swear 90% of the people in this documentary are just absolute skid marks.
Dark Side of the Ring (Neon)
I cannot get enough of “behind the scenes of wrestling” stories, and I absolutely love this series. Even if you don’t follow wrestling you’ll enjoy it. Bruiser Brody’s murder is covered in the first episode in fascinating detail, then there’s the tragic story of Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, followed by The Montreal Screwjob (who doesn’t love reading about The Montreal Screwjob), Gino Hernandez’s murder, the tragic Von Erichs family and the Fabulous Moolah. It’s an amazing series – I’ve watched it twice.
Wild Wild Country (Netflix)
It’s almost impossible to keep up with this documentary. I don’t even know how to explain it. Basically, Rajneeshpuram was a commune established in the 1980s that descended into chaos. I had to watch it a few times over and even skip back to try to follow. Everyone sucks and you don’t know who you feel sorry for. Is it the mostly racist Oregon community? The mostly awful white hippies? Or is it the Bhagwan (actually it’s never the Bhagwan)?
Tell Me Who I Am (Netflix)
This 2019 documentary is heartbreaking and beautiful. It begins and ends with tragedy. You won’t believe this psychological thriller set inside a family life full of secrets, lies and trauma. It encourages us to question what memories are our own. Adam, 18, wakes from a coma. He has no memory of who he is. He has his twin brother, Marcus, to help him through. The question at the heart of this documentary is: if we don’t know what happened to us, can it still hurt us?
McMillion$ is a fascinating six-part doco that looks at how the popular McDonald’s Monopoly game was successfully rigged for (at least) a decade. I didn’t think much of this synopsis until I realised that in the United States the Monopoly games give away all sorts of amazing shit like cars, boats and (RuPaul voice) one million DOLLARS. This heist netted $24 million worth of fraud! In 2018, the rights to the story were sold for $1 million to Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s film studio. Tom Cruise would be perfect as FBI agent Doug Mathews, who absolutely steals the whole doco.
The Mask You Live In (Netflix)
This is such an important documentary. It looks at toxic masculinity and the iron grip it has on young boys and men. How can we support our kids through this crisis? Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, whose Miss Understood doco was a huge hit a while back, this one really hit me hard as the mum of two boys. My husband and I watched it together and we often revisit it. A must-see.
Making a Murderer (Netflix)
You’ve probably been living under a rock if you haven’t seen this one. It made me sick to my stomach and took a long time to get through. It’s essential viewing in understanding how fucked the US criminal justice system is. But don’t ask me who’s guilty because I just don’t know. This one will stay with you for a long time.
Beware the Slenderman (Neon)
What could make two 12-year-old girls stab another girl? And who is the Slenderman? I wrote a full review of the documentary when I saw it in 2016. It’s fascinating viewing and a parent’s nightmare. It definitely has gaps, but it’s still worth a watch.
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