With the rise of the tell-all documentary genre across streaming platforms, Netflix has become judge, jury and executioner, dipping their hands in scandals which span generations and informing our opinions.
Some of the most talked about television moments today are the controversial documentaries which accuse a person or group of something terrible, whether there is proof they did it. From the parents of Madeline McCann to Michael Jackson and even the Instagram influencers involved in the Fyre Festival scandal, no one is safe from the pointing finger of streaming services with a budget to blow and fires to fuel.
The public is treating these exposes like gospel, because a mid-angle interview shot with minimal music and a montage of archive footage must make a film legitimate, right? The line between entertainment and evidence have been blurred, and we are treating them as one and the same. Jackson has been banned from radio stations, but HBO is being sued for not fact checking, and there is concern that Madeline McCann’s open case will be disrupted by the binge-worthy expose.
Which stories will be next? Will Netflix uncover what the police could not about accused killer David Bane, or will they use the ‘Making of a Murderer’ effect and focus on his winning sweaters instead. Perhaps Donald Trump will be talked about so scathingly that his twitter account is deactivated just as Jackson was taken off the radio.
How accurate are these tell-all docco series? Does their accuracy even matter so long as the tale they are telling is worth our while? Who are they even hurting? Why are we watching? Why aren’t you watching? We definitely are.