Did you spend most of the holidays screaming at your television and engaging in debates over Netflix’s Making a Murderer? Was your morning commute last winter accompanied by the voice of Sarah Koenig from Serial’s debut season? Did you totally lose your shit during The Jinx finale? Welcome, fellow true crime TV addict, you are not alone.
This past weekend saw Netflix jumping into the true crime racket with ten-part documentary series Making a Murderer, a heartland mystery of Steven Avery’s decades-long charges under suspicious circumstances, in the vein of The Jinx or Serial. Now, you don’t even need a Netflix account to make it your next obsession, as the streaming service releases its premiere free of charge online.
After blowing up the “true crime” craze by its first season, the second season of Serial has finally made its way to air, and so too follows the next wave of investigative documentaries. Enter Netflix’s new Making a Murderer, the full trailer of which dives deep into a heartland murder-mystery for accused criminal Steven Avery.
You’ve likely heard one person or another recommending HBO’s The Jinx as a followup to Serial, and Netflix hopes Making a Murderer might serve as the next link in our “true crime” chain. The streaming service has announced its own heartland murder-mystery with all the real-life twists you can handle, streaming this December.
The breakout success of Sarah Koenig podcast Serial spurred many a follow-up rumor, from an American Crime Story season, to continued speculation on the announced Season 2 subject, but as is often the case, the truth is far stranger. Phil Lord and Chris Miller have optioned Serial for a new scripted TV series, with a unique take on the concept.
40 million. That’s the staggering number of downloads the Serial podcast racked up by the end of its first season in December of 2014. The show crossed over from popular podcast to full-blown cultural phenomenon. It launched a thousand thinkpieces, lit up social media, and jumpstarted legal proceedings in a cold case. Hell, even my parents listened to it. It must have been big.
Sigh. This, sadly, seemed inevitable. This American Life’s Serial podcast became an immediate, massive success, with everyone—probably even your mom—talking about the compelling case of Adnan Sayed, and whether or not he murdered his former high school girlfriend Hae Min Lee. It was like one of those fantastic longform true crime articles, elongated and made all the more riveting by host Sarah Koenig’s journalistic investigation, and the many players involved in the case to whom she spoke over the course of 12 episodes. And although the producers of Serial said they had no interest in selling the movie rights, that hasn’t kept studios from fighting over it.