Making a Murderer, Part 2
This week sees the return of a TV game changer, with the second instalment of Making a Murderer airing on Netflix from Oct 19.
The original series of this show had a lot of people convinced that convicted killer Steven Avery was innocent. And it stirred up a whole genre of copycat real life crime series.
Since then many of us have become savvier about spotting the techniques these shows often use to create a marketable and compelling narrative, and the way they can massage the audience’s perceptions.
Have we changed too much and become too cynical to get drawn in to Making a Murderer so fully a second time?
I was a huge fan of both the original Making a Murderer and The Staircase, but subsequent research into both cases has cast increasing doubt in my mind about my earlier TV-based assumptions, and my prior unbridled enthusiasm for this genre.
However, Binge List’s Clare Rigden is hugely impressed with this new series, and she’s convinced its new revelations will once again blow our minds. So if you're a fan, definitely check it out.
The ratings haven’t been great so far, and after Nick Cummins offended a lot of Bachelor viewers by inconveniently refusing to fall in love, this could be a bumpy ride for the show.
We all know why people do this show – Instagram followers and a shot at post-series fame. Nobody goes on looking for love, and if they do, they must have the IQ of a banana.
With public disquiet rising, is this the end of the franchise? Not if they pull off some great stunt casting again next season!
In the meantime, Ali is a lot of fun – and some of her suitors already have gathered legions of fans. Hello Charlie!
The casting here is good - we have conflict, and the requisite douchebag villain is already making himself well known.
The Bachelorette is now screening on Ten and Ten Play.
How 'Mad' Are You?
Those edgelords at SBS are taking more risks with their new show, How 'Mad' Are You? This one features ten Australians – five of whom have a history of mental illness - spending a week together. Who is who?
This show has the laudable aim of smashing negative perceptions about mental illness, breaking stereotypes about the kind of people it touches, and how such illnesses manifest. It also wants to educate about how people can move forward with their lives after a diagnosis, often without anyone around them having any idea.
But creditable aims and a desire to break new ground don’t necessarily make a successful show.
How ‘Mad’ Are You? is on dodgy ground when its panel of experts try to diagnose who is showing signs of possible illness. These sequences often have a major cringe factor - even for the panel - and evoke memories of a string of reality TV exploitation-fests, most notably Married At First Sight.
While this show definitely does not aim to exploit, and has its heart and its intentions fully in the right place, its aims sometimes fall far short in execution.
Let’s hope it succeeds in its educational mission.
And now for something completely different.
Amazon Prime’s new anthology drama series The Romanoffs is about as far from fare like The Bachelorette as you could imagine. This is a series of separate stories about different people who believe themselves to be descendants of Russia’s tragic Romanov royal dynasty.
The show has been slammed by some as self-indulgent – and at 90 minutes an episode, it requires quite the commitment in this day and age of 'peak TV'. The binding concept that links the episodes also seems a little flimsy in the early episodes, but we remain ready to be convinced.
But if you’re a devoted fan of the creator, Madmen guru Matthew Weiner, The Romanoffs is well worth checking out.
To listen to this week's Binge List for a full discussion of these shows, check out the below player.