Wow! I just love it when the whole world comes together to talk passionately with each other about an important (and sometimes less important) subject. The thought of millions of people sitting in front of their blue-lit screens (aka the modern day campfire) alone but still connected with the world, getting engaged in a subject is exciting as well as fascinating.
Right now that subject is true crime firing the logs of the world’s campfires, with the Netflix series Making a murderer mainly sparkling the dialogue and engagement in the genre, driving it to a commercial peak.
True Crime is hardly a new thing. One of the most recognized books within the genre is ”Helter Shelter” published in 1974 (I wasn’t even born!) by American attorney Vincent Bugliosi telling the story of the murders by Charles Manson a.k.a The Manson Family. And there is account less of more stories to partake of. Also in my home country, Sweden, we have been obsessed with true crime pod casts for years, published by the Swedish public service (Sveriges Radio, P3 dokumentär). The genre claims to be around 150 years old, so why is it trending now?
I have a theory. Or rather a magical math equation: reach + awesome brand = world wide success. Yes, it’s Netflix I’m talking about. There are endless of great and interesting stories I miss every day because they’re hidden from me. The Internet may have it all, but if I can’t find it I won’t watch it. And no, I don’t have time to research great content. Aired on the big TV-channels and published in their schedules, I bet there are great stories to consume, but since they don’t sell it to me – I miss it. Oh, I don’t own a TV if I forgot to mention. On the other hand, if Netflix produces a series and publishes it on my account, I’m gonna watch it. And probably lots of people have done the exact same thing as me. The consumer trust Netflix has achieved with a next to flawless play experience to high-quality content enables them to make me interested in whatever subject there is, and that’s just wow, what a power! I wonder what they want the world to talk about next year?
Back to the subject true crime. Okay, now we have watched it and love it. But why? Why do we obsess about it?
There are a lot of mixed emotions cooked up in a true crime story which I believe is one of the triggers. There are horror and curiosity, compassion and rage. All sorts of strong feelings playing with our body and minds. Compared to for example a comedy that mostly serves us laughter and sometimes a bit of deeper affection, but the engagement stops when the episode has ended. The rush just isn’t enough. The emotional cocktail we receive from a true crime story makes us want more. But also the natural human curiosity to the odd and the extremities of the world have fascinated humans since.. yeah forever. The stories are for most of us beyond our understanding and that feeling of not understanding it makes us curious. And to play a detective during the episode is also kind of fun.