As this year so far has shown, reality can sometimes be stranger than fiction. The guy from The Apprentice is President of the United States, we’re facing a global pandemic and certain local celebrities believe we can choose our race. And no one has done a better job of cataloguing the weird, macabre, hilarious and terrifying pockets of our world than Netflix. In the past few years, the streaming service has provided a massive platform for real-life people to tell their stories through polished and highly entertaining documentaries. These stories cover everything from notorious serial killers to powerful corrupt figures to controversial civil rights leaders to that bitch Carole Baskins! With such a wide array of documentaries available on Netflix, it can be intimidating at times to pick one that you feel is worth your time and investment.
Well, allow us to eliminate the guesswork for you, as we recommend some of the latest and greatest documentary series available now on Netflix. Rest assured that by the time you’re finished with them, you’ll be both informed and entertained, if not disturbed.
1. Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer
If you’re a true-crime buff looking for a hefty dose of morbid curiosities and gory details, then do we have a weird one for you. Don’t F** With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer took 2019 by storm and it continues to be one of the most fascinating examples of citizen journalism and internet vigilantism. This three-episode long documentary series follows two leaders of a Facebook crusade movement looking to identify the man responsible behind a heinous act of animal abuse. In 2010, a failed model/actor uploaded a video of him suffocating two kittens in a vacuum-sealed bag. From then on, all hell breaks loose as he escalates to even horrific acts of violence, culminating in a man’s murder.
Unfortunately for him, a group of dedicated online investigators and amateur detectives pooled their resources together in an effort to bring this sicko to justice. He would have nearly gotten away if he hadn’t made one fatal mistake…he f**ked with cats and the internet loves cats! Don’t F**k With Cats is melodrama and yet it’s all true. This is the kind of stuff you’d find in a dark comedy or a crime thriller. Plucky everyman investigators and a nefarious serial killer with a complex past wrapped up in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. It even ends with a well-earned happy ending. Whether you’re a cat-lover or true-crime junkie, Don’t F**k With Cats is one frightening, moving and strangely inspiring documentary that you can’t miss.
2. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Money
If you came in expecting a 60-Minutes style tell-all coverage of Jeffrey Epstein and his connections to the rich and powerful then you’re not going to find it here. If you’re looking for a tin-foil hat conspiracy documentary about how the man didn’t kill himself, you’ll be sorely disappointed. What you will find in Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Money is a tragic and grotesque web of manipulation, sexual abuse involving minors and conspiracy. The story of how one man created a sphere of influence for himself through a sex-trafficking empire. If there’s one side to this story that hasn’t gotten enough attention, it’s his victims’. In this 4-episode documentary series, we get a glimpse to the twisted mind of this millionaire monster and lives he’s ruined.
The interesting thing is that the information and resources that went into this documentary series came prior to Epstein’s death. For all intents and purposes, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Money was meant to be a stunning expose takedown of this predatory paedophile. Corroborated by victim testimonies and law enforcement accounts, this was going to finally give some much-needed coverage on Epstein’s actions. Unfortunately, the conspiracy around Epstein’s supposed suicide took centre stage in the media, pushing the narrative of his victims to the back. These harrowing accounts of sexual exploitation couple with Epstein’s possible murder at the hands of powerful players adds a whole new dimension to this documentary series. I certainly hope, we hear more about his clients in its second season.
3. The Last Dance
I was never really a big fan of sports, both on the court or watching it on screen. So you can trust me when I say that ESPN’ The Last Dance is an absolute masterpiece of an insider documentary. A treasure trove for longtime fans of the legendary NBA Chicago Bulls and a captivating story about basketball royalty. The Last Dance is a 10-episode long sports documentary that follows Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ final season in the NBA as they fight to make basketball history. Each episode offers insight into a particular member of the team while advancing the narrative of the Bull’s last hurrah. What truly elevates The Last Dance into a whole other stratosphere is its inclusion of rare never-before-seen footage of the team’s interaction. I’m talking uncut and unfiltered dialogue and events played out on camera.
Since my review of its first four episodes about a month ago, I’ve been diligently following the show’s two-episode release schedule without fail. There’s a voyeuristic thrill that comes from seeing these amazing athletes be so flawed and human outside the court. All of it is owed to director Jason Hehir and his team of editors. They skillfully weave character history interviews, uncovered footage and modern-day interviews to create a well-rounded view of the Chicago Bulls. Admittedly, most of the spotlight is on Jordan and how his presence influenced everyone around him. Nonetheless, The Last Dance will go down in history as one of the greatest sports documentary series of all time.
4. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
Where do I even begin to describe the brazen insanity that is Tiger King? A documentary series that details American big cat conservationists and the country’s growing private zoo industry. This show is more than just glimpse into an odd passion project or hobby though. The focus of this series is on the rivalry between multiple big cat collectors and sanctuary owners vying to dominate an already niche market. There’s Joe Exotic, a psychopathic, polygamist former magician turned big cat owner who apparently ran for the 2016 Presidential Election. Then, there’s his longtime enemy whom he affectionately refers to as “that bitch Carole Baskins”. An animal rights activist who may or may not have killed her husband.
Beyond these two, the show introduces a slew of other kooky characters involved in this industry. I’m talking about cult leaders, former drug lords and even a mole for the federal government. Any one of these guys could have easily been a character in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and yet here they are! Real as can be. Tiger King‘s 8-episode long odyssey of madness is one that needs to be seen to believed. The main crux of the series is the ever-escalating feud between Exotic and Baskins as the two of them resort to legal action, video threats and at some point, one of them even hires a hitman. Is Tiger King the most pressing documentary you’ll see this year? No, but it’s definitely one that you’ll never forget.
5. Who Killed Malcolm X?
When you hear “Black Civil Rights”, the name Martin Luther King Jr. is most likely the first person who comes to mind. Less discussed, however, is his far more radicle and controversial counterpart, Malcolm X. A brilliant intellectual who saw compromise with the White Man as nothing short of a betrayal of his people. A powerful orator who travelled the world, finding allies in his global Pan-African movement. A divisive figure, even among his own people, who paid the price for his commitment. Shot to death by five members of his former mentor’s organization, the Nation of Islam. That being said, the man’s story isn’t over yet. His killers are still out there and historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad is determined to answer only one question: Who Killed Malcolm X?
Many a time, we’ve seen these grand investigative documentary series attempt to pad out their runtime with paper-thin theories before concluding in a vague, ungratifying way. Not this time. I’m not even kidding, Who Killed Malcolm X? actually lives up to its title. It answers the question! Watching Abdur-Rahman’s relentless quest to see justice for his hero figure can be likened to that of a detective drama. When he finds a possible lead, you’re just as excited as he is and when he hits a wall, you’re equally frustrated as well. Heed my words when I say that Who Killed Malcolm X? could be the most important documentary series of the year. I implore you not to miss this opportunity.