Investigating True Crime TV’s Energy Over Audiences

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It doesn't really take a lot of detective work to find them.

Hidden between the usual Big Little Lies and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel tariffs, they're here – this year's offering of excellence in real life crime.

Admittedly, the genre is not a current category for the Golden Globes on Sunday evening. Rather unbelievable, Netflix’s eight-episode mini-series, which dramatizes a series of rape cases in Washington and Colorado, is awarded in the "Best TV Movie" or "Limited Series" category, while "The Act" (19459003) was awarded "Joey King "(19459004) will fight incredible stars (19459003)] Kaitlyn Dever and Merritt Wever for acting honors and her co-star Patricia Arquette meet Toni Collette in the best supporting actress.

But at this point it can only be a matter of time before the division is renamed "Limited-Series". Unbelievable that Netflix is ​​one of the most watched series of the year, and you will hardly find anyone who is not fascinated by Hulu's retelling and King's account of the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard .

Really, it's more than a moment. It can rightly be said that whodunnit content has been available for about half a decade.

Real life puzzles and thrillers changed from the kind of viewing you did on a lazy weekend to first-class content for water coolers around 2014. Around the time when everyone you knew, Sarah Koenig's work heard whether Adnan Syed really killed his high school girlfriend on Serial or not. The apparently ubiquitous podcast was quickly followed by The Jinx – HBO's arrogance against the accused murderer Robert Durst – and Netflix & # 39; s Making a Murderer, the endlessly frustrating series in which everyone argued about the beliefs of Steven Avery and Steven Avery, his nephew Brendan Dassey.

"I think it was an underserved genre, we found that," Oxygen's Dave Kaplan told E! News about why everyone is suddenly becoming a criminal law expert on TV. "I think these shows have always been welcome in many ways. They just weren't produced in the clip they were released in."

And now with 24/7 streaming channels like Hulu and Netflix "The offering has grown to meet demand and is therefore only becoming a larger part of the pop culture conversation."

While we certainly have our views on why true crime stories have turned into television broadcasting (an opportunity for a little detective work mixed with pure, unadulterated appeals to train crashes), as senior vice president of strategic insights and chaplain researched into the other lifestyle Networks of Oxygen and NBC Universal and spend a lot of time answering this question. He interviewed viewers, from casual viewers to die-hard, enthusiastic viewers. He has recorded various programs and even asked at the annual CrimeCon what exactly leads the audience to a whole snapped marathon on the DVR.

As a result, he shares: "We have identified a few pillars that, in my opinion, are the main reasons for the fascination and interest in space." He completely solves the puzzle for us.

We can indulge our Nancy Drew fantasies.
Because that's not half the point? Being able to land on the correct answer who killed the cute teacher and mother of two before the hour-long episode ends? (Note: it's almost always the husband.) "I think it addresses a lot of the main benefits that viewers are looking for entertainment in general," says Kaplan, "that is, playing with something and finally solving the secret . "

And even if it is a story that is not solved in one episode, but a multi-partner that really deals with the why of everything:" They do not always end with a kind of satisfying Conclusion. "He says," but it's still fun to see how history unfolds. "

And remember what we learned in Psych 101.
You may have heard the term armchair detective, but Kaplan and his cohorts noticed a new phenomenon: the rise of the armchair psychologist. "The detective in all of us wants to solve the crime," he explains. "The psychologist in us, I think, is increasingly trying to understand human thinking, the reasons why people might commit a heinous crime."

If we do not delve into the thoughts of a murderer, we are amazed at the exact circumstances that led to the fact that a person who looks like one of us became the headlines. Kaplan says, "I think that plays a role in this notion, just to have a deep understanding of the people and the world around you."

We can forget the worst news of the day by witnessing someone else's worst day.
When people mention escapist television, they generally talk about Keeping Up With the Kardashians and the various wealthy housewives in the world, "but the element that we hear over and over again really plays with these shows." Kaplan emphasizes.

In a recent survey, three-quarters of respondents said it was interesting to see "what people do with their lives" or, in some cases, what disorder they are in. "And about half of the people stated that other people's problems make them feel better in these situations."

He believes that "the attraction is that people are in these really extreme situations almost like you don't have to, you know? "No matter what work drama you're in or how stupid your kids feel, you can watch a brutal strangle repeat. "And it makes you feel like I'm not, thank God," he says. While you definitely don't want to put yourself in that person's shoes, you can spend an hour trying them on before returning home safely.

And sometimes we can refer to it – at least a little bit.
Granted, most of us are not involved in gruesome murders, but almost half of Kaplan’s viewers, about 42 percent, said they had a personal experience of crime.

Not all of them were victims or even directly involved in the case, they only knew someone who was involved or who was watching the situation. But even this contact with lawlessness is enough to instill empathy in people. "What we found is if you had any personal experience of crime in any way," he says, "that sparked your interest in the genre." In other words, go to the Murdered By Morning marathon.

They can serve as solid research tools.
Few of us imagine being at the wrong end of a knife or with the type for whom the term "bad boy" doesn't just mean that he tends to engage in relationships. But then most of the victims of Ted Bundy thought he was a charmer. "We hear a lot that people watch these shows because they want to learn how to protect themselves and their loved ones around them," says Kaplan.

And the evidence was in the most visited sessions at CrimeCon. The lie-detection seminar was popular, he recalls, as well as other lectures, "which give you practical tips on how to make the experiences in your life more intelligent. That is why this concept of willingness is really important."

Because we do our part for humanity.
Okay, on the surface this sounds like a stretch, but there is a way to view our couch potato tendencies as helpful. "People want to believe that watching these shows actually has a positive impact on the world in some ways," notes Kaplan.

And that can be argued. "You feel that criminals are brought to justice as a result of these shows. In a way, by participating as a spectator, you are helping to reinforce this notion that justice is ultimately served," he explains. "It restores, so to speak, their trust in humanity and our legal institutions." Hey, we're going to raise our TV controls to that!

(E! And Oxygen are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

Watch our special "Golden Globes: E! & # 39; S Inside Guide" this Thursday at 11:00 p.m. for a globes preview. And don't miss E! & # 39; S Live From the Red Carpet 2020 reporting on Golden Globes on Sunday, January 5th, from 4:00 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT followed by the Globes ceremony on NBC at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT!

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