Unsolved Mysteries

  • 11 Jul - 17 Jul, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly

When Unsolved Mysteries aired primarily on NBC from the late '80s into the '90s, episodes tracked the inexplicable and the unresolved with a heavy reliance on re-enactments, all held together by the wooden-yet-nosy sternness of host Robert Stack. More than 30 years later, the format hasn't just been duplicated elsewhere; it has split off into a legion of variations that dominate TV. There are networks dedicated to crime TV, a genre of which Unsolved Mysteries was an obvious progenitor. This new incarnation has almost none of what made the original memorable, substituting generic cases and limited style in stories (episodes run less than an hour) that are too dull for a miniseries and too meekly investigated. The full batch is now premiering on Netflix; it focuses on the same sorts of cases. There's a woman who was found dead and her son is sure that his stepfather was involved. There's another case of the shocking death of a prominent family that isn't solved because the patriarch who probably committed the crime has gone missing himself. The original series was driven heavily by re-enactments and, yes, they were a way of illustrating possibilities. In the new version, the re-enactments have been limited to more traditional documentary-style filler, bridging scenes or covering for a lack of news footage.

– Compilation