Unsolved Mysteries is a true-crime docu-series exclusively on Netflix. Ever since the the original Unsolved Mysteries aired in 1987, it has been synonyms with the unknown. From missing persons to unexplained phenomena the series originally hosted by Robert Stack left a lasting impression on viewers. Even if the sow was rather campy at times. Now however, Netflix has brought back the series. This time however, it looks to take the series toward more of a grounded place. With fewer stories of the unexplainable, and just more focused on unsolved police investigations.
I can remember catching the random episode of Unsolved Mysteries growing up. My strongest impressions of that series was of Stack’s narration and campy re-enactments of the tales about events. These things are nowhere to be found in Netflix’s modernization. Instead, the show angles for a true documentary-style presentation. The six-episode series looks at murders, missing persons, and one large scale UFO encounter.
The choice of these stories is interesting. Several mysteries only seem to be mysteries in the matter of how. For example, one episode talks about a French family that is murdered under mysteries circumstances. Well, all but the dad. He disappears. Events leading up to the killing paint a pretty clear picture that the father committed the murders, before vanishing shortly afterwards. Now, there is no concrete proof that the father did it. Nor does anyone know how he slipped out of the country. So, in this way the case is “unsolved”, but it’s a few degrees closer to solved than I expected from Unsolved Mysteries.
As far as its transition to a true documentary, Unsolved Mysteries does a good job of presenting is stories fairly even handedly. When multiple possibilities are being explored they give fair time to show why certain conclusions weren’t arrived at by officials. Knowing and proving are two different things. While one cannot help feel for the frustration of those who can’t find the justice they seek, the series never over relies on the emotion to sway the audience.
While the focus of documentary is to enlighten, and not necessarily entertain, I did find Unsolved Mysteries to, at times be a rather dry watch. With no narrator to help bring the viewer from point to point in the narrative you are left with only the interviews to tell the story. While these are generally clear, they are often extremely dry. These are, for obvious reasons, not people who know how to talk to a camera. Long stretches of some episodes of Unsolved Mysteries can be a bit of a slog to get through. Listening to officers talk about evidence and theory in dry monotones is not an easy watch. And while I appreciate keeping any sensationalism out of the program, it’s hard to follow along when one is fighting off sleep.
So, at the end of the day, Netflix delivers a passable true crime documentary in Unsolved Mysteries. While it may be a bit dry at times, it does a decent job of telling some interesting stories, without feeling exploitive of those on the screen.
Unsolved Mysteries is available to stream exclusively on Netflix.
At the end of the day Netflix delivers a passable true crime documentary in Unsolved Mysteries. While it may be a bit dry at times, it does a decent job of telling some interesting stories, without feeling exploitive of those on the screen.