Are you watching Love Island? I watched the first one, then missed a couple and then didn’t go back to it. Our work WhatsApp is on fire with all the gossip and I don’t have a clue what anyone is going on about. I have to tell you though when we do get to settle down about 9pm, we are making the most of our Netflix subscription.
We’ve featured many a post on here about our favourite boxsets and I see frequent requests from folks on Insta asking for suggestions on which series they can get acquainted with. Instead today’s post is an antithesis to Love Island and the World Cup coverage and focuses on the more factual programmes around (although maybe I should use the term loosely). You see I am hooked on documentaries. A few worth talking about:
Netflix describe this with the caption: “Accident or murder? After the mysterious death of his wife, author Michael Peterson watches his life go under the microscope. ”
We’re only a few episodes into the series about a man accused of murder after his wife is found at the bottom of her staircase. So far each one has had James and I turn to each other with our mouths gaping. Each part had begun with a clanger of a plot twist and I honestly have to say I have no idea how it’s going to unfold.
Wild Wild Country
Adam and I seem to have a slight obsession at the moment with True Crime podcasts. Even though it’s several months since I listed to the Jonestown massacre three-parter, it still gives me chills.
Wild Wild Country takes place in the wake of Jonestown. (Until 9/11, the death of 909 individuals in November 1978 at the hands of Jim Jones was the largest number of American civilian casualties in a non-natural event). This six-part series focuses on controversial Indian spiritual leader Bhagwan and the rise and fall of his Rajneeeshpuram commune in Oregon. We meet foul-mouthed Ma Anand Sheela, Bhagwan’s right-hand woman who clearly knows how to manipulate a situation and her battle with the residents of the local town. I found her utterly fascinating.
It’s quite ambiguous, and some key moments glossed over (the salmonella outbreak in the neighbouring town for example) and I found each episode around 15 minutes too long. However as the filmmakers had access to around 300 hours of footage filmed at the time, it’s an exceptional part of history to have access to and one that I found incredibly interesting.
I watched this several years ago, yet it’s still a documentary that’s stayed with me. When I was younger I was a tad green-eyed at friends who got to go to Seaworld to swim with dolphins and see the Orcas. It never once occurred to me how these animals found their way into these theme parks. The critically acclaimed documentary explores the treatment of orcas in captivity and the impact of their mental health. The one and a half hour programme follows the life of male killer whale, Tilikum who is captured from his mother as a calf and ended up at Seaworld’s Orlando theme park performing in front of the crowds. Whilst in captivity the whale experiences isolation and a lack of intellectual stimulation. In turn this leads to frustration resulting in the involvement in the deaths of three humans, the final being of trainer Dawn Bracheau in a post-show routine. It’s an unsettling watch but has led to significant changes in the way Seaworld operate.
Dreams of a Life
I don’t think this one is around on Netflix or iPlayer anymore but it sprang to mind a few weeks ago. We were in France for James’ Dad’s birthday and the conversation somehow moved around to the subject of dying alone. I promise you it was in no way a morbid trip!
This documentary centres on Joyce Carol Vincent, a woman whose decomposed body is found an unbelievable three years after her death in a London flat. I’ve read this film has been criticised for being too brief, but for me, this is entirely the point. Joyce spent her life moving around social circles and so her movements are difficult to piece together and this is why her death went undiscovered for so long. The footage at the end is haunting and it’s a sad and poignant piece of television.
What The Health
Now the research and studies this documentary is based on have been highly debated, but regardless of whether you choose to take the content with a pinch of salt, it’s a highly engaging program which explores the link between animal consumption and human health. The expose on the food and pharmaceutical industry is likely to have you wanting to grow all your own food and consider the way you consume your food.
What should I be watching when we reach the end of The Staircase? Anyone else hooked on documentaries too?