There is a murmur doing the rounds. The latest show on Netflix, Making A Murderer, is causing a lot of noise amongst viewers. Like Breaking Bad, word of mouth is carrying this documentary around the world. The shocking this is, this like HBO’s The Jinx and the podcast Serial is a true story, that is more gripping and shocking than anything the human mind can create. Before watching take some advice to get the best from this remarkable series, charting the criminal cases against Steven Avery since 1985.
Set aside 10 hours
That’s right, 10 hours of your life is what it will take to consume this documentary. It may seem a lot, but I managed it in two days. So engrossed was I in the story, I simply couldn’t do without another hour-long episode. By no means am I a binge watcher. With a new-born baby in the house, my recreational time is limited. To devote this much time and focus to one thing, says a lot about the subject. If you have too much on, think twice about starting this, as it could take over your non-working hours for the foreseeable future.
Do not watch alone
Usually this sort of advice is set aside for extreme horror. In the case of MAM, this is so someone else will be there to confirm you have not gone mad, your eyes and ears were not playing tricks on you and you definitely just heard what happened on screen. The way the show is edited and pieced together, holds your attention and plays you like a violin. You will need someone there to share the experience. In the minutes between watching, you can then talk about what you have watched. This will happen.
Stay off Google and away from ‘spoiler friends’
I can not stress this enough. This is a documentary of a true story. You can simply Google the names of any of the main participants and you will be sent down the rabbit hole to the actual position people are in today. It will simply ruin the experience of watching. I only say this as I had no prior knowledge of the case. If anyone knew the story before this documentary, I can only imagine like a juror in a trial, their view of proceedings is tainted one way or another. Coming in unsullied, meant I was a prime candidate to be strung along by the programme makers and I loved it because of this. As soon as the final credits roll, Google can be hit as many times as you like. There is plenty of reading on this subject already. It also goes without saying to avoid people who have a history of ruining the endings of shows on you. The problem with a true story is someone can search for the real life present position and ruin your journey. Best advice, don’t tell anyone you are watching this until it’s over.
Learn to control your temper
If frustration, a sense of injustice and prejudice annoy you then hide all breakable objects. As well as screaming at the TV like a deranged lunatic, the temptation to smash things will rise up within you. Another good reason for not watching this alone. You can be restrained by your friend or significant other. You will hear things in the programme that stir emotions in you like Batman must feel when beating up criminals. Suppress these feelings and keep a cool head.
Coffee not alcohol
As well as keeping you awake to watch another episode, coffee will give you the same nervous energy as most of the participants in the series. Alcohol may lead to drowsiness and add to the rage you may feel.
Prepare to lose your faith in humanity
If you are the kind of person who believes that people are inherently good and the ‘truth will out’ then you are about to have your beliefs shaken to the core. As a very cynical person, Thought I had seen it all and was prepared for anything. I wasn’t prepared for this. If I had been a warm fluffy Ned Flanders type, this programme may well have traumatised me forever. The revelations and true life footage takes you through the full spectrum of human emotions. Your initial prejudices will be challenged by the end and you may never look at that weird family in your town the same way again. You will also look at defence attorneys in a completely different light.
Remember that this is a TV Documentary
Like Oliver Stone’s JFK this documentary presents one side of a very complex matter. I remember clearly my feelings after watching JFK and how annoyed I was at the world and the USA in particular. This programme brought all the same feelings back. I also now know how much of JFK was for dramatic purpose and how much was subjective opinion. Time will tell how much of MAM is the same. The editing leads you to one very strong conclusion, without really offering any other alternatives. Without being in full possession of the facts, the can be dangerous. Already this documentary has made national news.
Finally – Nothing is ever binary
Nothing can be as black and white as the documentary makes it appear. there are no doubt many shades of grey in this whole tragic story. There are victims and families are torn apart. The continual suffering of some is documented throughout the whole 10 hours. No matter what opinion you draw from the programme remember that real people suffered and continue to suffer in this story. As entertaining and thrilling as this story is, remember it could happen to anyone. The story of the Avery family definitely needs to be told and this programme has done a fine job in putting them in the public eye. If this helps bring resolution to the matter then Netflix have more than a hit on their hands, they will have produced a piece of investigative journalism on the level of Watergate.