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True Crime Has Turned Me Into A Grouch


 While it is Wednesday, there is no review for a true crime docuseries.  It's not that I didn't watch one, but that I realized that there was no way possible that I could review it fairly.  I have been watching a lot of these since the beginning of the year, and I have found myself at a point where a break is needed if I am to do the series proper justice.

Calling it burnout is the best way to describe what I'm feeling at the moment. Week after week, another series needs to be watched, reviewed, and then on to the next.  A lot of the same thing can get very tiresome, but the repetition alone isn't what has brought me to needing a break.

Each week I watch many movies, so you may say there is the same type of repetition in that.  That would be true if every week I was watching three to six hours of the exact same genre shot in the exact same style.  This is precisely what is happening with the docuseries, the same genre and format over and over.  There are a lot of great true crime series being made, but, to be honest, there is a standard format for the modern docuseries, and even the good ones rarely deviate.

This week, I was watching Unabomber: In His Own Words, and I was being overly critical.  The fact that the intros to each episode are reminicant of everything else out there, the fact that the beginning credits have to show a 'play' button on a tape recorder being pressed, the fact that there is a chronological walk through the crimes with a back and forth competing timeline of the criminal’s life, the fact that there were recreations, the fact that there were sound effects when still images were show, the fact that... well, I am sure the point has been made.

While watching it, all I could see was just the patterns that return and live on and on in almost every other true crime docuseries.  There are so many of them, and I was getting aggravated to the point where I knew that I needed a break.

This isn't me saying that any show that uses this tried and tested format is automatically bad.  The reason there are formats like this is because they are proven to be effective in getting viewers and entertaining them.  There is nothing at all wrong with sticking to what works, and it is the content and construction of the narrative and information that is what needs to be focused on.  Is it riveting?  Is it causing an emotional reaction?  Am I getting a sense of both the perpetrator and the people trying to bring them to justice?  These are the questions that I need to be focusing on, and not simply getting irritated because a sound effect was inserted that was no different from any that had been used in the programs I recommended.

If I tried to be a champ and just write the review for Unabomber: In His Own Words, it would have been more about my state of mind than what was created.  Director Mick Grogan put a lot of work into this, and it would have been wrong for me to just write some sort of reflexive piece that was born out of burnout rather than proper criticism.

It is time to take a few weeks off.  People pour their hearts and souls into these projects, and if I am going to review them, I want to be doing it right.  I'm pretty sure that after a bit of time away, Unabomber: In His Own Words is something I would recommend.  Right now, though?  My mind is just tired and unable to provide proper criticism.  For the next while, Wednesdays will be a home for some other type of review until I'm able to walk unbiased and refreshed into the world of true crime.

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