Long gone are the times when a film or show being made after you was an honor. In recent years, television has seen more movies and shows about criminals than they ever have about someone inspiring. All we see now are series and shows like The Tinder Swindler, Inventing Anna, or the latest in the line of scam content– Bad Vegan on Netflix.
But why is this an issue? Does this indicate production houses catering to fans’ demands without focusing on the quality of the content? And if so, why is this a bad thing? Or, is there actually something to be learned here?
Bad Vegan- another name in a long list
We are seeing a set of amazing films like The Power of the Dog and Tick, Tick… Boom! this year. While they overshadowed everything else in award shows, we are also seeing a huge surge in content revolving around scammers.
In the last two months alone, we have seen the release of Netflix Originals Inventing Anna and The Tinder Swindler. While Inventing Anna focused largely on the life of Vivian Kent, it was based on Anna’s actions. The Tinder Swindler focused entirely on the life of Shimon Hayut, aka, Simon Leviev.
Other production houses and streaming giants aren’t far behind either. We have seen The Dropout from Hulu and Super Pumped from Showtime Networks. Add to this other controversy/crime based dramas like Hulu’s Pam and Tommy, based on the life of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, and the upcoming Clark on Netflix, and you can see just how much creators and consumers have come to love this formula of real-life incidents that are largely negative.
But is there something to be learned here?
Director Chris Smith has a straightforward explanation for the endless fascination the audience has with crime and gore. He said, “part of it is trying to assess how you would react in a similar situation.” As a person involved in the creation of this content, he comments, “you hope people learn from these stories and can avoid similar situations for themselves.”
Despite the negative attention the majority of this content has been receiving, this is the one thing we can all collectively agree upon.