In this day full of binge-watching and streaming services like Netflix, it is not uncommon for a television show to be consumed in its entirety by millions of viewers and then enter the public consciousness almost overnight. However, when you combine our modern love of binge-watching with the fact that many people are stuck at home during this worldwide pandemic it makes sense that the recent Netflix original series, “The Tiger King” has absolutely exploded. Still, this is not the only new TV Series or movie to be released during this time. What about the Tiger King makes it such ‘must-watch’ TV?
The biggest reason it is must-watch television is because it is the perfect true story combination of everything that seems to fascinate us: wildly eccentric characters (who in this case, are real people), conflict between these wildly eccentric characters, non-traditional romance, fascinating animals, true crime, and of course, murder.
Second, the animals. Whether you are an animal lover or not, big cats are some of the more fascinating creatures in the natural world due to their contrasting beauty and danger. Because Joe Exotic filmed himself and his animals on a daily basis, there are so many shots of his beautiful big cats. This includes shots of white and orange tigers, snow leopards, lions, and more. It shows them both on their own, and interacting with humans. To see these dangerous predators interacting with humans in multiple situations is both entertaining and intense. You doubt anything terrible will happen if it’s included in the show, but you can’t know for sure, and this possibility keeps you on the edge of your seat. On top of the intensity and constant danger, the show also hits you with the cute factor. Mixed in-between the moments of fully grown tigers wrestling and ripping into their next meal are shots of tiny cubs snuggling and playing. By the end of the first hour, even non-cat lovers will be invested in the future of the cats, no matter what your opinion is on cats in captivity.
Third is pacing. While the people and cats are what makes it fascinating to begin with, the pacing of the show keeps you hooked. Each episode gives a lot of background about Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin, their history, and the every day experiences guests and workers have within their parks. The film makes it clear that all of this happened in the past and is just setting the stage for the more recent and most intense part of the story. Woven into these past experiences is the continuous narrative of Joe Exotic talking to the film-makers from a jail cell. While the audience knows this is a true crime show involving murder just from watching the shows trailer, the film-makers do a great job only revealing a little bit about it in each episode. This keeps you interested in both the personal stories of these people and their cats while you are also dying to know more what crime actually happened and who did it. Like a good ‘who done it’ movie, this show will keep you watching and unable to stop the show before the next episode begins.
This combination of people with fascinating lives and careers and true crime will pique your interest enough to get you to watch, and then the conflict between characters, the animals, and the film-making will most likely get you hooked. You will be unable to finish watching until the story behind the true crime has been revealed. And, once you finish the whole series, you can enter the conversation about these larger than life people with your friends, family, and anyone you follow on social media.