REVIEWED: SEASON 1 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX
The third reboot of the long-running true-crime series Unsolved Mysteries sees the show come to Netflix and drastically reconfiguring its formula. For its first set of six episodes, the new version of the program focuses on one story per hour-long episode, rather than the previous format which mixed and matched multiple stories over the course of each show. Also gone is any narration, previously done by Robert Stack or Dennis Farina in prior incarnations. Instead, Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries chooses to use on-screen text and graphics, with a heavy reliance on using a timeline to visually represent where the story is at any given moment.
The new version comes across as more of a complete oral history of a crime than the tightly-edited summaries previously on offer. While it might be a bit of a change from long-time fans and those who discovered the show after it appeared on streaming services a couple of years back, the new format does allow the opportunity for the stories to be examined in greater depth. The results are mixed. While episodes like ‘Mystery on the Rooftop’ or ‘House of Terror’, which feature a slew of baffling clues and behaviours, are fascinating, others like ‘13 Minutes’ or ‘No Ride Home’ would benefit from tighter editing. The sole episode not focusing on a murder or missing persons case, ‘Berkshires UFO’, is also the most bloated, revealing the limits of stretching some of these stories.
Hopefully, future episodes will look at other unsolved crimes such as bank robberies or the like, rather than just murders, or possibly dig into the rather more uplifting ‘Lost Loves’ concepts to round out the rather repetitive nature of the first set of rebooted episodes. While entertaining and binge-worthy, the program needs work to stand on surer footing.