To say I love watching true crime television, documentaries, and reading books is an understatement. Like, a really huge understatement.
I started watching true crime television back in the early 2000s when it was on Court TV, and at that time there weren’t too many different shows. I don’t know what initially drew me in, but whatever it was totally stuck with me and I’ve been a fan ever since.
In recent years, it seems like more and more people are finding an interest in true crime, which is awesome because that means there are so many television shows and documentaries out there to meet the demand. I don’t have cable, but I do subscribe to a few streaming services, and that seems to provide enough outlets to get my true crime fix. I really like watching these shows while I craft because I don’t have to stare at the screen constantly to know what’s going on. Most shows are narrated, so it’s almost like listening to a podcast, but with bonus (?) reenactments.
That said, I watch a lot, and re-watch a lot, because I’m almost always crafting or creating art if I’m not at work. I figured for the hell of it, I’d “review” what I’ve watched. For my first feature, I’m picking my favorite true crime series of all-time: Forensic Files.
Forensic Files (originally known as Medical Detectives) was definitely one of the longest-running true crime shows, running for 14 seasons from 1996 to 2011 (and was rebooted in 2020 on HLN). It bounced around a few networks – TLC, Court TV, NBC, truTV – but the formula of the show remained the same: 22 minutes covering a case solved by forensic evidence, narrated by Peter Thomas.
The episodes consist of photographs of evidence and the crime scene, photos of the victim in their living years, interviews, and minimal reenactments. I say “minimal” because most don’t really have any distinguishable dialogue, so they’re used sparingly. The interviews are with the detectives, prosecutors, defense lawyers, witnesses, friends and family of the victim(s), and anyone else who has some kind of connection to the case. The episodes are heavy on the interviews and narration, and pretty light on reenactments. Personally, I prefer that, since reenactments can be so hokey and poorly done.
Hot damn, I love me some trilobal fibers.
I think what makes Forensic Files stand out is that it manages to pack a lot of information into 22 minutes. It doesn’t feel rushed, or like any important details have been omitted. Because of this, it’s more like a CliffsNotes version of the case with a heavy focus on the forensic science aspect of the investigation. And, of course, nothing beats the narration by Peter Thomas.
I’d say if you are new to watching true crime television, start with Forensic Files. It’s classic true crime. Plus, you can watch every episode for free on YouTube! It’s also available on other streaming services, but I’m unsure if it’s included with a base subscription or if it costs extra.
Fellow Forensic Files fans – what are your favorite parts of the show? Do you have favorite episodes? Comment below!