Many of the Most Popular 2022 True Crime Documentaries Weren’t Great

The true crime genre of films and series is ever-growing. Every streaming platform seems to have one come out each month. Peacock even gave Casey Anthony an opportunity to explain herself. I haven’t watched it. From what I’ve seen and heard, it didn’t change anyone’s minds.

The growth of true crime documentaries is something I welcome. I watched them regularly in 2022. However, I also find myself discovering much better ones from the past.

In search of new knowledge on the subject, I came to this story on Cosmopolitan. Maybe they’re simply not targeting me, a straight white-male in his 30s. I found many of the documentaries on their list of the best from 2022 underwhelming. Am I too harsh of a critic or was 2022 a down year for true crime documentaries?

2022 saw new trends in popular true crime documentaries

The Tinder Swindler seems to be on a lot of the “best” lists from this year. It was nothing all that special. Does it get bonus points for almost rhyming? Did people fall in love with it because of how it closely resembles the name of actress Tilda Swinton?

This true crime documentary is one of the most forgettable I watched all year. I don’t think my wife even bothered finishing it with me. That’s how I know a true crime series is either too gruesome or boring. She’s pickier with them than I am.

A growing trend in 2022 seemed to be the scripted series based on crimes rather than traditional documentaries. I haven’t watched too many of them. The Watcher on Netflix was hugely disappointing because of how fictional it was. I’m not quite sure The Girl from Plainville or The Dropout are ones I really care to watch. Already having watched other documentaries about the cases, I’m not quite sure there is much Elle Fanning or Amanda Seyfried can show through their acting chops. I do hope to eventually watch The Staircase on HBOMax simply because I thought the documentary on Netflix is one of the best ever made.

Not everything true crime in 2022 was bad. Where Ryan Murphy missed with The Watcher, he hit on all points with Monster – Dahmer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story other than condensing the title to something a little easier to remember. Do we really need the name Dahmer in there twice?

I did think The Most Hated Man on the Internet was fun. Overlooked on many of these lists are series like Two Shallow Graves and the Murdaugh Murders: Deadly Dynasty. I’m not quite sure why these are left off the lists. Both were brilliant, but maybe not produced in the same way as many of the others out there. Discovery+ might not always hit a home run but I can’t remember an instance where they struck out.

It does seem a lot of the true crime documentaries are trending toward fraudsters. It’s the new fascination for an audience who prefers to avoid the blood and gore. That is acceptable, however, there does seem to be a bias toward conmen/conwomen documentaries compared to ones with murder involved.

Have true crime fans finally decided to move past serial killers and go to suave men on dating apps stealing money from their girlfriends? It seems so.

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