Home Featured News Heir to the unsolved: a review of the “Unsolved Mysteries” revival

Heir to the unsolved: a review of the “Unsolved Mysteries” revival

A column straight from the unorthodox mind of Jamie Miller. Often written during the middle of the night, Miller provides reviews of TV shows and movies, books, and details life through from his perspective (artwork by Abby Haywood/The Collegiate).

Jamie Miller – 5:41 a.m.

Good evening Nightlighters, it is, once again, me “the amateur Dr Pepper drinking detective” Jamie Miller here with the 17th edition of Night Light. Now in today’s world we live in an era of reboots. From horror movies to classic movies,  even to shows that haven’t been off air all that long such as “Charmed.” They’re everywhere. However, that being said, I never thought Netflix would reboot “Unsolved Mysteries.” But does it stand up to the original? The short answer is no. But as for why… well, just keep reading.

“Unsolved Mysteries” in its original incarnation began in 1987 as a set of TV specials and became a full series in 1988. Hosted by Robert Stack, known from “The Untouchables,” this show was a combination of reenactments and interviews and  covered a wide range of subjects: from unsolved murders, to escaped fugitives, con artists and even the paranormal, etc. Viewers were invited and, in fact, even encouraged to call in if they had any tips for detectives. The show’s first run lasted until 1999. It was then revived by Lifetime from 2000 to 2002. The show was then revived by Spike with a new host in Dennis Farina of “Law and Order” fame. That incarnation ran from 2008 until 2010. So in retrospect I shouldn’t be surprised Netflix  “resurrected” it. 

If it wasn’t for the name and title card, content and theme song, I wouldn’t even know it was in any way related to the other incarnations. Each episode only features one mystery while each episode of the original featured three to four, sometimes even more. The new series has no narrator, and they remixed the theme. 

My opinion of the show is this: it’s not bad, the mysteries are vexing. And they still have the phone numbers you can call if you have any information on the cases. However, I do greatly miss the narration and theme music of the original that you can binge on Amazon Prime. And the multiple mysteries per episode that made me feel like I was getting more bang for my buck. And while, yes, the one mystery per episode format allows them to go into greater detail, it makes some of the episodes seem long-winded. And the narration actually added to the show’s atmosphere. Farina in particular had a voice that just made the show even better. All in all, the show’s not too bad. I give it five and a half torches out of ten. But I must note I am a huge fan of the older runs so my opinion may be biased and I invite you to watch and decide for yourself.


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