Home Arts & Entertainment Send in the Clones: A Review of Netflix’s ‘King of Clones’

Send in the Clones: A Review of Netflix’s ‘King of Clones’

Image courtesy of Netflix
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). Abby Haywood

“King of Clones,” which premiered on Netflix, tells the almost unbelievable true story of South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk, a former superstar in the scientific community. A pioneer in the field of both cloning and stem cell research. The man was a superstar in the scientific community, seen as the man who was going to revolutionize the field and an almost messiah-like figure who would allow the disabled to walk again. 

Except he didn’t. He was no messiah, he was a man who faked much of his research, embezzled from his benefactors and obviously having committed numerous bioethical violations. He was a man who let countless people down, a man who went from a public darling to a pariah. This is a cautionary tale about blind faith and greed. He was once a clone king, now he is just a mostly forgotten man. Yet he is somehow a free man only having a two-year suspended jail sentence. Somehow he still works in his field cloning animals, both for standard domestic use as well as cloning pets for grieving owners. The man was proven a fraud, disgraced in the public eye and even convicted of some of his crimes. And yet here he is, still working in his field. Still finding clientele willing to pay out the ear for him to clone various animals for him. It’s just completely insane. To me it would be like if Bernie Madoff had been released from prison and gone back to working in finance with hundreds of new clients. It just seems wrong.  

This documentary was actually quite fascinating. They accurately detail his rise from a simple scientist to a seeming pioneer in the field of stem cells and cloning, and the circumstances of his fall from having an army of supporters literally sending death threats to and even breaking into the houses of the journalists who were working to uncover his crimes. It also highlights both sides of the great clone debate – both for and against it. Both sides make good arguments as it it definitely a debate worth having, a debate I have little doubt is going to increase in it’s vigor and importance as we come closer to the day we clone a human for the first time assuming we haven’t already done so. I urge you to do your research and come to your own decision on the subject rather than let scientists or churches alone tell you what to think. As for this, I give it 7 torches out of 10. While not as crazy as “Tiger King,” this is yet another documentary that needs to be seen to be believed.

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