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7 Docs Just as Crazy as Tiger King to Binge Right Now

Stream these documentaries next for more mayhem, more madness

Andrew James Myers

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past two weeks (which, to be fair, is a perfectly decent way to ride out a pandemic), you've probably binged Netflix's newest hit, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

However, unlike other recent viral hits in the true crime genre (i.e. Making a Murderer, The Staircase, Don't F*** With Cats, or The Jinx), Tiger King reaches its spectacular shock factor without wallowing in blood-and-gore forensics. Instead, it balances its multiple true-crime mysteries with larger-than-life characters, bizarre twists and turns, and jaw-dropping moments you have to see to believe. If you're ready to dive into more outside-the-box true-crime documentaries that would be the talk of the watercooler (if you weren't stuck at home), here are seven recommendations to blow your mind.

Grizzly Man

Where to Watch: Tubi (free), Vudu (free)

Before there was Tiger King, there was Grizzly Man. Werner Herzog's 2005 documentary told the story of Timothy Treadwell, who shares a lot in common with Joe Exotic. He has bleached hair, he devoted his life to animals, and he was -- and I'm putting this lightly -- an interesting character. But if the animal cruelty that lurked beneath the surface of Tiger King was too much for you, you'll be much happier with Grizzly Man's more eco-friendly approach as Treadwell lived with bears in the wild (and fortunately took hundreds of hours of footage while he was there). There's no gross profit, no cages, and no sketchy side characters in Grizzly Man, just the portrait of a passionate and eccentric man who never knew the boundaries of nature until it was too late. -Tim Surette

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Where to Watch: Netflix

It's no spoiler to say that Fyre Fest does not turn out well. You know from the start that this faux-luxury, ineptly-planned tropical bacchanal is doomed, and there's nothing quite like a front-row seat to an epic trainwreck. But nothing can prepare you for the absolute insanity at every level, from the brazen con artistry of the founders, to the farcical circus of social media influencers, to the cult psychology of delusional festival workers. And after one staffer steps up to "take one for the team," you'll be so intoxicated by the madness, you'll be ready to watch the other nearly-as-good Fyre Fest doc on Hulu.


Where to Watch: Hulu

Don't let anybody spoil Tickled for you. Here's all you need to know: a TV reporter in New Zealand stumbles across something weird on the internet (as one does) and decides to do a fun news segment on the event called "competitive endurance tickling." His investigation quickly leads him down an increasingly dark and disturbing rabbit hole -- and we'll have to leave it at that. Trust us, the less you know going in the better. You may pity the Tiger King, but you'll fear the Tickle King.

Three Identical Strangers

Where to Watch: Hulu

Three Identical Strangers is another doc where the less you know going in the better. A college freshman arrives on campus and unexpectedly meets his mirror image: an identical brother he never knew existed, separated at birth. Soon a third comes out of the woodwork, and the three identical triplets become inseparable best friends. It's the textbook nature-nurture dichotomy; despite vastly different families and backgrounds, the boys all share shockingly consistent personalities and mannerisms as they begin to forge their own family in adulthood. But we've almost said too much already. The film's sharp left turn into a wholly bizarre and unexpected story will hurt your brain in the best possible way.

Abducted in Plain Sight

Where to Watch: Netflix

A young Idaho girl named Jan Broberg is brainwashed and kidnapped twice by a predatory family friend -- while her naïve Mormon parents sit by and do worse than nothing. If you don't yell "what is WRONG with you" at your TV at least seven times during this series, then, well, what is wrong with YOU? The inconceivable question at the core of this documentary is how loving parents could be able to willfully blind themselves to a cavalcade of red flags. And while Jan herself is unquestionably a victim of a truly depraved man, the parents' stories unfold in a way that blurs the line between their own victimhood and their complicity. Jan takes a harrowing journey through the most extreme form of gaslighting, but her resilience finally allows her to see things clearly in retrospect.


Where to Watch: HBO Now, HBO Go, YouTubeTV

The long-running McDonald's Monopoly sweepstakes game promised that anybody could order a Big Mac and become a millionaire. In truth, a massive crime ring had the entire game rigged in one of the most unbelievable fraud schemes of all time. Sure, it's interesting learning how the criminals created the plan in the first place, how they looped so many people into the scam, and how they got away with it for so long. But the real kick is the FBI Agent at the center of the investigation, Doug Matthews, a junior desk agent who longs for something more glamorous than yet another white-collar crime. Although having zero training in undercover fieldwork, Matthews carpe's the diem to live out his fantasies of being an awesome spy, masterminding cockamamie undercover schemes more befitting Mission Impossible than McDonald's.

Dancing With the Birds

Where to Watch: Netflix

At first glance, this family-friendly nature documentary about bird mating dances from the creators of Planet Earth might seem a little out of place on a list loaded with lurid true crime. But make no mistake, the bright world of bird courtship has a dark underbelly: burglary, vandalism, betrayal, and impersonation. The star of the show is the Bowerbird, arguably the animal with the most highly developed aesthetic intelligence on Earth. From performing hilariously intricate dance routines, to weaving modernist sculptural edifices, to vocalizing impressions of curious sounds (including the voices of human children!), a male Bowerbird's obsession is to prove he's artsy enough to get laid. When two rival males (affectionately nicknamed McGregor and Blaze) catch the same female's eye, they enter into a game of subterfuge and sabotage that is all too human.

Looking for more recommendations? TV Guide has picks for fans of horror, murder mysteries, animated shows, and much, much more.