Pure chaos is one of the best ways to describe the series of events that takes place in the new Netflix documentary, “The Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” Created by Eric Goode, the short “true crime” documentary series was released on Netflix on March 20. The series quickly took the world by storm and is still gaining popularity. According to IMDB, the series had 34.5 million viewers in the first 10 days after its release.
For those who haven’t seen the series, it follows various individuals involved in the private “big cat trade” in the United States. In the United States, some of the laws on exotic animal trade aren’t entirely clear. This paves the way for shady business practices, which is part of the focus of the series. While the majority of the subjects in the series aren’t the most desirable or likable people, some of them have received a small celebrity status, or even a cult fanbase. The most famous break-out celebrity from this series is the primary subject of the show, Joe Exotic. The Oklahoma native is the owner of a private big cat zoo that housed more than 100 tigers and several lions, not to mention a large variety of other animals. His antics and crazy lifestyle captivate viewers and leave them asking for more. Another prominent character is the arch-enemy of Joe named Carole Baskins. She owns a zoo-based in Tampa, Florida. After the documentary’s release, she has entered the public eye after the series shed light on the questionable disappearance of her ex-husband. The open holes at the end of the series left many asking how this situation will be resolved. However, after an interview with The New York Times, the creator of the series, Eric Goode, announced he had no plans to follow up on the series.
“The Tiger King” was actually created by accident. Originally, the series was supposed to be an investigative piece into the illegal snake trade. However, a chance encounter with a snow leopard owner led the creators down a rabbit hole. Goode is a known animal rights activist who in the past has also produced informative pieces on wildlife. Most of these were being done for the news show “60 Minutes”. Because of his background, animal conservation is a constant theme throughout the film. It is stated several times that there are more captive tigers in the United States than in the wild. This is a good message to take away from the madness of this film.
While the series is extremely well produced and fairly unbiased, it hasn’t stopped some of the subjects of the series claiming that the creator painted some characters in a worse light. Despite the alleged sensationalizing, “The Tiger King” is still captivating viewers. This lies in the wild story that unfolds before the viewer’s eyes. While some may find the story distasteful or disturbing, others will see it as an enthralling drama they can’t look away from. Much of the drama through the show seems larger than life, and this is because it truly is. Drama is the true appeal of this series. Between the private zoo owner’s feuds, sex scandals, murders and arson, “Tiger King” is thrilling.