American Vandal is now streaming on Netflix.
Is Steven Avery innocent? What about Amanda Knox? Who killed Sister Cathy?
The resurgence of true-crime dramas is mostly due to Netflix. They’ve produced Making a Murderer, The Keepers, Amanda Knox, and Casting JonBenet Ramsey, and many others. There are countless podcasts listed under the genre. The onslaught of murder-mystery has led to an influx of another type of serial drama; the true-crime parody.
Back in March, I wrote a review of an NBC comedy called Trial and Error, a mockumentary starring John Lithgow. This was the first we’d seen of a TV show parodying true-crime. But now Netflix is taking a jab at itself with the eight episode series American Vandal, a true-crime parody about a teenage prankster who left 27 faculty cars in his school parking lot filled with phallic graffiti all over them.
Going into my binge, I had serious doubts. Could the guy behind YouTube’s Honest Trailers pull off a real TV show? The answer is a resounding… “kind of.”
American Vandal is a clever idea, and I laughed a couple of times throughout the season. But the premise suffers from being stretched over eight 30-minute episodes. Vandal clearly would have worked better in a movie format.
What kept me watching was how far the show goes with the crime mockumentary style. The camera shots and reenactment scenes are pitch perfect.
Those interested in the genre already will want to check this show out. If you’re not obsessed with Robert Durst, leave American Vandal off your Netflix queue.
I give American Vandal a B.