Why I Prefer True Crime Stories to Primetime Dramas

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For me, the unvarnished stories of real-life transgressions are far more captivating than the sanitized, carefully choreographed world of fictional primetime crime dramas. These true crime docuseries I’ve watched religiously over the years transcend mere entertainment. They become historical records of humanity’s most twisted tales.

Certainly, fictional crime dramas have their charms, weaving intricate webs of deception and intrigue that seem to ensnare audiences worldwide. I used to be an avid viewer of CSI, NCIS, and a handful of others. They were entertaining, with interesting characters. But, they skew the realities and timeframes involved in real life crimefighting.Also, for all their finely tuned plot lines and polished performances, they never seem to reach the visceral depths that true crime documentaries can and do. 

The polished veneer of fictional narratives simply didn’t appeal to me in the long term. I prefer the raw, unfiltered accounts of lives forever altered by the dark undercurrents of human nature. In true crime stories, I see people stripped bare, their faces etched with pain and longing. These accounts bear witness to the unfathomable grief of families torn asunder. We hear the desperate pleas of the innocent, while feeling enraged by the chilling calm of the sociopath. These are the specters that haunt the realm of true crime, and their stories command my undivided attention.

Fictional dramas only provide a pale imitation of the realities of man’s depravity.They may spin tales of murder and deceit with great skill. But, ultimately, television programs and films are ultimately bound by the constraints of their creators’ imaginations.These episodic tales, after all, are the product of human invention; as such, they can never match the sheer unpredictability and nuance of real life, even when based on real case files.

True crime documentaries offer an unblinking look at the darkest corners of the human experience. They expose the monsters lurking among us, sometimes hidden behind the most ordinary faces. These stories force us to confront the unsettling truth that evil often wears a familiar, sometimes even friendly guise.Crime documentaries serve as cautionary tales, reminding us of the fragility of our own existence. They also profess the need for constant vigilance against the forces that would do us harm.

These true crime stories satisfy a primal curiosity to know the motives and machinations of those who transgress the boundaries of morality. They present real life characters, compelling us to ponder the complex interplay between good and evil, nature and nurture. In watching them, we must confront our own preconceived notions of humanity. We must then also question our own capacity for empathy, and force us to contemplate the boundaries of forgiveness.

Ultimately, my preference for true crime documentaries over fictional primetime crime dramas is rooted in my desire for authenticity.There’s no substitute for the cold, hard truth of human depravity, no matter how uncomfortable or unsettling it may be. Only within the gripping tales of true crime stories can you find that truth laid bare, in all its harrowing, unfathomable glory.

~ Amelia Desertsong

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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