13 Documentaries 'Tiger King' Fans Should Watch Right Now
There's only one Joe Exotic, but these wild, true stories are just as entertaining as his.
During this particularly rough moment in time, many Americans have found solace in something unexpected: a documentary series about big cats, a murder plot, and a man named Joe Exotic. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is a huge hit on Netflix. And ,given that it's especially easy to marathon episodes now that most of us can't leave our homes, you may be looking for more documentaries like Tiger King to keep you entertained.
Granted, there's nothing out here that's quite like Tiger King. After all, it's the uniqueness of the series that has drawn viewers in. You're not getting a real character like a Joe Exotic or a Carole Baskin anywhere else, that's for sure. But, there are many docuseries to stream that relate to one or more of the aspects you might have enjoyed in the show. Maybe you're looking for a big twist. Maybe you're looking for another documentary that explores animal welfare. Maybe you're looking for something equally strange and foreign to your own daily life.
Whatever you're craving post-Tiger King, one of the documentary films or series below should deliver. Read on to find out more about these true crime stories, see which one works for you, and get streaming. And for some lighter TV recommendations, check out 17 Underappreciated TV Comedies That Are Available to Stream Right Now.
Beware the Slenderman
Two words that describe both Tiger King and Beware the Slenderman? Dark and bizarre. This documentary is about the attempted murder of a 12-year-old girl in Wisconsin by two of her 12-year-old friends, who claimed they were trying to commit a murder because of the Slenderman, a fictional character that originated online.
Stream on HBO Now or Hulu
After Tiger King's release, Baskin, one of its main characters, spoke out on the Big Cat Rescue website against her depiction in the series and claimed that the directors told her the docuseries was going to be "the big cat version of Blackfish." While things didn't quite go the way she hoped, Tiger King fans still may want to check out Blackfish. The documentary is about captive killer whales, particularly a Seaworld whale named Tilikum who was involved in three human deaths.
Stream on Hulu. Rent/buy on YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, or Amazon Prime
Another documentary centered around animals, the 2009 film The Cove is about dolphins being killed by hunters in Taiji, Japan. The film makes use of hidden and underwater cameras to capture dolphins being pushed into a cove for a hunt. In addition to shining a light on this practice, it also talks about mercury poisoning that can come from ingesting dolphin meat. For more intriguing real stories, check out 15 Best Documentaries on Netflix That Will Make You Feel So Smart.
Rent/buy on iTunes or Amazon Prime
The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate del Castillo Story
In 2015, actor Sean Penn met with infamous drug trafficker Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and interviewed him for Rolling Stone magazine. The secret meeting was organized by Mexican actor Kate del Castillo, who had been in touch with his lawyers after she wrote an open letter to him, asking that he change his ways and spread positivity. El Chapo has since gone on to receive a sentence of life in prison, but The Day I Met El Chapo focuses on del Castillo's twist-filled experience in particular as she set out to meet him.
Stream on Netflix
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
In 2017, an upscale music festival was set to take place in the Bahamas. Potential attendees bought their very expensive tickets and secured their flights, but then… there was no festival to be had. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened gives viewers an inside look at the fraud and incompetence that made people expecting a luxurious getaway end up spending nights in FEMA tents without the fancy food and amazing performances they were promised.
Stream on Netflix
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
The Inventor is about Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, a company that was meant to revolutionize blood testing. The only problem was that the technology Theranos claimed to have wasn't what it seemed and now Holmes has been charged with multiple counts of fraud and is awaiting trial. Tiger King has some rise-and-fall aspects to it. The Inventor is about a rise-and-fall entirely.
Stream on HBO Now or Hulu. Rent/buy on Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, or Google Play
The Ivory Game
Like Tiger King, The Ivory Game is about animals that are vulnerable to extinction — in this case, African elephants. The film covers elephant poachers and ivory traders, who put the financial gains that can come from selling ivory above everything else. As with The Cove, undercover footage is used to tell the harrowing story.
Stream on Netflix
Making a Murderer
The Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer took off when the first season was released in 2015; a second season followed in 2018. The show centers around Steven Avery, who served 18 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder, but then was convicted again two years after his release for a separate murder, of which he maintains his innocence. The series also focuses on Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, who was convicted for the murder along with him and also claims his innocence. The cases are complicated and have divided viewers on what they think truly happened.
Stream on Netflix
You've probably heard of the hugely famous McDonald's Monopoly game, but you probably didn't know that the promotion was riddled with fraud for over 20 years. While it seemed like people were legitimately winning big money from buying fries or Cokes, in fact, the game tickets were being stolen and trafficked around. This very recent HBO documentary series shows how it all went down and how the FBI got to the bottom of it.
Stream on HBO Now or HBO on Amazon
Mommy Dead and Dearest
Mommy Dead and Dearest tells the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, a woman who was made to think she had several chronic illnesses throughout her childhood by her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard. Gypsy Rose and her former boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn were both sentenced to prison for Dee Dee's murder after Gypsy Rose realized she wasn't actually sick. The film explores both the murder case and Munchausen syndrome by proxy. For more investigations, check out The 12 Best True-Crime Podcasts That Are Completely Addictive.
Stream on HBO Now or HBO on Amazon. Rent/buy on YouTube, Google Play, Hulu
And we're back to fraud. Much like that of raising big cats, Sour Grapes is about another underground world you might not know about: wine fraud. The documentary focuses on Rudy Kurniawan, who sold fraudulent bottles of wine, making millions of dollars in the process…until he was found out, that is.
Stream on Netflix. Rent/buy on Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, or Amazon Prime
Like Tiger King, Tickled started out being about one thing and then turned into a new story during the filmmaking process. Reporter David Farrier set out to study what appeared to be an eccentric activity: "competitive endurance tickling." Instead, he ended up mired in the dark world of internet tickling videos, interviewing people who had been featured in them and had upsetting experiences, and trying to hunt down the producers behind the videos.
Stream on Hulu. Rent/buy on Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, or Amazon Prime
Wild Wild Country
If you liked Tiger King because it takes a look at a way of life far different from your own, then you may be intrigued by Wild Wild Country. The series is about the Rajneesh movement and what was meant to be a utopian community in Oregon in the 1980. Wild Wild Country covers the development of the movement, as well as crimes committed by some of the members against the local government and residents.
Stream on Netflix