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TV Review: Making A Murderer Part 2

Making a Murderer, Netflix, TV Review, Steven Avery, Documentary, Crime, True Crime

SYNOPSIS:  Netflix presents the highly-anticipated second chapter of the critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning original documentary series which followed the unprecedented journey of Steven Avery from DNA exoneree and reformer to convicted murderer. Making a Murderer Part 2 provides an in-depth look at the high-stakes postconviction process, exploring the emotional toll the process takes on all involved.

Making a Murderer, Netflix, TV Review, Steven Avery, Documentary, Crime, True Crime

REVIEW: After the debut of the podcast Serial in 2014, there has been a surge in popularity for true crime shows. One of the most successful and popular was Making a Murderer which debuted three years ago on Netflix. Chronicling the trial and incarceration of Steven Avery, the show became a phenomenon. Back in 2015, I reviewed Making a Murderer and found it to be a provacative and well made documentary series and one that definitely painted a portrait of wrongful conviction. Now, the filmmakers have returned with a follow-up series that continues to investigate whether or not Avery deserves to be freed from prison and exonerated for the crimes he was purported to have committed. The results are a mixed bag that is not nearly as compelling as the first series but will still definitely draw a massive audience.

Where the first series was filmed over a ten year period, the second part of Making a Murderer began production before the first season debuted on Netflix. With the controversy generated by the series, this season kicks off by directly addressing how the documentary series has influenced the events of the last few years. Through news footage both supportive and critical of the filmmakers, Making a Murderer Part 2 is no longer an objective look at the legal status of Steven Avery but instead comes off as a challenge from those who don't believe in his innocence to take it a step further.

Like any television series, the second season of Making a Murderer introduces new "characters". At the forefront is Avery's new defense attorney, Kathleen Zellner, a renowned lawyer who is known for having successfully overturned the convictions of 17 falsley imprsioned individuals. Zellner becomes the defacto lead of this season as the show follows her attempts to recreate the events surrounding the death of Teresa Hallbach to try and get a new trial for her client. So, where the filmmakers painted a portrait of the crime last time, this time we follow as experts try to debunk the case assemlbed by the prosecution. This makes Making the Murderer less of a mystery and more like any of the countless series airing on cable network Investigation Discovery around the clock.

Having gained the trust of Stephen Avery and his family, filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos incorporate new interviews as the clan deal with the fallout of their newfound celebrity. It is an interesting portrait to see how a television series can alter a case moving forward, but it also puts the show at a disadvantage since now everything that is happening is in the news. We relied on the first season to present us with the sprawling case in a bingeable format but now you can just Google what Avery's legal team has attempted for three years and whether they were successful or not. The unknown of this story prior to Season One left viewers with a story to invest in. Having followed the news, Season Two just feels like a rehash of what we already know.

Making a Murderer, Netflix, TV Review, Steven Avery, Documentary, Crime, True Crime

On top of the fact that this season feels like a stretch to be worth a ten episode run. The first series could have existed on it's own and there was ample material to make each episode feel like a fully realized chapter in the story. I found that in watching season two, it just drags. There is no momentum generated by the material and it feels like we are just sluggishly following along with Zellner as she reviews much of the same things we already know from three years ago. I did find the many interviews with Avery's parents to be just as emotionally resonant as they did last time around, but there are multiple times in each episode where we have very long transition shots of landscapes or the Averys working or walking around that, all together, may amount to an entire hour's worth of screen time. There is one moment in the first episode where an interview actually cuts to the person talking about the birdhouses in their backyard and it has no bearing on the narrative whatsoever, It was in that moment that I started to doubt the worth of this second season at all.

The story of Steven Avery is still one that cannot be easily decided between guilt or innocence. Was their police corruption that led to Avery being targeted as the murderer? Is there enough evidence to free Avery from prison? There are dozens of questions that are worth examining but this season seems to focus more on asking the same ones posed in the first season but now through the lens of just how impacted has this case been by the Making a Murderer documentarians themselves. In many ways, this is now a cautionary tale of just how much influence the media can have on a criminal case. For that alone you may want to check out this second season but if you are looking for insights or new evidence to add to what was presented the first time around, you will be disappointed.

Making a Murderer Part 2 premieres October 19th on Netflix.

Source: JoBlo.com

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