15 Documentaries and Series on Netflix That Will Give You Major Tiger King Vibes
Ever since Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness dropped on Netflix in March 2020, the internet hasn't stopped talking about Joe Exotic. Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, is an eccentric YouTube personality and the former operator of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, OK, who, in 2019, was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse, as well as two counts related to a murder-for-hire plot to kill his most outspoken critic, Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin. The seven-part series is a total rollercoaster ride, and if you've already binged it all, then we have 15 other documentaries and series that are sure to keep you entertained.
Based on the case of novelist Michael Peterson, this docuseries tells the story of his wife's death in 2001, which he claimed was due to her falling down the stairs, though a medical examiner later determined that may not have been the case. The series follows the investigation from Peterson's arrest to the ensuing trial and eventual verdict, and just like with Tiger King, the story only becomes more outlandish by the episode.
Wild Wild Country
If you found Doc Antle's cult-like zoo fascinating, then you'll definitely want to check out this series. The six-part investigative series is truly wild, revolving around controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and the community he built for his followers in Wasco County, OR. Like Tiger King, the story is told through interviews with past members of the notorious Rajneesh religious movement, as well as archival footage of the actual events.
Originally aired on CNN, this troubling documentary explores the world of big-game hunting and the industry's constant battle with wildlife conservationists. The film revolves around lifelong hunter Philip Glass and rhino breeder John Hume, and though their rivalry isn't nearly as contentious as Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin's, it still makes for a compelling watch. Warning: this one isn't for the faint of heart.
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
If you're looking to experience some schadenfreude, then you need to watch this epic documentary, which tells the story of larger-than-life con man Billy McFarland and the epic disaster that was the failed (and totally fraudulent) Fyre Music Festival in spring 2017. Andy King is sure to give you major Joshua Dial vibes, and McFarland's jet ski scenes will definitely remind you of James Garretson's iconic slo-mo jet ski moment in Tiger King.
This four-part documentary follows a high-profile 2003 robbery gone wrong in Erie, PA, when a pizza delivery man named Brian Wells was forced to rob a bank with a bomb around his neck. The series traces the ensuing manhunt and arrest of the person responsible for the deceivingly complicated "pizza bomber" crime, and just like Tiger King, it's just as bizarre as it sounds.
The Ivory Game
Rather than revolving around big cats in captivity, The Ivory Game focuses on the dark and corrupt world of ivory trafficking. Filmmakers went undercover for 16 months to film the documentary, and similar to Trophy, this film explains the ongoing battle between environmental preservationists and those killing African elephants for profit.
Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator
You'd never expect a zoo owner to be accused of a murder-for-hire plot, and you'd never expect a yogi to be secret predator, but that is the case with yoga guru Bikram Choudhury. This documentary revolves around the Speedo-clad Chounhury, founder of Bikram yoga, and his dramatic fall from grace after allegations of rape and sexual assault came to light.
Making a Murderer
Filmed over 10 years, this two-season docuseries follows the case of Steven Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, who were wrongly accused of raping and murdering a woman named Teresa Halbach in 2005. The first season presents the case, while the second season — released three years later — introduces Steven's new lawyer, as well as the man who have actually murdered Teresa. Like Tiger King, it proves that cases are rarely as simple as they initially seem.
If you don't recognize the title, then you might know this film as the documentary that ruined SeaWorld forever. Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a captive orca that took the lives of three individuals, demonstrating the dangers of keeping killer whales in captivity and arguing that Tilikum's capture is what led to the orca's aggression. TBH, Tilikum makes the tiger who took Kelci Saffery's arm almost look nice.
Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
This twisted three-part series revolves around one of Canada's most infamous murderers, Luka Magnotta, who — like Joe Exotic — had an inflated sense of self and wanted nothing more than to have everyone know his name. Though he started off circulating videos of himself killing kittens, Magnotta's crimes eventually escalated to the murder of a man named Jun Lin, and a group of colorful internet sleuths helped cops track down the deranged killer in an international manhunt.
If you thought Don Lewis's disappearance was odd, wait until you watch this one. This six-part docuseries takes viewers into Humboldt County, CA, where 60 percent of the marijuana grown in the US is produced and where a man named Garrett Rodriguez went missing (among several others) from this giant weed-producing community. From 30-year-old open cases to much more recent disappearances, this series works to demonstrate what an issue this area has become, as well as all of the potential causes for the shocking number of missing persons.
The Keepers is another must-watch show for anyone who thinks the case of Don Lewis's disappearance is far from over. This docuseries examines the unsolved murder of Cathy Cesnik, a Catholic high school teacher and nun from in Baltimore who disappeared in 1969. The case was then reopened in the '90s, when one of Cesnik's former students claimed that the high school's chaplain may have been involved.
Three Wives One Husband
If you're still thinking about Joe Exotic's three-way wedding with John Finlay and Travis Maldonado, then you'll love this reality series, which offers a rare look inside the lives of Mormon families living in a Utah community and practicing polygamy — despite the fact that polygamy is a third-degree felony in Utah. The series explains the politics of courtship, the unspoken rules of sister wives, the strange sleeping arrangements, and everything else you've probably wondered about polygamous relationships.
Waco is a compelling miniseries that tells the incredible true story of the 1993 Waco siege at the infamous Mount Carmel compound, where David Koresh (who claimed to be the final prophet of the Branch Davidians) took over as the sect's leader in the 1980s. Though David Koresh and Joe Exotic probably wouldn't see eye to eye on too many matters, they'd likely both agree that a man is only as powerful as his mullet.
The Innocent Man
Do you think Joe Exotic is largely innocent? Then you should check out this six-part docuseries, which is based on John Grisham's 2006 book, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, telling the story of two murders that shook Ada, OK, in the 1980s. When the police investigations for both the murder of cocktail waitress Debbie Carter and Ada resident Denice Haraway were mishandled, innocent men were sent to jail, and it would be years before their cases were reexamined.