Netflix’s True Crime documentary ‘Making a Murderer’ has taken the world by storm, provoking its audience to take on the role of amateur sleuths in an attempt to uncover whether or not the central characters of the show are guilty or innocent.

In the month following the release of the True Crime docu-series “19.3 million viewers had watched the series” (Nededog, J 2016). In realising the success of this docu-series, and the huge following it was starting to create, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and watch the series.

Immediately I became hooked, with each new episode becoming more and more convinced that these men had been framed and were innocent. The show’s narrative suggests that there was police involvement within the case and that they were framing Avery as he was in the process of suing the department in a 36 million dollar lawsuit.

As the hype around the show began to die, I began reflecting on the show and the effect that it was having on audience members. In doing this, I decided to conduct an ethnographic study on the effect that it was having on not only fans but on myself.

“Fan culture, or fandom, is a term which describes communities built around a shared enjoyment of an aspect of popular culture, such as books, movies, TV shows, bands, sports or sports teams, etc. Fan cultures are examples of participatory cultures. Participatory cultures involve fans acting not only as consumers but also as producers and creators of some form of creative media” (Grinnell College (n.d.)).

“The public sphere is “made up of private people gathered together as a public and articulating the needs of society with the state” (Habermas, J 1991). Through acts of assembly and dialogue, the public sphere generates opinions and attitudes which serve to affirm or challenge-therefore, to guide-the affairs of state” (Soules, M 2007).

Through the creation of the documentary it has generated both a Fandom and a Public Sphere where participants are able to share their ideas and opinions with others. In doing this, it allows audience members to create a better understanding of the content they are watching.

Check out my BCM241 Project to see my study on the effect that ‘Making a Murderer’ has had on its fans.

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