Tiger King 2, review: more tigers for all?

The review of Tiger King 2, the second season of the Netflix docuseries focused on Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin.

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Tiger King 2: A picture from the series

With the Tiger King 2 review, available on Netflix with five new episodes, we are back in one of the most unlikely worlds – in every sense, also as regards commercial success – to have achieved the status of a global cultural phenomenon on the platform, thanks to the context in which it arrived on the service: the The first season of the docuseries on Joe Exotic and his bizarre zoo in fact debuted on March 20, 2020, at the beginning of the planetary phase of the lockdown linked to the health emergency, reaching a catchment area even more open than usual to everything that has the minimally interesting air on various platforms. And the story of Exotic and its controversial treatment of big cats was definitely interesting, to the point of inspiring various fictional projects based on the same events: always for Netflix we are talking about a film or a miniseries edited by Ryan Murphy, starring Rob Lowe, while another mini is currently in the works, this one for Peacock, with Kate McKinnon in the role of Carole Baskin. And now there is the second incarnation of the documentary, which has generated some controversy before even making its debut on Netflix. NB The review, without spoilers, is based on a preview of all five episodes.

Man arrested, half pardoned

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Tiger King: Joe Exotic in a picture from the Netflix series

The second season of Tiger King opens with the aforementioned contextualization, reminding us that most of us learned about Joe Exotic in the first months of 2020, in full pandemic, generating a stratospheric success that made the most happy. Among the few who did not fully appreciate the popularity of the show was the same Exotic, who is serving a prison sentence and therefore does not have access to Netflix, and Carole Baskin has also expressed itself in less positive terms, due to a segment that hints that she may have killed her ex-husband, who mysteriously disappeared in 1997. For this reason she sued the platform at the time of the announcement of the second season, arguing that the agreement originally signed did not include authorization to use its image in any derivative products. And Mrs Baskin will hardly appreciate the use that has been made of her words here, since the space dedicated to her inevitably focuses on the fate of her ex-husband and on how the episodes of last year have contributed to a second life of investigations into this matter. Joe, for his part, is shown hoping to prove his innocence and / or quit via a presidential pardon (his supporters asked Donald Trump to consider the idea before leaving the White House).

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Tiger King: Carole Baskin in a picture from the Netflix series

The first year, in addition to the propitious moment in which it landed on Netflix, had the advantage of being part of the lucky trend of true crime, in this case with particularly bizarre events and characters, with situations so crazy that no Hollywood screenwriter would be able to invent them from scratch. Perhaps even for that reason it was inevitable that one of the many announced adaptations would be wrecked, an Amazon miniseries that had generated its fair share of hype with the news that in this version Exotic would have had the features of none other than Nicolas Cage, because no Hollywood reduction can really hope to compete with the real protagonist, at the center of an operation that in addition to success has also attracted a fair percentage of controversy, mainly on the ethical component of an operation that has made the subject matter spectacular at the expense of certain details related to the topic of animal protection.

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Tiger King: Joe Exotic in una scena della serie Netflix

And precisely those consequences, which Netflix hinted at in a very indirect way already last year with a special episode where comedian Joel McHale interviewed some of the directly concerned following the media coverage they had received through the show, could have added something to these. new five chapters. And initially it seems that the direction is at least partly that, with the opening writings reminiscent of the pandemic and the moment when Joe Exotic and the others entered our lives. But the illusion does not last long, and over the course of the next five hours there is only a sequence of fragments that update the viewer on the current situation of the characters, but without the grotesque and crazy factor and above all without that hint of unpublished that accompanied the seven original episodes. The first season was a product of its time, the bizarre entertainment ideal for those who had too much time to kill; the second is a long one after written which will most likely please the average Netflix subscribers, not particularly attentive to what they choose to watch, but will hardly have the long media life of its predecessor. There’s only one king, and this new Netflix throne pretender isn’t up to par.

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We close the Tiger King 2 review by underlining how the second season proposes the new developments of the events of Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin and company, without the weird charge that had made the first vintage of Netflix docuseries about men and tigers fascinating.

Because we like it

  • Some anecdotes are interesting.
  • The archival material has a certain charm.

What’s wrong

  • The grotesque and bizarre charge of the first season is not present in this round.
  • Five episodes is too many for the kind of story this season chooses to tell.

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