Famous Crime Scene

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Famous Crime Scene TV Poster Image
Gritty docuseries resurrects infamous crimes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Although the show presents violence in a tragic light, the focus is on the details of the crime. A crime often remains unsolved with no identifiable "good guys" and "bad guys." Potentially sensationalizes celebrity death, contributing to a culture of violence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Several victims of a violent crime have committed violent crimes against others in the past. Law enforcement officers aren't always the heroes and are commonly criticized for their mistakes.

Violence

Although blood isn't glorified, sometimes it can't be avoided. The opening credits include blood and an overturned vial of cocaine. Other scenes include shots of fist fights, shootings, stabbings, surgery, and dead bodies, etc. Some scenes are replayed from original footage; others are re-enacted using live actors or computer animation.Some cases might involve sexual violence.

Sex

Sex or sexual violence might be involved with certain crimes.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drugs, drug dealing, and/or alcohol might be involved with certain crimes. For instance, Michael Jackson died from an overdose of prescription medicine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this documentary-style program uses authentic footage, computer animation, and eyewitness and expert interviews to re-create infamous crime scenes and unsolved murders, like that of Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith. Due to the subject matter, violence is a common theme, and there are often scenes involving blood, guns, knives, and dead bodies.

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What's the story?

Experts and eyewitnesses rehash the details of notorious deaths in FAMOUS CRIME SCENE, a gritty docuseries that uses computer animation, live-action footage, and interviews to re-create the crime minute by minute. Each episode focuses on a single case, such as the unsolved murder of rapper Tupac Shakur or the mysterious deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson.

Is it any good?

Famous Crime Scene isn't the worst way to spend your time, particularly if you're a true crime aficionado or have a general fascination with unsolved mysteries. But the series' choice of cases isn't as compelling as it could be when you consider that the deaths of Tupac, Anna Nicole, and MJ, at least, have already been prodded and pondered ad nauseam and (forgive the pun) beaten to death in the 24-hour news cycle. The value added here is the show's succinct 30-minute snapshots of what happened, who saw it, and who's to blame.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's use of technology to re-create incidents of violent crime. What are the advantages to using computer animation when you're trying to explain something visually complex, such as a shooting or a surgical procedure? Does computer animation (as opposed to live action) reduce or enhance the intensity of a violent act?

  • How does this program compare to other true-crime series, such as A&E's Cold Case Files? Does Famous Crime Scene give more air time to forensic evidence, or does it capitalize on a case's sensational aspects?

  • What's your take on the show's length? Is it possible to dissect a complex crime in less than 30 minutes? As a viewer, do you walk away with more questions than answers?

TV details

  • Premiere date: February 12, 2010
  • Network: VH1
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14

For kids who love mystery

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