Netflix brings back ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ with a few tweaks

‘Unsolved Mysteries’ – How the reboot Stacks up

“Unsolved Mysteries” on Netflix

In co-creator Terry Meurer’s mind, you can’t just go out and replace someone like Robert Stack. And so the decision was made to have the Netflix reboot of “Unsolved Mysteries” go host-less.

“Bob Stack, it’s really hard to fill his shoes. …,” Meurer explains, “And who would even want to try? And then the other (reason) was that we wanted the interviewees, the people whose mysteries these are to be more involved in the storytelling and let them tell their story. It makes it more challenging to not have narration and a host to do part of the storytelling but we’re really pleased with the way that the new episodes play.”

Indeed, there are a few tweaks to the format of the recently premiered series and its tales of cold crime cases, UFO encounters and paranormal experiences. In its previous incarnations on NBC (1987-97), CBS (1997-99), Lifetime (2001-02) and Spike TV (2008-10), each hourlong episode contained three stories plus an update on a past segment with Stack hosting in the first three versions and Dennis Farina on Spike. This time around, each installment focuses on a single mystery, which Meurer explains was to add more detail.

“We wanted to do a deeper dive into the stories,” she says. “It’s hard to tell some of these very complicated mysteries in a 10 or 15 minute episode. We found even with the Netflix episodes that there were still pieces of the puzzle and twists and turns that we ended up having to leave out just for the sake of time.”

The re-enactments also have a different look.

“It used to be more of a scripted look, probably, with dialogue,” Meurer says, “and we would show faces and we would cast people that hopefully kind of looked like the people in the interviews, which is always hit or miss when you’re going to a small town and you’re doing casting in a small town. But we wanted to update the look of the show and to create hopefully kind of a creepy, evocative tone with the shot.”

However, the theme song remains the same and Stack, who died in 2003, also has somewhat of a presence.

“In the title opening,” Meurer says, “we did a bit of an homage to him behind the title ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ as kind of a ghosty image of Bob just out of respect. You know, Bob brought so much to the series.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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