Tiger King trailer

We’ve often decried Netflix’s “quantity over quality” strategy as being bad for creators, as too many projects have quietly debuted and quickly slid into the shapeless morass of content on the streaming service, rarely to be thought about again. But one of the benefits to their content onslaught is that every so often, a project comes along and captures our attention when we had no idea it was even in the works in the first place.

Such is the case with Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, a new documentary series that’s arriving in just ten days. The first trailer is here and you should prepare yourselves, because it goes in some unexpected directions.

Tiger King Trailer

“It’s not every day that a zookeeper went to prison for murder-for-hire,” someone intones in the opening seconds of the trailer. But calling Joe Exotic a “zookeeper” seems kind of unfair to traditional zookeepers – I guess technically he qualifies, but I can’t imagine that traditional zookeepers prefer to be associated with someone who’s this…extreme. I remember seeing this guy on an episode of Last Week Tonight several years ago, when he (and this is true) actually ran for President of the United States:

(Fun fact: after his failed presidential bid, Joe Exotic ran for Governor of Oklahoma. He did not win that race, either.)

Evidently, he owned something like “1,200 lions and tigers and bears and shit.” Everyone loves tigers. They’re awesome. But Carole Baskin, “the Mother Teresa of cats,” didn’t take too kindly to Joe Exotic’s methods, and a rivalry began which forms the spine of this series. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to watch this.

Here’s the show’s official synopsis:

Among the eccentrics and cult personalities in the stranger-than-fiction world of big cat owners, few stand out more than Joe Exotic, a mulleted, gun-toting polygamist and country western singer who presides over an Oklahoma roadside zoo. Charismatic but misguided, Joe and an unbelievable cast of characters including drug kingpins, conmen, and cult leaders all share a passion for big cats, and the status and attention their dangerous menageries garner. But things take a dark turn when Carole Baskin, an animal activist and owner of a big cat sanctuary, threatens to put them out of business, stoking a rivalry that eventually leads to Joe’s arrest for a murder-for-hire plot, and reveals a twisted tale where the only thing more dangerous than a big cat is its owner.

Tiger King arrives on Netflix on March 20, 2020. But if this story is so enticing that you can’t wait to learn more, I’d recommend checking out the second season of this podcast, which covers the same case.

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