Mention Unsolved Mysteries to any '90s kid, and chances are they will immediately recall the chilling theme tune, but there was way more to the classic true crime series than its spooky opening theme. As reported by Deadline, Netflix is rebooting Unsolved Mysteries to potentially terrify a whole new generation. And just like in the original, the show will cover a mix of cold cases, lost loves, missing persons, and reported paranormal events. Only this time, the series is being guided in part by Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy, which pretty much guarantees you may never sleep again after watching the reboot.
Levy is joining forces with the show's creators, John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer, to produce a 12-episode series that will combine reenactments with documentary style interviews to tell the story of a single unsolved case. If this latest reboot lives up to the original, it may even launch the careers of a few unknown actors. As reported by Mental Floss, Matthew McConaughey got his start on the series playing the role of a murder victim.
Given viewers' insatiable appetite for true crime stories, this feels like the perfect time to reboot Unsolved Mysteries — again (the show has been rebooted three previous times already). In recent years, podcasts like Serial and shows like Netflix's Making a Murderer have increased the popularity of true crime productions. These series also engage viewers as amateur detectives, but Unsolved Mysteries was doing the same thing as far back as 1987 when the show first premiered on NBC.
Each episode ended with the number for a tip line that led to some of the mysterious cases actually being solved. In 1990, just four years into the show's original run, The Los Angeles Times reported that the series was already responsible for 35 solved crimes and 10 reunions between loved ones. While the exact number of cases that have been solved thanks to Unsolved Mysteries isn't readily available, the show's tip line has transformed into a contact sheet on the official website so that fans can continue to share leads to this day.
It's unclear whether or not the Netflix series will include a tip line number in the new series, but there will no doubt be some sort of audience participation built in to the show. After all, Unsolved Mysteries is one of TV's earlier examples of engaging viewers beyond passively watching a program for an hour each week. In this new age of intense audience engagement, it only makes sense that Netflix would want to capitalize on that part of the format.
At this early stage, details about the reboot remain scarce — including who will follow in the iconic footsteps of the late Robert Stack as host — but with Levy and the original creators on board, this is one television reboot that feels like it could be on track for success. If the 2019 Unsolved Mysteries can tell real stories in a compelling way that sparks viewer engagement on a level that's even close to what the original did, then this true crime series may have a solid chance at a long second... er, make that fifth... life.