Buzzfeed Unsolved, created by Ryan Bergara, launched in 2016 and was part of Buzzfeed’s YouTube content until it became a separate channel in 2018. The series is hosted by Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej, and contains a plethora of content that will appeal to armchair detectives. Whether you are a believer of ghosts or a total sceptic, the dynamics of the presenters, as well as the carefully researched cases and investigations, are as spooky as they are comedic. Perhaps the only thing that Buzzfeed Unsolved has managed to solve is why it’s so watchable!
Buzzfeed Unsolved’s contents can be simplistically split into two categories: ‘Supernatural’ and ‘True crime’. The ‘True Crime’ videos are beautifully simple, the two presenters discuss a case, that as you guessed, has baffled detectives and authorities. However, what makes this show so different from others in the field, is the colloquial nature of the presenters. Of course, these cases are very serious in nature, often featuring heinous crimes. However, the seriousness is undercut with tongue in cheek humour, thus you find yourself giggling as you learn about murders and disappearances. The graphics and reenactments of Buzzfeed Unsolved deserve a special mention. They add to the spooky nature of the show and are beautifully designed to add intrigue and illustrate the story being investigated.
The genre of ghost hunting has been and gone, often losing credibility with cheap jump scares
The ‘Supernatural’ videos are different, and personally, my favourites. The two presenters, a sceptic and a believer, go on location as they hunt for ghosts in infamous locations. The genre of ghost hunting has been and gone, often losing credibility with cheap jump scares. However, Buzzfeed Unsolved works perfectly in its ghost investigations because of Shane. Shane, as well as his followers the ‘Shaniacs’, is a non-believer in ghosts. This is crucial to the basis of the series as any footage and recordings are shown in each video is always second questioned by Madej. This brings an element of science and logic to a genre that is often littered with exaggerations. Ryan and the ‘Boogaras’, on the other hand, are believers. When the episode seems to feature no ghostly activity, the fear on Ryan’s face and his adamant belief in the supernatural is captivating. A half an hour video touring a house searching for a ghostly activity, that often doesn’t appear, is always engaging because of the comedic presenters and the perfect juxtaposition of logic and superstition undercutting the show.
The fan participation is engaging as we can all become armchair detectives and feel a greater part of the Buzzfeed Unsolved amateur detectives’ team
Another aspect of Buzzfeed Unsolved, which makes it by far some of my personal favourite channels on YouTube, is the ‘Post Mortem’ episodes. The main videos air and viewers have a day to send in their own questions and theories to the Buzzfeed Unsolved Facebook, Instagram or Twitter platforms. The fan theories and questions are mulled over by Ryan and Shane in a video. The fan participation is engaging as we can all become armchair detectives and feel a greater part of the Buzzfeed Unsolved amateur detectives’ team. Additionally, keeping with the comedic element of the show, the end of ‘Post Mortem’ features a skit created by Shane called the ‘Hot Daga’ which definitely divides audiences in its whimsical and surreal story. Whatever your opinion on the ‘Hot Daga’, the short ongoing stories never fail to bring a laugh, either due to the story itself, or Ryan’s intense discomfort when they’re told.
Buzzfeed Unsolved and the playful dynamics of Ryan and Shane are intriguing and entertaining enough to have earned the channel 1 million subscribers on YouTube
Overall, the main element of why Buzzfeed Unsolved stands out in the true crime mystery genre is because it’s modern and innovative. It is found on YouTube and is formulated for a modern, younger audience. In a world of sporadic attention spans and social media bombardment, a series that can combine the two is sure to draw in audiences. Buzzfeed Unsolved and the playful dynamics of Ryan and Shane are intriguing and entertaining enough to have earned the channel 1 million subscribers on YouTube – by no means an easy feat. Season 4 of ‘True Crime’ reaches its conclusion on Friday 31 August, which gives you plenty of time to catch up with the previous instalments. However, a word of warning is necessary, once you start watching the ‘Ghoul Boys’, you won’t be able to stop