BASED ON A TRUE STORY on Peacock is a new series with eight half-hour episodes. Officially labeled as a “comedy”, it’s more of a horror-comedy in many ways. Read our full Based on a True Story season 1 review here!
BASED ON A TRUE STORY is a new Peacock series about the fascination with true crime. There are eight 30-minute episodes in season 1 and we’ve watched them all for this review. Well, actually, we watched them all mostly because this series is very binge-worthy.
Officially, this is labeled as a “comedy”, and called a “comedy thriller” in Peacock’s own words. However, it’s bordering on being a straight-up horror comedy. And we do love those.
Also, the series stars Kaley Cuoco, Chris Messina, and Tom Bateman. An unexpectedly brilliant trio for a genre production!
Continue reading our Based on a True Story season 1 review below. Find it on Peacock from June 8, 2023.
Santa Clarita Diet meets Only Murders in the Building
As already mentioned, Based on a True Story is simply labeled as a comedy on IMDb (as of writing this review, anyway). And it definitely is a comedy. A very dark comedy. More like a horror-comedy series. Also, a very bloody one.
You’ll get an idea of just how bloody from the opening scene (featuring Natalia Dyer) alone!
For me, Based on a True Story is a solid hybrid of various genres. It plays out along the lines of Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet (yes, it is that bloody as well) and Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building.
The Santa Clarita Diet comparison comes from a nice suburban married couple who ended up in a situation where dead people become a part of their lives. Also, in both stories, at least one of the people in the marriage works as a realtor.
And, of course, comparing it to Only Murders in the Building comes from the fact that both center on a podcast. A podcast dealing with murder. Or, you know, true crime as the buzzword.
Kaley Cuoco, Chris Messina, and Tom Bateman
I don’t think I ever would’ve expected the trio of Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant), Chris Messina (The Boogeyman), and Tom Bateman (Behind Her Eyes) to work as well as they do. While I like all three of them individually, all three together just have surprisingly amazing chemistry.
I have always loved Kaley Cuoco for her comedic timing, which is at its best when she’s either fast-talking and brutally fierce or simply reacts without a word. In Based on a True Story, she gets to use both. And also, being very pregnant, showing a different kind of physicality. Still gorgeous, obviously!
We’ve reviewed several movies with Chris Messina as he tends to take on darker roles. However, he clearly works really well with comedy as well. Seeing Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina as a married couple is very believable. I love the fast-paced dialogue and brutal honesty.
This same goes for the scenes between Kaley Cuoco and Liana Liberato (The Beach House), as sisters.
Finally, Tom Bateman rounds out the podcast trio along with Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina. Tom Bateman is brilliant in this role. That smile alone. Well, all the various “smiles”! Their roles in the podcast aren’t as simple and straightforward as in Only Murders in the Building. Just sayin’.
Will there be a season 2 of Based on a True Story?
“Is season 2 of Based on a True Story coming?” will most likely be the first thing you wonder as you watch the final episode of season 1. And really, there better be a season 2 in the pipeline. I mean, with that season 1 ending, they better have a season 2 on the way! But first, enjoy this first season.
Speaking of a possible (probable) Based on a True Story season 2, I wanted to mention some of the other key characters in the series who also deliver strong and funny performances.
The cast includes Priscilla Quintana (Polaroid), Li Jun Li (Florida Man), and Sebastian Quinn (Doomsday) to name just a few. Also, Aaron Staton (Castle Rock, Unbelievable), Timm Sharp (On the Verge), and Alex Alomar Akpobome (Industry) play key roles.
I especially hope we’ll see a lot more of June Diane Raphael (Grace and Frankie) as one of the true-crime podcast superstars “Sisters in Crime” in Based on a True Story season 2.
Watch season 1 of Based on a True Story on Peacock now!
Craig Rosenberg (The Boys) is the creator of Based on a True Story and the writer of all eight episodes. Four directors have made two episodes each. They are Jennifer Arnold (Shameless), Alexander Buono (Russian Doll), Francesca Gregorini (Chambers, Killing Eve), and Anu Valia (She-Hulk).
The reviews have been mixed from critics while users seem to enjoy it. I am definitely with the latter as this Peacock series delivers exactly what I wanted (and expected). This isn’t a huge mystery drama. It’s a true crime horror-comedy that deals with the obsession many of us have.
Also, for the record, this idea that “true crime” is something we’re just now getting curious about is simply ridiculous. The interest has always been there. Podcasts are made because there is an audience. Not the other way around.
The fact that some podcasts are exploitive is another thing and that is an issue that needs to get addressed. Which it is – via sharp comedy – in this series. If you like bloody comedy with horror and thriller vibes that deals with (and spoofs) the true crime obsession, then do check it out.
Based on a True Story season 1 is out on Peacock from June 8, 2023.
Creator: Craig Rosenberg
Directors: Jennifer Arnold, Alexander Buono, Francesca Gregorini, Anu Valia
Cast: Kaley Cuoco, Chris Messina, Tom Bateman, Liana Liberato, Priscilla Quintana, Li Jun Li, Sebastian Quinn, Alex Alomar Akpobome, Aaron Staton, June Diane Raphael, Jessica St. Clair, Natalia Dyer
A realtor, a former tennis star, and a plumber seize a unique opportunity to capitalize on America’s obsession with true crime.