TRIAL BY MEDIA is a new Netflix true-crime documentary series. It’s all very meta since it’s about the media influence on trials. This Netflix docu-series features spectacular trials that were clearly influenced by the media portrayals. Read our Trial by Media review here!

Trial by Media is a new Netflix docu-series featuring the extremely popular true-crime subgenre. This documentary series does feel even more meta than usual since it’s about the media influence on real trials. Basically, a crime happens and then we follow how the media covered the trial and now there’s a Netflix series about the media coverage.

See, very meta… and very fascinating!

Especially since it becomes clear that ethics and legality become intertwined in ways you wouldn’t expect.

Continue reading our Trial by Media review below and check out the six 1-hour episodes of season 1 on Netflix now.

The six episodes of season 1

Season 1 of Trial by Media consists of six episodes that have the following titles:

  • “Talk Show Murder”
  • “Subway Vigilante”
  • “41 shots”
  • “King Richard”
  • “Big Dan’s”
  • “Blago!”

While watching episode 1 of Trial by Media, I did find myself getting a bit annoyed. Mostly that the term “Gay panic defense” wasn’t mentioned even once, since it has been used a lot to excuse the murder of gay people. However, I recognize that in this instance, the blame was instead put on The Jenny Jones Show.

And, of course, the concept of this Netflix docu-series is how the media handled these trials. Nothing can be more meta that having TV coverage of a trial trying to blame another TV show for driving someone to commit murder. Sure, mental illness and homophobia are also mentioned, but those are not as important.

Honestly, I understand that this is how the media works and that this is the point of the entire series. Still, I would have loved just a few minutes dedicated to also explaining how and why this was wrong.

Trial by Media – Netflix Docu-Series Review

Season 2 of Trial by Media 

I can’t imagine Trial by Media not being a success since these cases are all rather spectacular and having a focused 1-hour look at each of them is truly fascinating. There are many more trials that could easily be covered in a season 2 of Trial by Murder so, hopefully, it will be made.

In fact, Netflix could make a Trial by Media season 2 just by focusing on trials that have been covered in other Netflix documentaries. Now, that would be meta in the most Netflix way.

You might like: Our list of the best Netflix true-crime documentaries here >

At times, I wasn’t sure which direction the episodes of Trial by Media would take. It sometimes felt like the episode had a certain point-of-view that I didn’t necessarily share. However, this would often change before the episode ended, which made it more objective.

Personally, I don’t care for trials where the victim is blamed for the crimes being made against them. Nor do I care for strange defenses of the perpetrator. But I do appreciate that the media can also be used to hold guilty people accountable and I am certainly on board for that.

Watch season 1 of Trial by Media on Netflix now!

Trial by Media episodes in season 1 are directed by Garrett Bradley (Time), Academy Award® nominee Yance Ford (Strong Island), Emmy® nominee Brian McGinn (Amanda Knox), Sierra Pettengill (The Reagan Show), and Tony Yacenda (American Vandal) and Skye Borgman, who directed the crazy documentary Abducted in Plain Sight.

You don’t want to miss: Check out our review of the Netflix documentary Abducted in Plain Sight here >

Executive producers are Smokehouse Pictures’ George Clooney and Grant Heslov, author and lawyer Jeffrey Toobin (The People vs. O.J. Simpson); journalist, author, and Court TV founder Steven Brill along with Supper Club’s Brian McGinn, Jason Sterman, and David Gelb.

Netflix could easily do an entire season of Trial by Media that focused on rape cases, where the rapist got a lenient sentence due to their “potential” and “promising future”. Or how about a “Black Lives Matter”-season that focused on the murder of black individuals where the killer isn’t even arrested until the media gets involved?!

I would absolutely love focused seasons of Trial by Murder like that.

Of course, making more diverse seasons such as Trial by Murder season 1 is probably better. By doing that, they’ll (hopefully) ensure that people will watch trials despite their own notions about the case and trial covered in each episode.

Trial by Media Season 1 is out on Netflix worldwide from May 11, 2020.


In this true crime docuseries, some of the most dramatic trials of all time are examined with an emphasis on how the media may have impacted verdicts.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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