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“Based on a True Story” Review: A Crime Junkies Dream Show

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Where to stream it? Peacock (premieres June 8)

Starring:  Kaley Cuoco, Chris Messina, Tom Bateman, Priscilla Quintana, Liana Liberato, Natalia Dyer, Alex Alomar Akpobome, Aisha Alfa, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Li Jun Li. 

Written by: Craig Rosenberg

Directed by: Jennifer Arnold, Alexander Buono, Anu Valia, and Francesca Gregorini

Intro: Based on a True Story Review

When the series kicks off, we see someone working out and shortly after she ends up getting stabbed to death in her apartment. We then hear Ava (Cuoco) discussing it with her husband, Nathan (Messina). Shortly after, Ava and Nathan head off to their jobs, to which things are falling off the rails, with Nathan being demoted as the head of the tennis company he built and Ava struggling in the real estate world.

All of the stress of life catches up to them when Ava and Nathan have a massive fight over their careers, leading to him leaving the house. The following day, a plumber comes over to fix their water situation, and Nathan offers to give him tennis lessons in exchange for him fixing their plumbing.

One night, Nathan and his new buddy Matt (Bateman) are out drinking together and bump into a girl at the bar. In the morning, Ava snoops on Nathan’s Google history and finds pictures of this girl. We find out the Westside Ripper killed her. As a result, the two come up with the idea of starting a podcast about the killer.

The script has a strong foundation

Crazy enough, Craig Rosenberg's writing of the relationship between Ava and Nathan has a much more substantial impact than you would think would come from this show. Their marriage is failing miserably with dream-like affairs, a past they can't overcome, and an upcoming baby they aren't ready for. It tackles the idea of marriage and the struggles that come along with it.

In the modern day, more factors challenge relationships. From social media to friendships causing more friction, marriage expectations are all at an all-time high. So within this, we see all of the things thrust upon the relationship of Ava and Nathan and their attempts to overcome these challenges. It made this part of the story relatable and I give Rosenberg plenty of credit for displaying an honest portrayal of marriage.

Kaley Cuoco and the cast deliver

Chris Messina and Kaley Cuoco share fantastic chemistry. Cuoco is brilliant in the role of Ava, playing this overly obsessive murder podcast lover who decides she will solve who the Westside Ripper is. How she acts on this show is spot-on with the archetypical true crime junkie.

They've over-obsessed with each murder podcast leading to them dissecting every murder they see on Facebook, thinking they can become a detective. Cuoco perfectly depicts it with pitch-perfect comedy delivery that makes you fall in love with her characters. Cuoco and Messina balance well off each other, delivering on this emotional roller coaster that highlights a marriage falling apart while trying to fix it with a serial killer.

Another standout is the killer, which will remain nameless for now, but the performance is cold, calculating, and downright scary. I loved seeing a serial killer revealing the why and how from the ground up. The killer does a great job of selling his life but also gives viewers a better understanding of what is going through his mind. It was a blend of Ghostface and Dexter.

An incredibly easy binge-worthy show.

The best thing about Based on a True Story is that you can binge all eight episodes at once, and I promise you, you will surely do it. The writers thrive at adding exciting elements that leave the perfect cliffhanger at the end of each episode, making you want more. One of the easiest binges of the year.

Final Thoughts: Based on a True Story Review

Based on a True Story isn't groundbreaking material by any stretch of the imagination. However, the creators take compelling elements from your favorite crime shows and podcasts, threw them in a blender, and create an original work. As the show discusses making the “sequel,” I would love to see this return for another season with a different story and cast. I highly recommend checking the show out when it releases.

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Ricky Valero
Ricky Valero
Ricky Valero is a movie/TV critic whose favorite movies are The Departed, If Beale Street Could Talk, Fast Five, and La La Land. Currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, while not watching movies, he is either enjoying the latest Stand-up Comedy special or another dating reality series. He is also a member of the Critic Choice Association, the Hollywood Critics Association, and the Music City Film Critics Association.
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