Shot In The Dark is a new Netflix original documentary which tackles the profession of 'stringers'. Stringing is the name given to freelance journalists who shoot footage of crime scenes and disasters in order to sell their footage to news networks.
The series tracks three rival stringer companies as they scour Los Angeles in search of the latest disaster in order to beat each other to the best story which they then edit and sell to the news companies.
Check out the trailer below:
For those of you that have seen the excellent Nightcrawler starring Jake Gyllenhaal, this series ploughs a similar furrow. As a viewer you're torn between hating these people who essentially make human miserya commodity but then on the other hand you come to realise that they are simply an extension of society's thirst for gore and spectacle. 'If it bleeds it leads' is what the network boss in Nightcrawler states and you get the sense that it is very much the same in the real world.
The show is slickly assembled and you sometimes forget you're watching a documentary. The show itself could be accused of glamourising the trade and a lot of the in-car fly-on-the-wall interviews feel very staged. But the subject matter is such that as a viewer you forgive the more trashy elements of the show.
The Netflix original gains considerable access to the three stringer companies it is documenting and the logic of these drivers on what is 'the biggest story of the night', makes for interesting viewing. The cut throat element of the business is also highlighted with the three companies vying for the biggest piece of the pie.
The highlight of the series so far comes at the end of the first episode. There is an event whereby one of the journalists is heavily involved in a car crash and the incident perfectly encapsulates the thin line these people skirt between leech and journalist.
Each episode runs at about 40 minutes and the series is eight episodes long. The show doesn't press the drivers much on the ethics of their profession but much like when you see a crash at the side of the road, 'Shot In The Dark' keeps you rubbernecking nonetheless.