Waco is an American miniseries that explores the 1993 standoff between authorities and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. It’s a story with no winners; 80 Branch Davidian’s lost their lives, including more than 20 children; and the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Exposives came under intense criticism for their handling of the 51-day standoff that led to so many casualties.
The series tells the story of both sides of the divide. It explores how David Koresh, leader of the Branch Davidians, morphed from an aspiring musician to a cult leader revered by his followers. The six episodes of Waco also look at the catastrophic errors that led to the tragedy. One of the criticisms of the series is the six episodes failed to conclusively detail why and how the Waco tragedy transpired.
Luckily for you, we have compiled a list of seven true crime shows like Waco that will glue you to your screen.
Wild Wild Country (2018)
Wild Wild Country tells the story of a cult formed by Indian mystic leader Shree Rajneesh. Shree created a commune called Rajneeshpuram in Oregon in the 1980s, and with the help of his dedicated secretary Ma Anand Sheela, used ruthless methods to grow the cult’s following. Sheela was extreme in his ways and resulted to poisoning and arson to fight against the cult’s enemies.
The series focuses on Sheela’s criminal methods and the events that led to the largest bioterror attack in U.S. history. In 1984, Shree and his followers used Salmonella to contaminate ten salad bars in The Dalles, Oregon. 751 people got infected, and 45 people had to be hospitalized. Wild Wild Country is available on Netflix.
Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle (2018- )
In 1978, Rev Jim Jones convinced more than 900 people to commit what he referred to as revolutionary suicide. Jones started the Peoples Temple in 1955 when he was just 25, and he gained followers with his civil rights messages. The series explores how Jones went from a civil rights activist to a revolutionary speaker who convinced people to commit mass suicide.
The four-part miniseries uses footage from FBI recordings, letters, and classified documents to detail Jim’s deception. It also features interviews from the survivors of the incident, including two of Jones’ sons, Stephan and Jim. Their direct and unfiltered testimonies detail how Jones manipulated his followers using the promise of a better world. Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle is on Amazon.
Aquarius (2015- )
Charles Manson is one of the most famous cult leaders in the world. In the late 1960s, he created a commune known as the Manson Family. Aquarius is inspired by actual events, but it has some fictional elements, including LAPD detective Sam Hodiak. Sam is tasked with investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl named Emma Karn.
He finds out that Emma has joined Manson and his group of hippies. Season 1 of the show deals with the spread of Manson’s influence in the 1960s, and season 2 deals with the murders that led to the arrest of Manson and his brain-washed followers. It looks at the Tate murders and the racial war predicted by Manson. Aquarius is available on Netflix.
American Crime Story (2016- )
American Crime Story is a series that details some of the most famous American crime stories in history. Season 1 tackled what is dubbed as the ‘trail of the 20th century’. In 1994, O.J. Simpson was tried for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. What seemed to be a slam-dunk case for the prosecution soon became a drawn-out televised trial that divided the nation.
Season 2 looked at the murder of Gianni Versace by Andrew Cunanan. A third season is in the works and is set to be released in September 2020. The third season titled, Impeachment, will look at the events that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for obstruction of justice. You can catch American Crime Story on Netflix.
Surviving R. Kelly (2019- )
Surviving R. Kelly deviates from the murder theme that is prevalent in the titles listed above. However, it tells the tale of equally heinous crimes committed by American singer R. Kelly. For a long time, Kelly produced hit after hit, and was one of the most loved artists in the world. Surviving R. Kelly reveals that behind the scenes, Kelly manipulated and sexually abuse women of various ages.
The series contains harrowing tales by survivors of how Kelly manipulated and assaulted them. It tells the story of how he managed to brainwash some women into believing that they couldn’t leave despite the abuse. Surviving R. Kelly is on Netflix.
The Looming Tower (2018)
11th September 2001 represents one of the darkest days in American history. On that day, terrorists launched an attack on Americans that led to the death of almost 3,000 people. The Looming Tower explores the rise of violent extremism and Osama Bin Laden in the late 1990s.
It looks at how the people who perpetrated the attack prepared. The Looming Tower also looks at how the CIA and FBI investigated the attack, and how conflicts between the two agencies derailed attempts to discover and stop the deadly attack. The series is available on Hulu.
On the night of 23rd June 1993, Lorena Bobbitt slashed her husband’s penis in his sleep and threw it out of the driver’s window as she moved to her hideout. Lorena’s husband had her penis reattached, and what proceeded was one of the famous trials of the 1990s.
The facts were seen as funny, and Lorena featured on tabloids and lyrics by famous artists such as Eminem. Lorena looks at the case from a different perspective by detailing the events that influenced Lorena to commit the crime. It also looks at how Lorena and her husband’s lives changed after the event. You can stream Lorena on Amazon Prime.