Based on a True Story

Based on a True Story

This true-crime sendup doesn’t always fly as a dark comedy, but what it lacks in finesse, it more than makes up for in shock and entertainment value


TV Show

United States of America
Comedy, Drama
Alex Alomar Akpobome, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Chris Messina

What it's about

The lives of a realtor, a plumber and a former tennis star unexpectedly collide, exposing America’s obsession with true crime, murder and the slow-close toilet seat.

The take

A parody of the true crime industry, Based on a True Story is as dark as a comedy can go. It follows Ava and Nate (Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina), a couple who, in an attempt to save their marriage and bank accounts, partner up with serial killer Matt (Tom Bateman) to create a podcast about Matt’s killing sprees. It proves to be a hit in murder-obsessed America, but Ava and Nate soon realize that their success comes with a bloody price. 

Based on a True Story is the type of show that has a lot of fun trying on different hats—all at once, it's a satire, thriller, horror, and romance—and though it’s not always successful at balancing them out, there’s something addictive about watching it try. Even when the constant tonal shifts and murky morals threaten to tear the show down, you can't bring yourself to look away. This is mostly thanks to Cuoco and Messina, whose dynamic chemistry and live-wire performances all but prove their status as sitcom veterans. Bateman is also effectively terrifying, able to maintain his killer guise amidst ever-shifting genre backgrounds. 

Often, the show treads the fine line between making light of and shedding light on violence in modern-day America. But the risk pays off, making it a killer watch for anyone willing to give it a try.

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