BuzzFeed's One Redeeming Quality Is This Series

BuzzFeed's One Redeeming Quality Is This Series

One of BuzzFeed's most popular series is easily my guilty pleasure

Ask any of my friends, I am horrendously awful at starting and keeping up with TV shows. I either watch with a friend (or with my mom if it's Downton Abbey) or fall in love with the first episode and watch the show all at once. It can't be a casual watch either. It's hyperfixate or bust.

That being said, I also do not go out of my way to look for new shows to watch, so when YouTube recommends me a video to watch that looks interesting, I decide to go for it, for better or worse. While perusing YouTube one day, I was recommended a video from BuzzFeed, more specifically one of their subchannels BuzzFeedBlue, which left me hesitant. I do not watch their other series (Try Guys, etc.) and do not care much for BuzzFeed in general, both their site content and videos. I poke fun at them every opportunity I get.

But this particular video caught my attention. It was a video about the Black Dahlia murder case, a story I have always heard about but never explored further. So I figured, "Hey, what not give this a watch? If anything, I'll learn something new." Little did I know that I would fall into a rabbit hole of a show full of murder mysteries, paranormal exploration, and unsolved crimes. Appropriately enough, the series is called BuzzFeed Unsolved, and it is one of my favorite webseries to date.

Each episode features two hosts: Ryan Bergara and formerly Brent Bennett until Brent was replaced by Shane Madej halfway through the first season. New fans of the show might be confused to see that BuzzFeed Unsolved has two Season ones and two Season twos. Why they do not choose to give them different season numbers I'm not sure, but the sub-seasons (if you will) are split so that one sub-season focuses on crime stories called True Crime and the other explores the paranormal and aliens called Paranormal (genius names, guys).

Confusing season lineup aside, one of my favorite aspects of the series (and what I think makes them stand out in comparison to other ghost hunting shows) is the contrasting points of view the hosts share. Ryan, an avid believer of ghosts and advocate for the possibility of alien encounters on Earth, allows us to learn about theories that seem a little out there (no pun intended).

On the other side, Shane the skeptic scoffs at the idea of ghosts existing and often jokes about the supernatural, bringing the voice of logic to the discussion. Each episode entertains me with their constant banter, often showed as typed out dialogue on screen.

New BuzzFeed Unsolved episodes are uploaded every Friday and follow the same formula with Ryan giving the story or historical background of any case or haunted entity and each episode ranging anywhere from 8 to over 45 minutes although newer episodes tend to be more consistent. Starting in Season Two, Ryan and Shane also host a Q&A session BuzzFeed Unsolved Postmortem after every new episode. In the True Crime episodes, Ryan offers a number of theories that serve as possible answers to the unsolved cases to which both Ryan and Shane discuss the most probably theory. The Supernatural episodes have them visiting the haunted places themselves, attempting to pick up any unnatural audio, typically followed by Shane's skepticism.

They really do their research for each episode, reading news stories, finding scientific reportings, and giving interviews to support their topics. In fact, one source they cited came from a professor at my university! Go Big Red!

Other than their misleading season lineup structure, BuzzFeed Unsolved serves as an educational and entertaining series for anyone interested in crime stories, the paranormal, and conspiracy theories. The dialogue and comedic chemistry Ryan and Shane share add a bit more personality to the show, and the episodes have great rewatchability. I always catch a different piece of information that I missed before.

BuzzFeed Unsolved is currently on Season Two of True Crime, so if this sounds like the show for you, then I'll see you this Friday where we can talk about theories of real world whodunnit stories.

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Board Games Are More Important Than You Think They Are

They've become a defining part of my family.


Remember when you were a kid and you'd have a family game night? Or your friends would come over and you'd open the game cabinet and play at least three different games together?

Maybe it's just me, but those are some of my best memories from my childhood. My family loves games, board games, and electronic games.

Of course, as I got older, gaming consoles like PlayStation and Wii became more and more popular. That meant that the game cabinet was opened less and less, collecting dust.

Thankfully, I live in New Jersey near the shore and Hurricane Sandy left my family with no power for five days. Sure, it was scary not having power and walking around my neighborhood seeing fallen trees or roof shingles, but we were inland enough to not have had any flood water damage.

No power also meant no PlayStation or Wii games. The gaming cabinet was opened again, this time with vigor. Now, four years later, and I still think about sitting in the dark with a flashlight playing Scrabble with my family.

That was also the week I learned how to play Yahtzee and dominated my dad in every game. My sister constantly was looking for someone to play her to Battleship. We exhausted Rummikub.

The game was already a family favorite, and that's including extended family. Family barbeques had been ending with late night games of Rummikub for at least a year by the time Sandy hit.

We were ready to strategize and crunch numbers, but after day three, we never wanted to a number ever again.

This semester, there's been a surge of board game love again in my family. My sister bought Jenga, which we are currently trying to exhaust ourselves with. My favorite board game also had a comeback: Life.

I loved this game so much that I had the SpongeBob version as a kid. I would play it with my best friend, just the two of us, playing game after game of Bikini Bottom themed Life. Now, I have a car full of "kids" that I've started to make pets in my head. I can handle having five pretend dogs, but not five pretend kids.

I don't know what it is about board games, but my family has always had an affinity for them. We've gone through our cycles of playing video games and card games, but we always come back to the classics. Maybe it's more a defining part of my family than I originally thought.

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