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Tiger King Review: An Offbeat Series About Big Cats, Big Lies, and Big Murder

Netflix: Tiger King

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Who would have thought that amid a pandemic, the binding agent of America would be a documentary starring a self-proclaimed “gay, gun-toting, cowboy” from Oklahoma?

The Netflix series may have officially debunked the phrase ‘stranger things have happened’ while confirming ‘truth is stranger than fiction.’ It does not get any stranger than the eight-episode mini-series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness.

Tiger King Netflix Dethroned review

Netflix: Tiger King

Arguably no cast of characters is more offbeat than those who inhabit the subculture of big cat ownership. The most eccentric and misguided of them all is Joseph Schreibvogel Maldonado-Passage or as he’s more widely known, Joe Exotic.

Surrounding characters include conmen, cult leaders, ex-convicts, drug addicts, and hitmen. Please note that the term ‘documentary’ is used loosely for this series. These are real people (believe it or not) and we do witness real events. However, the portrayal is clearly bent towards sensationalism, something that not even the zoo/animal sanctuary owners were not aware of until filming concluded.

What’s it about?

The show primarily follows the shenanigans of roadside zoo owner Joe Exotic from his property in Wynnewood, Oklahoma to his prison cell (not much of a spoiler considering Exotic narrates from behind bars in the first episode). The land he purchased was formerly a horse farm. Exotic acquired the property in the 90s with money received related to his brother’s death, caused by complications after he had been in a car accident.

The G.W. Zoo was named in his honor. Joe used the land to house lions, tigers, and other animals. It’s been said that the horses that remained on the farm when it was purchased were fed to the big cats. Their choice of food eventually devolved to meat products rejected by Walmart.

The story gradually becomes less about what happens at the G.W. Zoo; horrific accidents, music videos, a reality show, and even a political campaign, to a murder scheme. Not to mention Joe’s husbands, yes plural, two were featured in the show but he is rumored to have been wed five times, legally or otherwise. More on that later. What we see most is the murder-for-hire plot Joe incited against his rival Carole Baskin.

Who is Carole Baskin?

The current meme queen. Hers is the face that is saturating the Internet. The blonde hair and animal print clothing. Baskin, 58, married to Howard Baskin, her second husband after her first husband “Don” Lewis disappeared, more on that and how they met later. She is an animal rights activist and owner of Big Cat Rescue, a non-profit animal sanctuary near Tampa, Florida.

Related: Tiger King: Did Carole Baskin Kill Her Husband Don Lewis or Did Something Else Happen?

Her thoughts on Tiger King:

“When the directors…came to us five years ago they said they wanted to make the big cat version of ‘Blackfish‘ (the documentary that revealed abuse at SeaWorld) that would expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for cub petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and back yards if they survive.” (Bigcatresue.org)

QUIZ: Which ‘Tiger King’ Character Are You Most Like?

Big Cat Blackfish is not what happened. What Netflix gave us during our #stayhomesavelives sentencing was drama to an absurd degree. Baskin went after Exotic for animal abuse and Exotic went after Baskin because he was convinced she killed her first husband Don Lewis and fed him to the tigers. Lewis was declared legally dead after his 5-year-disappearance which left Carole with his fortune. She met Lewis in her late teens while walking alone at night. Lewis circled the block in his car until she got in. The truth is stranger than fiction. She made it her mission to put Joe Exotic out of business and so, Joe thought it best if she were dead.

“I’m involved in a federal murder-for-hire plot. Who’ da thought? Just because I stopped by to feed a bear one day.”-Reinke, former zoo Manager

Bankruptcy due to legal battles with Baskin led Exotic to seek the help of Jeff Lowe. His last name sums up his standard of integrity. The conman fooled Exotic while exploiting tiger cubs himself. Meanwhile, one of Joe’s husbands, Travis Maldonado, suffered a horrific accident witnessed by the manager of his running for Governor of Oklahoma campaign. John Finlay, 59, now ex-husband of Exotic, left the three-way marriage for a woman. Low-life Lowe found Allen Glover, handyman and hitman, willing to eliminate Baskin. Glover lied, took the money and ran.

Tiger King Netflix Dethroned review

Tiger King: Dethroned/ Netflix

How exactly did Joe end up in a cage serving twenty-two years? Was it his second or third husband-it’s hard to keep track-who was convicted of murder? Finlay and Maldonado were both young when they married Exotic and both admitted they were heterosexual on camera. What about “Doc” Antle, owner of Myrtle Beach Safari, home of the largest liger and apparent feline-themed sex-cult? That’s a series in and of itself.

Tiger King now streaming on Netflix.


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Editorials

TV Shows and Movies to Watch During Women’s History Month

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TV Shows and Movies to Watch During Women's History Month

March is not only Women’s History Month, but March 8 is also International Women’s Day. 

To celebrate, Philo put together a curated collection titled “Celebrating Women ” to honor the fearless, passionate, and hardworking women in your life.

Per the release, the collection will include “movies and shows that magnify female experiences, explore narratives centered around women, and commemorate their vital role in today’s society.”

Here are some titles to check out:

Younger

Liza Miller is a forty-something-year-old who pretends to be half her age to rejoin the world of publishing. She never expects that lying about her age could open up a world of possibilities not only in her career but also in love! 

 

Sistas

Tyler Perry’s comedy-drama follows a group of single black women as they navigate the ins-and-outs of life like careers, friendship, and more.

 
 

Bombshell

Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, and Margot Robbie star in a film about female empowerment in the #MeToo World. In this drama based on a real story, three whip-smart women go from reading headlines to becoming the headlines when they expose the man who made them famous.
 

 

Killing Eve

Eve, a gifted MI5 spy, and Villanelle, a talented killer, play a game of cat and mouse as they obsess over each other.
 

 

Queen Sugar

Ava DuVernay and Oprah join forces behind-the-scenes of this drama, which brings the Bordelon siblings back together to run the family’s struggling sugar cane farm.
 

 

Golden Girls

The classic 80s sitcom finds four women living together in Miami through what can only be described as the ups-and-downs of their “golden years.”
 

 
The long-running British drama focuses on an extraterrestrial Time Lord that travels through time and space via TARDIS to solve problems. The 12th season welcomed the first female doctor with Jodie Whittaker taking on the iconic role.
 

 

High-powered attorney Patty Hewes gets embroiled in a custody case and goes above and beyond to prevent her protege from taking the stand and exposing all of her secrets.
 

Shailene Woodley stars as Tris in the post-apocalyptic franchise about a society divided into five factions. When she learns that she doesn’t fit into just one faction, it puts everyone she loves at risk.
 

You can find the full collection at philo.tv/celebratingwomen


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Editorials

7 Most Anticipated Shows Coming in the Spring of 2021

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7 Most Anticipated Shows Coming in the Spring of 2021

As the days get longer, snow begins to melt, and flowers begin to bloom, you’ll likely find yourself emerging from a winter slump and ready to warm up your soul. 

And what better way than with some exciting television blooming this spring?

While there’s plenty of shows returning from hiatus (you can find all the must-watch shows and movies premiering in March right here), there’s also a slate of new shows hoping to melt your cold exterior and warm their way into your heart.

Here’s everything that we’re looking forward to watching in the spring of 2021:

15 Exciting TV Show Reboots & Spinoffs Coming in 2021

Debris – March 1 (NBC)

Network television loves its sci-fi! Debris finds two agents, one from the CIA and one for MI6, teaming up to travel the U.S. looking for remnants of an alien spacecraft to find out where it’s from, what it wants, and what it’s effects are on the human population. Think X-Files meets Fringe meets Extant

 

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – March 19 (Disney+)

Disney+ is expanding the world of Marvel with yet another addition to the small screen. Following Wandavision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a six-episode comedy about Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), who is now Captain America, and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), which picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame

 

The Irregulars – March 26 (Netflix)

You know the story of Sherlock Holmes, but do you know the story of Dr. Watson and the Baker Street Irregulars? All you need to know is that it’s a gang of street teens manipulated into working for Watson to protect London from supernatural elements. 

 

Law & Order: Organized Crime – April 1 (NBC)

The series marks Elliot Stabler’s (Christopher Meloni) overdue (due to COVID-19) return to television and the Law & Order franchise. Stabler stars up again with the NYPD and even reunites with Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) in the spinoff drama! Thursday’s just got so much better!

 

Cruel Summer – April 20 (Freeform) 

Hailing from producer Jessica Biel, this psychological thriller – that’s also a ’90s throwback – examines the lives of two young women, one of whom mysterious disappears. Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt, “Cloak & Dagger”) is a popular girl who goes missing, and Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia), is the girl deemed responsible.

 

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers – March 26 (Disney+)

Polish those skates, because the Mighty Ducks spinoff is skating to the small-screen. When the powerhouse team turns away 12-year-old Evan, a potential new member, he and his mom Alex (Lauren Graham) decided to build their own team. The 10-episode series marks the return of Emilio Esteves as Coach Gordon Bombay. 

 

Shadow and Bone – April 23 (Netflix)

Set in an alternate version of tsarist Russia called Ravka and based on the hit fantasy book series, sinister forces plot against a young soldier after she is found to have magical powers that may help unite the world.


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Editorials

Batwoman Review – Can Ryan Wilder’s Kryptonite Infection Be Cured? (2×06)

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Batwoman Review Do Not Resuscitate Season 2 Episode 6

On Batwoman Season 2 Episode 6, Ryan Wilder could no longer hide the fact that her kryptonite wound was slowly killing her. 

Talk about a painful death. 

And despite all of it, she never let the people of Gotham, or her Bat team, down. As Luke pointed out, if that isn’t a hero, I don’t know what is. 

Luke felt pretty terrible about the fact that he was the reason that Ryan kept her injury on the down-low and suffered in silence, but the moment also made him realize just how dedicated Ryan actually is to being Batwoman. She’s taking this seriously even if there’s a chance it’s only a temporary gig. 

Of course, with no actual cure for kryptonite, this makes the hunt for the Dessert Rose that much more pressing. 

Everyone wants a piece of Coryana’s miracle cure. And based on how they’re all behaving, I’m not surprised Safiyah has kept the location of the island under wraps. 

Just imagine if it got into the wrong hands… say the rogue doctors at Hamilton Dynamics that stole the map from the Crows because they want to replicate it and get rid of the diseases. And while there’s nothing wrong with trying to find a cure for virtually every disease (although, I’m sure the pharmaceutical industry wouldn’t be pleased, unless the idea is to charge a high premium for the drug once it’s available), the approach was quite problematic.

He had no problem testing on patients as if they were lab rats and didn’t care how many of them died. He then sent Aaron, an unhinged patient with spontaneous rage issues, to kidnap Mary and Jacob Kane in order to get information, and then he and his men ambushed the Crows and stole the map from them!

Here’s my issue with that whole scene – after managing to get the map from two of Gotham’s most violent criminals, Ocean and Alice (without backup, might I add), Sophie somehow thought it was a good idea to bring it with her to a hostage situation.

Sure, she wanted to save Mary and Jacob, but how would anyone know if she swapped it with a fake?

What a fail on her part.

Despite Batwoman’s disdain for Sophie (whom she hilariously refers to as “Crow-phie”), she couldn’t gamble with her life and handed over the map.

That means Batwoman wants the Dessert Rose to heal herself, Hamilton doctors want it to create an all-encompassing cure and The Crows, Mary, and Luke want the map so that it can lead them to Kate, who is allegedly still alive. 

A lot of people with a lot of motivation! 

Ocean, who was confirmed to be the one growing the psychedelic mushrooms for Snake Bite, had the map to Coryana (hidden under the real Napier painting) this whole time, but never told Alice it was a map that could lead them to the one woman who not only wants him dead, but also erased all of his romantic memories with Alice.

There’s a chance he didn’t know about the map, but how would he know to burn it when Sophie caught them?

And if the Dessert Rose is all he’s after, why didn’t he just follow the map back to where it all started in the first place?

What are we missing about Ocean?

Though, admittedly, I’m really into this partnership. Ocean seems like Alice’s equal only slightly deranged, and seeing Alice in love has plenty of potential.

It’s unclear why Coryana wants Ocean dead, but Alice made the right choice by sparing him because that’s clearly leverage to get her sister back. Plus, pretending to “kill him” will help her back into Safiyah’s good graces, and hopefully, we’ll learn more about their previous relationship.

It looks like there was a time that Alice wasn’t a complete psycho, and while it’s delicious to watch her torment the innocent souls of Gotham, it would be fun to explore a different side to her that’s less vindictive. 

I’m a little upset that the series brought Angelique and Ryan back together just to rip them apart again. The relationship was doomed from the start since they never confronted what went wrong the first time around, and instead, jumped right back into a relationship that was previously plagued by bad decisions and addiction. 

Angelique may be clean now, but she’s still dealing and has no plans to stop. That’s problematic for Ryan, who went to prison for her and wanted her to make the best of this second chance.

The reality is that no matter how much they love each other, they don’t see eye-to-eye. Sophie may not always have Ryan’s best interests at heart, but she was right for calling out Ryan for returning to the same lifestyle that previously got her in trouble. 

If she wants to be the hero, she can’t also be dating someone that’s on the opposing team.

Ryan got upset with Luke after finding out he was in cahoots with Alice to find Ocean, but if you think about it, Angelique is working with Ocean, who now has a very “complicated” connection with Alice. That’s a big red relationship flag!

Jacob Kane also needs to learn how to be a father. Mary finally told him about her underground clinic, and while it wasn’t by choice or the way she wanted to do it, it was a weight lifted off her shoulders that she could finally be honest with him. 

And instead of embracing her or trying to understand it, he told her he was shutting it down. 

His logic didn’t even track. After finding out that his wife and Mary’s mom, who was previously CEO of Hamilton Dynamics, gave the green light for human trials, Jacob figured he had to intervene in Mary’s life before she followed the same trajectory. 

There’s no way to justify the logic, especially since Mary has helped so many people that couldn’t afford healthcare and was doing it for the right reasons and not for the money.

Jacob’s problem is that he continues to alienate all of his loved ones without realizing that he’s the biggest problem right along with his corrupt Crows. He could get so much more done if he just worked with Batwoman and Mary instead of riding his high horse and thinking he’s better. 

And then he’s surprised that he’s blindsided by everyone’s secrets when he doesn’t even try to get to know his daughters, and when he does pay attention to them, he takes away the things that make them who they are. 

What did you think of the episode? Will Ryan find the Dessert Rose in time?

What are your thoughts on Alice and Ocean?


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