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Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries - What We Know So Far

The world is full of unexplained phenomena, and Netflix is gearing up to bring them to light with its forthcoming reboot of the popular docuseries, Unsolved Mysteries. Move over, Mulder.

The original Unsolved Mysteries debuted in 1987 on NBC, and has since cycled through several networks over its four-decade lifespan. After a ten-year run on the Peacock, the series moved to CBS, then to Lifetime, then to Spike, where it went quiescent after 2010. Ten years have now passed without any new mysteries to unsolve on TV, and Netflix is finally stepping in to rectify that situation. According to SYFY, some of the producers involved with the show's creation back in the '80s expressed an interest in reviving the series back in 2017. Two years later, Netflix officially bit, announcing that it had greenlit a new season to stream exclusively on the platform.

Both the announcement from Netflix and the series' imminent release beg several pressing questions: Will the investigative thriller return to its roots with a focus on extraterrestrials and UFOs, or will we see more of the expanded scope of coverage introduced in the '90s, which included cold cases and other supernatural phenomena? Are the original producers still involved, or has Netflix hooked in a new crop of talent? Will we get an update on the Oakville Blobs? Most importantly, will the new set of episodes be hosted by a revenant Robert Stack?

Here's everything we know so far about the long-running "non-fiction" program's latest iteration.

When is the release date of Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix?

With so many years separating the Netflix reboot from the last new episode of Unsolved Mysteries, which aired in 2010, fans of the investigative series have had to exercise incredible patience. Fortunately, production of the new episodes does not appear to have been impacted by the industry-wide shutdown that has delayed so many other projects.

According to Bloody Disgusting, the streamer ordered up 12 fresh episodes to get the reboot off the ground, and the first six are all set to begin streaming on July 1. That's a pretty impressive turnaround, considering the series was only greenlit about 18 months ago, at the beginning of 2019. 

The new series falls under Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy's exclusive deal with Netflix. Levy's company, 21 Laps Entertainment, has already produced several other properties for the streamer, including Shadow and Bone and I Am Not Okay with This. Without a new season of Stranger Things on the immediate horizon, Unsolved Mysteries should be just the thing to slake that summer craving for the uncanny. 

Who is in the cast of Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix?

Since its inception, Unsolved Mysteries has been inextricably linked to its longest-serving host, Hollywood veteran, Robert Stack. Stack carried the series from its infancy in 1988 nearly up until his tragic death in 2003. For the first nine seasons of the show's existence, Stack was the sole host tasked with relaying the strange details of supernatural phenomena with a gravitas and deadpan delivery that lent the series the weight of a news program like 60 Minutes or Dateline. When the show moved to CBS in 1997, ratings began to flag, and the new network decided to pair the aging Stack with Virginia Madsen (the original Princess Irulan in David Lynch's Dune) in hopes that the attractive young starlet might lure in a bigger viewership. The bid failed, and CBS canceled the series after only two seasons.

When Lifetime stepped in, it brought back Slack — without Madsen — and the series ran for another 103 episodes before the network pulled the plug only months ahead of Slack's passing. With Slack gone, the Spike TV revival called in actor Dennis Farina to take over hosting duties. Farina never quite achieved the popularity of Slack, but his series mostly cobbled together repackaged segments from the old Slack episodes, so the comparison isn't really a fair one. Farina ended up hosting 175 episodes before the resilient show once again met the cancelation ax.

Since any actors involved in the dramatic reenactments of supernatural events will likely rotate in and out on a per-episode basis, the host of Unsolved Mysteries is the series' only constant. Even with that in mind, Netflix has apparently decided to go in a different direction with the reboot. The new Unsolved Mysteries will retain the documentary format with scripted reenactments, but there will be no host — not even a disembodied narrator. The segments will have to flow seamlessly from one scene to the next.

This is easily the most controversial change from the original series, but there is ample hope that the spirit of Unsolved Mysteries will survive. The original creators, John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer, are both attached to the project. Dunn Meurer will be the most hands-on member of the producing team, serving as showrunner on the first 12 episodes, while Cosgrove and Levy will each serve as EPs (via Deadline).

What is the plot of Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix?

The original series docuseries followed an anthology format, with each episode investigating a different mystery. In an interview with Channel Nonfiction, Cosgrove confirmed that the anthology format will be preserved, and explained how the host-less set-up has actually forced the creative team to tell more cohesive stories.

"It'll be very different and there's no host and no narrator, so it will be pure documentary style. We're excited about taking this on. We've done shows like that in the past and it's a different way of working," Cosgrove said. "We don't have the luxury of solving editing problems by writing some narration, so you have to be more organized when you go out and shoot, and then very creative in the editing room ... I think it will be excellent. It feels much more contemporary than the old style. And we don't have the horrible job of trying to find somebody as good as Robert Stack."

As for the actual content, the first three seasons of Unsolved Mysteries in the '80s had a distinct focus on aliens and UFO sightings. In 1990, the show started expanding to include other "unsolved" phenomena like ghosts, demons and cold cases. Per the episode titles and descriptions that have been released so far, it appears the Netflix version plans to take the latter approach. The first four episodes appear to deal with mysterious cold cases, whereas episode 5, entitled "Berkshire's UFO," clearly aims to investigate alien activity. Fans should expect a healthy mix of topics from season 1.

Is there a trailer for the Netflix reboot of Unsolved Mysteries?

Oh, yes — and get a look at that slick new production. The tense trailer is pretty light on plot details. It mostly jumps from talking head clips to brief snippets of dramatic reenactments that can't easily be pegged to any one case. From what we do get, it looks like the Netflix budget along with the host-less documentary style and eerie soundtrack should add up to a pretty satisfying ride for fans of the supernatural. 

At around 0:49 in the trailer, we get the longest contiguous segment — an older woman's recitation of her own close encounter. The interview plays over scenes that are clearly taken from some of the series' signature dramatic reenactments, suggesting that this latest version of Unsolved Mysteries plans to retain the original's satisfying blend of fact and fiction. The trailer ends by teasing the titles of the first six episodes after confirming the July 1 release date. Are you excited yet?