Hosts Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej bring different sides to the unsolved stores to add a lighthearted vibe to the spookiness. (Illustration by Ben Miller, Towson University)

Why ‘BuzzFeed Unsolved’ Is the Perfect True Crime Show for Both Believers and Skeptics

The hosts disagree on everything, which leads to different perspectives and comedy gold.

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The hosts disagree on everything, which leads to different perspectives and comedy gold.

Crime and ghost shows make a killing on murder mysteries written up in a Hollywood studio because many people enjoy disturbing content. If there’s a mystery involved, it’s better. The content based on true crime and old legends, however, bring in an even bigger audience because you either believe in the legends or you like them for what they are: stories.

There are few shows that capture that skeptical/believing balance between their hosts. For example, the ghost-hunting shows generally contain like-minded believers on a quest to find presentable proof for their case that ghosts are real.

But then there’s “BuzzFeed Unsolved,” a series of videos elaborating on some of the most notorious true crime and paranormal cases in history, and the hosts who aren’t of the same hivemind shake up the old ways of presenting cases.

“BuzzFeed Unsolved” presents many sides and theories to some of the most famous unsolved cases in history. Believer Ryan Bergara and skeptic Shane Madej bring a balance to supernatural and true crime, alternating rational and otherworldly theories on “BuzzFeed Unsolved.” And they do it all with impressive research, friendship and lots of screaming (mostly from Bergara).

Supernatural

“This week on ‘BuzzFeed Unsolved,’ we’re visiting one of the most haunted places in the world as part of our ongoing investigation to answer the question: Are ghosts real?” Bergara narrates at the beginning of each supernatural episode where the two visit supposedly haunted locales.

Madej usually appears skeptical, sometimes opting to shake his head no in response.

BuzzFeed Unsolved
In the supernatural episodes, Bergara and Madej try to prove that ghosts are real, though they have yet to do so. (Image via HerCampus)

As they tread through the houses, Bergara narrates the history of the place they visit and then discusses the various legends and sightings attributed to the supernatural. Bergara’s jumpiness contrasted with Madej’s lackadaisical approach to ghost hunting is funny to watch.

The ongoing commentary between the two lightens the mood as they joke around, often consisting of Madej doing or saying something to scare Bergara, like verbally harassing the ghosts. Most of the places they visit do tend to have sad, if not disturbing histories that Bergara recants for the audience’s sake.

On each season of “BuzzFeed Unsolved,” they also film one episode where there is reportedly a house or some other location with a demon — that, of course, Madej also likes to yell at, scaring Bergara shitless. In the episode with Old Alton’s bridge, aka the Goatman’s bridge, Bergara is armed with a water pistol filled with holy water while Madej dances around, claiming the bridge for his own.

For the believers, the contrast between the hosts lightens the mood on a subject where the town lore is equally as disturbing as the deaths that occured at each location. For the skeptics, they get to watch another skeptic help scare his friend and visit places that have impressive architecture and cool history.

True Crime

For the “BuzzFeed Unsolved: True Crime” episodes, Bergara presents his well-researched unsolved cases to Madej and the viewers at home, going over the key points and discussing theories afterwards. They cover everything from famous deaths and disappearances to Bigfoot and aliens. Bergara seems fond of his alien theories; Madej is less enthused.

Once again, the contrast creates a more lighthearted atmosphere as the two hosts discuss the sad and sometimes gruesome details of the famous unsolved cases. Madej learns a lot of the information as Bergara recounts the cases to the camera, and Bergara’s responses to Madej’s commentary provides a nice pause in the unfortunate stories.

Bergara presents some compelling theories in each episode of “BuzzFeed Unsolved,” but he also presents some that make no sense to a skeptic like Madej. In the episode about the missing Roanoke colony, Bergara says, “These questions [about the disappearance of the 115 people of the Roanoke colony] have led some to point to supernatural causes.”

Madej interrupts quietly with, “No, no no no no,” while Bergara laughs and asks what’s wrong. The first theory was, of course, that aliens had abducted the Roanoke colonists, leaving no trace.

But there was another thought. Bergara presents a theory after the aliens that points to a zombie plague that consumed the colonists. At this point, Madej chucks his stress ball across the room while Bergara cackles. Both hosts seem to have their fun annoying each other in various episodes of “BuzzFeed Unsolved,” and it’s great to watch while also hearing interesting cases.

Bergara and Madej’s greatest appeal on “BuzzFeed Unsolved” is their dynamic friendship while they elaborate on some of the most notorious cases of crime and the supernatural in history. Whether you’re a skeptic that needs all the facts or a true-blue believer in all things paranormal, “BuzzFeed Unsolved” will make you laugh. The newest season begins on Friday, July 13, so here’s to scaring your friends for the sake of comedy.

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