Investigation Discovery has stumbled onto a pretty savvy formula for helping its audience -- most of whom clearly learn pretty much everything they know from TV and movies, just like the rest of us -- process its shows: Explicityly or subconsciously connect its new series to popular movies.
First there was "Dark Minds," which had a "Silence of the Lambs" like hook to it; and "Deadly Sins," which brought to mind "Seven."
Now there's even a more overt connection with "Reel Crime/Real Story," a series (OK, a mere three-part one to start, beginning May 29) that takes popular movies and provides the actual fact-based material behind them.
The effort begins with an episode devoted to the 2003 movie "Monster," and serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Subsequent hours will focus on the underpinnings to "Selena" and "To Die For." On top of that, it's hosted by Erin Brockovich (pictured), whose life became the basis for the movie, um, damn, what was the title of that....
The episodes themselves (to be fair, I watched about one and a half just to get the flavor) are traditional true-crime stuff, so it's all about the packaging, which cleverly leverages these other properties. And given the number of sensational crimes that have been turned into movies, in success, one can see this concept running for a very long time.
If nothing else, it puts a new wrinkle on an old theme: Hey, don't bother reading the book before seeing the movie. Just watch the TV show version of it after the fact.