Everyone’s talking about The Staircase HBO vs Netflix series – both about the death of Kathleen Peterson.
Forget the ongoing court battle between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, and the stupidly expensive Wagatha Christie saga.
“Did Michael Peterson kill his wife? is the question on everyone’s lips.
HBO viewers are all climbing to discuss their theories on whether or not Micheal pushed his wife down the stairs and whether the HBO series is better than the Netflix original documentary.
But I think everything is pretty sick.
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The Staircase HBO vs Netflix – what’s the difference?
In my opinion, the HBO series of The Staircase should never have seen the light of day.
In fact, several members of Kathleen’s family did NOT want this dramatized at all.
The Staircase is an enhanced version of a very tragic true crime, which was previously examined in the Netflix series of the same name.
Netflix’s true crime series is an excellent documentary following the trial and interviewing the family, including Michael Peterson.
If you want to know more about Kathleen’s death, this is where you should look.
In fact, the true crime documentary is now back in Netflix’s top 10.
And rightly so.
You can make up your own mind about Michael Peterson’s guilt — or innocence — without the distraction of famous faces and designer wardrobes in the HBO version.
One fan called HBO’s The Staircase a “brilliant show,” while another said, “The Staircase on HBO is one of the best shows around.”
But that’s my point.
It’s not just a TV series; it’s based on real events, which happened to real people, and it’s acclaimed as if it were Line of Duty’s latest series.
Is the staircase on HBO ethical?
There’s something deeply disturbing about a megabuck TV channel trying to make more megabucks by profiting from someone else’s death.
Otherwise, why would HBO dramatize a story that only recently made it into a (much better) true-crime documentary?
Did all of this help Kathleen? Or bought closure to the family?
Or did he buy more pain, having to live it all again?
Kathleen Peterson died a tragic death under horrific circumstances.
And the man who was convicted of killing her is now gaining notoriety…
Has anyone else been left with a bad taste in their mouth?
He feels all kinds of bad.
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The HBO vs. Netflix staircase
The Staircase on HBO is a glossy television drama, with leading actors, re-enacting hyperthetic storylines.
After all, only Michael Peterson knows what happened in that house on the night of December 9, 2001.
The other person is dead.
I can’t help but wonder what Kathleen Peterson would think of all this?
The HBO series cast popular actor Colin Firth – Mr Darcy FFS! — as a convicted murderer.
Remember that Michael Peterson was convicted of Kathleen’s murder.
In 2017, he submitted an Alford plea for voluntary manslaughter, which allowed him to publicly claim his innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him.
Nonetheless, courts may treat an Alford as a guilty plea.
Mostly, I think viewers forget that these are real people who are still alive, who have lost a mother/sister/friend.
The cast is ridiculously glamorous – Arnie’s son Patrick Schwarzenegger plays Todd Peterson, award-winning Toni Collette is Kathleen, and Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner plays Margaret Ratcliff.
So you have to be really, really handsome to be able to tell the story of Kathleen’s death?
Is it okay to glam up a murder? Pretty sure that’s not the case.
Does Michael Peterson profit from the show?
A fan of the Netflix original documentary nailed it when he wondered why the show was being made.
Twitter user Deputy Hockey wrote: “HBO is making a drama called The Staircase about the Michael Peterson case.
“I could see them getting away with a movie but I’m a little surprised they were doing a series on it considering it was so new and already out.
“Unless Michael Peterson gets paid.”
It’s a valid question.
Whether Michael Peterson enjoys or benefits from the show or not, he is still very famous.
It makes me very uncomfortable knowing that two women he was the last to see alive ended up dead at the bottom of the stairs.
And Michael has already written a crime book.
US law prohibits criminals from profiting from writing or broadcasting about their crimes.
Has Kathleen Peterson’s family given consent?
We know Kathleen’s sister Candace was against Netflix’s true crime documentary.
She and Kathleen’s other sister, Lori, opted out of The Staircase.
Imagine being the sister of someone who died, having to live it all over again – every time someone wants to dig it up for financial gain.
Are there any inaccuracies in the HBO series The Staircase?
To top it off, HBO series The Staircase has been accused of inaccuracies.
Along with a few significant omissions, the show made one major change.
In the show, the prosecution nominates attorney David Rudolf during the grand jury hearing.
However, Rudolf told the Charlotte Observer, “I wasn’t on the grand jury because defense attorneys aren’t allowed in a grand jury room.
“Anyone who knows the criminal justice system will look at this scene and say ‘that’s bullshit.’
“So that’s just stupidity.”
David, who served as Michael Peterson’s attorney during his murder trial, has since accused the HBO series of “turning truth into fiction”.
He called on “HBO to have the humility to apologize and issue a disclaimer about the truthfulness of its portrayal of the people who made the documentary.”
The HBO vs. Netflix staircase
French director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade directed the true detective documentary The Staircase.
Years later, he gave fellow filmmaker – and friend – Antonio Campos access to his archive of thousands of hours of footage from the Peterson case.
He also sold her the rights to the story.
And this is where it gets nasty.
The pair have since fallen out, with Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and the documentary team taking serious issue with the HBO miniseries’ portrayal of their work.
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade says perhaps the greatest injustice in dramatization is the reimagining of the story as a family drama, where warring and angry children take center stage.
That’s not how he remembers it.
“They were exceptionally close,” he says.
True crime documentaries that are right
Don’t get me wrong, there are some great dramatizations of true crimes.
The 2021 Pembrokeshire murders were a crude recreation of John Cooper’s crimes.
But the crucial difference is that it was told from the perspective of DCS Steve Wilkins, who helped track him down.
The same goes for In Plain Sight and Des – the killers are not sympathetic and viewers follow the police investigation.
Four Lives told the horrific story of serial killer Stephen Port from the perspective of the victims and their families.
They are chilling depictions of murder, not designed to titillate.
What are viewers saying?
Many viewers like the series, but there are others who agree that it is in bad taste.
One viewer wrote: “Tbh kinda rude of HBO to do a scripted miniseries of The Staircase when the documentary is right there.
“They didn’t even change the name. Low-blow.”
Another said: “Watched HBO’s The Staircase – it’s depressing and graphically violent.
“The scene of her accidentally falling off is horrible to watch. nothing to invest.”
A third tweeted: “Staircase on HBO was trash. Original doc on Netflix was better.
The true crime documentary Staircase is currently available on Netflix. The dramatization of the same name airs on Sky Atlantic.
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