The winter TV season is upon us, and our hunger for true crime dramatizations remains fierce. Last year's shows such as Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (NBC) and Mindhunter (Netflix) prove the genre is far from dead. Here are some newcomers we're looking forward to this season, bringing modern relevance to true stories.
10 p.m., Jan. 17
Ryan Murphy's first season of American Crime Story was a poignant retelling of the O.J. Simpson trial. The next installment follows the moments leading up to Gianni Versace's 1997 murder on the steps of his Miami Beach home. Here, Murphy highlights different kinds of crime: homophobia and deceit. The FBI was accused of negligently tracking Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss), a deeply troubled 27-year-old who frighteningly morphed and manipulated his way through life, because of his and his victims' sexuality. The stories of Versace (Edgar Ramirez) and Cunanan are used to show how homophobia continued to seep into a culture shifting to LGBTQ acceptance. As Cunanan's trail of lies unravels, it's clear that this was more than a celebrity obsession gone wrong. Like other Murphy projects, there's some intriguing casting, including Penelope Cruz as Versace's sister Donatella and Ricky Martin as Versace's partner.
Waco (Paramount, 10 p.m., Jan. 24): Spike's rebranding effort brings us this six-part limited series about the infamous 51-day Waco, Texas fatal siege in 1993. Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) plays David Koresh, who led the Branch Davidian compound. And Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water) is the FBI agent tracking the cult. Kitsch brings an everyman quality to the triumphantly mulleted cult leader to show how leaders — even the insane ones — gain devoted followers.
Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. (USA, 10 p.m., Feb. 27): Twenty years and the people still don't know who killed them. This 10-episode scripted adaptation of the investigations into the murders of Tupac (Marcc Rose) and Biggie Smalls (Wavyy Jonez) stars Josh Duhamel and Jimmi Simpson as the two real-life detectives on the case.
The Looming Tower (Hulu, midnight, Feb. 28): Leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, this drama begins in 1998, shortly before terrorists bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa. Starring Jeff Daniels and Peter Sarsgaard as combative FBI and CIA department heads, it's based on Lawrence Wright's Pulitzer Prize-winning 2006 bestseller.
Trust (FX, TBA, March): It's always funny when things come in pairs. In this case, it's J. Paul Getty, the real-life oil tycoon portrayed in Ridley Scott's movie All The Money In The World and the upcoming show, Trust. This 10-part series with Donald Sutherland in the lead tells the same grandson kidnapping story. However, Trust has Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle behind it, and powerful performances from Hilary Swank and Brendan Fraser.