‘Se7en’ Meets ‘Super Size Me’ With New Morgan Spurlock Series

By  · Published on March 27th, 2014

Samuel Goldwyn Films

Imagine a nonfiction television series focused on greed, gluttony, sloth, lust, pride, envy and wrath. Well, doesn’t that just describe the whole gamut of reality TV? Yes, but not in a condemnable way that acknowledges these things as the cardinal sins they are. We need someone to take these vices back and put them in their place, and Oscar-nominated documentarian Morgan Spurlock seems to be that person, like a premium cable version of John Doe in Se7en, only without the killing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he’s got a new show headed to Showtime called Seven Deadly Sins, which he describes as being like Alfred Hitchcock Presents but with true stories.

I’d say this joins the new trend this year for major documentary filmmakers hitting the small screen with nonfiction miniseries, but Spurlock has been producing and hosting stuff for TV for years and already currently has the continuing Inside Man on CNN, which kicks off its second season in a few weeks. Seven Deadly Sins will premiere on June 19th and the channel has it scheduled for 11pm, which might indicate this won’t be the most PG-rated program. In a statement, Spurlock said of the show, “You won’t believe it until you see it … and even then, you may not believe it.” Does he mean it’ll be dirty? Gross? Violent? Something too dark for primetime, apparently.

Looking back on Spurlock’s career, he’s already ventured into areas relevant to the sins, so I can see why he’s interested in the subject matter. His breakout film, Super Size Me, shows gluttony that leads to sloth, for instance. Where In the World is Osama Bin Laden? is sort of about wrath in the form of America’s demand for the Al-Qaeda leader’s head on a platter. I think there was some envy going on in Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope. Greed is explored in the form of product placement with The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Mansome features men with pride in their appearance. And One Direction: This Is Us spotlights some lust, I guess, on the part of the boy band’s screaming fans.

Here’s hoping that the docuseries will not only be interesting but different. So far, aside from Cosmos, I’m disappointed with the bunch of docuseries by prestigious documentaries we’ve been getting, particularly with the Alex Gibney-produced Death Row Stories, which doesn’t look unlike any other true crime nonfiction program on TV for the past 30 years. Seven Deadly Sins has the potential to be just as generic even with Spurlock’s signature antics. Or, perhaps it will be his most meta project yet and turn out to be him satirizing the sinful nature of reality TV by having each episode be an extreme version of stuff like Real Housewives and The Bachelor. Please let it be that.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.