Pop the popcorn, dim the lights, and settle in on your comfy couch — it’s time for some serious binge watching. That’s because Amazon has just added a staple of late ’80s/’90s television to the Prime Instant Video catalog: the original Unsolved Mysteries, hosted by the irreplaceable Robert Stack.
Created by John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer, Unsolved Mysteries began as a series of NBC TV specials, originally aired in 1987 and 1988. Each episode delved into, well, just what the title suggests. Over the course of the show’s long run, viewers were treated to tales of kidnappings, murders, conspiracies, missing persons, and of course a steady flow of the paranormal, from UFO sightings to ghostly apparitions. It was creepy, ominous, and, yes, easily parodied. But for many who came of age in the 1980s, it’s an unforgettable part of pop culture, now just waiting to be revisited on Amazon Prime.
The first Unsolved Mysteries special was actually hosted by Raymond Burr, who then passed the baton to Karl Malden for a couple of outings. Robert Stack took over with the fourth special on November 29, 1987. When Unsolved Mysteries then launched as a full television series in October 1988, Stack became synonymous with the style and tone of the show, from his unmistakable voice to his ever-present trench coat.
The show enjoyed one hell of a run, airing 13 seasons between 1988 and 2002. During that run, it leaped networks twice, first from NBC to CBS in 1997, then from CBS to Lifetime in 2001. And it still wasn’t finished — a revamped version of the series, hosted by Dennis Farina, premiered on Spike in 2008 and ran for two years. Many of the Dennis Farina episodes were already available on Prime, but they are widely considered inferior to the Stack run. Either way, Prime customers can now immerse themselves in Unsolved Mysteries and not come up for air for a good long time. And if they’re never heard from again, well, perhaps Robert Stack’s ghost will tell their tale…