Netflix’s Tiger King is, let’s face it, the show that defined the first coronavirus lockdown of 2020. Over a matter of days, the true crime series became the number one most-watched title in the UK and US, and also became something of a viral talking point, with many taking to Twitter to share their reactions to the show.
The main source of their conversation – other than whether or not Florida tiger sanctuary-owner Carole Baskin actually murdered her husband? (Spoiler: she didn’t) – was how much they loved Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic.
Now, in the new trailer released today, we finally get a look at what the second series will entail and just whose stories will be given airtime. With Joe in prison, newfound revelations and secrets of the big cat industry are unearthed. Although the first series was a smash-hit, we can’t help but think if a second series is really necessary.
The tagline of the new series is “we’ve only scratched the surface” so maybe we’ll be proven otherwise.
As detailed in the documentary, which directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin filmed over the course of five years, the gay, polygamist zookeeper from Oklahoma is currently serving 22 years for ordering a hit on his nemesis, Baskin, and multiple animal-rights violations (including the killing of five baby tigers).
Still, though, the world fell hard for Exotic and his larger-than-life personality. His eccentric music videos began trending on YouTube, his oh-so-unforgettable quotes were turned into memes and printed on T-shirts, and some even began campaigning for his early release from prison.
Why? Well, perhaps because, as Louis Theroux himself put it, “[Joe’s] ridiculousness was endearing rather than annoying… maybe because he seemed neither to be hiding many of his misdeeds nor to take himself too seriously, not to mention that his emotional volatility – laughter, tears, kindness, paranoia, all in quick succession – inclined me to be a little protective of him.”
Is it any wonder, then, that Netflix is bringing us a second season of Tiger King?
That’s right; in a tweet published over the weekend for Netflix’s fan event TUDUM, the streamer confirmed that the popular documentary series will be returning on 17 November (as in, yes, this winter), with an earlier tweet this week teasing: “Season 2 promises just as much mayhem and madness as Season 1!”
“We’ve only scratched the surface,” promises Netflix of Exotic’s story – and, honestly, we don’t doubt it.
Here’s what you need to know, then, about Tiger King season two.
What’s the synopsis for Tiger King season two?
With many wondering just what the second season will be about with Joe behind bars, it seems as though this upcoming series will take a wide-angle look at the industry and the notorious names within it.
The official Netflix synopsis says:
“The colourful saga of America’s most notorious big cat owners continues. Sudden fame and unwanted attention from the authorities turns up the heat and unearths some stunning revelations.”
“With Joe Exotic behind bars and Carole Baskin closing in on ownership of his disreputable zoo, the Emmy-nominated saga continues its twisted course with Tiger King 2 as newfound revelations emerge on the motivations, backstories, and secrets of America’s most notorious big cat owners. Old enemies and frenemies, including Jeff Lowe, Tim Stark, Allen Glover, and James Garretson return for another season of murder, mayhem, and madness. Thought you knew the whole story? Just you wait.”
The official trailer is as suspenseful as ever and contains shots of an imprisoned Joe, the lavish lifestyle of Jeff Lowe post-Tiger King fame wearing diamond chains and proclaiming that he has “more money than God right now”, and of course, Carole Baskin.
One over-arching theme of the series seems to also be taking a closer look at the feud between Joe and Carole, and the accusations that have headed their way. As the narration of the trailer says: “In order for there to be justice, there has to be truth.”
Will Jeff Lowe feature in Tiger King season two?
Judging by the trailer, the documentary will definitely be taking an in-depth look at Jeff Lowe, whom Tiger King fans will know as the former business partner of Joe Exotic. It seems as though his tenure over the exotic cat zoo was made famous by the Netflix series initially and he’s rose to new levels of fame because of it.
A tenure which, this writer hastens to add, ended last summer when a federal judge ordered the zoo be handed over to Baskin as part of a ruling in a $1 million (£800,000) trademark dispute.
It’s worth noting that, as per the BBC’s report, Lowe’s “new park” will become a “private film set for Tiger King related television content for cable and streaming services.”
And what about Joe Exotic himself?
Well, Exotic failed to receive a pardon from former President Donald Trump, so he is still in prison. As such, it’s unlikely any filming will have taken place with him.
However, as per Passage’s quotes above, documentary-makers have conducted a number of telephone interviews with Exotic – and it stands to reason that these will be featured in the docuseries.
“Joe has called me quite a few times [and] he is absolutely ecstatic about the series and the idea of being famous,” Goode recently told The Los Angeles Times.
“He’s absolutely thrilled. I think he is trying to be an advocate for – no surprise – criminal justice reform. He is in a cage and of course he’s gonna say that he now recognises what he did to these animals.
“With Joe, we have empathy for him, but at the same time, he’s someone who really knows what to say at the right moment. I take it with a big grain of salt when he says he is now apologetic for keeping animals.”
Chaiklin added: “You can hardly talk to him without him mentioning the amount of press he’s getting. He says people are asking to see his Prince Albert and girls are sending him sexy bikini pictures even though he’s gay. He’s over the moon. Having kept in pretty close touch with him while he’s been in a horrible county prison, this has raised his spirits.
“Joe definitely did some horrible things to his animals. He was very abusive to them and he shot five tigers, no question about it. But what has happened to him has also been hard.”
Will Carole Baskin return for Tiger King season two?
Although it had previously been reported that Baskin will not be returning for a second series of Netflix’s Tiger King because she felt “misled” by Goode and Chaiklin, the trailer does feature her.
She had previously stated:
“They took so many things out of context and allowed people who know nothing about my history or about the relationship that I had with my former husband Don Lewis, just a bunch of animal abusers out there saying things about me that they said for years but nobody ever paid them any attention,” she told Radio Times.
“And then Tiger King gave them a microphone that took it into – I heard something like 64 million people have seen it and they never would have got that kind of attention on their own because people can easily look up [what happened] if they have any interest at all because of the court records and see that most of the stuff they were saying was just untrue.
Baskin added: “The other things that you can’t prove, like we don’t know what happened to my husband, but by virtue of the very fact that the sheriff’s office has always said that I’ve never even been a person of interest in that and yet they were making all kinds of allegations and then just trotting out one animal abuser after another to back up that narrative because that was salacious.
“And that, I think, is what enabled them to sell the piece to Netflix for as much as they did.”
Whether or not the new series will just feature montages of Baskin or archival footage is unknown but it does seem as though Carole and the topic of her former husband Don will be interrogated in this new series.
Is there a trailer for Tiger King season two?
The official trailer for Tiger King 2 has been released today and can be watched here:
When will Tiger King season two be available to stream on Netflix?
As mentioned, the second season of Tiger King will drop on 17 November.
This makes a lot of sense sense, quite frankly; after all, James Garretson – the very same businessman who proved instrumental in Exotic’s conviction – previously hinted via several Cameo videos that the series is due to drop in 2021. And, considering how well the first season performed with viewers, and considering there are a number of Tiger King spin-offs on the way, Netflix obviously wants to ride this wave while it can.
Will you be streaming it?
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
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