Netflix dropped a docu-series about political conspiracies last month, and as more and more viewers find it, the response online is heating up. The show debuted on Aug. 9, and as it has spread by word of mouth, users have begun recommending The Family all across social media.
The Family consists of five episodes, all around 45 minutes long. Each one delves into an aspect of an alleged conspiracy to keep American political power in the hands of Christian fundamentalists, with an overarching theme laced throughout.
The series is based on the published work of author Jeff Sharlet. In 2008, Sharlett released a book called The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. Now in series form, Sharlett's ideas are striking a powerful chord with the American populous.
"The Family" on Netflix breaks down the 'chosen' thing. And it's for sure a thing. https://t.co/4TOuzfbBLG— Java (@PaddySabatino) September 4, 2019
The Family has inspired a growing number of conversations on social media, where users are still chiming in every day, having just watched it. Many are picking apart the finer points of the series, debating details or spinning out their own theories.
"If you haven't watched The Family series on Netflix yet, you should," one person wrote this week. "How this 'religious' group influences not only U.S. politics, but our relationship with brutal dictators & other countries around the world, makes me sick."
On the flip side, some users feel attacked by the docu-series. They argue that the show unfairly condemns a whole demographic, and by extension, their beliefs.
There is a faction in the US called The Family operating within US government and across parties and nations. Netflix have outed them. You should watch it https://t.co/o42AcVRXlj— Aveed Wocha (@TheNugget1902) September 4, 2019
"[The Family] on Netflix is one of the most manipulative and fake narratives I've ever seen on one of the most interesting subjects I've ever seen," one person wrote. "I hope for a better book and documentary on this group."
The series focuses on a "secret Christian organization called The Family," who Sharlet says have been "hiding in plain sight for over 80 years." Sharlet is interviewed throughout the series, along with other experts and journalists.
The series was directed by Jesse Moss, who spoke about it an interview with Rolling Stone. Moss said that the work of Sharlet and others floored him, and he "just about fell out of [his] chair" when he found out about The Family.
You must watch "The Family" on @netflix. The origins of Russia's influencing @GOP politicians was through the National Prayer Breakfast global movement. Here you see Torshin & Butina working together ~10 years ago. The @GOP got played. #MAGA #FBR #Resist 👇 pic.twitter.com/IpQvdR0IU7— Vote Dem to Save Your Life (@mh451) September 4, 2019
"I thought, here's an organisation that exists at the intersection of faith and politics, that occupies, unbeknownst to a lot of people, this significant portion of the public square," he said.
In fairness, however, Moss gave members of The Family a chance to defend themselves in the series, such as former Tennessee representative Zach Wamp, who spoke on camera.0comments
"In no way is it some kind of agenda or some kind of conspiracy move," Wamp said. "It's more like how can we walk through this difficult job doing the Lord's work in the devil's playground?"
The Family is available now on Netflix.