How to Become a Cult Leader Season 1 Review – Snarky, snappy but surprisingly surface-level

Season 1



Episode Guide

Build Your Foundation
Grow Your Flock
Reform Their Minds
Promise Eternity
Control Your Image
Become Immortal


How to Become a Cult Leader is a light, breezy docu-series that’s part black comedy and part informative, cautionary tale about the dangers of extremist cults. It’s been 26 years since Men In Black released in theatres and Agent K’s line about humans still rings true: “A person is smart but people are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.”

Perhaps nowhere else is that more evident than when it comes to cult mentality. Split across 6 episodes, each clocking in at around 30 minutes or so, How to Become a Cult Leader breaks down all the components that go into becoming a top cultist and the dangers that can pose both to oneself and the wider world.

From building a reputation to keeping everyone in the ranks in check, each chapter is thematically on point and keeps everything tied together in a neat and well written package.

There’s lots of background information squeezed into each chapter too, and at times it does feel a bit overkill. With the episodes only running for 30 minutes, and a different cultist used as a figurehead to underline themes explored in each chapter, there’s almost too much going on here and it does feel rushed on occasion.

Each episode uses a combination of archive footage from the time with animated re-enactments, overlaid with narration from Peter Dinklage and revealing talking head interviews. These interviews range from cult survivors to experts in the field and even historians who have studied different cult leaders.

The series has a dark tinge of humour about it, teetering on the verge of feeling snarky but despite its snappy nature, this is actually surprisingly surface level most of the time.

The quick, bite-sized episodes and rapid assessment of different cultists, assumes you already have a basic knowledge of who these cultists are and why they’re so renowned. If you don’t, there will be a distinct feeling that this is lacking some much needed substance.

Howver, How to Become a Cult Leader is a snappy, breezy series that’s easy to dip into and has enough information squeezed into its run-time that you’ll come away feeling satisfied. It’s definitely not perfect, and could have done with a longer run-time for each episode, but there’s enough here to recommend all the same.

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  • Verdict - 7/10

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