Starting tonight at 8 p.m., NBC will air a special two-hour “Dateline” episode dealing with the notorious West Mesa Murder Mystery. Reporter Josh Mankiewicz reports from Albuquerque on the story that made national headlines—the discovery of 11 female bodies buried on the city’s West Mesa. The story is told through the eyes of missing persons Detective Ida Lopez. While the killer remains very much unknown, a rash of recent clues has revived interest in this shocking story. The episode, titled “Somebody’s Daughter,” will air Friday, Dec. 10, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on KOB-4.
Top 10 things I’ve learned while watching the 2012 Summer Olympics
The Olympics are designed to instill in participants—and by extension, viewers—the principles of cooperation, team spirit, individual merit, sportsmanship, strength, bravery, tenacity, skill and international brotherhood. Most of what I absorbed from watching this year’s competition, however, involved the number of free condoms issued in Olympic Village (150,000!) and the mistaken belief that eating mass quantities of McDonald’s food will make you a great athlete. So, with the games coming to a close this weekend, I look back on all the things I learned from the XXX Summer Olympics.
You’re Outta Here!
The Canceled Shows of 2012
The broadcast networks have already started showing off their shiny new fall schedules. That means, of course, the conspicuous absence of several shows you may or may not have liked. Yup, the ax has fallen, and a whole host of network shows have been canceled. Some escaped by the skin of their teeth. (ABC’s low-rated but highly regarded “Cougar Town” is moving to TBS in 2013.) Others emerged battered and beaten. (Fan-fave “Community” will return next season. For a truncated 13 episode run. On Friday nights. Paired with “Whitney.” Also, creator Dan Harmon was told to take a hike.) So which shows are gone, gone, gone?
Where Was I?
“Awake” on NBC
For whatever inexplicable reasons, Americans are becoming pop culturally obsessed with alternate worlds / parallel universes. It’s cropping up in films (Mike Cahill’s navel-gazing astronomy lesson Another Earth) and in television (FOX’s mind-bending mystery series “Fringe”). Heck, even venerable kids’ comic book “Life With Archie” has dedicated the last year or so to exploring two increasingly dark parallel existences—one in which Archie married Betty and one in which he married Veronica. (I’m not even kidding.) Now, NBC goes whole hog with the concept with the speculative cop drama “Awake.”
Hit or Miss?
“Smash” on NBC
Given the continuing success of vocal talent competitions like “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The X Factor,” “The Voice,” et al, Americans are obviously obsessed with people who can carry a tune. So far, though, Hollywood hasn’t been able to translate that into anything other than “let’s all vote on America’s next pop star.” FOX’s “Glee” briefly captured the drama of stardom-seeking in fictionalized form, but the show’s writing continues on a tragic downward trajectory. The movie industry, meanwhile, has yet to fully convince audiences they actually want to see a full-fledged musical. (Nine? Burlesque?) Hell, even Broadway has a hard time holding onto shows that aren’t “jukebox” musicals filled with pre-popular songs by well-known groups like ABBA or Green Day. So what’s next?
“Are You There, Chelsea?” on NBC
TV seems to have a very low opinion of us right now. Midseason replacement time is upon us, and we’re being assaulted by the likes of “Work It” (thankfully already canceled) and a sitcom starring Rob Schneider. (Seriously, what did we do to deserve that?) NBC, meanwhile, is making an all-out assault on our collective taste by pairing the execrable “Whitney” with the marginally less execrable “Are You There, Chelsea?” Both shows were no doubt generated at the roundtable of “Chelsea Lately,” the E! Network comedy chat show hosted by Chelsea Handler and frequented by Whitney Cummings.
Go for the Gold
“The Golden Globe Awards” on NBC
Hollywood’s award season is in full swing. It began last week with the lowly People’s Choice Awards and continues though Feb. 26 with the handing out of the prestigious 84th annual Academy Awards. In between, we get award show telecasts of varying import, from the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (Jan. 12 on VH1) to the Independent Spirit Awards (Feb. 25 on IFC).
Once Upon a Crime
“Grimm” on NBC
The second of this TV season’s new, fairy-tale centric dramas is NBC’s “Grimm.” Unlike ABC’s occasionally preposterous and decidedly ungrounded “Once Upon a Time,” NBC’s fantasy series at least has a clear-cut identity. It is, simply put, a standard-issue police procedural ... with monsters. While that might not be as creative a premise as “Once Upon a Time,” it does give the show an easy access point for viewers who might otherwise be put off by a show that requires a major suspension of disbelief and a lot of explanation.
I’m Already Lost
“The Event” on NBC
NBC has spent a lot of time likening its new conspiracy thriller “The Event” to ABC’s recently wrapped sci-fi series “Lost.” That is what I like to call a big mistake. Having watched the first few weeks of “The Event,” I can only come to the conclusion that the show more or less sucks rocks.
Friday Night Ode to “Friday Night Lights”
This week represented a touchdown for fans of NBC's small-town football drama “Friday Night Lights.” The show was nominated for Emmys in the Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series categories. Kyle Chandler was also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Coach Taylor, and Connie Britton for Outstanding Lead Actress for her performance as Coach's wife, Tami Taylor.
Though loyal spectators are celebrating the victory, for many, it has come too late. The show, which is airing in its fourth season and excluded from last year's Emmys, tops the lists for the most overlooked TV series. Media forums such as TV Guide and NBC itself have bemoaned the absence of “Friday Night Lights” from the awards podium. Fans even started a Facebook group to get star Zach Guilford nominated for his performance in the episode “The Son.” The group has nearly 10,000 fans.
So what is it about “Friday Night Lights?” It receives high praise but suffers low viewership. Though it has all the makings of a hit drama—family clashes, teen drinking—the gritty Texas setting and the characters' real-life problems may hit too close to home for viewers. In the age of “Gossip Girl” and “The Bachelor,” does “Friday Night Lights” offer a little too much reality?
Whatever the reason, longtime fans such as myself will not be satisfied until the series takes home the big prize: Outstanding Drama Series.
But then again, there's always next season.
The Daily Word 1.19.10: Red Cross, Avatar, Tonight Show
The French accuse the U.S. of "occupying" Haiti.
Red Cross plans to bring nearly 45,000 Haitian evacuees to Florida.
Wyclef Jean defends his Yele Haiti organization, which has been suspected of using its contributed funds questionably.
Apparently the movie "Avatar" needs a list of disclaimers longer than a Viagra commercial; a Taiwanese man dies after watching it.
Italian border guards discover a 15-year-old Afghan boy in a suitcase.
Who will take the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat? The determining Massachusetts election is today.
NBC reportedly offering "The Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien a $40 million buyout to just walk away.
Meanwhile, former Tonight Show host Jay Leno will probably get his old job back and return to the 11:30 p.m. slot.
Serial killing dogs are running wild in a Northeast Heights neighborhood.
The Daily Word: Hell in Haiti, UNM is Fat, Mr. Gay China
State Sen. Eric Griego says UNM needs to go on an administrative salary diet.
Teacher re-arrested and fired after student shares her journal with police.
Sometimes animals die at the zoo.
Talking PTSD after veteran commits suicide by cop. (He had been dropped from the inpatient program at the VA hospital.)
UN reports the world’s indigenous people “suffer alarming conditions” everywhere.
Ft. Hood was vulnerable before the shooting, says Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Several officers facing discipline for failing to take action against Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan earlier.
Mr. Gay China pageant cancelled by police.
NBC says Conan is chicken-hearted.
Headline of the month: My Big Phat Same-Sex Prison Wedding. (Good story).
The world’s biggest cowboy boots turn 30.
11 foods you should be eating and aren’t. (Beets and cinnamon make the list.)
The Daily Word 12.03.09: Sex, Books, Pot
ABQ father who shot infant in head gets attacked in court.
Comcast to buy controlling share in NBC from GE. My first thought? How will this shake out in a "30 Rock" plot?
Road rage toward cyclists escalates; man convicted of using his car as weapon against two on bikes.
New York Times releases its Best Books of 2009. Of which I've read a half. As in, half of one of these books: Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City. Honestly, I think it's so-so. But it takes place in New York, so there ya go.
Here's their 100 Notable Books of 2009. A Village Life is good. Don't read Lark and Termite. It was terrible. You can read NYT's Michiko Kakutani's review here. She loved it. She should change her name to Michiko Crack-utani.
New York lawmakers vote down gay marriage. I'm starting to lose faith in all things New York.
Update: Male athletes like to have sex with a bunch of ladies.
Clean energy in New Mexico? We don't have the technology!
Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood arrested for domestic assault. The 62-year-old had been cheating on his wife of 24 years with a 20-year-old. This report says that the young one was the victim. Also, Ronnie Wood looks like my meemaw.
Some stoner do-gooder donated a jug containing $1500 worth of pot to Goodwill.
It's Julianne Moore's birthday.