Hilary Swank Stars on ABC’s Ham-Handed Series – The Hollywood Reporter

The TV creator’s equivalent of the trolley problem: A TV show is like a runaway trolley. Broadcasting is still the best way to reach (or reach) the most people, and if you keep going, you might reach (or pass) five people, but without any TV critics or voters. choose which Emmy in that direction. But if you pull the lever, you switch lines and go down cable or streaming direction and you can reach (or run past) a single person, but that person is really influential and can speak to people. that you’re creating a great piece of art, which is sure to please (and means you didn’t kill five people, if you’re really stuck with the original analogy). As much as you might think you want to go down both roads at once, you can’t.

Strong. You can try.

Alaska Daily

Key point

Dissatisfied stuck between broadcast and cable drama.

Release date: 10 p.m. Thursday, October 6 (ABC)
Cast: Hillary Swank, Matt Malloy, Jeff Perry, Meredith Holzman, Grace Dove, Pablo Castelblanco, Ami Park, Craig Frank
Creator: Tom McCarthy

I Send You Tom McCarthy’s New ABC Movie Alaska Daily, which tries to be half a hifalutin cable drama, complete with its Oscar-winning star and a provocative ProPublica investigative report as its source material, and then a quirky half at work overseas is staged using an Alaskan newspaper as the backdrop. Of the two volumes sent to critics, neither half was fully developed, and the tonal choices in each half went against the record of the rest. It can be fun! It could be important! Instead, it’s clumsy and instructive, however, in this time of morbidly less ambitious broadcast dramas, Alaska Daily at least more interesting and ambitious than the eleventh Dick Wolf procedure or King.

Alaska Daily – written and directed by McCarthy in pilot form before switching to a non-auteur radio committee standard approach – stars Hilary Swank as Eileen, the investigative reporter certainly for The Vanguard, a reputable online publication meant to resemble ProPublica or a complete work of fantasy journalism. Eileen breaks down a big story involving a shady general being appointed to a cabinet position, but when her only source of information – despite the whole premise of the show is that she’s a journalist great, but she’s clearly not – falling apart, Eileen lands in big trouble and starts whining about being canceled and “the harassers have woken up” posing as reporters.

Note: Eileen is not a great person. She mistreats her subordinates, has a distorted sense of her own skills, and her martyrdom personality is truly obnoxious. I’m pretty sure McCarthy, Swank, and the show realize how flawed she is, but since it’s a broadcast, they can’t simply make her the anti-hero. The notes of eating, freezing, forced and fake love spells added to the character just don’t work. I like undeniably! Come on, Eileen!

Anyway, Eileen is on the prowl, when her former colleague Stanley (Jeff Perry) recruits her to work for Alaskan Daily in Anchorage, attracting her with steady work and a potentially huge story involving missing Indigenous women. Of course, once she actually gets to Anchorage, Eileen has to spend at least a lot of time dealing with her somewhat quirky colleagues (Matt Malloy, Meredith Holzman, Grace Dove, Pablo Castelblanco, Ami Park, Craig Frank ), experiencing disorientation due to extended daylight hours – Eileen should have seen Christopher Nolan’s remake Insomniastars with Hilary Swank – and encounters an elk (meese?) on her daily run.

So you have Eileen’s backstory, where she ends up being paired with Dove’s Roz, the native Alaskan herself, mostly so Alaska Daily not just a story about a mere white savior. You can imagine this is an eight-episode Netflix miniseries (great viewing Unbelievable, also based on a ProPublica investigation) or an FX drama, although I can’t imagine both versions of that story ending its pilot with a character, whose problem is a one of the show’s people of color, swayed in front of Eileen and declared, “I know Anchorage is the last place in the world where you ever expect to end up after the career you’ve had, but we’re lucky. lucky to have you. “Well. That’s just one of half a dozen lines in the pilot segment that emphasize Eileen’s greatness as a reporter, even though at any time the show tries to really illustrate that greatness. , it is through scenes where she explains very, very basic principles of journalism to her new colleague.

Swank is an excellent actress, and she has a couple of comedic beats here that really surprise me, but she’s not a good enough actress – no human being – to come up with convincing lines like “It’s ironic, isn’t it? I’ve spent my career fighting a bunch of stubborn boys, only to be canceled because I’m all alone. So it’s done. I’ve done! I’VE DONE!”

You know that when Eileen was in Alaska to break this story and help Alaskans, she was really there to learn things about herself. You know this because a guy who picked her up at a bar told her, “Alaska has a fun way of revealing things to you, about you.”

After the dramatic way the disappearance of indigenous women was treated as a level 5 plot on ABC’s Big skyat least Alaska Daily is trying, though doing a story about a white woman getting her body back thanks to reports of missing Indigenous women who are powerful parasites. However, there are still some native actors and actresses cast in the main roles, and parts of the setting are very authentic and distinctive. The series couldn’t be shot in Alaska, but the locations in British Columbia at least look and feel different from your standard Vancouver carnival.

But no television network can confidently let a show focus on a single journalistic investigation. That’s where the population comes in, given a collective investigation each week of specific stories in semi-Alaskaans like a local diner being replaced by a burger chain or embezzled funds. local infrastructure. These cases give the other characters something to do, and I would absolutely watch a series purely focused on the importance of local journalism, even and especially in remote places. like Alaska. The strip mall scene for the newspaper is quite refreshing and is fertile ground for commenting on the financial struggles of newspapers like this.

These side stories and their character building efforts would have been better if they hadn’t had to rely on Eileen periodically delivering rudimentary wisdom like “If something is public record, you have to ask it” or “The police department is not your friend’s. The supporting actors are fine and they all play second roles as Swank, just like their character Eileen.

Heck, you can even still have a character like Eileen canceled by “wake-up harassers” – she’s between Bari Weiss and Maggie Haberman – and just do the show The man in the tree meeting North exposed with just a little bit Spark. Broadcast program. Actually, I’m sure you can do the show Spark with a little Northern contact. Cable TV shows/streaming. McCarthy, a director who works best with the subtleties of quiet moments, couldn’t find the right direction to direct this stroller.


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