Alaska Daily: Alaska Daily (all season post)
November 29, 2022 1:18 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

A journalist seeks a fresh start in Alaska working for a newspaper in Anchorage, where she investigates murders and disappearances of indigenous women.

Doing an all-season post because I have the feeling that's probably better than doing individual episodes for something that's already not popular. But someone recommended this to me and I found myself getting into it, so I decided to start a post. I'll add more later.

The plot, per Hollywood Reporter: "tars Hilary Swank as Eileen, dogged investigative reporter for The Vanguard, a prestige online publication meant to resemble either ProPublica or a complete journalistic fantasy. Eileen breaks a huge story involving a shady general being appointed to a cabinet position, but when her lone source — even though the entire premise of the show is that she’s a great journalist, she very obviously isn’t — falls apart, Eileen lands in big trouble and begins whining about being canceled and the “woke wussies” masquerading as reporters."

It gets better from there--the pilot has way too obnoxious-ness going on, but Eileen does chill out and is generally nicer to people after this. A former editor of hers who's moved to Alaska recruits her to investigate murders/disappearances of indigenous women, partnering her with her Alaskan equivalent, Roz Friendly, who's indigenous herself and perfectly capable of doing a job herself, thankyouverymuch. And yet, it works. Eileen's wheeler-dealer ways are needed to get around how things are set up in Alaska, but Roz knows the people and the area.

Other reporters at their strip-mall employer investigate the sale of a favorite town diner, the biggest cabbage at the state fair (which has a very surprising dark turn!), whether or not it's a great idea for their publisher to endorse a certain candidate, and gee, isn't it suspicious that a literal million dollars is being spent to find a drunk white girl who fell off a cruise ship, compared to any time an indigenous woman goes missing.

Definitely has some kind of irritating aspects at first (mostly Eileen being quite the hardass), but seems to improve on the areas I found irritating as time went on. I may write things for more individual episodes later. Maybe I'm biased because I used to be a small town reporter and I wish that sort of thing had ANY value these days, but I did enjoy this, even if pretty much every review I've seen didn't. (I swear it gets better as it goes on...or at least go past the pilot.)
posted by jenfullmoon (15 comments total)
I like this show! It's a bit of a slow burn and the first couple of episodes do showcase Eileen's worse side, but it feels like Alaska rubs off on her and she develops over time. She's very much the sort of character that would be a "lovable curmudgeon" or something if she were male, but the TV audience still can't handle that from a female character.

I like Eileen and the ensemble cast of characters, they all get some development, the writing is pretty intelligent, and I love a slowly developing mystery.

Is the season over? That felt a bit like a cliffhanger. I thought we'd have more. I hope we get to see the mystery solved. If this gets cancelled it feels like it will be one more time that nobody was willing to spend money to find justice for a crime against a native woman...
posted by mmoncur at 3:13 AM on December 5, 2022

Apparently it's not on again until February 23. That doesn't bode well. I think I only saw a total of 10 episodes on IMDB too.

The cabbage story cracked me up so much. You send your newbie/intern to interview someone on their big cabbage, and it turns out their dad is a conspiracy theorist with too much explosive material in the barn.... Loved it, I have to say.

Did think it was a bad idea for the restaurant lady to admit she committed arson on her own restaurant because she was so tired of people fighting in and over it. Wouldn't that mean she goes to jail?

I do enjoy Eileen and Roz together since they are so similar. And I was happy to see Fitz from Lizzie Bennet Diaries in a job. And the publisher being possibly divey is interesting. He did come on to Eileen and she shut him down FLAT, nice.

I kinda root for Poet Pilot Guy?
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:58 AM on December 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

I jiust burned through the 6 eps and I'm excited for the second round. I'm fine if it's intended as a 10 episode season rathe than 12 or 13.

I think it's extremely well cast, and the series has really coalesced where it wasn't apparent at the beginning. The creator of the series, Tom McCarthy, wrote and directed both The Station Agent and Spotlight, for which he won an Oscar for writing ,so with Hilary that makes three Oscars in one TV series, has there ever been more? Not to be credentialist, but I don't think I'll be wasting my time watching the rest.

The restaurant was probably just some passing drama while the series is gaining steam, but maybe it's also an instance of acceptibly flexible law enforcement? "Her building, her land" kind of thing.

I was hoping Poet Pilot Guy wasn't going to be purposed as a love interest, but at the same time it seems pretty inevitable in a major network TV series.
posted by rhizome at 11:39 PM on January 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

Oh hey, show is back on! Recommendation for it on AV Club.

Episode 7, "Enemy of the People."
"Concerned Citizen" holds Eileen hostage at gunpoint and makes her write a confessional saying everything she says is lies. Gabriel is still in the building and texts the boss. The reporters, hanging out in the bar, investigate who the stalker is from there. Eileen gets him into the idea of her writing his story instead. Unfortunately, CC decides to commit suicide via sniper because he has no hope or future.

Hardcore episode, man. I did originally think "why doesn't he just shoot her?" but the guy became more of a person in long time distress wanting to be heard more than a bad guy. Sigh. The show does mention that reporter in Vegas who was murdered, as well.

I'm just gonna enjoy this show while it's still around for a few more episodes. Anyone else?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:36 PM on March 4, 2023

I just watched this. Pretty good. I generally hate hostage situations, either because they tend to follow a cliche pattern or because I'm just a scaredy cat, but I thought they did a pretty good job of making an episode where I didn't really know how it would end.

I knew they'd try to humanize Concerned Citizen and I kind of hated that because I really just considered him a monster, but they did manage to make me feel sorry for him by the end. I give the actor most of the credit, he took a cliche role and really brought some nuance to it.

I appreciated that neither Eileen nor Gabriel tried to do something heroic to stop the guy, they just tried to survive and Eileen used the one skill she had to talk the guy down a bit.

All in all I like this show better when it's slow and thoughtful and focuses on the big mystery, but this episode worked. I liked seeing all of the reporters in the bar worrying about Eileen, they've got a very different relationship with her now than they had in episode 1 and the writers earned that. Roz walking up and nearly hugging Eileen but thinking better of it at the end was perfect.

This is one of my favorite shows right now but I'm assuming it's cancelled after this season. It's just too smart to survive.
posted by mmoncur at 11:51 PM on March 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

Episode 8: Tell A Report Not To Do Something... The paper's being sold, Gabriel's hiding on his couch in the dark, and everyone's sniffing around about budgets, corruption, and an abusive preacher man. (Ughhhhhh, this fucking guy.) Dad Owner agrees to sell to his son, but is pissy about it.

On a heartening note, the reporters all (minus Roz and Eileen, who are at the hospital visiting Sylvia) decide to bring food/drinks/entertainment to Gabriel's house to cheer him up, hence the title (as they were all told to give Gabe his space). Then sadly, Gabriel announces that he's quitting.

"Is everything all right?"
"Well, I'm not being held hostage, so there's that...."

"emoji cry for help."
"Five thumbs up, he's overcompensating."

"Do you have a garlic press?" "What's that?" (My life, man.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:00 PM on March 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

Episode 9, "Rush to Judgment."

Oh, sure, NOW Eileen's at Gabriel's door, with a sign and demanding he go to work with her. She admits she's scared too. "Things like this keep happening." "I know. And it sucks."

Eileen and Roz go to a press conferences about the guy who's been arrested for raping/killing Gloria, which they wonder about the honesty of. Toby says they were dating, he confessed to killing her under duress, but since he blames himself for her death, he might as well?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:41 PM on March 18, 2023 [1 favorite]

Oh, the thread is alive!

I thought the hostage situation was handled well and Gabriel trauma response was a good addition. That press conference was the thin line between hard-hitting crime-and-society shows and mainstream network programming. It was curt and predictable, but necessary and I'm sure it'll come back to haunt.

Whether Toby beats his guilty-mind confession probably hinges on whether the series is renewed. Naturally, since there are so many series going on with all the services, "Is [celebrity] Dead Yet?" websites have popped up to tell you whether these shows have been renewed or not!
posted by rhizome at 1:36 PM on March 19, 2023 [1 favorite]

Episode 10, Truth is a Slow Bullet: Eileen and Roz get offered big deals by rival papers (NYT vs WaPo), they're still trying to clear Toby, who wants the deal but doesn't want to say he raped Gloria, and they're on the trail of Ezra the abuser.

As a wee former newspaperwoman, I laugh like fuck at the idea of two reporters from Alaska in a dying industry where everyone already hired is being gotten rid of, suddenly being offered good money to move elsewhere. This is some kind of scheme to politely get rid of them, right?

I think this series is going to end soon, I think I thought it was this episode, but I guess not?

Episode 11: Most Reckless Thing I've Ever...

Witnesses say Ezra disappeared with Gloria, came back and burned things...but Skeeter/Clarence saved "the proverbial smoking crutches." Ezra goes down. As does a rival newspaper, bought out by Jerky Rich Dad Guy and combined with a hater blog into a paper to go after them. Rich Nicer Son vows to fight on. Neither lady will take that high powered job after exposing Gloria's real murderer.

And...that's it! Only eleven episodes of this show! Well, I enjoyed it, for what it was worth.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:26 PM on March 31, 2023 [1 favorite]

I thought it ended pretty well, even if it's not renewed (which it hasn't been yet). The family paper drams isn't a cliffhanger, but it's sitting there for pickup if, again, S2 appears. I do like the idea of a newspaper battle like that as a side story. I was a big "Lou Grant" fan as a kid!

The smoking crutches was a little much -- I thought it would be a shirt or sock or something that they could get DNA off of -- but I'm obviously not a major network prime time TV writer.

I hope it comes back, but after The Newsroom and even Great News, I'm getting used to liking cancelled media sausage serieseses.
posted by rhizome at 1:26 PM on April 1, 2023

I read somewhere this morning that it has network support but no ratings, so it's probably gonna be canceled. Would not surprise me since I barely heard it existed.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:38 PM on April 1, 2023

It seemed to get a decent push on my local ABC affiliate, but I guess not as much as a ratings-positive show.
posted by rhizome at 2:48 PM on April 1, 2023

I usually avoid network/mainstream shows and this one had quite a few of the qualities of said shows I don't care for (the predominant one being spelling everything out for the audience as if nuance is basically impossible coupled with high school level social interactions and clumsy plots) but regardless I did enjoy this and found it heartbreaking.

I appreciated taking on the proliferation of bullshit in the "news" cycle, the influence over message/truth of those in power, the astonishing neglect of common people, particularly if they are poor or not white, corruption in politics, law enforcement and finance, a window to lives rarely seen on network television and actors we usually wouldn't see.

Would be pleased to see it renewed but perhaps these things don't make for good ratings unfortunately.
posted by juiceCake at 3:43 PM on April 8, 2023 [2 favorites]

Canceled. Called it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:36 PM on May 12, 2023 [1 favorite]

Boo! I guess we'll get another first-responder soap opera.

Also, possibly conspiratorial, possibly kismet, it's probably always bad luck to raise even a hint that law enforcement has ever not done all they could in every case.
posted by rhizome at 12:26 PM on May 16, 2023 [1 favorite]

« Older Shining Vale: Season One...   |  Movie: Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments