Journalism. It's become a little bit of a dirty word these days. But when done correctly, journalism can expose the truth and shine light on wrongs that need righted.
That's the basic premise of the new FX reality show, "The Weekly," which follows reporters from The New York Times as they investigate their stories, uncovering important truths along the way.
According to FX, the Times has 1,500 journalists in 160 countries who produce 2,500 stories a week. In "Weekly," each episode follows just one of those stories showing the interviews that go into it, as well as the issues that the reporter may struggle with in bringing the story to print. In the premiere, "The Education of T.M. Landry," Erica Green and Katie Benner investigate a small school in Louisiana that attracted national attention for sending socially and economically challenged students to Ivy League schools. As the two dig deeper, what seemed like a feel-good story of determination and hope becomes a darker story of lies and verbal and physical abuse. But the reporters start to doubt themselves as they worry about the effect their story might have on the whistleblowers.
The second episode, "The Myth of the Medallion," explores the industry of taxi medallions, which are required by New York City taxi cab drivers who want to own their own cab. Brian Rosenthal's yearlong investigation shows how the medallion system was rigged against the drivers resulting in drivers filing for bankruptcy, and in too many cases, drivers committing suicide. Emma Graves Fitzsimmons assists him on the story by pursuing the human angle of the high suicide rates among cabbies. Rosenthal discovers that many people - including some in city government - profited from the system as unscrupulous individuals took advantage of drivers who didn't understand to what they were agreeing.
The production of "Weekly" is wonderfully done with outstanding editing to condense lengthy investigations into single episodes. And the episodes are fascinating as we watch the double talk of people who know they've been caught doing something they shouldn't.
But the fascination is really due more to the stories themselves than the behind-the scenes activities that go into them, and that's my only real complaint about "Weekly." Since it's only a 30-minute show, we don't get to see a lot of the research that leads the reporters to the key players in their stories and you're left with a lot of unanswered questions, including just how they found these people. I should also note that if you're expecting happy endings tied up in little bows, you're going to be seriously disappointed-especially by the second episode. But then, if we did always get a happy ending, it wouldn't really be the truth, now would it?
"The Weekly" premieres at 10 p.m. Sunday, June 2 on FX. Episodes will be available on Hulu the day after their FX premiere.
Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for HD Media. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.