Tiger By The Tale: In Confinement, TV Tastes Vary

When it comes to finding solace or seeking distraction in TV content, individual tastes vary greatly.

Judging by the tonnage of stories that have appeared recently about the new Netflix documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” it appears that many have found this seven-episode series about big-cat enthusiasts to be just the thing they need to pass the time in confinement these days.

Few would argue against the growing consensus that this series is wholly fascinating. It is about the lives of a small coterie of larger-than-life owners of self-styled zoos for which they have assembled hundreds of big cats such as lions and tigers.

These species are nearly extinct in the wild, but in captivity on these vast privately run zoos they are much more numerous, mainly because the zoos’ owners breed their animals in order to keep their zoos populated.



The principal star of the show is a man named Joe Exotic, pictured above. Among other things, the series documents his battles with an animal-rights activist named Carole Baskin, who believes the private zoo owners such as Joe Exotic are mishandling and abusing their animals.

While you might consider her at face value as the character who best represents the “good” side in her fight against these big-cat owners, the documentary seems to take pains to position her as just as eccentric as they are.

It is certainly a colorful series in shades both light and dark -- the “dark” being the “Murder” (or possibly not quite a murder) that is referenced in the show’s subtitle.

The TV Blog watched Episode 1 the other day and found it to be as interesting and eye-catching as it has been advertised and more to the point, publicized. Nevertheless, it is not high on my list for binge-watching right how.

As fascinating as the episode was, the world of Joe Exotic is so crazy and frenetic that spending an hour immersed in his world was a draining experience. As a result, I plan to take this show in one-episode doses, if I pursue it at all. What can I say? Tastes vary.

Meanwhile, someone close to me mentioned the other day that in his household, they are watching quite a bit of Hallmark Channel lately -- “where every movie has a happy ending” is the way he put it.

This too would not be high on my list of distraction attractions while sheltering at home. I have nothing against Hallmark and its movies, but they do have a “seen one, you’ve seen them all” kind of quality. This works for some, but not for me.

I know another person who has made President Trump’s daily briefing appointment television. This daily presidential presentation does indeed possess several points of interest when it comes to the quality of its infotainment.

One is the rightful celebrity that has been earned from these daily TV appearances by Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. 

They are smart and serious -- the adults in the room who President Trump appears to respect and pay attention to. Earning this kind of deference from this president seems like no easy task, and these two seem to have accomplished it.

Perhaps even more notable are the question-and-answer segments of these daily briefings in which the president is not shy about expressing his disdain for some of the reporters and their line of questioning.

One reporter who has bravely withstood withering criticism and harangues from the President of the United States lately is Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for “NewsHour” on PBS.

Kudos to her for maintaining her poise and composure during these attacks. It must not be easy to take them from a person who, let’s face it, wields a lot of power.

These interludes -- with her, and with some of the other journos who the President has disdainfully attacked -- have sometimes made for electrifying TV. 

Of all the ways in which TV has changed during the pandemic, the thing the TV Blog misses the most are televised sports. The absence of live basketball and ice hockey at this time of year represents a big, black empty hole in the TV universe.

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