This post originally appeared on January 18, 2019, in “Eat, Drink, Watch” — the weekly newsletter for people who want to order takeout and watch TV. Browse the archives and subscribe now.
Welcome back to Friday afternoon. It’s been a hamberder of a week so far. Now it’s time to shift gears and think about weekend TV watching. I’ve got recommendations for two documentaries and a pair of cooking shows to check out between now and next Tuesday. Here’s what to put in your queue over the long weekend:
A tale of two Fyre Festival documentaries
The tweets about busted, soggy FEMA tents and colossal luggage mix-ups were bad enough, but it was a single photo of a sad cheese sandwich
Judith Light deserves to sit on a throne, but when I walk in to the room where she’s doing press for her new Lifetime movie, Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story, she is sitting on the equivalent of a foot rest. (With perfect posture, no less.) It’s the middle of January and Light has come down with a winter bug, and the foot rest is perfectly aligned with a nearby space heater. I tell her I’m happy to move somewhere more comfortable for her, but she swears she’s fine. She just wants me to be good. Down to earth, gracious, no frills—yep, Judith Light is an icon.
Light first came to mainstream attention in the late ’70s,
Unfortunately, there will be always true crime stories to investigate. But what happens when deaths that were determined to be accidental are considered to be the work of a serial killer? In the case of the smiley face killers theory, that’s exactly what’s happening. The Oxygen miniseries, Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice, looks at a number of college-aged males who have drowned to death in the Northeast and the Midwest. Retired New York City detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte are convinced that these cases are the work of a serial killer or group of serial killers who travel around the country hunting young men and then spray painting a smiley face nearby. However, authorities have already deemed that these deaths were accidental and unrelated, which makes Oxygen’s Smiley Face Killers even more controversial than many other TV shows about true
Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice (7 p.m., Oxygen) – This new true-crime series follows a bizarre cluster of unsolved crimes involving hundreds of college-aged men over the past 20 years found to have mysteriously drowned. The victims are all pretty similar, and near where nearly all of the bodies were found, there has also been found a graffiti of a smiley face. Many of the victims had defensive wounds or were drugged, but local authorities often classified the deaths — which show up in clusters across the country — as undetermined or accidental. This series follows a retired NYPD detective and a team of investigators who have dedicated the past 12 years to these cases. Their goal is to get the cases reopened by local authorities and bring answers to grieving families.
Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story (8 p.m., Lifetime) – This new original
“Versace,” which has a commanding 16/5 odds, has swept the limited series/TV movie prizes so far, claiming the Emmy, Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award. A victory would also make the “American Crime Story” anthology series the second program with multiple wins in the category, following its FX brethren “Fargo” (2015-16); “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” similarly dominated the season two years ago.
Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes documents the story of America’s most notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy.
Much of the story will be told in his own words, from unseen interviews and audio recordings, courtroom and news footage.
Unlike, other true crime series on Netflix such as Making a Murderer and The Innocent Man, there is no crime to be solved here or a case of whodunnit.
Shortly before his execution in 1989, Bundy confessed to murdering 30 women but the total amount is thought to be higher.
The series is based on the book by Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth and features over 100 hours of audio interviews that the two journalists conducted with Bundy whilst he was on death row in Flordia, 1980.
Like the book, the series will try to understand the mind of the killer.