Dr. Oz’s “True Crime Tuesday and Thursday” seems ready-made to infect viewers with mean-world syndrome. The beleaguered TV show doctor has faced repeated allegations of quackery, and it’s like, whatever, this is a guy whose stock in trade seems to be stoking fears that your bowels are plotting against you, you get what you pay for.
But when I mentioned the editorial product you’re reading right now to a friend, she immediately responded, “Did you know your nemesis was into true crime now?” After we established which of my MANY nemeses she was referring to, I checked out Oz’s site, where I learned that every Tuesday and Thursday in recent years, the good doctor now “investigates the most shocking scams and crimes sweeping the headlines.”
Now, you might ask yourself, why would a doctor be spreading what’s clearly bad news -- content that multiple studies say can have a negative impact on consumers’ health -- to his audience, especially when there are “detox cleanses” to promote. According to a Facebook video from Oz (omg, the guy loooves Facebook), “it all leads back to health and the resilience of the human spirit” as he turns “life’s tragedies into something positive and make[s] sense out of the senseless.” Sure, because when I want things to take a positive turn I involve Nancy Grace. Got it.
Let’s get real, here: Obviously, the team behind Oz’s broadcasting empire saw the market opportunity in the growing genre of true crime and chose to capitalize on it. There’s no shame in that -- that’s what we’re doing with these daily missives, too. But one of the reasons Oz is my nemesis is because I believe that his show trades in fear and misinformation. It’s vile enough that he’s exploited our fears that our body is about to turn on us for so many years, but now he’s taking advantage of our external vulnerabilities -- especially in These Troubled Times -- by playing into the psychological syndrome known as “mean world,” the same phenomenon that makes you feel paranoid after looking at NextDoor for too long or installing Citizen on your phone. When Oz presents segments like “I Had No Idea My Loved One Was A Serial Killer,” he’s making a calculated play on the fears of his audience, he’s not seeking to investigate, intrigue, or even provoke. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, and click your heels as many times as it takes to get away from this latest offense from Oz. -- EB
What American Crime Story should Ryan Murphy tackle next? During Disney TV’s upfront press preview Tuesday, FX CEO John Landgraf said that ACS was considering four possible cases for its next season, but refused to provide further details, saying only that “at a time when true crime tales can be found all over the media dial” anything ACS takes on must have “depth and nuance and (address) the meaning of the crime story in a larger context.”
Sounds good to me! But perhaps the other issue is that the ACS team is spoiled for choice, as there are so many great stories to adapt. That’s why Sarah and I solicited suggestions for next season’s topic across the socials, and created a poll here for your to choose the best candidate -- especially given Landgraf’s “depth and nuance” concerns above.
Cast your vote by Sunday night, then stay tuned, as next week Sarah and I will co-author a dream casting list for the chosen caper. Brace for conflict, kids: In a recent casting discussion, where Sarah saw Adam Driver I saw John Gemberling, so we’re in for a bumpy ride. -- EB
ATL Homicide will return for a second season in June. The TV One series is another entry in the “a couple old cops recount their wildest cases” category, a genre that can feel a bit dicey as you watch retired leos figure out how to tell old stories through the filter of contemporary attitudes toward racial politics and police aggression.
But while retired APD detectives David Quinn and Vince Velazquez aren’t NPR material, they aren’t Hitchcock and Scully either -- though, like the Brooklyn Nine-Nine pair, they’re played by two younger, hotter actors (Atlanta locals Angelo Diaz and Christopher Diaz, no relation).
Another differentiator is the channel behind the show: TV One’s demographic is “a diverse audience of adult black viewers,” and the company prides itself on its presentation of the “only live daily news program dedicated to black viewers.” With a focus on that audience, we’re spared some of the more divisive tactics of the “on the job” sub-genre (cough Cops cough), in favor of more good old yarns. -- EB
Are you going to IDCon 2019? The event runs from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Saturday at New York’s Center415, and will feature “your favorite ID stars,” some of whom are presumably in the photo above. Tickets are $75, and are still available as of publication time. If you’re heading to the Con, drop us a line at email@example.com, we’d love a report from the scene! -- EB
Dateline just dropped the full season of its first podcast, called 13 Alibis. The seven ep show was released in full on Thursday, and covers the conviction, imprisonment, and subsequent exoneration of Richard Rosario, a man who spent 20 years in jail for a Bronx slaying that occurred while he was in Florida. Dateline ep Elizabeth Cole tells Variety that the pod is “an experiment for us,” but is already mulling future podcasts “that tackle legal and social issues behind crime stories.” -- EB
Data Reporter and In The Dark staffer Will Craft will discuss how the pod “investigated jury selection in Mississippi to reveal the stark disparities in how the district attorney treated jurors of different races over his 26-year tenure” at Chicago's Build Coffee. At the June 6 event, Craft will also cover the jury selection system as a whole, “and share how creative approaches to covering juries can help us all understand how they might be failing to uphold their constitutional promises.” -- EB
What is this thing? This should help.