National Geographic Channel

Maybe we should all be sleeping


First, a few personal confessions: 1) I used to average five hours of sleep on weeknights, thinking this was a good thing; 2) I was once awakened by my air bag, after striking six cars; we were all very lucky this happened at a slow speed, while they were at a stoplight; 3) Ever since, for 13 years, I've used a sleep-apnea machine nightly.

A chatty soul savors life alone in the North


As winter nears, we might start to feel sorry for ourselves ... unless we've met Sue Aikens, who spends each winter alone, in weather that sometimes hits 50-below. And yes, she does it on purpose. She's one of the intriguing "Life Below Zero" people; here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

At last: In depth coverage of shoelaces


Let me digress for a moment: For Jewel, there were some culture shocks when she went from being a hard-working Alaskan to being an art-school student. In one class project, she found that she was the only person who knew how to shovel.

Fortunately, such knowledge gaps will now by filled by cable TV. On July 21, we'll learn how to dig a hole and how to flip a coin. Before that, on July 14, we'll learn how to make ice cubes and tie our shoes. That's in a quirky show called "Going Deep"; here's the story I sent to papers:

While skiiers and skaters chase gold, these guys chase tuna


We really have to admire the gumption of any channel that would launch a season of its best show head-on against the Olympics. Last Sunday, AMC did that with "Walking Dead"; this Sunday, National Geographic's "Wicked Tuna" collides with the Olympics and the NBA and all those zombies. Here's the story I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES

Speech-skipping? Try some cabin guys


Here's one of two stories I sent to papers about alternatives to Tuesday's "State of the Union" speech. The other, on a "The Haves and Have Nots" actress, is in the blog above this one:


By MIKE HUGHES


Kennedy coverage: TV at its best


A half-century ago, television seized our attention with its coverage of the John Kennedy assassination. As the Nov. 22 anniversary nears, its has a huge quantity -- and, often, impressive quality -- of specials. Here's the round-up I sent to papers:


By MIKE HUGHES


The '80s -- from malaise to giddiness


This is a busy time for cable networks. Coming first are a reality show tonight (Thurday, April 11) on USA and the epic series "Da Vinci's Demons" on Friday. (See previous blogs.)

Then comes the Sunday rush -- season-openers for "The Borgias" and "Nurse Jackie" on Showime and "Veep" on HBO. And alongside them, National Geographic starts a surprisingly good three-night documentary series, "The '80s." Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

Killing Lincoln and becoming Booth: Jesse Johnson's time is here


Consumed by politics and rage, a young actor cut his hot career short ... and prolonged the darkest era in American history. That story is skillfully told in "Killing Lincoln," a cable movie Sunday, adapted from Bill O'Reilly's book. It stars Jesse Johnson, who has key things in common with the man he plays, John Wilkes Booth. Here's the story I sent to papers:

 

By MIKE HUGHES

Genius? Far from the Ivy League, you'll find it in redneck country


True genius, you know, doesn't alway have an Ivy League inflection, an Oxford attitude, a prep-school pedigree. You'll also find it among some beer-drinking self-described rednecks in Huntsville, Ala. Here's a story I sent to papers:

 

By MIKE HUGHES

It looks like fun, when the guys in
“Rocket City Rednecks” play their weekend games.

Reality TV discovers fresh turf with "American Gypsies"


Reality-TV has its best moments when it nudges us into worlds we've never known. Now cable does that twice this week.

On Thursday (July 19) will be "Great Lakes Warriors," visiting blunt, blue-collar guy working the tugboats of Lake Michigan. Before that, however, is "American Gypsies" tonight (Tuesday, July 17); it's chaotic, combative and, at times, kind of interesting. Here's the story I sent to papers:

 

By MIKE HUGHES