When the show focuses on the reward and the struggle of the work, it’s fabulous. ... Even if it can get preachy, Alaska Daily’s warp-speed dialogue and efficient, network-TV execution ensure that viewers won’t get too bogged down in sermonizing.
This is the rare, modern network drama to balance mass appeal with semi-progressive ideology. Led by an absorbing performance from Swank (who shocked the world this week with the announcement that she is pregnant with twins at age 48), Alaska Daily is the most intriguing new show on network television.
A solid, impressively credentialed and entertaining albeit conventional series that plays like a comfort-viewing, hourlong show from the 1990s. ... Swank and the supporting players are terrific together.
There’s enough potential in “Alaska Daily,” to easily be fall broadcast TV’s best drama pilot that it’s worth rooting for this series that’s earnest without being cloying, sincere without getting sappy.
Had it been made as an HBO miniseries, to which the subject would easily lend itself, it would be a different thing entirely, somber and atmospheric and cinematic. As a network series, it is something broader, more immediate, less subtle. TV not as cinema but as television, an Arctic Circle “Lou Grant.” Gestures are bigger, speeches are speechier, the workplace quirkier.
[Eileen Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank)] is among the more insufferable TV protagonists we’ve had in a while, and not necessarily in a way that Alaska Daily intends. ... The version of Alaska Daily that works best, in part because it’s the one that least involves Eileen: an overextended group of reporters and editors struggling to cover all the important issues affecting America’s physically largest state. ... ABC might be more inclined to be patient with Alaska Daily. But the show would require a fairly significant refocusing for that to be worth anyone’s time.