This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
TV informs. Educates. Spurs viewers to action in a good cause.
It can also numb minds. Maybe kill off a few brain cells.
TV does both on Sunday with a pair of premieres on the opposite ends of the viewing spectrum "Ocean Warriors" on Animal Planet and "Mariah's World" on E!
The first is about the future of the planet; the second is all about Mariah Carey.
"Ocean Warriors," executive produced by Robert Redford and billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen, is a six-part, six-hour docuseries about courageous people trying to protect the world's oceans:
• The Sea Shepherds last seen battling Japanese whalers in "Whale Wars" return to the Antarctic Sea to try to stop notorious poachers.
• Off the coast of Tanzania, fish poachers use explosives and destroy the environment in the process.
• In the Pacific, Greenpeace tries to prevent illegal shark fishing, which is decimating the shark population.
• And in Thailand, poachers are destroying the fish population and enslaving humans to work for them.
It's startling. It's troubling. It's compelling. At times, it will have you on the edge of your seat like when a law-enforcement official goes undercover in Tanzania or when the Sea Shepherds chase a ship wanted by Interpol through a dangerous ice field.
"I've had to make a lot of sacrifices," said Peter Hammarstedt, the captain of the Bob Barker and a familiar face to "Whale Wars" fans. "The biggest thing I miss is my family. It's been 12 years since I spent a holiday with them, but this is where I have to be."
"Ocean Warriors" follows people putting themselves at risk for an important cause.
It premieres with back-to-back episodes on Sunday at 10 and 11 p.m. on Animal Planet.
Coincidentally some might say ironically "Mariah's World" debuts Sunday at 10 p.m. on E!. And, while Carey is certainly a great singer and performer, her reality show is an exercise in vanity.
"I was, like, let's just show the behind the scenes, what it really takes to do a tour, what it really takes for all these people to, kind of, get together and work together and become a family and mainly, you know, watch how the music evolves, watch the process, and watch how the different personalities interact," Carey told TV critics. "But it's also, I mean, it's my life, and I figured, if I don't document this right now, I'm not sure when I'm going to go on tour again."
Just don't call it a reality show. Carey doesn't like that. She refers to it as "a musically driven, eight-part event." She wants to call it a "docuseries" because it "feels more like a documentary."
Except that Carey has approval over everything you see on screen. She told the cameras when to turn on and off; she told the producers and editors what to put in and what not to put in the program. And it's worth keeping that in mind.
This is purely promotional. And it's already outdated. We see Carey planning her wedding to billionaire James Packer, whom she now calls a "lying opportunist" and whom she is threatening to sue for $50 million, claiming that he caused her such distress she had to cancel her tour in South America.
(Others say the cancellation was due to weak ticket sales.)
Yes, this is "Mariah's World" and the rest of us are just living in it.
There's entertainment value here for Carey fans, of course. But if you're not a fan, "Mariah's World" certainly isn't going to turn you into one.
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune . Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.