The horrifying school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, has deeply saddened and disturbed the entire nation. And as the country mourns, the often-escapist entertainment industry is doing its best to pay tribute to the victims and avoid causing any more undue stress to Americans. How? Read on:
1. Saturday Night Live begins show with children's choir singing "Silent Night"
Just a day after the shootings, Saturday Night Live found just the right tone. The episode, which featured guests Martin Short and Paul McCartney, eschewed a traditional comedic opening in favor of a children's choir singing "Silent Night." At The AV Club, David Sims called the tribute an "appropriately somber" opening to an episode that quickly segued into some much-needed "silly, joyful fun."
2. New episode of Haven pulled
An episode of SyFy series Haven, titled "Reunion," was scheduled to air on Friday night, focusing on characters trying to "apprehend a troubled killer who is wreaking havoc at a student reunion." Syfy pulled the episode, and told The Hollywood Reporter that "no decision has been made" about whether or not it would air in the future.
3. Blake Shelton holiday special pulled
NBC hastily pulled a special featuring country star Blake Shelton on Friday night, replacing it with a similar special featuring crooner Michael Buble. The Huffington Post reports that the Shelton special was pulled over concerns about an animated segment featuring a reindeer killing, which will be removed before the special airs.
4. Dexter and Homeland finales offer extra viewer discretion warning
For their season finales, which were packed with scenes of intense violence, Showtime's Dexter and Homeland offered an additional warning to ward sensitive viewers away. "In light of the tragedy that has occurred in Connecticut, the following program contains images that may be disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised," read a title card displayed before each episode began. "It's a lot harder to engage in the drama of fictional mass casualties three days after what happened in Connecticut," says Alan Sepinwall HitFix. "Not the show's fault, but very unfortunate timing."
5. New episodes of Family Guy and American Dad pulled
New episodes of Fox's Seth MacFarlane-produced animated comedies were originally scheduled to air on Sunday night, but the network opted to replace the original episodes with reruns. The Futon Critic says that the episodes featured unspecified "sensitive content" in light of the shooting. The Huffington Post claims the American Dad episode was about a demon who punishes naughty children at Christmas.
6. Jack Reacher has its promotional push scaled back
As the Newtown shootings cast a pall over gun-heavy action movies, a scheduled screening of Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher at New York's Film Society of Lincoln Center was canceled, and a premiere event for the movie in Pittsburgh was postponed. The film's trailer was also recut, with The Hollywood Reporter noting that a brief shot of Cruise's character firing a semiautomatic weapon had been removed.
7. Django Unchained premiere canceled
Quentin Tarantino's bloody Django Unchained, which is scheduled for release on Christmas Day, had its own splashy premiere in Los Angeles canceled. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and in this time of national mourning we have decided to forgo our scheduled event," said The Weinstein Co. in a statement at The Hollywood Reporter.
8. The Voice opens with cover of "Hallelujah"
On the Monday night episode of NBC's singing reality series, the show's coaches and members of their teams performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" while holding placards bearing the names and ages of the Newtown victims. For "a show with manufactured set-ups aimed to jerk tears and rile sentiment, it was real," says Jessica Hopper at Rolling Stone.
9. TLC postpones Best Funeral Ever premiere
Though it wasn't slated to air until Dec. 27, TLC delayed the premiere of a special (and possible upcoming reality series) called Best Funeral Ever, which is about "a colorful Dallas funeral home." The Huffington Post reports that the episode will air on an unspecified date in the first week of January.
10. Ke$ha's "Die Young" pulled from radio stations across the country
Pop star Ke$ha's unfortunately titled new single "Die Young" has taken a big hit in the wake of the shooting. TMZ reports that the song reached 167 million listeners on Friday, but had dropped all the way to 148 million listeners by Monday — a decline rivaled only by the Dixie Chicks' disappearance from country radio after they criticized President Bush at a concert in 2003.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- America is building a Sunni army in Iraq to take on the Islamic State
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- The age of miracles is over — even for the religious
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The liberation of Barack Obama
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week