The Washington Times - November 15, 2010, 04:00PM

One writer at the “Boston Herald” had this response: “Embarrassing? You betcha!”

In “Newsweek,” though, author Shelley Ross called Sarah Palin’s new reality show “a flash of political brilliance.”


The first episode of “Alaska,” like all things Palin, has detractors and supporter talking different languages.

Critics, in general, weren’t kind: “The New York Times” called it “‘The Sound of Music’  … without the romance, the Nazis or the music.” And “Variety” weighed in with “Borng? You betcha!”

But others, like Ross, wrote that the show is an ingenius repackaging and repositioning of Palin as a 2012 presidential candidate:

“The three-minute introduction to the show already blows out Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” ad. You just need to add a catchy new line of track or two and shorten each shot as Sarah shoots a rifle, fishes with bears, kayaks, rock climbs on a mountain and makes cupcakes at home with her 9-year-old daughter, Piper. While driving a dog sled across the wilderness, her fur-trimmed parka so perfectly frames her face, she evokes Audrey Hepburn.”

“Los Angeles Times” television critic Mary McNamara said “Alaska” is “clearly here not to bury Palin’s political career but to raise it by hitting so many of the buttons near and dear to the American electorate’s heart. Athleticism, frontier imagery and devotion to family have propelled more than one candidate to office.”

Critics are split, but the former governor of Alaska’s devoted fans aren’t: The show’s launch Sunday night became TLC’s largest premiere ever, pulling in an estimated 5 million viewers.