DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

CANDACE KELLEY

DAVID SICILIA

NOEL HOLSTON

JONATHAN STORM

 
 
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FRIDAY
DECEMBER 9
2016

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Amazon Prime Video, 3:00 a.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: It’s Season 3 for this likable Amazon series about an orchestra and its behind-the-scenes travails and triumphs. Gael Garcia Bernal continues to shine like an imperious star – so perfect for his role as a self-obsessed conductor – and this year, even the scenery is an upgrade. Many of the episodes are set in Venice. For a full review, see David Hinckley’s All Along the Watchtower.
 
  
 
 

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: This is a new Netflix series from the makers and stars of Mythbusters, the Discovery Channel hit that exploded popular myths and misconceptions – and, along the way, exploded lots of other things, too. Tory Belleci, Grant Imahara and Kari Byron star in this new series, which contains many familiar elements of the original Discovery Channel program.

 
  
 
 

MGM HD, 9:40 a.m. ET

This 1972 Woody Allen movie, based on the bestselling book, has seven extended segments in it, most of them very funny. And one, this time, also is especially poignant: Watch and wait for Gene Wilder, as a man who falls in love with a sheep, and begins a slow descent into the gutter. Literally. Drinking Woolite. It’s a fabulous performance, mostly because Wilder plays it as seriously as he can, under the circumstances. I think it's a brilliant comedy sketch. But do ewe?
 
  
 
 

CW, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight, Rebecca sizes up the new competition – a.k.a., Josh’s potential new girl friend – who’s played by Brittany Snow of Pitch Perfect.

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

This special presents Madonna’s latest concert tour – more than 30 years after she first rattled and ruled MTV with her provocative costumes, lyrics and dance moves. Time marches on. Sometimes, though probably not in this case, with help from a walker…
 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Larry David’s Original Mania… The Beatle Kind — Among the many interviews David conducted for his look at the evolution of TV’s Platinum Age, he talked with another David, Larry, about the genre of “Splitcoms” — situation comedies like Seinfeld that are set half in the lead character’s home, with the other in the workplace. They discussed Larry David’s one year stint on Saturday Night Live where he encountered Julia Louis-Dreyfus and his eventual gig as head writer of Seinfeld’s show. But before all that, he had a fledgling career as an LA stand-up comic which got him cast in the 1980-82 ABC late-night comedy series Fridays, which LD comments “was a kind of a rip-off” of Saturday Night Live. (“Not kind of,” he emphasizes in correction.) He co-starred there with Michael Richards who would later go on to be cast as Kramer on Seinfeld.

There are many Fridays clips on Youtube which illustrate David’s style back then — an aggressive kind of Andy Kaufmann-like, anti-punchline method that was meant to provoke the audience as much as it was to make them laugh. One recurring bit, a character named Solly Mullins, was a temp worker who showed up to all sorts of preposterous gigs, like standing in for Gloria Steinem at a feminist rally and this one, where he stands in for John Lennon who does not show up for a world-wide Beatles reunion. This is a low-res, bootleg version, but you can still see the origins of David’s later characters who are proudly smug, scheming, intellectual… and not always laugh-out-loud hilarious. Stick around for the end, where he leads the way on “Hard Days Night.”—Eric Gould


 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

  
   Visit TV We're Watching for these and other shows on
our DVRs right now...


Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
BBC America
Saturdays
9 PM ET

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
9 PM ET

Designated Survivor
ABC
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Gilmore Girls
Netflix
Streaming

Good Behavior
TNT
Tuesdays
9 PM ET

Mars
NatGeo
Mondays
9 PM ET

Pacific Heat
Netflix
Streaming

Rectify
Sundance
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

The Voice
NBC
Mondays and
Tuesdays
8 PM ET

The Walking Dead
AMC
Sundays
9 PM ET
 
 

BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE!


FRESH AIR FAVES

Audio of Bianculli's favorite 'Fresh Air' reports, and the stories behind them...


FAVES FROM
"THE MORGUE"

Bianculli's favorite newspaper articles, and the stories behind them...


EXTRAS & FEEDBACK

Share your favorite TV in-jokes and first TV loves...
 
 
 

Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now avaialble on Amazon.

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

The holiday shopping season is upon us and Cosmos, the 2014 reboot of the original Carl Sagan PBS series is a good fit for all ages. Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the series brings glorious state-of-the-art CGI to explore all the lessons of the universe. Animated segments illustrating historical moments in scientific discovery are contributed by Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy team. With a fresh style, these animated segments are critical to the clarity and success of the series, as is Tyson’s obvious passion for his subject. On sale at Amazon for $14. –EG