DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

Social Media Manager

Contributors

DONNA J. PLESH

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

MONIQUE NAZARETH

JONATHAN STORM

P.J. BEDNARSKI

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TUESDAY
SEPTEMBER 16
2014

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

HBO, 7:30 p.m. ET

Alan Alda, the actor whose TV achievements start with M*A*S*H, include great work on The West Wing, and – hey, really, who needs more than that? – guides six very lucky young students through a master class in improv acting, and also gives some valuable advice about how to pursue an acting profession. (Regarding the unavoidable string of rejections after auditions, his simple but key advice is to bend, not break.) And the improv exercises, which he both takes very seriously and enjoys immensely, clearly come naturally to him, and could well be responsible for his own success: He started out on stage in Second City, where improv is everything.

 
  
 
 

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Part 3. This third installment of The Roosevelts is keyed on Teddy, though not as exclusively. Time is spent on Franklin’s betrayal of Eleanor with Lucy Mercer – and while this episode doesn’t shy away from confronting and identifying Teddy’s “blood lust” when it came to animal safaris, it also explores his aggressive position on international warfare – which, like his political positions and battles, transformed the coming century. For my full review, see Bianculli’s Blog. And to hear my review on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, which includes audio samples from several episodes, visit the Fresh Air website. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: This new season of New Girl begins with a wedding – but none of the show’s principals is getting married. They’re wedding guests instead, and trolling the event in search of attractive singles. But others have the same idea – and when Jess (Zooey Deschanel) decides to flirt with one intriguing fellow guest (played by Reid Scott of HBO’s Veep), she finds herself competing for the same wedding-day prey with a sexy scientist (played by another familiar guest star, Jessica Biel).

 
  
 
 

Fox, 9:30 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: In this season opener, Mindy (Mindy Kaling) may actually have found some lasting measure of happiness with Danny (Chris Messina) – unlikely as that sounds. But their newly intimate relationship seems to be working – at least for now.

 
  
 
 

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

In last week’s season premiere, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) ended up torturing and killing the man he was told killed his wife, Tara. What he doesn’t know yet – but is bound to find out before this final season of Sons is over – is that Jax was lied to. And the lie, as viewers know already, came from the real killer: Gemma (Katey Sagal), Jax’s own mother. It’s quite an intense story line – which might explain why last week’s premiere was, by far, the highest-rated episode in Sons of Anarchy history.

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Joan Rivers 1933 - 2014 -- It seemed Joan Rivers would go on forever making fun of fashion, celebrities, aging, plastic surgery and herself but, sadly, she passed away September 4th. She was a pioneer for women in comedy who, at the age of 81, was still going strong onstage as well as on the small screen, thanks in large part to the E! network’s Fashion Police. Her daughter, Melissa Rivers, released a statement saying: “My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.” In that spirit, we’d like to share a commentary about aging that CBS Sunday Morning had the comedian offer in 2002. It’s Joan Rivers at her best. (Please note: Because this was a commentary about aging, Ms. Rivers mentioned certain subjects, such as funerals, for example, that some may deem as inappropriate to find humor in at this time. We at TVWW felt she'd want the clip to run anyway -- especially now.) -- Monique Nazareth

 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


Boardwalk Empire
HBO
Sundays
9 PM ET

The Chair
Starz
Saturdays
11 PM ET 

The Honorable Woman
Sundance
Thursdays
10 PM ET

The Intruders
BBC America
Saturdays
10 PM ET

The Knick
Cinemax
Fridays
10 PM ET

Manhattan
WGN America
Sundays
10 PM ET

POV
PBS
Mondays
10 PM ET
Check Local Listings

Ray Donovan
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays
10 PM ET

The Strain
FX
Sundays
10 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...

TV JUKEBOX

A new edition of Bianculli's favorite TV themes, coming soon!
 
 
 

From TV Worth Watching
TOP PICKS FOR YOUR HOME LIBRARY

The TVWW Seal of Approval is an honor we save for TV’s very best – our picks for a truly teleliterate home video library.
 
 

THE AVENGERS: THE COMPLETE EMMA PEEL MEGASET – I usually prefer to bestow a Seal of Approval upon a complete series DVD set, but The Avengers – the Sixties TV spy series, not the current series of Marvel Comics superhero movies – encompassed so many different casts and tones, it was more like Doctor Who. First came the 1961 season teaming Patrick Macnee as dapper British spy John Steed with Ian Hendry, then the 1962-64 episodes featuring Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale. Those are good, but Steed’s next partner, Emma Peel, played by Diana Rigg, was the perfect Sixties TV heroine. After Rigg left, Linda Thorson, as Tara King, became Steed’s final sleuthing partner in the original series, and was quite likable (the inferior The New Avengers followed a decade later), but the 1965-68 Rigg episodes were the series’ best. They’re also the ones first imported to the U.S., by ABC in prime time, when color TV was still a novelty and Rigg’s wild jumpsuits and pop fashions really stood out. So did the show’s wit, its playful lampooning of the secret-agent genre, and its sparkling sexual tension between Mrs. Peel and Mr. Steed. This Emma Peel Megaset contains all the Diana Rigg episodes, which are, indeed, the best of the best. – David Biancull

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$
'Prohibition'

Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts, is premiering on PBS this week, so Amazon is offering deep discounts on the Ken Burns catalog. A recent favorite, Prohibition, by Burns and Lynn Novick, took a fascinating look at a time when alcohol was outlawed and an attempt was made to legislate morality. The three-hour documentary, as with Baseball, Jazz (up to 70% off) and others, is full of fascinating historical footage of times long gone and events and figures who helped form the society we know today. Prohibition is loaded with extras, including special segments on saloon culture, medicinal alcohol and much more. –Eric Gould