DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

Social Media Manager

Contributors

MONIQUE NAZARETH

JONATHAN STORM

GERALD JORDAN

DONNA J. PLESH

NOEL HOLSTON

DAVID SICILIA

 
 
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SATURDAY
DECEMBER 20
2014

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

TNT, 7:45 p.m. ET

Nobody gets in to see the Wizard. Not nobody, not nohow! Not unless you have cable – in which case, you can tune to TNT tonight and see, almost casually, the annual movie-on-TV event that was so significant, and so eagerly awaited, when I was a child that I wrote about it in advance, in a countdown, in my diary at age 7. And today, by the way, is the final day of my Personal History of Television exhibition at the Apexart gallery in New York, where that very diary is on display under glass. But that’s just for laughs. More seriously, on display, are such things as Rod Serling’s typewriters, Fred Rogers’ sneakers and sweater, and the writers-room scene-by-scene notecard breakdown of the final episode of Breaking Bad. And yes, Wizard of Oz is represented, too, on one of the video wall TV history displays. The exhibition is free – and it’s been fun. At least for me.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

Here’s a truly informative “compare and contrast” exercise, though it takes a full day to complete. Tonight in prime time, NBC presents a repeat of last year’s live TV theatrical event, starring Carrie Underwood in the 2013 adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Then, tomorrow night at the same time, ABC presents the 1965 movie version of the same musical, starring Julie Andrews. Guess who wins?

 
  
 
 

HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

Shailene Woodley stars as Tris in this 2014 action movie, one of the latest films to aim squarely at the young audience by building a drama, and a potential franchise, around a defiant, strong and independent young woman. And Divergent hit its mark, so there will be more.

 
  
 
 

BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET

Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey are on hand in this new edition, to promote Dumb and Dumber To – but look who else is on hand, as a big bonus. There’s Tamsin Greig, the Episodes actress I absolutely adore – and Jude Law, about whom many women I know feel likewise.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 11:29 p.m. ET

Amy Adams, star of Big Eyes, is the guest host for tonight’s new episode. The musical guests: One Direction.

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

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

CLASSIC SIGN OFF -- Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show signed off on Friday (Dec 19) after ten years on the air, closing out a memorable week as Ferguson and robot sidekick Geoff Peterson (Josh Robert Thompson) sent the show off with some great sketches and final guests before James Corden takes over in March. Ferguson started his final show with a production number and a band (ironically, since the show never had one), talked with fellow ex-late night host Jay Leno, and closed with his own homage to classic television finales: in a dream, he learned the identity of the actor inside the “Secretariat” dancing horse get-up, which led him to find out the whole thing was yet another dream, and another inside of a snow globe…with the whole thing coming to an abrupt end. Ferguson’s brand of absurdist, anti-talk-show was always a delight and will be missed. –Eric Gould

 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


American Horror Story:
Freak Show
FX
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

The Colbert Report
Comedy Central
Weeknights
11:30 PM ET

The Good Wife
CBS
Sundays
9 PM ET

The Graham Norton Show
BBC America
Saturdays
11 PM ET

Homeland
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Jane the Virgin
CW
Mondays
9 PM ET

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
HBO
Sundays
11 PM ET

The Late Late Show
CBS
Weeknights
12:35 AM ET

Parenthood
NBC
Thursdays
10 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...

TV JUKEBOX

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

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey [Blu-ray]

TVWW has lots of suggestions for holiday TV gifts this month here, at our annual Holiday Gift Guide. You’ll find a lot options there for all tastes and ages including Cosmosthe reboot of the original Carl Sagan PBS series. Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the series brings glorious state-of-the-art CGI to explore all the lessons of the universe. Segments illustrating historical moments in scientific discovery are done in animation 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 $35.  –EG