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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MONDAY
JANUARY 16
2017

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

Returning for the new year, this series continues to move forward, giving power to some of its nascent villains and taking power from others. In the fall sequence of shows, we saw the rise of the woman who would become Poison Ivy and the increased derangement of the man who will become the Riddler. And starting with tonight’s episode, there are more tests, travails, and power grabs by the man some people already are calling the Penguin.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s episode takes place at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair. The promo ads trumpet an appearance by Harry Houdini, but there are other things from this particular fairground well worth celebrating. The world’s first Ferris wheel, for example, and a public exhibition by Eadweard Muybridge of his zoopraxiscope, showing some of his motion studies of animals, and naked women, in motion. And Helen Keller, who was taken to the Exposition by her teacher, Annie Sullivan. Oh, and a mayoral assassination to boot – how many will Timeless find time to include?

 
  
 
 

ABC, 10:01 p.m. ET

This is a warning, not a recommendation. I threatened this last week, and tonight it arrives: The first installment of tonight’s Big Fan doubleheader, in which celebrities are pitted against fans to see who knows more about that celebrity, features Kim Kardashian West. One of the rotating slogans of TV Worth Watching used to be “No Kardashians,” and that unofficial edict still holds, at least in spirit. But for Kim Kardashian West herself, Big Fan, in which the entire show is built around questions asked about her, just might be the apotheosis of her life to date. So long as no one asks her the definition of apotheosis. The Big Fan centerpiece during the second episode shown tonight: Frozen and The Good Place co-star Kristen Bell.

 
  
 
 

MSNBC, 11:00 p.m. ET

Tonight on MSNBC, we have an intimate interview special, spending time with a man who is striving to demonstrate how to maintain dignity while losing the power that once made him so prominent and influential. Oh, and President Barack Obama, in the last week of his presidency, is here, too – interviewed by former NBC News anchor, and now MSNBC mainstay, Brian Williams.

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

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Hail to the Televised Chief — Here’s President Harry S. Truman’s address, January 20, 1949, from the first presidential inauguration to be televised. Truman, although having run as an incumbent after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, trailed his opponent in many polls of the day, similar to the data stream of 2016.  His win over New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey was considered one of the great political upsets, creating one of our most memorable news photographs ­– Truman hoisting a copy of the Chicago Daily Tribune rushed to print on election night while it looked like he had lost, the banner erroneously announcing “Dewey Defeats Truman”. –Eric Gould

 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
9 PM ET

The Good Place
NBC
Thursdays
8:30 PM ET

Emerald City
NBC
Fridays
9 PM ET

Lemony Snicket’s
A Series of Unfortunate Events

Netflix
Streaming

Man Seeking Woman
FXX
Wednesdays
10:30 PM ET

The OA
Netflix
Streaming

Portlandia
IFC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

The Real Mad Men of Advertising
Smithsonian
Sundays
9 PM ET

Sneaky Pete
Amazon Prime Video
Streaming

Victoria
PBS
Sundays
9 PM ET
Check Local Listings
 
 

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$
The Dana Carvey Show

In a recent interview, SNL veteran Dana Carvey mentioned that an upcoming documentary about his failed 1996 ABC sketch comedy show was in the works at Hulu (no release date announced yet.) Too Funny to Fail will recount how the iconoclastic series, cancelled after eight episodes, got off to a horrendous start with network executives and advertisers. (The premiere included a sketch with Carvey playing then-President Bill Clinton — so eager to demonstrate his compassion he suckled a baby, puppies and a kitten simultaneously from a canine-like array of prosthetic nipples.) Considered a lovable sketch character and impressionist, Carvey’s edgier side turned out to be somewhat ill-suited for prime time. The show is considered a milestone however, for it’s now A-list stable of performers and writers: Louis CK, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Robert Smigel. (Includes one unaired episode and deleted scenes.) On sale at Amazon for $14. —Eric Gould

 
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