DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

GERALD JORDAN

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

CANDACE KELLEY

TOM BRINKMOELLER

MONIQUE NAZARETH

DAVID SICILIA

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

NOEL HOLSTON

JONATHAN STORM

 
 
Enter your email address:
 
 
 
 
SUNDAY
DECEMBER 10
2017

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET

The most popular animated film in history, made in 2013, gets a prime-time airing tonight on ABC – which is owned by Disney, which released the super-popular cartoon musical in the first place. And since then, the company, like its young audience base, hasn’t… let it go.

 
  
 
 

Cinemax, 8:00 p.m. ET

I recommended this 1989 Australian movie recently – and, as I often do with my Best Bet recommendations, find myself ensnared all over again by own traps. (Just last Monday, after pointing out the special showing of All the President’s Men on HBO, I watched it again from start to finish – for about the 50th time.) But Dead Calm, whether you’ve seen it or not, is worth a visit, too. It’s beautifully photographed, intensely edited, and the two male leads, Sam Neill and Billy Zane, are equally intense, but in very different ways. And as the woman who finds herself between them, on a sea voyage that soon turns sinister and deadly, the very young Nicole Kidman is almost unbelievably strong, vulnerable, and unforgettable.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

TCM is noting, and celebrating, the 40th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking sci-fi film, 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Just think of how much artistry and enthusiasm, and a sense of wonder and drama, Spielberg brought to this film, just as he had with Jaws two years earlier. Then think about how both Close Encounters and Jaws would be very different – and, most likely, very inferior – if not for the crucial musical contributions by composer John Williams.

 
  
 
 

AMC, 9:00 p.m. ET

The midseason finale is presented tonight, bringing to a head – finally – the various battles and wars that, in a wider view, add up to this two-year Rick vs. Negan cage match.

 
  
 
 

ABC, 10:00 p.m. ET

SPECIAL: I love this idea, and expect it to carry on to a series. Kristen Bell, one of the vocal stars of Frozen, hosts, and the idea of this program is to reunite members of a high school musical theater group, from 20 years or so earlier, and give them one week (with some professional help) to mount, once again, one of the musicals they performed in their salad days. For this special, it’s Into the Woods. And if a future show would open up the concept to a high school troupe that was closer to 50 years old (sigh), I can recommend one from personal experience…

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

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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



Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
8 PM ET

The Crown
Netflix
Streaming

Damnation
USA
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

Dark
Netflix
Streaming

The Graham Norton Show
BBC America
Saturdays
10 PM ET

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
TBS
Wednesdays
10:30 PM ET

Godless
Netflix
Streaming

Mr. Robot
USA
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

This Is Us
NBC
Tuesdays
9 PM ET

The Walking Dead
AMC
Sundays
9 PM ET
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Punching In at 'Late Night' Late Night with Seth Meyers writer Amber Ruffin shows Seth how a real man apologizes, in the style of recent sexual harassers, after committing her own style of blatant assault – a left-cross to the jaw. Ruffin peels off the standard non-apology apologies rolled out in avoidance of a simple “sorry”, including the “anyone who knows me would say that’s very out of character” and run-of-the-mill victim shaming… “I’m sorry your face feels punched”. –Eric Gould

 
 

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...
 
 
 
Holiday Greetings 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 available in paperback for under $13, and is a great gift idea for TV fans. 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. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post 
 
 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$$
Fargo: Season Three

Consider this maybe a folksy but dark Christmas gift for the true TV fan on your list.  Maybe the best of the TV Fargo adaptations yet (and there may not be any more coming in the immediate future) director Noah Hawley has amped up the Fargo Minnesota-nice crime mise en scène with his unique brand of magic realism and blundering mayhem. Starring Ewan McGregor in dual roles as the Stussy brothers, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the scheming girlfriend Nikki and Carrie Coon as the local cop who cannot be fooled, Season Three has an amazing cast embedded in a high-stakes storyline that will be sure to demand binge-watching all the way to the bitter end. At Amazon for under $20. –Eric Gould