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TUESDAY
MAY 3
2016

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

The Top 10 becomes the Top 9 at the end of tonight’s results show. I don’t know what the results are likely to be, because there were so many strong performances last night – but one contender who should be safe, if there is any justice, is Laith Al-Saadi, who was as impressive playing electric guitar on “The Thrill Is Gone” as he was singing the song. Wow.

 
  
 
 

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Amy Berg wrote and directed this portrait of 1960s singing star Janis Joplin, and tells her story in a captivating way. Watching it, I realized I was aware of her career high points – blowing them away at Monterey in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969, chatting honestly on The Dick Cavett Show, and releasing Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” as a posthumous hit – but little else. This documentary takes us back to her small Texas town, her high school days, and even, in a surprisingly touching moment of candor and pain, her high school reunion. The music is here, too – and one listen to her singing “Ball and Chain” at the Monterey Pop Festival is enough to understand why she rose so quickly. The fall, that’s explained by the rest of this touching character study, another American Masters triumph. For a full review, see David Hinckley’s All Along the Watchtower. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

ABC, 9:00 p.m. ET

The season finale of this episode is two weeks away, but already the tensions and stakes are high, as Grant Ward, now transmogrified into a mind-controlling alien known as The Hive, has converted some of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to his side – including Daisy, one of the team’s most central and powerful operatives.

 
  
 
 

CBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: Back for one final wrap-up season, Person of Interest picks up where it left off, with its team trying to regroup, and save the source code of its all-powerful, intensely threatened Machine. For his take on the series, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower

 
  
 
 

AMC, 10:00 p.m. ET

Part 3. This series gets better every week – a impressive feat, since it started so well to begin with. And it’s done so while, to this point, parceling out scenes featuring both of its leading stars in very small doses. There’s Tom Hiddleston as the revenge-fueled hotel manager who, in last week’s episode, thwarted a kidnap attempt on the son of a ruthless arms tycoon (Hugh Laurie), nearly dying in the attempt – even though the kidnapping was staged so he could stop it, and thereby gain the trust of his arms-dealer target. He hasn’t quite earned that trust yet – but he’s on the tycoon’s private estate, healing from his injuries, and tonight the two men finally are scheduled to have a long, private talk. If the hotel manager passes that test, he’s in, and admitted to the villain’s inner circle. If not… he’s dead.

 
  
 
 
 
 
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807 Comments
 
 
Keith Robin
That's a wonderful idea, Bob. I'd be happy to get a daily call from the TVWW staff-anything I can do to help, and I'm there! And I'm almost always available, the occasional aforementioned appointments notwithstanding.
May 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
UPDATE! Sorry to inform everyone that the date and time I listed on 4/25, have apparently been changed. David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies, according to the Smithsonian Channel website, is scheduled to be cablecast on Saturday, May 7, 2016, starting at 6pm EDT. This is preceded by two other productions: Micro Monsters with David Attenborough: Conflict and Flying Monsters with David Attenborough. And, there are two more hours after the three-part CotS, that will run, with selected shows repeated all the way to 1am!
Detailed information is available at http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/tv-schedule/20160507
Apr 29, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
Re: David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies...information that would have been useful YESTERDAY!!! And to add insult to injury, David, 6AM? 6AM? Do you know how many times in the last fortnight I have come to this website in MID-morning, only to find the previous day's recommendations? I had an early a.m. doctor's appointment, so I didn't see today's TVWW until after 12N...what time was the website for Mon April 25th updated? OK, my rant is over and believe me, my appreciation for your enthusiastic recommendation prompted me to seek and find the following more timely and, hopefully, useful information: the three episodes of DA's CotS will be shown again Saturday, April 30th, 2016, on the Smithsonian Channel starting at 3pm EDT. I hope all your loyal followers will take advantage of the opportunity. Thank you again for bringing this to everyone's attention-I know your intentions were well-intended; thanks to you and your staff for continuing to enlighten us.
Apr 25, 2016   |  Reply
 
Bob516
Keith, I guess everyone who runs this website should have a daily conference call with you to make sure their schedule is planned around you doctor appointments.
Apr 29, 2016
 
 
 
MJ
Linda - thanks for that great Prince post!! The URL seems to loop a bit - if people want to jump right to the best part - and you shouldn't miss it - start at 5:25
Apr 24, 2016   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
You're welcome, MJ! Glad you enjoyed it as much as we did. I agree with you on the best part -- it's why I tried to sneak the links into the summary to those points in the video -- but thank you for giving everyone the direct info. Talk about must-see TV! It really is very sweet, isn't it?
Apr 25, 2016
 
 
 
Mac
The Gullible Channel-there you go again. Not unlike your April 1st listings,an idea who's time has come. While it's too cheap a shot to simply choose Fox News,if I was programming a real Gullible Channel,I would pick that crazy eye Jeanine Piro as my ongoing hostess to introduce each show. Just wipe some of that foam from around her mouth,as Bill Cosby said in simpler times. Besides a source for reality show repeats,Lots of weight loss ads in-between.I'd have to include a weekly documentary style wanderer like Anthony Bourdain crossing the globe in search of buying bridges not named The Brooklyn. Of course,the show would be titled Gullible's Travels.
Apr 23, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Jim O
I normally agree with your picks but tonight is the premier of The Night Manager and by all accounts, it looks like it is going to be a great show. AnD no mention on your Best Bets?
Apr 19, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
David,as much as Amoeba is a great store(and all I got from there was a t-shirt thanks to a relative living nearby the place)you are not too far from the Princeton Record Exchange (PREX) and my favorite(just blocks away from where I write this),Double Decker Records in Allentown,Pa. The second hand business in vinyl is alive and thriving,while CDs,new or used,plummet in price and desire. But the disappearance of Tower-that was pretty emotional for this vinyl junkie. Anyway,Record Store Day is April 16-time to get my place in line.
Apr 8, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Nancy
Better Call Saul is one of the best shows on TV. The acting is superb and its shot beautifully. Last episode with Saul changing his wardrobe was brilliant. I'm rooting for Mike and Saul even though I know what their future holds. Thanks Vince Gilligan for bringing your art to the landscape.
Apr 2, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Phil
Thanks for wasting our time
Apr 2, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Dan
I'm deserve a punch in the face. I went to my dvr and huh?? Got me!
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Michele
Well done TVWW! You got me.
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
Oh man, I'm definitely old! I was all set for the newest Ken Burns doc, and then I read the first line of the blurb on Game of Thorns and the flash powder exploded - my daughter looked at me and said "It's April 1st, Dad!" You got me good-well done.
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Frank Dracman
I don't give a hoot about the Ashley Simpson ACS, but I'd stand in line for the one about Jessica! Kudos!
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
jeffrey rubin
Well done, David. I was this close to running upstairs and setting my DVR for the Jessica Simpson mini-series. haha
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
joanne
Thanks for the chuckle. Today's April Fools Best Bets are very funny!
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Frank
Thanks for the heads-up about Shellac. I will rush right down to my Way-Back Machine and set it to record the show. As an overly dedicated, or is it desiccated, TV Zombie, your site is the first thing I bite into every morning in order to plan my waking moments.
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Tom
One mistake, Game of Thorns is on Sunday not Friday.
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Joe in SF
How did I miss the first five episodes of 'Hell's Bathroom'? This show smells like a ratings winner. If the show gets preempted and I miss the final tie breaker (paper towels vs. air dryers), I'll be pi$$ed off!
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Rinnie
Very clever! Love today's offerings. I think y"all outdid yourselves this year. Always look forward to 04/01 Best Bets.
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
MAS
Re the late, great Garry Shandling, for those who want to watch or rewatch "The Larry Sanders Show" HBO has announced they will be putting the entire series on HBO Go later this year (date TBA).
Mar 27, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
 
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David Bianculli

Founder / Editor

Behind David in the picture is the first TV owned by his father, Virgil Bianculli, a 1946 Raytheon. (The TV, not his father. His father was a 1923 Italian.) David Bianculli has been a TV critic since 1975, including a 14-year stint at the New York Daily News, and sees no reason to stop now. Currently, he's TV critic for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and is an occasional substitute host for that show. He also teaches TV and film history at New Jersey's Rowan University, and his most recent book, 2009's Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, has recently been purchased for film rights.  He's currently at work on another.