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TUESDAY
JULY 28
2015

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

No, this isn’t a repeat of Fox’s Utopia. It’s a new two-hour documentary about the atomic bomb, keyed loosely to the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb to end WWII in 1945. This documentary traces the history and development of this deadly super-weapon, which transformed global politics in ways that are still being felt. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

PBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

Part 1 of 2. Uranium is the element at the core of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 – and 70 years later, it’s the subject at the core of this new two-part PBS documentary, concluding tomorrow night. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET

Knock Knock, who’s there? Hap. Hap who? Happen to see last week’s premiere of Ryan Seacrest’s new series, Knock Knock Live? If not, you may want to sample tonight’s second installment. And if so, you’ll know, for yourself, whether it’s worth tuning in again.
 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Documentarian Les Blank made his first movie in 1960 (a short film with a long title: Running Around Like a Chicken with Its Head Cut Off). His last one was released in 2014, a year after his death. In between, he made dozens of nonfiction films, including my personal favorite, 1980’s Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. Neither of those is presented tonight, but 11 others are, starting with four set in his beloved New Orleans. At 8 p.m. ET, there’s 1978’s Always for Pleasure (a look at Mardi Gras, pictured), followed at 9:15 p.m. ET by 1972’s Spend It All (about Cajun culture, especially its music), at 10:15 p.m. ET by 1973’s Dry Wood (a brief biography of Cajun musician “Bois Sec” Ardoin), and at 11 p.m. ET by 1980’s Yum Yum Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking of Louisiana.
 
  
 
 

Comedy Central, 11:00 p.m. ET

Last night, scheduled Daily Show guest Ted Cruz backed out at the last minute – prompting host Jon Stewart, somewhat gleefully, to replace him, almost instantly, with respected historian and bestseller David McCullough. Tonight’s scheduled guest is Tom Cruise, and if he pulls a last-second no-show, Stewart, no doubt, will “trade up” again. So tune in tonight, regardless.
 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
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649 Comments
 
 
Alex
Happy you're back...YEA!!!!
Jul 28, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Bob
So glad you are back!
Jul 27, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
gail
David,
I watched Married on FX.
I thought it was pretty good, you?
Jul 18, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Archie Phillips
I just add my strong support for the new series, Mr. Robot. This is one of the most creative and innovative series on TV. The writing is excellent, the acting is superb, and the series isn't afraid to try new things. It is very "raw" in some ways, but the characters are multidimensional, and even though it is often dark, you begin to really care about these people. The tech is 100% on point, and while that might make it a little more of a challenge for some viewers, the show is accessible on so many different dimensions that it really should appeal to a wide audience. I hope you take a deeper look at it.
Jul 17, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sarah
I caught the Emmy Nominations on CNN and even though most of the time I have no idea what is happy I am happy Tatiana Maslany has finally been nominated and am routing for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Jul 16, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Gigi
I can't get audio on the Graham Norton highlight reel. Help!
Jul 12, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
David, Djok's on you. You may write these blurbs before your first cup of Djo', but your score that day was Nolan-Love, so Sanka very much.
Jul 12, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Mark
What about Mr. Robot? As a technologist this show just gets it right. Rami Malek's acting is superb. I think it's one of the best shows on right now.
Jul 10, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Bob
David, I am so glad you recommended Dates. I would not have watched it if you had not listed it in Best Bets, and I am really glad I did watch it.
Jul 10, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
jan
Thanks for the heads up on The Spoils Before Dying. I've seen the first two and love it so far, and I hadn't heard anything about it before you mentioned it. Loved the first series, too. If it had not been for this blog, I would have missed it.
Jul 10, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sue Marie
Dear Mr. Biancull,
We are on a quest to locate a parody by the Smothers Brothers based on the 1968 hit song "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro. I believe the skit was referred to as "Honey House" and humorously portrayed the guys trying to sneak a peek up the girls dresses. My research indicates the skit appeared during season 3, however I have thoroughly watched The Best of the Smothers Brothers, Seasons 2 and 3, and Honey House is not on either of those two collections. Do you, or does anybody, have any information as to where the Honey House sketch might be located in the Smothers Brother's archives?
Many thanks and kind regards,
Suzie
Jul 7, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
Well, you obviously( have you ever recommended a repeat broadcast?) enjoyed the season finale of "Penny Dreadful" as much as I did! It was certainly everything I expected and more, except the loss of a character who was just starting to become more interesting. For a second, I thought about taking him to Dr. Frankenstein, but I was very satisfied with the conclusion. I anxiously await next season of this remarkable show...at least I don't have to wait too long for season two of "The Strain"!
Jul 6, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
SharonGS
Wimbledon and the Women's World Cup are certainly 'TV Worth Watching', but once again you have failed to mention the equally exciting Tour de France, which started this year on July 4. Great competition and great scenery for three weeks.
Jul 5, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sarah
I saw the daily show live 10 years ago and love that Jon Stewart us just interviewing people he likes and no long goodbye (just some quick montages each week. As for Larry Wilmore his show has gotten so much better since it began.
Jul 2, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Martha
If you are looking for the David Attenborough/Obama interview On Demand it's listed under the show BBC Earth, at least on Comcast.
Jun 30, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Terry
I appreciate Jon Stewart, but don't watch him much because of the canned laughter, which I can't stand. Apparently there is a studio audience, but its reactions are overwhelmed by the recorded stuff.
Jun 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sarah
Why is there so much good TV on Sunday nights?!
Jun 28, 2015   |  Reply
 
EG
Sarah - Larger advertising dollars are to be won since Sunday night commands a large share of viewers -- and those equal income. Networks and cable channels are competing for the biggest pieces of the pie. --EG
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Jay
I let this go last week, but you need to correct the name of the co-start of The Brink. It is not Aziz Ansari but Aasif Mandvi.
Jun 28, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Gail
David, so glad you have Comedians in cars listed today.
It is possibly the richest time of my day when I watch it!
Jun 24, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Dennis
I think David should host a night on TCM and pick his favorite movies and/or TV show episodes. Better would be a weekly spot where he talks about the history surrounding the movie being played as he did for "She". I found the entry very entertaining.
Jun 24, 2015   |  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.