ESPN, 8:00 a.m. ET

To those who watched yesterday, the Serena Williams-Heather Watson match was one to remember for a long, long time. These early rounds have proven, as usual, to include some exciting displays of tense, impressive tennis. And that excitement should continue today, starting early with Roger Federer vs. Sam Groth.

Syfy, 8:00 a.m. ET

A holiday marathon of Twilight Zone episodes always is a great way to spend the day, and today is loaded with a ridiculously generous sampling of classics. Start with The After Hours (8:30 a.m. ET, pictured), with Anne Francis in a department store. Before long, there’s Number 12 Looks Just Like You (1 p.m. ET), with Suzy Parker and Pam Austin.  At 7 p.m. ET, it’s The Eye of the Beholder. At 8 p.m. ET, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, which I show to students in my TV History & Appreciation classes. At 9:30 p.m. ET, the wonderful To Serve Man, with the perfect Twilight Zone twist ending. Oh, what’s the point? Just watch. There’s greatness everywhere. And, of course, Rod Serling hosts throughout.


TCM, 3:00 p.m. ET

TCM is scheduling a bunch of patriotic movies today – not war films, just films that celebrate or typify America. One of the best of them, and the most unusual, is the 1972 movie musical 1776, about the sweltering summer in which the founding fathers crafted the Declaration of Independence. Howard Da Silva stars as Benjamin Franklin, and Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson, but the real star of this movie is someone who was lionized subsequently in an HBO miniseries: John Adams, played here with flair, wit and a lot of flint by William Daniels. Blythe Danner, Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother, plays Martha Jefferson – and coincidentally, Danner’s husband, TV writer-producer Bruce Paltrow, later provided starring TV roles for both Howard and Daniels. Howard starred in The White Shadow, and Daniels later starred in St. Elsewhere.


TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This musical biography of George M. Cohan – songwriter, singer, dancer – was produced during wartime, in 1942, and its jingoistic patriotic fervor is both pervasive and apologetic. Even more infectious, though, is the exuberance, as actor, singer and especially as dancer, of James Cagney, the quintessential movie tough guy, who shows many different sets of talents here. Yankee Doodle Dandy was directed by Michael Curtiz, who went straight from this film to another gem filmed in wartime: Casablanca.


TCM, 10:15 p.m. ET

I have such a soft spot for this musical, which was one of the ones performed by my Nova High School performing arts troupe – and I still love watching this 1962 movie version, especially since TCM shows it in its proper super-widescreen ratio. Robert Preston owns the role of fast-talking salesman Harold Hill, and Shirley Jones makes for a fine Marian the librarian. But watch for her precious little lisping little brother, Winthrop – he’s played by a very, very young Ron Howard.

Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 Name (required)
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 Website (optional)
Type in the verification word shown on the image.
 Page: 1 of 32  | Go to page: 
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
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
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
Why is there so much good TV on Sunday nights?!
Jun 28, 2015   |  Reply
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
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
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
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
I was surprised Mr. Robot didn't make your Best Bets today. Though the name of the show makes it sound so unappealing, I was struck by how many really good reviews it got. I haven't seen it yet, do you know something I should be aware of?
Jun 24, 2015   |  Reply
>> "Decades ago, [Bernie Sanders'] presence [on Bill Maher's show] would have invoked the Equal Time Rule, and Maher would have to interview everyone running for President this time, if they wanted to come on his show after Sanders’ appearance..." <<

Sorry, not true. The Equal Time Rule only applied to over-the-air broadcast TV and radio, which had to abide by the Communications Act and FCC regulation. HBO was never subject to any of these, being an opt-in pay service on a closed channel. This would have been true on his old ABC program Politically Incorrect (had that show been in production a few years earlier), but not Maher's current Real Time show on HBO.
Jun 19, 2015   |  Reply
Linda Donovan
I appreciate your comment, Neil. I worked in FCC Compliance in a former life so I should have caught the mistake; my apologies. The Equal Time rule is still in effect. An old FCC interpretation of what's called the Zapple Doctrine is the part that is no longer in play. You're correct that the rule applies to broadcast radio and television but it also applies to cable systems. I'm guessing, however, that many cable networks would trigger the rule themselves if they were ever in such a position. It's the safer option for them. (There was even concern about TNT running 'Law & Order' episodes with Fred Thompson when he became a qualified candidate for president in 2008.) If HBO were covered by Equal Time, they'd probably request a "bona fide news program" qualification for Maher's program...and no doubt receive it. Ironically, the qualification would exempt the show from the rule! Thank you again.
Jun 19, 2015
Folks, you changed the timing of the "carousel of stories" at the top of the landing page. It used to be about 5 seconds, not quite enough to read the thumbnails, but close. As of today it's 2 or 3 seconds, and much too fast to read before it rotates. Please unfix it.
Jun 18, 2015   |  Reply
Dear Mr. Bianculli. Know you wrote a book entitled Dangerously Funny about the Smothers Brothers. I am trying to locate a video copy of the Honey House tour satire. Do you know the season and episode. Seems no longer available on Google search or Youtube. Any ideas?

Thank you,

Harold Reed,
1111 Kane Concourse, Suite # 311
Bay Harbor Islands, FL 33154-2041
Jun 17, 2015   |  Reply
Sorry about the multiple posts. I kept getting the message that my comment couldn't be sent, so I'd retype the verification word or my email or my name and try again.
Jun 17, 2015   |  Reply
Jan - we're experiencing some technical problems with the comments area. Comments get posted but are disappearing until the page is refreshed. Things should be corrected shortly. Thank you for letting us know! --EG
Jun 17, 2015
I'm so excited about seeing "Deutschland 83." Glad you are recommending it as some people are put off by subtitles, but I love them. I'd much rather see movies--or TV--in the original language.
Jun 17, 2015   |  Reply
Darn I want to like Proof because the subject matter interests me and TNT normally gives things a chance to catch on (unlike NBC-I am still wondering what "The Event" actually was) but you are probably right that it will be cancelled.
Jun 16, 2015   |  Reply
David, you missed the best bet today...Blackhawks wiining the Stanley Cup!
Jun 16, 2015   |  Reply
Sam Hat
Youtube comment regarding "Game of Thrones" recent scene where a little girl is burned to death at the stake:

"THIS... is why IS -- and most of the rest of the world -- hates the United States. Because THIS is what we consider... "entertainment." Murder. Torture. Rape. Disembowelment. Castration. And burning little girls to death at the stake.

And... if YOU watch this television program... for "fun"?

YOU. Are what is profoundly WRONG with this country.

And may God damn you to Hell for it."

I personally find it hard to disagree.

This program is torture-porn. And not much else.

Thanks for your time.
Jun 13, 2015   |  Reply
I just watched last night Wayward Pines and you were right about the "answers" I've never used your words even when I agree but unbelievable and disappointing are the only words to describe that dribble. I don't know what answers I wanted but that wasn't it.
Jun 12, 2015   |  Reply
Why is Melissa Macarthy never mentioned for her best role in Gilmore Girls?
Everything she has done
since then pales in comparison.
Jun 8, 2015   |  Reply
Sean Dougherty
It's almost Zero Hour -
Jun 8, 2015   |  Reply
Mr. B., have you been watching "Your Family or Mine" on TBS? By the fourth show, we were hooked. Laugh out loud funny, and the characters are growing into our
hearts.... The last episode about the his parents' anniversary is a hoot. love it. Give it a try and let your audience in on the fun if you agree.... We read you and heed you every day... (well most of the time, anyway...)
Jun 8, 2015   |  Reply
 Page: 1 of 32  | Go to page: 

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.