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TUESDAY
JULY 25
2017

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This is one of TCM’s more playful and outrageous theme nights – the TV equivalent of a summer beach read. It’s an evening of movies devoted to ’50s Car Culture, and though it includes, in the morning hours, the most famous example of the genre (1955’s Rebel without a Cause, at 3 a.m. ET), this particular lineup is dominated by low-budget goofy movies that rarely see the light of day – much less the night of TCM. Take, for example, two entries from Roger Corman’s low-rent AIP shop, 1958’s Hot Rod Gang (9:30 pm. ET) and its 1959 sequel, The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow. The latter (pictured), televised at 11 a.m. ET, is a comedy about a hot rod gang in search of a new headquarters, and moving into a haunted house. It’s like Scooby-Doo with engines – and with music. Like, crazy, man.

 
  
 
 

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

In this new episode, photographer Joel Sartore takes nature photography to a different level, and different venues, by photographing rare animals who are being held and preserved in zoos and preserves. Tonight, for example, he travels to Spain to photograph the rare Iberian lynx, one of the rarest big cats in captivity. You’ve heard of missing lynx? Here’s one that’s found. Check local listings.

 
  
 
 

ABC, 10:00 p.m. ET

This new ABC summer series premiered last night, and moves to its regular Tuesday time slot beginning tonight. I didn’t mention it last night, because I don’t really consider this new 10-episode mystery series worth watching. I do, however, consider its source worth mentioning, because it may mark the start of a new trend at ABC. Like The Good Doctor, which premieres on ABC this fall, Somewhere Between is based on a TV series from South Korea – in this case, God’s Gift: 14 Days. Both versions are about a mother (played, in ABC’s version, By Paula Patton) whose young daughter is killed by a mass murderer – but after the mother attempts to drown herself in grief, she emerges to find herself and her family propelled back in time, with the intent to change the future she knows has claimed her daughter once. It isn’t the worst idea for a supernatural drama, but as executed by ABC, it’s far from the best. It’s… Somewhere Between.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET

This is worth noting: Tonight’s guest judge on World of Dance, sitting next to Jennifer Lopez and others, is Misty Copeland, who was the first African-American principal ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre.

 
  
 
 
 
 
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1198 Comments
 
 
Mac
Re:South Korean show named God's Gift:That phrase was used by my long-departed boss as a nickname for the mailman for our shopping center. He wore shorts as much as possible,was tanned and wore a pith helmet-always attracting the attention of the ladies on the route. We sometimes followed him when he entered another emporium,just to see the attention for him-rarely failed. The nickname was a shortened version of "God's Gift To Women". Next dull Summer day I'll tell you about Leafblower,Leafblower II(his replacement) and Those Two Cleaning Guys From the Multiplex Who Looked Like They Were Going to Steal Stuff But Who Proved To Be Nice Guys(well,one did).
Jul 25, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
This is a family-safe place,so I can't print the urban legend blooper of a TV showing of The Barefoot Contessa. The story has the announcer saying:"The next portion the film is sponsored by Bayer Aspirin. Stay tuned for tonight's feature:Ava Gardner in the Barea-- Contessa. Most bloopers have no real tape to authenticate;many that purport to be the real thing are recreations or possibly written after the fact. What actually exists is a 1955 Mad Magazine parody-The Barefoot Nocountessa. Mad icon Jack Davis gets credit for story and art. The movie poster tagline,"The Most Beautiful Animal", refers to Lassie. The parody stars Humphrey Yogurt,Ava Nother ,"plus a cast of plaster". Davis could draw a curvy creature like Gardner better than anyone on staff but lots of Bogey closeups add to the fun! Davis did lots of real movie posters:It's A Mad,Mad,Mad, World and The Russians are Coming!The Russians Are Coming are two standouts.
Jul 24, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Sat.7/22-TCM has a triple feature of Betty Davis films starting with the Essential All About Eve,with Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey chiming in for what promises to be a bumpy ride,indeed. The next two films also showcase Davis in roles as an actress:The Star and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. I bring these to folks attention after the recent FX series surrounding the real backstory ill will between Davis & Joan Crawford when filming Baby Jane. What's all the hubbub,bub? It's on display tonight.
Jul 22, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Anytime Rear Window rears it pretty little head,it is time to look out for the real David Seville(Ross Bagdasarian) before he turned his rodent problem a profit when he found out the chimpunks living in his house could sing,Raymond Burr and even Frank Cady,before he opened up his general store in Hooterville as Sam Drucker in Petticoat Junction & Green Acres.
Jul 21, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Ed Q
Ditto on Friends from College. Perhaps it's just that the cast is incredible but I enjoyed the series. It's not always perfect and they're not always likable but it's pretty good tv during a summer lull
Jul 18, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
jim
Richard Lester's "Three Musketeers" is a wonderfully entertaining movie, but incomplete without it's somewhat darker sequel "The Four Musketeers" The fact that the cast thought they were filming one movie which turned out to be two movies led to several lawsuits. Whatever. The movies themselves are great fun.
Jul 17, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Joe in SF
If you’re going to start recommending movies based on candy bars, your 7/17 pick is a good one. Much better than any Kit Kat videos currently playing on YouTube.
Jul 17, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Tom Cellupica
Correction: the Dali dream sequence is in Spellbound, not Notorious. In that one, the wine bottle sequence is classic.
Jul 14, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
George Ashur
You do know, don't you, that America's Got Talent has been airing for six weeks, and that tonight's one hour episode is a recap of the first six weeks of auditions? You wrote it up as if tonight was the season premiere.

(By the way, I find AGT to be hugely entertaining, and a real diversion from everything else going on in the world.)
Jul 13, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
PAUL S SCHATZ
I am usually in agreement with your reviews. However I have found the Penn and Teller show amusing. It's not must see TV. But it is fun to watch the various magicians try to stump these guys
Jul 13, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
7/13-...or,spend 2 &1/2 hrs.with the epic 1937 adventure,Lost Horizon,(8PM-TCM)directed by Frank Capra and TCM's Star of the Month,Ronald Colman. Action,fantasy,mystery,romance,special effects,political stuff that resonates today-a then-record high to produce,at one time,a six-hour film(never released commercially at that length and much lost footage)there is now a restored version(though it does include some audio-only sections with stills)that is probably much different if you remember this from commercial TV showings in the past.
Columbia didn't recoup its investment till later re-releases,yet gambled on a 1973 musical version which almost ruined the studio.It also ended the famed Bacharach/David music team and was the last 5th Dimesnion hit. This was the last film made by Ross Hunter. I walked out on the original roadshow version. Liv Ulmann's singing(dubbed) and dancing(can't dub dancing) did it for me. Bad beyond belief,while the original shown tonight is great! Great book,too!
Jul 13, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Stories trickling about Manning's time on field-e.g.- in his rookie year,he was given hearing aids by a coach so he could hear the huddle info-that's a big N-O,buddy! Add to that,the turmoil at ESPN as they lose their cash cow status from Daddy Disney and fire lots of people because so many smart folks(I'm not one of them) have cut the cable. These are some reasons to not view ESPY awards. They add a free night to ABC's dreadful Summer schedule while behind- the- scenes there is less to see and fewer to report about it.
Instead,make it a night of Hitchcock,ending with Sabobteur: Dr. Auschlander (Norman Lloyd from St. Elsewhere) as the unforgettable Frank Fry and comic actor Bob Cummings in a role you will never forget. I saw this decades ago on commercial TV and it scared me more than any horror film. And Lloyd,at 102 years,still is acting.
Jul 12, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
cheryl
No mention of the World Series of Poker? On ESPN, and they are not delaying the final until November this year.
Jul 9, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
With many early Hitchcock films showing up as bootlegged DVDs,these TCM showings should spur folks to steer towards legitimate authorized versions.
Jul 7, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Reiny in Berkeley
The "Bulldog Drummond " song reference was not in a song by the Searchers, but rather was called Searchin'. It was a Leiber and Stoller song written for the Coasters, and as DB says, covered memorably by the Beatles. It also name checks Boston Blackie, another detective whose films TCM is currently showing.
Jul 6, 2017   |  Reply
 
Reiny in Berkeley
And also Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Sergeant Friday, Charlie Chan, and the Northwest Mounties!
Jul 6, 2017
 
 
 
Mac
Ronald Colman had a pretty interesting career in radio and TV. Colman and his second wife,Benita Hume,proved to be such comic fodder to Jack Benny,that The Halls of Ivy,was created by the longtime writer of Fibber McGee & Molly,Don Quinn. While much of early TV was low brow and full of middle class situations,The Halls of Ivy was about a college president and his wife. Radio-1950-52,NBC. TV- 1954-55-CBS. Info from Wiki,but I have heard some of the Colman/Benny stuff and it is fun. Seems like one of the Pythons could have revived this idea while John Cleese went into the hotel business with Fawlty Towers. Or- Wiliam Daniels and his wife,Bonnie Bartlett(did everyone notice her in Better Call Saul? 88 years old and still a scene stealer).
Jul 6, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Keith E Robin
Thanks for the heads-up about Hitchcock's early work on TCM. Their schedule also shows that there are three more films after "Blackmail": "Murder!" at 6:45am; "The Skin Game" at 8:30am; "Rich and Strange" at 10am; and following an installment of MGM Parade, "Psycho" will be on at noon. Hitchcock fans rejoice!
Jul 5, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
jim
If I was to pick a song from The Music Man that described what has made the country what it is I think I would select "Trouble" A huckster manipulating the narrow minded prejudices of the populace to make a buck. I'm not so cynical that I think that's all there is to America, but it certainly sounds like the America we live in today. Sad. Actually, I love this film and if I'm going to spend a couple of hours in the company of a huckster I much prefer Robert Preston's Henry Hill to the one that confronts us all on a daily basis.
Jul 4, 2017   |  Reply
 
Mac
On further reflection on this quote,I want to see someone do a parody with Shipoopi-title it Covfefe and just watch the fun. A shame that most young voters would not get the reference. I just looked up the history of "covfefe" and can't believe that it only appeared May 31st,less than eight weeks ago. It seems that the nonsense has been going on longer than that. It has but we only had "alternative facts" to describe these past two years:"Covfefe,covfefe-the facts that Don makes up!" And Buddy Hackett,RIP, would have done this justice.
Jul 10, 2017
 
 
Angela
Well said. Though I thought you'd be watching the Twilight Zone. ;-)
Jul 4, 2017
 
 
 
Mac
7/4-TCM rules,even though they just had YDD on Sunday. YDD,1776,TMM-then,Miss Firecracker,a Holly Hunter treat. The problem with the PBS A Capitol Fourth is host John Stamos,who will possibly force himself on the touring Beach Boy band,which has only one true BB-Mike Love,1/2 a BB,Bruce Johnston,Jeff Foskett,who used to front Brian Wilson's touring band and a Cowsill( remember them?-he ain't bad,but he ain't a real BB). Likewise,there is only one real Blues Bros. showing up on the show-Ackroyd. There is a local (Lehigh Valley) Blues Brotherhood tribute band which often features original horn arranger Bones Malone(they guy who wore colorful stuff in the CBS Orchestra) & Lou Marini. If they show up near you,check out the lineup and see a great show!
Jul 4, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
I was sorry to see that Season Two of "Cleverman" on the Sundance Channel wasn't one of your highlights last Wednesday. The season premiere plus extras are available on their web site. It airs Wednesdays at 10pm Eastern.
Jul 3, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
 
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David Bianculli

Founder / Editor

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's also an author and teaches TV and film history at New Jersey's Rowan University. His 2009 Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour', has been purchased for film rights and his latest, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to the Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific, is now available at Amazon. The paperback version will be released fall, 2017.

 
 

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 available on Amazon for $20. (Paperback will be available September 5th, here.)

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

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