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SUNDAY
DECEMBER 16
2012

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

NBC, 8:15 p.m. ET

Facing each other for the first time in four years, these two teams are having great seasons: The 49ers are 9-3-1, the Patriots 10-3. And it’s a quarterback duel with a lot of drama. The Patriots have imposing veteran Tom Brady, and the 49ers have impressive young replacement Colin Kaepernick, who’s stepped up big time since Alex Smith was sidelined with a concussion.
 
  
 
 

TCM, 9:30 p.m. ET

Here’s a classic version of a classic: Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge, in this 1951 adaptation of the Dickens story. This one manages to be scarier than most, and Sim’s performance is wonderful.
 
  
 
 

AMC, 8:00 p.m. ET

The best modern version of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic is shown tonight on AMC, when George C. Scott steps into the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in this splendid 1984 CBS telemovie. Scott nails the part, from the first moments of humbuggery to the triumphant final Christmas goose. And yes, I meant that description to sound a little inappropriate. Ho ho ho.
 
  
 
 

Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: Given the framework of this series, either Carrie (Claire Danes) or Brody (Damian Lewis) could die in this Season 2 finale – or they could both live. My guess is that Carrie’s character has become too valuable to lose, but Brody has served his purpose. Yet this series, at its best, confounds expectations – so let’s see what happens.
 
  
 
 

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE:  Last week, when Dexter (Michael C. Hall) learned that Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski) had drugged his sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), he gave Debra the evidence to put Hannah behind bars. But their story may not end there – and Dexter, thanks to evidence piling against him, may be headed for prison himself, unless he can do something drastic. Which, for Dexter, isn’t that much of a stretch.
 
  
 
 
 
 
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650 Comments
 
 
Hans w
Ditto!! So great to have the site back up! I really missed it when it was down. Thanks Dave & gang.
Jul 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
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
 
 
 
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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.