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SUNDAY
DECEMBER 16
2012

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

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.
 
  
 
 

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.
 
  
 
 

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.
 
  
 
 

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.
 
  
 
 

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.
 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
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662 Comments
 
 
Tom
MR. ROBOT

Mr. Robot finale has been postponed and
will now air next Wednesday,
September 2 at 10 PM.
Aug 27, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
MikeL
I hope you give a shout out to Sabado Gigante in the coming weeks before it's series finale. 53 years on the air with the same host deserves some kudos.
Aug 25, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Tom
SEASON FINALE: This is season finale of Mr. Robot

You are one week early,
next week is the final.
You can actually see next
week's listings on the Internet
Aug 19, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Dan Malloy
For the first 3 days when the website came back, East Coast readers were pleased to see a 7 am click brought up the current days info BUT now your back to not updating the site for many hours after midnight. it is 9 am and all I get is yesterday's picks!! How hard could it be to flip the switch at midnight PT so the East coast readers can get the picks in a timely fashion.
Aug 13, 2015   |  Reply
 
Bob
Dan and Chuck, if you are not happy with this site, DON'T USE IT. You have not paid for it, and no one is forcing you to click on it. I appreciate this site, even if it might not fit perfectly into my schedule. David and everyone else who works on this site, I really do appreciate it.
Aug 23, 2015
 
 
Tom
Casey, you seem to be a bit angry, no?
Dan and Chuck are right, if David Bianculli
could get his picks ready for a morning paper
like he once did when he worked for the
Daily News how hard could it be now on the Internet?
Though I doubt David is handling this job,
most picks seem like fill in, sports, reality shows
for example.
As far as FREE, web sites make money, they are not working for free.
So Casey,
tone it down a notch.
Aug 17, 2015
 
 
Chuck
Casey - its 9am Saturday and the site shows lots of stuff we could watch 14 hours ago. Not very useful in my opinion.
At least I know what I am commenting about and offering simple suggestions to make it more useful. (Work a day ahead)
Why are you commenting on this site? Do you think you are protecting the feelings of the site operator?
Are you the actual reviewer or the person who updates the site? If so then we should be sharing the same goal. to make the site as useful and popular as possible. To that end it should always have content for the future, unlike now.
Aug 15, 2015
 
 
Casey
Chuck, you were speaking to me, right? First, That's a hell of a day you've built for yourself. Since you use your remaining time on earth for watching TV, seems you should equip yourself with the proper tools to program your recorder from afar. Or, save some $ (and perhaps work less) by watching your faves on demand or streaming. I still see no good reason for this site to structure their days around the most extreme circumstances they can imagine for their readers.

Perhaps you unhappy people could wander off to the NYTimes where Kathryn Shattuck does a serviceable job of picking decent offerings in a manner robots could love, if robots could love.
Aug 15, 2015
 
 
Reminds me of a job I had as a teenager where I was consistently 5 minutes late. The supervisor asked me if you can be consistently late why not consistently on time? He was right.
This should be called tv you just missed. I have a hard time thinking the schedule changes at the last minute. Why not just work a day ahead?
I leave the house at 7:30 eastern and dont get back till 8-9pm. when do I get to set my recorder? I'm assuming you want the site to be useful for all and not just retirees or the unemployed, right?


If you can be consistently 6 hours late you could be consistently 18 hours early. Just work on the next day. Or better yet just make a continuous list and don't group by date.
Aug 14, 2015
 
 
Casey
I'm bewildered by commenters here who seem to think their definition of "timely" should be universally recognized as correct. It's wonderful that we Americans have the leisure to map out our evening TV viewing all day long, and the freedom to harass this website for failing to adhere to their particular idea of correctness.

I'm going to use my freedom to make a demand of my own which you can, as usual, ignore: JUST STOP IT, YOU INSATIABLE CONTROL FREAKS. This site is brought to you, FOR FREE, by bright, talented people who, clearly, ARE NOT GETTING RICH doing this work.

Let me try this. Dan, yes, YOU, Dan, I wonder if you'd mind explaining here why the owners of this site should do what you tell them to do. That would at least help us all understand your rationale. I may have more questions later. Thanks.
Aug 14, 2015
 
 
Linda Donovan
We're here on the East Coast with you, Dan. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as a flip of a switch or the setting of a scheduled time, but we're working on it.
Aug 13, 2015
 
 
 
jan
Thanks for recommending the Dick Cavett interview of Katherine Hepburn. I saw only the second part (Darn!), but it was fascinating. Please let us know when other interviews and/or programs by him are on. What a difference between that and today's talk shows! Thanks again.
Aug 8, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Joseph
Remember how much everyone enjoyed 'Empire', that Fox phenomenon from earlier this year? Those are the people who should watch 'The Lion in Winter' tonight. Have fun comparing and contrasting the two!
Aug 7, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
FYI,the Dr. Pepper ad campaign featured in the Video Worth Watching is for DIET Dr. Pepper. Interesting that for a while the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group was touting a low calorie soda with 10 calories,alongside its diet counterparts which contain zero calories. The differennce between 10 calories and 0? Shelf space,I guess,as it meant another SKU. Or men's fear of drinking a girly drink. That campaign thought that in the 21st Century touting a product "not for women" would be a good idea. Yeah. I think they still make it,but I see no marketing nowadays. The new Diet campaign seems to purposelfully avoiding the gender issue,though possibly mucking up the waters with a personality that seems to be on the fence about gender preference,though it seems everyone drinking it in the ads is male. I guess the alernative of drinking 150 calories of that helps promote obesity,diabetes and caffeine,needed an alternative.
Aug 7, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
Apologies for multiple posts...I got error messages every time I tried to post...I guess the posts all went though anyway.
Aug 5, 2015   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Our apologies, Keith. A little kink in the system since our return, but we're working on it. Thank you for the comment(s) and especially for the welcome back. We're sure glad to be here!
Aug 5, 2015
 
 
 
Keith Robin
After reading today's Best Bets, I realized that 2/5 of them were TVNWW, or TV NOT Worth Watching. You include these "warnings" often and with so much good stuff available, I personally,appreciate them so I know what to avoid! Goodness knows there's more on that we can watch! This led me to wonder how practical it would be for you to maintain the five Best Bets worth watching, and perhaps tack on those NOT worth watching at the end of that list when there are shows that you feel are warning-worthy. Finally, I also want to say 'Welcome back!'
Aug 5, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Jan
American Graffiti takes place 1962
Aug 2, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Jim
"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" is quite simply one of the most beautiful love stories ever filmed. Be sure to pay attention to the gorgeous musical score by Bernard Herrmann. Also, take note of the little girl playing Mrs. Muir's daughter - Natalie Wood.
Aug 1, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
JOhn rogers
Thank GOD your back, had to watch bad TV for 2 weeks. I always take your advice just dont say follow me off a cliff.
Jul 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
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
 
 
 
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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.

 
 
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