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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.
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joanna pressfield
my only disappointment with the mad men finale is that I want the draper kids to remain with henry. he's the best and most loving parent figure they've ever had in their lives. I agree with sally, who is a better mother figure to bobby and gene than narcissistic betty ever was--the kids need their school and their beds. hopefully, henry's clout in ny state will keep the kids where they belong. also, it would have been nice to see a glimpse of ted and his new love in the finale, the girl who bested peggy in the ted sweepstakes.
May 18, 2015   |  Reply
If it matters, don't wait until next week, as this blog says!
May 12, 2015   |  Reply
Linda Donovan
Thank you for your help, zeke. Correction has been made.
May 12, 2015
Gary Burleigh
Glad to see "Happy Valley" get some love at the BAFTAS
May 10, 2015   |  Reply
jeffrey rubin
Surely, you mis-typed when you wrote that Happy Endings was renewed undeservedly
May 5, 2015   |  Reply
CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET


You might have the wrong week for the finale.
Apr 30, 2015   |  Reply
So, after fact,the first hour of the NBC Crossover Wed. 4/29 was the same episode of Chicago Fire from Tues.4/28. But within the three hours involving Chicago FD,Chicago PD and NYC's SVU,there were still traces involving one of the Chicago Med characters from the back door pilot shown a few weeks ago. The overall effect of the three hours together was disappointing as the gimmick was paying far more attention to itself than the storyline. Characters from both of the cop shows jumped from show to show with no regard to budget and time restraints actual tax funded departments would have prohibited. In this day and age of Skype and cell phones,hopping "on the next plane" seems wasteful. Add to that,the body count got so high that trailers for NBC's upcoming Aquarius,a retelling of the real Charles Manson horror, looked tame next to the fictious bloodletting by the Crossover Bad Guy.
If NBC greenlights Med,will they have an all-Chicago night,shuffling fire, police and medical personnel?
Apr 30, 2015   |  Reply
The big change with the crossover event is that they prepped viewers with a prelude on Chicago Fire last night,so technically,Wolf is using four episodes to tell the story. The Chicago fanchise aren't really bad,they just conform to broadcast standards as opposed to cable's freer use of moral ambiguity, language and violence. Both shows are well cast and the possibility of a third series(Chicago Med)looms large(fans may see the return of Peter Mills if the Med show is picked up). Then Wolf will have a true four show crossover next year, for sure. In fact,there may be some Chicago Med bits tonight,based on Tuesday's Fire episode.
Apr 29, 2015   |  Reply
"But three shows? That takes some logistical planning."

They did this last year with a different story, a crossover with the same 3 shows.
Apr 29, 2015   |  Reply
Saw episode 2 of VEEP, and my fears from episode 1 were mostly allayed, as this one was as brilliant and hilarious as ever! -What happened in making of episode 1 and what happened after toward making of episode 2?
Apr 21, 2015   |  Reply
What a great review of the finale of Justified. It's been one of my favorite shows, and the finale did not disappoint. I'll miss it.
Apr 16, 2015   |  Reply
Dave N.
Will miss Justified a lot. Along with The Good Wife, a series that we looked forward to seeing. The dialogue was often jaw-dropping. Example: "Wonderful things can happen when you sow seeds of distrust in a garden of ass****s". Many times the DVR got rewound to hear them again, just to make sure we heard right.
Apr 16, 2015   |  Reply
Dan Callaghan
Just heard your review of Justified on Fresh Air. You captured this episode and the entire program perfectly. I especially enjoyed the "brush strokes." Thank you.
Apr 15, 2015   |  Reply
Mark N
Just watched the last episode of my favorite show....goodbye "Justified"....was true till the end and held off using "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" till finale...class....Timothy Olyphant...I just wanna watch what he does next...and finally....thanks Elmore Leonard
Apr 15, 2015   |  Reply
Veep. One of my favorite shows! Best Bet had the new premier as as good or better than before. I usually very much concur with your choices, but here I was dismayed by the changes which spelled doom for the show, I fear. The writing and performances were excellent as always. But the taping, framing, lighting, and editing had conceptual and quality changes that diminished rather than enhanced as it had in the past seasons. There seemed to be a conscious choice to make it seem more realite and off-the-cuff unpolished, throwing away 100 years of learning of techniques that Hollywood has to make moments, characters, lines, more effective, including comedy. An intellectual choice to be hip or trendy, but that lacked artistic and craftsmanship discernment. Most viewers might not be aware of the shift, but they would feel it in their response to the show. And the show would lose its 'must see' power. Do you see in the episode what I am describing? And evenso, is it just the style of today?
Apr 13, 2015   |  Reply
I think your spelling of the X-Men movie is more appropriate than the official title.
Apr 11, 2015   |  Reply
I binged watched the first few episodes of iZombie on demand because of the weekly recommendation and have to say it is better then I thought it would be. As for the finale episodes of Justified I feel the same way.
Apr 7, 2015   |  Reply
Knight of Malta
Thanks Dave for your research, helping to narrow down hundreds of possibilities for my evening entertainment. Checking in on your website helps propel me through the day.
Apr 5, 2015   |  Reply
The Annie Lennox was wonderful to hear. Not to watch. The director, perhaps, was being paid by the shot: I never have seen such frenetic camera switching, outside a Monkees episode. The constant camera changes was irritating, to say it nicely.
Apr 4, 2015   |  Reply
So glad I decided to page back to Wednesday night's, "Best Bets" thinking there was a show I was interested in watching but had forgotten about by the time it aired. "Putin"? Ha! I didn't catch on until then, and even then I wasn't certain because DB's puns are always great. Oh, and I wanted to see La Tub. :)
Apr 2, 2015   |  Reply
I would totally watch "The Russians".
Apr 1, 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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