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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541 Comments
 
 
Keith Robin
David, thank you for the heads up about "Fortitude"! I know what/where Pivot is (I'm a big fan of Megan McCain, AND they recently ran "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz", up for a Writer's Guild Award and more this year!)
That's the reason I visit your site every day! It's how I found out about "The Divide" (I still can't believe the constipated thinking at AMC Networks that didn't order a second season!) I know your reviews can't all be winners, but today it's my opinion that you hit a home run!
Jan 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
Angela
I too am glad for the heads up about Fortitude. Unfortunately I don't get Pivot with my cable subscription of over 250 plus channels. ::sighs:: But I will find it when it comes out on Hulu, Amazon, etc.
Keith, I am saddened to hear The Divide will not be renewed. I thought it was an excellent show that ended so so suddenly I was sure there were more episodes to come. I hope another network or online provider will think better than to let it go for good.
Another show to check out on Amazon aside from, Man in The High Tower, is a show titled, Mad Dogs by show runner Shawn Ryan-The Chicago Code, an HBO series The Shield, Terriers, and others. About 4 old friends who meet up in Belize for a relaxing vacation, but things don't go according to plan. I forgot to breath for at least one part of it. I'm really hoping it will become a series. (Please vote for it if you like it.) Plus it's not about zombies, et al, or comic book heroes, a welcome change.
Jan 30, 2015
 
 
 
jan
David, is there any chance Night Will Fall or German Concentration Camps Factual Survey will be available on DVD? It was hard to watch, but I saw footage I'd never seen before, and it sounds so political the way the movie was shelved. I think it's important that the world doesn't ever forget what happened then--although horrible things have been done to large groups of people for a very long time and continue today. It's an important film.
Jan 28, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
June Fuller
As The Mentalist spiraled down in seasons 5 and 6, even this diehard fan was wishing for its demise. Now comes along season 7 with a fair bit of the freshness that captivated me in its early years and leaving me wishing for more.
Jan 28, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
scott
tonight (Tues Jan 27) at 9pm on PBS there is American Experience: Thomas Edison which might be a good option for some.
Jan 27, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Curtis
Blake Shelton may be bought and sold by NBC but he certainly shows that he's game. Most of the show was very funny. "Wishing Boot" was a hoot. "We're gonna make a ****load of money from this."
Jan 26, 2015   |  Reply
 
jan
I have pretty much stopped watching SNL. I don't know if it was much better earlier on, but I find it mostly tedious now. (Maybe it's just me.) But I did record it Saturday night just to see Blake Shelton. Both the musical numbers were great, and the two musical skits--one of which was "Wishing Boot"--were worth watching. He wasn't even too bad in the other sketches. However, I did fast forward through any sketch Shelton wasn't in, but only after viewing it for a little bit to find out if it was funny or not (mostly not). I'm not sure what prompted your comment, Curtis, but I'm glad to have a chance to put in my two cents. I also thought Blake Shelton seemed game for whatever, and I agree that most of the show was very funny. Wish it was that way all the time.
Jan 27, 2015
 
 
 
CM
I meant 3PM Central time on my comment about show on Direct tv channel 377.
Jan 19, 2015   |  Reply
 
Dave
Can you tell us the name of the show, what it is about?
Jan 22, 2015
 
 
 
CM
I will be watching channel 377 on Direct tv, at 3PM on Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 20-22 2015. An informative show if anyone else is interested in watching.
Jan 19, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Casey
Keith, you simply cannot dictate how this website should be run. If you do, as you say, visit every day, you should know by now that this site does not attempt to list everything that might be of interest to everyone. We are ALL waiting for a personalized TV Guide, the programmer for which may be gurgling in some neonatal unit as we speak, so cool your jets. Those who run this site are sufficiently well-rounded to provide good tips for most of us. I'm very happy with what they offer. I check other sources for more mundane information such as awards programming.
Jan 17, 2015   |  Reply
 
Keith Robin
Casey, I don't think you understood what I wrote, or got my point. I do check many other sources...as a matter of fact, I searched for information about a live broadcast of the Oscar nominations for over an hour and came up with NO information, not even on the Oscar website! My point is this site is supposed to be about TELEVISION...and if streaming or online video is now the preferred method of obtaining entertainment, so be it. But I don't think a MENTION about a TV show is unreasonable, and just for the record, I am old enough and experienced enough to realize that my comments won't change the content of ANYTHING...I'm
expressing my opinion. Last time I checked, that was still something an awful lot of folks do these days, right or wrong. That's just MY opinion...right or wrong!
Jan 18, 2015
 
 
 
walt egan
i am subscriber but forget how my family signed me onto TVWW being regularly sent to my email acct //now need help to signup family frd
Jan 17, 2015   |  Reply
 
EG
Walt -- just scroll down, left-hand side of the TVWW home page, look for the "subscribe" box and enter the email address you want the TVWW Feed to go to, every day. Enjoy! --EG
Jan 17, 2015
 
 
 
Keith Robin
I visit your website every day to see what's worth watching (or not) on TV that day. Notice I said TV, because, IMO, as popular as it has become and as mainstream (winning Golden Globes now), as these streamed programs from Amazon and Netflix have become, they are not what I look to you to identify. I get enough messages in my email from Amazon and many other sources such as The Wrap and TV Line with the scoop on them. What I missed from your webpage this week were things such as where you could see the Oscar nominations live on television today, and a reminder that the Critics Choice Awards were being televised on A&E. It may not be everyone's viewing choice, but it is, after all, awards season, and my guess is many tv viewers are also movie fans. So a brief mention, not even a paragraph, a line-about what awards are being presented and where we can tune in.
Jan 15, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Matt Weiner suggested a "Mad Mad" cruise? Unless it's packed full of burlesque comedians looking for $100K under a big W in the middle of the ocean, maybe David meant to say a "Mad Men" cruise? Just sayin'. :-)
Jan 14, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Matt Weiner suggested a "Mad Mad" cruise? Unless it's packed full of burlesque comedians looking for $100K under a big W in the middle of the ocean, maybe David meant to say a "Mad Men" cruise? Just sayin'. :-)
Jan 14, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Bill Moyers has once again left the building.Sunday 1/11/15 was his last in the current series,which struggled to get a presence on PBS aligned stations(insert ironic comment here).He promisies to keep an online presence,but since you have been a longtime Moyers supporter,thought you may have some thoughts as the TV newsroom,as opposed to the opinionroom, becomes less relavant.
Jan 13, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
jan
So many good things on Sunday make it VERY hard to juggle the DVR recording of them. Still, I'll manage. I don't watch everything recommended--fortunately--but, at a quick count, I watch at least 7 of those shows and a couple more. Thank goodness some networks replay episodes at odd times.
Jan 11, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Jim Longley
David,

I've just started perusing your excellent service of reviewing and recommending TV offerings on a daily basis. It is a greatly needed service you're providing and I appreciate your intelligent and thoughtful suggestions.

However, just saw your 'recommendation' (is that the right word?) on Gotham this week, but was disappointed in the product. It caught my attention due its gothic/sci-fi ambiance, but after watching my 1st complete episode, came away feeling like it pretended to be spooky/weird but ended up as just another so-so crime drama with special effects. It certainly did NOT approach the truly weird/scariness of, say, American Horror Story. Now *that* series is spooky/weird to its soul (if it has one), which I appreciate for its authentic-ness, even if I don't actually *like* all of the episodes.

In the future I'd appreciate a short footnote from you if you perceive a show is just pretending to be scary, but ends up being just an ordinary Hollywood copy.
Jan 8, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Rinnie
Thank you for your recommendations David! I appreciate your website and come once a day to see what I shouldn't miss. I've found some wonderful gems thanks to you and your staff over the years. While some may be impatient and complain about timeliness of postings, there are those of us whose life are NOT greatly inconvenienced if you post later than normal. We know you all have busy lives, and sometimes experience technical difficulties, and know you are doing your best to provide us with a FREE and informational website about the best of TV. Best to all of you and I look forward to the new year and your continued recommendations and analysis of the best on TV- no matter what time you may get around to posting during the day. Happy New Year!
Jan 8, 2015   |  Reply
 
jan
I absolutely agree with everything that Rinnie said.
Jan 8, 2015
 
 
 
Rinnie
Thank you for your recommendations David! I appreciate your website and come once a day to see what I shouldn't miss. I've found some wonderful gems thanks to you and your staff over the years. While some may be impatient and complain about timeliness of postings, there are those of us whose life are NOT greatly inconvenienced if you post later than normal. We know you all have busy lives, and sometimes experience technical difficulties, and know you are doing your best to provide us with a FREE and informational website about the best of TV. Best to all of you and I look forward to the new year and your continued recommendations and analysis of the best on TV- no matter what time you may get around to posting during the day. Happy New Year!
Jan 8, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Dan Malloy
Thursday 10:25 am Eastern time and you are still displaying Wednesday's best bets. COME ON GET IT TOGETHER!!!!
Jan 8, 2015   |  Reply
 
Bob
David, is Dan Malloy your boss? He sure sounds like a disgruntled employer.
Jan 8, 2015
 
 
 
A longtime fan via NPR, but didn't know you collect TV "memorabilia." From 1964 through 1974 I was resident Illustrator at KYW-TV 3, in Philly. I did many illustrations promoting the locally produced Mike Douglas Show, Merv Griffin, the Tonight Show, and Eyewitness New. I have saved 4 or 5 of those original full color paintings, and wish to sell them to a collector. Before putting them on Ebay and Craig's list, thought I'd let you know about their availability.
I was raised on a farm in S. Jersey, near the town of Elmer, a long stones throw from Rowan. Always a pleasure hearing your insightful commentary.
Jan 5, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Bob
Copying and pasting The Good Wife and Downton Abbey? Isn't that cheating? Well you gave us six recommendations today, so I guess I shouldn't complain.
Jan 4, 2015   |  Reply
 
Bob A
I was trying to tease a little. This is not the first time my sense of humor really missed the mark. No offense intended.

I have regularly defended Best Bets in the comments section, when people complain that the newest listings aren't up by early enough for them. Check out my comments on pages 2 and 3. I even put a smile on Angela's face on Nov 18.
Jan 7, 2015
 
 
Casey
Bob, generic though your name may be, your attitude is your DNA here. In monitored blogs, you would have disappeared long ago, tagged as spam. Why ruin our days with your miserable meanderings?
Jan 5, 2015
 
 
 
 
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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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