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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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575 Comments
 
 
jan
I hope everything is all right with you.
Mar 26, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Bob
David, I hope everything is ok.
Mar 26, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Cory
Where is your Bianculli's Best Bets for today? I can't live without you.
Mar 26, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
DAN
It is 12:44 pm Wednesday and you are showing Tuesday's info, PLEASE flip the switch at 8 am - it is written please show it!!!!!!!!
Mar 25, 2015   |  Reply
 
Angela
Chill! What would you do if there was a real emergency?
Mar 26, 2015
 
 
 
linda
Just to note, Disney Family will show ALL of their "Princess" movies over Sat & Sun, even the Princesses of color like Mulan & Pocahantas' They are a nice treat as well, maybe even more
Mar 21, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Angela
I'll check out Bloodline simply because of Kyle Chandler, though it does sound like there may be other reasons to watch it, too. But I whole-heartedly agree about Kyle's fantastic acting. I do not understand the acting industry. He should have been in thousands of shows by now. Plus he's not bad to look at.
Mar 20, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sarah
I have watched Glee since the beginning and here are my final thoughts---sarahwatches4u.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-tearful-farewell-to-glee-2009-2015.html?spref=tw …
Mar 20, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sarah
I just remembered your synapsis of IZombie, to me, sounds like True Calling, didn't the lead female character die to come back to life only to work in a morgue and when she touched the recently dead was able to see how they died.
Mar 18, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Peter Brumlik
Bianculli, you've gone over to the dark side. The reason people 'binge watch' is to see if a series gets better; it doesn't. Much of what you recommend has about as much depth as 'Dragnet.'
Mar 17, 2015   |  Reply
 
judeann
I totally agree.... and whats the obsession with zombie's and the undead David???? Is it that most people walk around in the state of mental confusion and delirium?? Haven't been on this site since Last Man on Earth debut not sure if it was reviewed but this show to me is worth half hour of my time. Raises some fascinating dilemmas. Now with the addition of January Jones even more potential. Hats off to Will Forte...unique writing and acting!!!
Mar 18, 2015
 
 
 
Elise
There is a peregrine nest on a ledge of the Rachel Carson Bldg. in Harrisburg as well. I agree: best reality footage to be seen and enjoyed. DEFINITELY worth watching!
Mar 17, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
David, I guess every true fan of "Justified" got the same kick out of that line that you did. It's why I lament the end of, to me, one of the most unrecognized, non-award-nominated show on television. But given the way the accolades are awarded these days, it doesn't worry me too much. I have the satisfaction of enjoying the series from the first episode (and subsequently on bluray) in the company of well-informed, intelligent viewers like you and everyone that follows you on this wonderful website!
Mar 17, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Patrick
I'm really surprised and a bit disappointed that Banshee (which just aired its final episode of the season) has not been mentioned outside of its season premier. I do not feel the need to sing its praises, as I'm sure anyone familiar with the show is already aware of its strengths, but I do want to give it a shout out. After all, The Walking Dead has made it onto the list every Sunday night since it first aired, and yet, that remains a show stuck in an endless feedback loop with a lot of gore and violence to push that cycle along. Banshee on the other hand manages to feel refreshed after every episode. This season in particular has been so packed with story telling and action (hands down the best action you will see on television) that each episode has felt almost like a self-contained film. And yet, each episode has also left you white-knuckled and reeling to find out what comes next. Banshee is one of the best shows on television, and probably the most purely entertaining.
Mar 16, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Bob
David, you missed a few things about Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang. Along with all the other James Bond connections to Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, you forgot Baron Bomburst aka Goldfinger aka Gert Frobe. How about the male name play, Bomburst as I already mentioned, and my favorite, Dick van Dyke's role Caractacus Potts---crackpot.
Mar 14, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
jan
So glad to mentioned the repeat of Shameless. It's one of my favorite shows, and the acting--especially Jeremy Allan White and Noel Fisher, but really of all of the kids--has been amazing. I'm so glad they have kept the same actors over the years to play the roles of the kids (unlike the replacement Lily in Modern Family whom I still don't like). They're all great.
Mar 13, 2015   |  Reply
 
Bob
Also one of my favorite shows. I don't think I could pick out an actor who does not give an amazing performance. I find the writing so well done. One weakness I have found, I tried to watch it again from the first season, and it just didn't grab me on the second viewing.
Mar 14, 2015
 
 
 
scott
Yesterday, Thursday the 12th of March, you recommended Requiem for a Heavyweight on TCM, specifically the earlier television version, rather than the movie version. However, at least in my area (Comcast of South Jersey) there was only the movie version on TCM and I was unable to find any broadcast of the earlier television version.
Mar 13, 2015   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
David was merely mentioning that his preference is for the TV version of "Requiem..." not that it was actually airing that evening. Sorry for the confusion!
Mar 14, 2015
 
 
 
John
Is it just me, or, is some of the music on last night's "THE GOOD WIFE" filched from the old film: "BARRY LINDEN" (sp?) I'm just sayin'.....
Mar 9, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Re:3/7/15 highlights.Worth mentioning that tonight TCM's Essentials starts a new co-host after three years of Drew Barrymore.Tonight,Sally Field joins Robert Osborne to present Roman Holiday. If preview snippets are true,it looks like Field's Norma Rae will be included as an Essential during this run. And hopes that Robert will be able to tell Sally that he likes her.
Meanwhile,know that Llewyn Davis is more specifically a fictionalized version of Dave Van Ronk,even mimicking the artwork for Dave's 1963 LP,Inside Dave Ronk(hence the movie's title). One interesting note,after you've seen the film, compare the cover art for the Inside LPs. Where is the cat?
Mar 7, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Please revise the description of “Vice,” where the blurb for “Real Time” is now repeated (as of 8:57 AM ET).
Mar 6, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Bob
I count 10 hours of new programing I want to watch this Sunday evening. Too much of a good thing is too much.
Mar 1, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Cheryle Dean
The Graham Norton Show is back but why the hiatus here in america when the show continued Jan and Feb in UK? Secondly will we be seeing those episodes 13-19 or will we have to pull them from some .com site -
Feb 28, 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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