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FRIDAY
SEPTEMBER 6
2013

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

More Max, 7:15 p.m. ET

Simon Pegg and company, currently getting enthusiastic reviews for their movie The World’s End, first plied their genre-busting ways almost a decade ago, in this 2004 zombie movie that plays like almost no other – but in its treatment of a group of London slacker buddies fighting against an onslaught of the undead, ended up launching an unlikely but highly entertaining franchise.

 
  
 
 

CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

The good news: CBS is devoting two hours of tonight’s prime time to salute public school teachers, in a special hosted by Queen Latifah. The bad news: CBS also is using the special to showcase some stars of its new series, including Anna Faris and Jerry O’Connell, which makes the whole thing seem a little less altruistic.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 1927 science fiction classic, directed by Fritz Lang, is presented in its most complete, recently restored version. Made at the end of the silent film era, its visuals have influenced sci-fi cinema ever since – and Brigitte Helm, as the robot woman temptress, established an iconic role that’s still a cinematic touchstone. And this dystopian future, by the way, was set at a time Conan O’Brien used to intone ominously: “In the year 2000…”

 
  
 
 

BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: This taut, tense drama, starring Idris Elba as a cop with an obsessive streak, concludes for the season, with him chasing down a killer with an obsessive streak of his own.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 10:45 p.m. ET

This 1927 film pops in at various times in an imagined future, from 1940 to the still-in-our-future 2036. It’s better at predicting television than certain specific wars, and is way off on the whole flying-cars idea, but the general approach, as a parable and warning, continues to make sense.

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
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639 Comments
 
 
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
 
 
Dennis
I think David should host a night on TCM and pick his favorite movies and/or TV show episodes. Better would be a weekly spot where he talks about the history surrounding the movie being played as he did for "She". I found the entry very entertaining.
Jun 24, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Bob
I was surprised Mr. Robot didn't make your Best Bets today. Though the name of the show makes it sound so unappealing, I was struck by how many really good reviews it got. I haven't seen it yet, do you know something I should be aware of?
Jun 24, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
>> "Decades ago, [Bernie Sanders'] presence [on Bill Maher's show] would have invoked the Equal Time Rule, and Maher would have to interview everyone running for President this time, if they wanted to come on his show after Sanders’ appearance..." <<

Sorry, not true. The Equal Time Rule only applied to over-the-air broadcast TV and radio, which had to abide by the Communications Act and FCC regulation. HBO was never subject to any of these, being an opt-in pay service on a closed channel. This would have been true on his old ABC program Politically Incorrect (had that show been in production a few years earlier), but not Maher's current Real Time show on HBO.
Jun 19, 2015   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
I appreciate your comment, Neil. I worked in FCC Compliance in a former life so I should have caught the mistake; my apologies. The Equal Time rule is still in effect. An old FCC interpretation of what's called the Zapple Doctrine is the part that is no longer in play. You're correct that the rule applies to broadcast radio and television but it also applies to cable systems. I'm guessing, however, that many cable networks would trigger the rule themselves if they were ever in such a position. It's the safer option for them. (There was even concern about TNT running 'Law & Order' episodes with Fred Thompson when he became a qualified candidate for president in 2008.) If HBO were covered by Equal Time, they'd probably request a "bona fide news program" qualification for Maher's program...and no doubt receive it. Ironically, the qualification would exempt the show from the rule! Thank you again.
Jun 19, 2015
 
 
 
Neil
Folks, you changed the timing of the "carousel of stories" at the top of the landing page. It used to be about 5 seconds, not quite enough to read the thumbnails, but close. As of today it's 2 or 3 seconds, and much too fast to read before it rotates. Please unfix it.
Jun 18, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Dear Mr. Bianculli. Know you wrote a book entitled Dangerously Funny about the Smothers Brothers. I am trying to locate a video copy of the Honey House tour satire. Do you know the season and episode. Seems no longer available on Google search or Youtube. Any ideas?

Thank you,

Harold Reed,
305-865-2000
1111 Kane Concourse, Suite # 311
Bay Harbor Islands, FL 33154-2041
Jun 17, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
jan
Sorry about the multiple posts. I kept getting the message that my comment couldn't be sent, so I'd retype the verification word or my email or my name and try again.
Jun 17, 2015   |  Reply
 
EG
Jan - we're experiencing some technical problems with the comments area. Comments get posted but are disappearing until the page is refreshed. Things should be corrected shortly. Thank you for letting us know! --EG
Jun 17, 2015
 
 
 
jan
I'm so excited about seeing "Deutschland 83." Glad you are recommending it as some people are put off by subtitles, but I love them. I'd much rather see movies--or TV--in the original language.
Jun 17, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Deborah
Darn I want to like Proof because the subject matter interests me and TNT normally gives things a chance to catch on (unlike NBC-I am still wondering what "The Event" actually was) but you are probably right that it will be cancelled.
Jun 16, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
NJ
David, you missed the best bet today...Blackhawks wiining the Stanley Cup!
Jun 16, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sam Hat
Youtube comment regarding "Game of Thrones" recent scene where a little girl is burned to death at the stake:

"THIS... is why IS -- and most of the rest of the world -- hates the United States. Because THIS is what we consider... "entertainment." Murder. Torture. Rape. Disembowelment. Castration. And burning little girls to death at the stake.

And... if YOU watch this television program... for "fun"?

YOU. Are what is profoundly WRONG with this country.

And may God damn you to Hell for it."


I personally find it hard to disagree.

This program is torture-porn. And not much else.

Thanks for your time.
Jun 13, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sarah
I just watched last night Wayward Pines and you were right about the "answers" I've never used your words even when I agree but unbelievable and disappointing are the only words to describe that dribble. I don't know what answers I wanted but that wasn't it.
Jun 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.