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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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609 Comments
 
 
CM
Something that I saw that I thought was real good was on yesterday evening on News max tv, on Directv channel 349. This was on The Steve Malzberg Show. Steve talked to Byron Allen. If anyone is interested in seeing this go to news max tv.com/shows/Steve-malzberg-show/archive to the right you will see Malzverg|Byron Allen controversial comments dated May 28, at bottom of this click watch to hear this.
May 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Tom
Neil,
Doubt David is posting Best Bets, it must be someone else on the site. I read David for many years when he was at The Daily News where his highlighted shows were insightful.
As you said the posting now seems to be on auto pilot. SNL, the show is almost unwatchable, skits that go on 2 or 3 times too long. Sports seem to be put in to fill out the list. The Voice? If you watch that show you know when it is on, no need to be reminded.
May 26, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
I'm disappointed with David's Best Bets for today, Memorial Day. Instead of insipid tripe like 500 Questions, Grace of Monaco or The Island, why do you overlook the excellent HBO productions Band of Brothers (being stripped today on HBO Signature) and Taking Chance (6:30pm ET & PT on HBO1)? I'm particularly fond of Chance, but either of these would be an infinitely better recommendation than the dreck you did pick.
May 25, 2015   |  Reply
 
Neil
Sorry, didn't intend to post this three times, but I kept getting error messages about sending email and didn't notice they actually were posting until my third attempt, then all three were there.
May 25, 2015
 
 
 
Sherman
"'Hop' Lips"? Perhaps this is a mid-holiday weekend proofreading test, or it's a nod to a Craig Ferguson goof that he would have turned into an episode-long faux double entendre. Either way, I'm a huge fan of MASH and of Craig Ferguson
May 24, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Tom Harrison
re: Veep Am I the only one who doesn't have an episode #5 on my list of this season's Veep? I use HBO GO and it has #1,2,3 4,6. Weird or deliberate?
May 24, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Alan culling
That movie Kite is recommended? It is awful! It's metacritic score is 19! You got friends in that POS Bianculli?
May 24, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
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
 
 
zeke
IDOL FINAL IS TOMORROW MAY 13TH--- !
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
 
 
Tom
THE BIG BANG THEORY
CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE

You might have the wrong week for the finale.
Apr 30, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
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
 
 
Mac
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
 
 
Tom
"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
 
 
GreyWolf
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
 
 
jan
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
 
 
GreyWolf
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
 
 
 
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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.