SUNDAY
MARCH 19
2017

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Various Networks, 12:00 p.m. ET

So here we go… Today’s games begin at noon ET, with CBS coverage of the Midwest’s Michigan (seeded No. 7) vs. Louisville (No. 2), who thus far have advanced against lower-seeded teams. Next, at 2:40 p.m. ET, is the South’s No. 2 seed, Kentucky, facing No. 10 Wichita State, one of only a handful of double-digit seeds to make it into the second round. The CBS coverage continues at 5:15 p.m. ET with the Midwest’s No. 1 seed, Kansas, battling No. 9 Michigan State – and then, the action spreads to other networks. South’s No. 1 seed, North Carolina, faces Arkansas at 6:10 p.m. ET on TNT. Midwest’s No. 3 seed, Oregon, faces No. 11-seeded Rhode Island at 7:10 p.m. ET on TBS. The East’s No. 3 seed, Baylor, faces another No. 11 seed, USC, at 7:45 p.m. ET on truTV.  The East’s No. 2 seed, Duke, battles No. 7 seed South Carolina at 8:40 p.m,. ET on TNT. And I think that’s it. Good luck finding the games (I hope this helps) – and if you’re rooting for your home team, good luck there, too.

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: Season 1of The Circus was subtitled Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth. For Season 2, the subtitle is slightly different, for the focus is on governance, not campaigning. But the behind-the-scenes political insights and coverage by reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann and co-creator Mark McKinnon are just as valuable – and these Circus animals are now attempting to offer same-week coverage of the President Donald Trump administration, with a news cycle that, if anything, is even more hectic and complicated. Fasten your seat belts… It’s Washington, D.C., in mid-March 2017, and The Circus is in town.

 
  
 
 

AMC, 9:00 p.m. ET

There was, indeed, a sudden death on The Walking Dead last week, after a relative though short-lived lull. What was less surprising than who died was the manner of death, and the person doing the killing – but that all sets up tonight’s escalation of tensions, when the Saviors pay a surprise visit to the Hilltop.
 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

This is episode 5, and things are getting more and more roiled up, like the seaside surf this miniseries keeps returning to as a mood-setter. And nothing in Big Little Lies is more frothy or intense than the troubled marriage between Celeste and Perry, played by Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard.

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s Homeland ended with gunplay, and with one character dead and another very nearly killed. And that only adds to the paranoia of the surviving characters, who seem poised in this episode to reunite and to band together – but against whom?

 
  
 
 

ABC, 10:00 p.m. ET

American Crime continues with the second episode of its third season, once again telling an extended, separate story, and once again allowing many of its recurring players, including the very talented Felicity Huffman (pictured), to take on different looks, roles, and attitudes. This season, she’s a blonde – but I’m not expecting that to mean that, as the vintage hair-color TV ad used to claim, she’s about to have more fun.

 
  
 
 

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon are terrific as, respectively, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in tonight’s Episode 3 of Feud: Bette and Joan, which delves in deeply into the on-set battles between the two actresses during the making of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? And what happens tonight is that those fights become physical as well as psychological. For a great feature on this miniseries' opening graphics title sequence, see Eric Gould's current Video Worth Watching.
 
  
 
 

HBO, 11:00 p.m. ET

For a political fix, and perspective, tonight, start on Showtime with The Circus, and end on HBO with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Both shows are likely to teach you something – and both shows, I suspect, are well aware of both the importance and unpredictability of their current subjects.

 
  
 
 

MGM HD, 12:25 a.m. ET

In this 1988 psychological vampire black comedy, Nicolas Cage gives a bravely larger-than-life, larger-than-death performance as a man who comes to believe he’s been stalked, and eventually turned, by a seductive female vampire. Like Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, which rewarded fans with deep knowledge of the horror films he was spoofing, Vampire’s Kiss alludes, visually and comically, to many previous films in the genre, starting with the 1922 silent classic Nosferatu. This is the film where Cage commits to his craft by eating a live cockroach on camera, which I’ve never forgotten. But most of all, I’ve never forgotten the performance by Jennifer Beals as the “is-she-or-isn’t-she?” vampire dominating Cage’s imagination. As the embodiment of both his fears and desires, she’s equally spellbinding.

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 
 Name (required)
 
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 
 Website (optional)
 
EDNYI
Type in the verification word shown on the image.
 
 
 Page: 1 of 64  | Go to page: 
1274 Comments
 
 
Mac
Remember when CBS showed multiple municipal Thanksgiving parades? Online research shows that the parades were originally Gimbel's from Philly,Macy's in NYC,Hudson's in Detroit and Eaton's Santa Claus Parade from Toronto(evidently that one was taped). Captain Kangaroo & his friends hosted. Loads of toy ads.
A favorite part of jJan Shepherd's A Christmas Story is the arrival of Santa after the town's parade with all of the confusion,happiness and drama surrounding kid-dom in the U.S.
Nov 23, 2017   |  Reply
 
Mac
Oops. Sorry about the sloppy editing,Jean. RIP.Though your life was full of sadness,you brought much humor and insight with your monologues.
Nov 23, 2017
 
 
 
Mary Bolduc
Trying to list ways in which Charles Manson-led killings were uniquely Californian. So far I have:
Formed cult
Attacked famous people, or the "Beautiful People"
Inspired by, and inspired, media
Nov 20, 2017   |  Reply
 
Angela Siegfried
To Tom: Mac? At first I thought you were referring to Mary. Makes more sense to me. I mean, why dwell on the Charles Manson murders, anyway? Not that I know much about them. And granted, it seems Hollywood is as much being dwelled on as is Charles Manson but, either way. It's like a, reason to be angry list. Oh, and Mary? I apologize if I'm off way off base here. I'm sure I missed something.

I originally came here to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving so, Happy Thanksgiving!

ps: Mac, thanks so much for this quote, "Few stories,outside of "fables", involve lions or tigers or bears manipulating other animals to do the dirty work." I don't know why but sometimes I just need to hear, it's all going to be ok. :) Too much attempted visionary thinking I suppose.
Nov 23, 2017
 
 
Tom
Mac, are you always angry?
Nov 21, 2017
 
 
Mac
Uniquely Californian? Check out Boston's Mel Lyman's cult from around the same time. So,uniquely American? Cults are everywhere. I'll grant you Manson indeed craved evil on some name folk for attention,but he basically only knew Beach Boys Dennis,Carl & Brian Wilson, and Doris Day's son,Terry Melcher,hardly A-list celebrities. Biggest media inspiration? The Beatles' White Album. How about uniquely human? Few stories,outside of "fables", involve lions or tigers or bears manipulating other animals to do the dirty work. Let's get the BBC Natural History folk to explore it all in an 8 part series. David Attenborough's narration is preferred.
Nov 21, 2017
 
 
 
Oswald
Is there a mention here of the final season of Longmire dropping tonight on Netflix?
Nov 17, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Yes! Yes! Yes! Sam Bee WILL have an amazing show tonight! Overage creep at a mall seeking underage girls,signing yearbooks,asking Mommy if it is OK to date a child. A Bannon Breitbart Bad Boy walking through a field of broken Keurig machines!
Just saw the incredible segment on MSNBC today with Ali Veshi & Stephanie Rhule interviewing Ray Moore's attorney,Trenton Garmon. Looked up Garmon's law office website-it is a personal injury operation. Have ambulance,will chase. Paging Saul Goodman! Trenton is your next Cinnabon baker. Maybe an accident in the mixer will make them both rich but joined together in Cinnabon's sticky goo.
Nov 15, 2017   |  Reply
 
Angela
Right on to all the above!
Nov 19, 2017
 
 
 
Howie
Young Sheldon is a delight. Lots of humor without the canned laughter. I can not watch Big Bang because of its obnoxious sound track - absolutely horrible.
Nov 9, 2017   |  Reply
 
Mac
Canned laughter vs. some of the best writing in sitcom history(exhibit A-Prof. Proton episodes)? Also,I would suspect that knowledge of events in Modern Sheldon's life would bring an added chuckle watching Young Sheldon(exhibit A-Prof. Proton). I'll take some pretend laughs to get some genuine laughs in my life. I was born as TV became a fixture in households so maybe I'm immune from this as an intrusion. Timing is one reason why the giggles are added. Timing is also one reason why giggles are sometimes shortened. Actors breaking up each other can add to the audience laughter,but with only 22 min. of material,those seconds need to be trimmed. That is why editing is so important and when it is invisible,so great. Many a "live" recording in my music collection has turned out to be manipulated with either additional music in a studio to cover mistakes or added audience reactions. Either does not keep me from pulling out the desired album for another listen.
Nov 15, 2017
 
 
Terry
I don't watch ANY program with canned laughter. Don't understand why anybody does.
Nov 15, 2017
 
 
 
David Clarke
I believe the 'Charles (Manson) in Charge' of AHS was not the season finale but the penultimate episode. Either that or it's a ridiculous cliffhanger for multiple seasons.
Nov 9, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
jim
For some reason when people discuss the fact that The Shop Around The Corner/You've Got Mail/She Loves Me were all based on the same play they fail to mention that the play was also the basis for 1949's In The Good Old Summertime starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson and featuring in a seconds long cameo at the end 3 year old Liza Minnelli.
Nov 8, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
I'm right there with you, Professor, as a fan who still has the Drumpfinator installed on my pc. Last week, I had to change my shorts after the first part of the show. John Oliver continues to bring me to tears of laughter whenever he is on!
Nov 5, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
11/4 Graham Norton episode has received online uproar. Adam Sandler makes uncomfortable touches on Claire Foy's knee. Ms. Foy has since said she was not offended but the tape appears otherwise. In this era of Harveys & Kevins & Billos-oh my!-it is pretty disgusting. Wonder if the U.S. version gets edited? Adam Sandler - the maker of the least funny films for years. There are a bunch of SNL alum who have made a dud or two, but Sandler has a full blown production company to churn out his crud. Thankfully, the last few tanked, so maybe his audience has aged and left the cinema for Kevin Can Wait, Season 2, and to a new generation of kids just wanting super hero stuff take over the popcorn palaces.
Nov 4, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Ken
Wish we here in NYC could watch Big Bang & Young Sheldon, but we're force fed the Jets game
Nov 2, 2017   |  Reply
 
Keith Robin
You can if you stay up until 3:30 am...WCBS is broadcasting BBT and YS starting at 2:30am, unless you have a dvr, in which case you can set it and watch when at your convenience.
Nov 2, 2017
 
 
 
Mac
Those not watching the World Series are missing out of one for the ages. MLB Network is offering a condensed version of Game 5 multiple times between today and Tues., just before Game 6 starts. How they will encapsulate 5 hrs.,21 min. into the two hour slot,I don't know. Hopefully eliminate those sneaky visual ads pushed during the action(note to self:never use T-Mobile or Duracell). If only there was a way to hook up ESPN Radio in sync with the taped action-Dan Shulman & Aaron Boone are stellar. Things were so crazy last night I had to go for a Wawa hoagie run as the game went extra innings. The last time I went for a late-night Wawa hoagie run,NPR called the 2016 election for Trump. I decided to retire during that return trip. Last night-a whoop of elation as your Houston Colt 45s,err,Astros, won(sorry about the noise,neighbors). For those with a Wawa in Pa.,N.J.,Del.,Md.,Va. & Fl.-you know. For all the rest-sorry.
Oct 30, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
John m
How can you recommend FEARLESS if it is not actually available where and when you say it is?
Oct 28, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
David D
Fearless w/M Gambon not listed on Amazon Prime - anywhere.
Oct 27, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Reiny in Berkeley
Re: Michael Cerveris on Gotham. He also played another "killer" role - Sweeney Todd, opposite Patti LuPone, on Broadway. I also got to see him as Tommy in the Who's rock opera. Incredibly gifted actor. And speaking of Gotham, is it just me, or does this show have the largest concentration of spectacularly beautiful actresses of any on TV?
Oct 26, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
While there are alternatives to tonight's TV(World Series),I'm hoping to catch Amy Sedaris at some time. Amy's books seem to give a preview of what may happen. There is a combination of sincerity(she can actually do these projects and is interested in getting others involved) and ridicule(she has a healthy wink-wink that may not be for all tastes).For this she has to go beyond Leigh French's scripted few minutes of dope humor. Gotta use up 22 min. and still want viewers to stay for the ads and come back next week. My advice for TruTV: amass a season of Amy and run two against the morning TV she skewers. This sounds like it could be the Fernwood 2 Night of the cooking/crafting shows. I would watch,but I'm an old white male and TruTV doesn't want me unless I add my name on a class action suit for knee replacement devices or baby powder use pitched by a crazy-eyed blonde. Is there humor to be mined? Hey,this is how Ernie Kovacs started on Philly TV.
Oct 24, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Tom
Thanks Linda, while the reviews are good to have for guidance, the usual fall season review link was the best source on the web for the season, to see all of your critics takes on each new show, whether positive or negative....please bring back next season!
Oct 23, 2017   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
We're certainly glad you feel that way, Tom, and appreciate you telling us! Understood. We'll try to do better next year.
Oct 27, 2017
 
 
 
Angela
I just want to say, thank you to all who contribute to this wonderful and very helpful site. Kudos!
Oct 23, 2017   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thank you, Angela, and thank you for being here with us!
Oct 27, 2017
 
 
 
George Ashur
"I wouldn’t be surprised if the former presidential candidate gets preferential solo treatment, and gets to talk to Norton alone. Power, even when not fully realized in the electoral college, has its privileges." -- Why has Hillary Clinton concluded that she is necessary to our lives? For the love of God, woman, would you please exit the stage?
Oct 21, 2017   |  Reply
 
Mac
Hillary indeed goes solo on the show. Exit the stage? When the DNC or folks running for office do not want her helping,then she might shrink away. But as long as Real News is labeled Fake by those in power,her voice is necessary. Look what happened when Obama returned to campaigning the other day:"Four more years!" We have not heard the last from them. Their kids will be part of the scene as well. For the love of(your deity here),please keep fighting the good fight. Let's start with gerrymandering,voter intimidation,with a goal of having all voters counted in every election by using 21st century technology instead of 18th century standards.
Oct 22, 2017
 
 
Angela
For better or worse, I don't imagine HRC's going anywhere anytime soon.
Oct 21, 2017
 
 
 
Brad
The George Michael: Freedom ‘documentary’ is a farce. Why? Having seen it on Channel 4 in the UK last week, I can tell you it's got real issues of honesty. For instance, (1) the complete omission of anything about Fadi Fawaz, Michael’s partner when he died, and Andrew Ridgeley, Michael's Wham! partner; (2) audio with Michael scattered with fake audio of a guy who sounds like him, but isn't (credits read, “Simon Rutter as George Michael.”) putting into doubt the accuracy of the quotes; and (3) a film produced by Sony Music, who Michael sued, can only be watered down to make Sony look better than they came out. As the Guardian reviewer put it, “(it’s) like seeing that a documentary on Brexit (that) has been funded by the European Union.” Want more reasons? Read The Guardian review at...https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/oct/16/george-michael-freedom-singer-stays-out-of-sight-in-tv-biography
Oct 21, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Game 7,ALCS. C.C. Sabathia,Yankees,vs. Charlie Morton,Astros. Game 3,same matchup,in NYC, was a big win for the Yankees. Verlander,who pitched Fri's Astros gem,is possibly available. Heck,everyone is available,including old popcorn vendors like me. Should be lots of scoring on both sides,for a change. Has Fox had only one post season game on the broadcast network? Even tonight, it is FS1 for baseball,while college football is on Fox. Kansas @TCU,while Michigan @ State Penn on ABC and NBC has USC @ Notre Dame,so a Simpsons marathon might fare better.
Oct 21, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
 
 Page: 1 of 64  | Go to page: 
 
 

David Bianculli

Founder / Editor

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's also an author and teaches TV and film history at New Jersey's Rowan University. His 2009 Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour', has been purchased for film rights. His latest, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to the Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific, is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV.