DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

CANDACE KELLEY

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

DAVID SICILIA

NOEL HOLSTON

JONATHAN STORM

 
 
2014
Jan
1
 
 
I’m starting the New Year with a roundup of some of what I call “spider-web movies” – films that ensnare me into watching them when they turn up on TV, no matter how many times I’ve seen them. The evening’s web cast, dedicated to Charlotte, begins with this 1998 movie, which gave us very early looks at the cinematic potential of Jennifer Lopez and, especially, George Clooney. She plays a federal marshal on the trail of a bank robber, he plays the robber, and t
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jan
1
 
 
Almost every film the Coen brothers make qualifies, for me, as a spider-web movie. And this 1994 one, which has achieved a cult status of amazing proportions, certainly is no exception. I once saw a Museum of Moving Image exhibit in which someone had collected all the different times the word “dude” is uttered in this film. I’m not sure that’s art, but it was funny to watch. This film is even funnier: Jeff Bridges’ laid-back performance as The Dude is one of his car
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jan
1
 
 
With a story by Stephen King, adapted for the screen and directed by Frank Darabont, this 1994 prison drama is another film that has achieved cult status, and emerged as one of the most important movies of its era. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, as prisoners who develop a slow but steady alliance, are two major reasons for it. A third: the music over the loudspeaker scene. Classic, brilliant cinema.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jan
1
 
 
In the last 20 years – the most recent chunk of a film career almost 30 years longer than that – Woody Allen, as writer and director, has enjoyed a late-career surge that has upped his already considerable batting average of entertaining films. Start with Mighty Aphrodite in 1995 as one obvious high point, and look what he’s done since: just a partial list of smart, impressive movies includes Deconstructing Harry, Sweet and Lowdown, Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnig
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jan
1
 
 
Another Coen brothers film – and another film starring George Clooney. This one, from 2003, has Clooney going out on a limb to play an ultra-vain divorce attorney with more confidence than scruples – and Catherine Zeta-Jones as an adversary, in and out of court, who may well be his match. Even more than The Hudsucker Proxy, this is a movie that successfully emulates the fast-talking romantic comedies of the Thirties and Forties. Clooney and Zeta-Jones are a fine pair, whether sparrin
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jan
1
 
 

Happy New Year. The first day of 2014, basically, is a day of rest for television. But after that, almost instantly, TV’s winter dormancy is over. Prepare to strap on and dive in…

 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jan
1
 
 
It was time again, recently, for Jimmy Kimmel Live's "Clip of the Year” award with Kimmel presenting six funny clips selected from TV and the internet as the top finalists. We were as surprised as the subject of the winning clip who made the trip to the show to accept the award from Kimmel in person...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
31
 
 
William Shatner in 1960’s Nick of Time (3:30 p.m. ET), Burgess Meredith in 1959’s Time Enough at Last (7:30 p.m. ET), 1960’s classic The Monsters are Due on Maple Street (8:30 p.m. ET), another 1960 classic, The Eye of the Beholder (10 p.m. ET, pictured), and Agnes Moorehead in the mostly silent 1961 classic, The Invaders (10:30 p.m. ET). And the fun continues into the wee hours of the New Year, so enjoy.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
31
 
 
AMC has been rocking it for days with its complete, sequential repeat of Breaking Bad.  (I couldn’t believe how many hours I lost to that marathon, even though I own the stunningly good, just-released boxed set on DVD.) Well, just in time for the New Year, AMC rolls out a complete sequential marathon of another excellent series, The Walking Dead – well, complete to date, since this series isn’t over yet. But just as with Breaking Bad, if you watch the opening scene of the
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
31
 
 
Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic on the traditional New Year’s Eve concert from New York’s Lincoln Center, broadcast live by PBS – an impeccable use of public television. Tonight’s special guest artist is cellist Yo-Yo Ma, with the emphasis on music inspired by Latin dances. One selection is the cello concerto Azul, written expressly for Yo-Yo Ma by modern composer Osvaldo Golijov. Another is that classic of the modern canon, Ravel’s Bolero. Check local
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 

Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20.

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post