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

 
 
2013
Jul
31
 
 
I have no idea why or how ABC Family, rather than Nickelodeon, is presenting this new quiz show, which premiered last week, because it has Nick written all over it: Contestants, most of them young, try to compete in a spelling competition while being assaulted by all manner of sounds, sights, liquids and other distractions. Had this been a Nick show, there definitely would have been green slime. But as family-viewing summer diversions go, why not? Can you spell “instructive,” boys an
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Jul
31
 
 
This is the latest installment of a PBS series that seems to pick up where the History channel left off. Anything Hitler-related used to be History’s sweet spot, so to speak – but that was in the days before Pawn Stars and American Pickers and Counting Cars and Ax Men and Ice Road Truckers. (Side question: How many franchise-unrelated programs must a cable network televise before it’s required to change its name or be guilty of false advertising?) At any rate, this installment
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Jul
31
 
 
In tonight’s new episode, Fry and Leela deliver a crate to a faraway planet, and find themselves in the middle of a gang war. It’s not quite West Side Story, but it’ll do, so long as you don’t have crate expectations.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Jul
31
 
 
That star-shaped figure in the bottom left of the picture? That’s Maria, a random victim who’s been staked out in the desert by this show’s aggressively showy killer, with her image beamed out live to the Internet as she’s weakened by dehydration, exposure and other life-threatening conditions. (Next to her is a tripod, with the camera recording her awful ordeal.) Can our heroes, joining forces from either side of the U.S.-Mexico border, find her in time? And after that,
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Jul
31
 
 
Douglas Sirk directed this 1959 tearjerker about widows, daughters and race, starring Lana Turner, Sandra Dee, Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner. It’s a film about two dysfunctional single-parent families – with one mother paying little attention to her daughter, and the other mother’s daughter denying her own heritage.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Jul
31
 
 

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan appeared at two New York speaking events this week – one alone, one with his show’s cast. TV Worth Watching was there for both…

 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Jul
30
 
 
One of the reasons the CW reboot of this series is so welcome, and so entertaining, these days: How many other programs on TV, especially on broadcast television, can be considered appropriate, enjoyable family viewing? This improv series is, quite simply, a ridiculous amount of fun. Tonight, the guest star is Kyle Richards, who joins in on the frivolities.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Jul
30
 
 
One interview subject in this new documentary says simply, “Assisted living is the rock we don’t want to look under.” Tonight’s Frontline looks under that rock, examining conditions at this largely unregulated alternative to nursing homes – and asking questions about both costs and care. Check local listings.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Jul
30
 
 
Winona Rider, who starred in the 1996 movie version of The Crucible, again dons puritan garb, but this time for laughs. She’s one of the guest stars (Michael Cera is another) featured in skits enacting the inebriated storytelling on tonight’s Drunk History, focused on Boston.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Jul
30
 
 
Made in 1942, during WWII, this drama has grown in stature to be considered not just one of the best wartime movies ever made, but one of the best movies, period. And it is. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Heinreid star as one of cinema’s most famous romantic triangles – and Claude Rains (pictured) as the kind of guy anyone would like to call a friend.
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 

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