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
Jul
31
 
 
We adore Mel Brooks here at TVWW, and it’s good to know TCM feels likewise. Tonight, that network turns its lineup over to Brooks, by showcasing him in four of his films and an interview, as well as showing the original version of a movie he remade. Starting things off at 8 p.m. ET is 1970’s The Twelve Chairs, one of the rarest Brooks films to find on TV, and one he adapted from a period Russian novel. Next up: 1976’s Silent Movie (9:45 p.m. ET), his homage to the pre-sound era
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jul
31
 
 
I was out of the country two weeks ago when breaking news of the shot-down aircraft pre-empted The Sixties on CNN, so last Thursday, CNN showed a previously scheduled installment instead of 1968, which is now shown tonight, unless more breaking news interrupts. I described 1968 last week thusly: It makes sense that this really smart CNN documentary series would be perceptive enough to single out the year 1968 as one volatile and meaningful enough to warrant its own hour – titled, simply, 1
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jul
31
 
 
On tonight’s episode of Runway, the designers are ushered into a movie theater, where they’re asked to concoct runway looks from “unconventional materials.” Here’s hoping: a flapper dress made of Twizzlers? (Okay, so we actually saw one of those, pictured, back in Season 8. I’ve never forgotten it.) A mod pop-art black-and-white blazer with buttons made of Junior Mints? And what about a long popcorn boa, held together with corn syrup? Hey – a man can dre
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jul
31
 
 
This week’s installment of NY Med has stories, as usual, that are as intense as they are unscripted – real life, and real life and death, running through the doors and corridors and treatment rooms of Roosevelt Hospital and elsewhere. And this week, there’s a two-year-old girl facing sudden death, another patient who flees an impending operation out of fear, and – well, just watch. And be amazed, as I am each episode, by the professionalism, the humaneness, and the amazin
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jul
31
 
 
MINISERIES PREMIERE: Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in this new eight-part production, a co-production by Sundance and BBC-2, and she gives a performance unlike any of hers I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen some great ones, but nothing that prepared me for her multilayered, mysterious character in this drama: a British heiress who uses her money and political position, as well as her Israeli heritage, to try and broker a path for peace in the Middle East. But as topical and inspirational as that so
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jul
30
 
 
I know, I really shouldn’t be highlighting this 2013 Syfy movie. Yet after generating one unsuccessful hybrid monster schlockfest after another  – many of which are on view early today, as with Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus (9 a.m. ET), Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (1 p.m. ET), and Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (3 p.m. ET) – the cable network finally hit it big with Sharknado, its small-screen equivalent of the media frenzy once generated by Snakes on a Plane. Nobody went to see
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jul
30
 
 
SERIES PREMIERE: Imported from England, this series allows Penn & Teller to do what Harry Houdini, in his last years, enjoyed doing: Witnessing various purported acts of magic and spiritualism, and calling them out as fakes. Penn & Teller may take a kinder approach to the amateur magicians they host on his show – but don’t bet on it.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jul
30
 
 
In tonight’s episode, Molly (Halle Berry) flees to protect her son the robot – and finds she has other things that should be making her wary as well.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jul
30
 
 
The title of this 2014 sequel suggests how tongue-in-cheek the filmmakers are approaching this, and viewers should approach with that in mind. Ian Ziering and Tara Reid return for this second go-round, which is less of a draw than cameos by Kelly Ripa, Matt Lauer, Robert Klein and Viveca A. Fox. The true draw, of course, is the idea of the gloriously cheesy special effects, approximating giant funnel storms that deposit killer sharks all over New York. Personally, I’m waiting for a variati
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jul
30
 
 
Here’s something potentially scary: In tonight’s episode of Hot in Cleveland, the female characters, including Betty White, are portrayed as their animated counterparts. And here’s something even scarier: Getting the same two-dimensional treatment is Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 

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