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

 
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2014
Aug
31
 
 
We’re up to Day 11 of this marathon, and I’ve visited just about every day so far. Tonight’s highlight, for me, is “Exit from the Kwik-E-Mart,” a Season 23 episode that is televised at 10 p.m. ET. It’s about high-priced street art – and though Banksy was represented in an earlier episode, the commentary about popular and ground-level art is quite clever here. And so is the opening sequence, which Game of Thrones fans won’t want to miss: It’s
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Aug
31
 
 
This is the original British series, not its U.S. version that borrowed the same format. And for this British version, which began Season 14 last night overseas, original host and executive producer Simon Cowell has rejoined the judging panel. So has Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, who, before her marriage (and name change) earlier this year, was familiar to both U.K. and U.S. X Factor viewers as Cheryl Cole (seen here with Cowell, from the season premiere). Long-time judge Louis Walsh is here, too, a
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Aug
31
 
 
Here’s a classic Western indeed – one of the definitive examples of the ranch-wars subgenre. George Stevens directs this 1953 emotional confrontation between white and black hats, with Alan Ladd starring as Shane, the loner who rides in to help ranchers being squeezed out by a greedy adversary – and Jean Arthur and Brandon de Wilde play, respectively, the widow and her son that he protects at great personal risk. The scene-stealer, of course, is Jack Palance as Jack Wilson, a r
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Aug
31
 
 
In this eighth episode of FX’s scary new series, Eph (Corey Stoll) learns that the creepy creatures he’s trying to hunt and eradicate have a particular aversion to ultraviolet rays – which means this series, in the same scene, may give viewers something both ultraviolet and ultraviolent. Let there be light!
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Aug
31
 
 
In tonight’s episode, Abby (Rachel Brosnahan, pictured) learns that her husband Charlie is going on a top-secret field trip to check out the country’s first plutonium reactor, and is taking an “assistant,” Helen, with him. This could well lead to an explosion that has nothing to do with nuclear fission – just marital friction.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Aug
30
 
 
This every-episode Simpsons mega-marathon has gained viewership every day in its first week, and has ended up ranking as one of the top five basic cable channels each night – something FXX has never done before, not even once, until pulling this stunt. No wonder, then, that FXX just announced that it will continue to run episodes of The Simspons in massive nightly doses (in six-to-eight-hour clumps) once the marathon is over. But while it’s on, today, make a special effort to catch o
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Aug
30
 
 
U.S. Open tennis shifts over to CBS for weekend coverage, so don’t be upset if you tune to ESPN and no tennis can be found there. Speaking of upset, expect an upset or two as the top-seeded players work their way through the bracket. This weekend, it’s likely we’ll lose at least one.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Aug
30
 
 
This 1992 comedy is one of those light, fluffy films that really grow on you. Joe Pesci’s performance seems to get funnier every time, and Marisa Tomei, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her Brooklyn Betty Boop character, does, too. Remember the scene where Pesci’s Vinny, in a Southern diner, confronts grits for the first time?
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Aug
30
 
 
Let me just say, for starters, that last week’s Doctor Who season opener introducing Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor was almost laughably clever in its twists, performances and execution. I expect great things from this new team – especially since I consider the returning veteran half of the duo, Jenna Coleman as Clara, one of the most charming and natural actresses on TV at the moment.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Aug
30
 
 
If you watched last week’s super-hyped premiere, and want to return for more, here’s episode 2. I point this out more as a possible service, for those who were more taken by last week’s premiere than I, than with much degree of actual enthusiasm.
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 

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