DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

GERALD JORDAN

CANDACE KELLEY

TOM BRINKMOELLER

MONIQUE NAZARETH

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

DAVID SICILIA

NOEL HOLSTON

JONATHAN STORM

 
 
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SecondSpin.com
 
SATURDAY
MARCH 25
2017

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

TBS, 6:00 p.m. ET

The Elite Eight begin fighting tonight, with the winners of tonight’s two games moving on to prestigious Final Four. Both of tonight’s games are televised by TBS, beginning at 6 p.m. ET with the West’s No. 1-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. No. 11 Xavier Musketeers, the only double-digit seed still competing. The Musketeers notched a thrilling victory against the No. 2-seeded Arizona Wildcats Thursday night, with fervid Xavier fan Bill Murray rooting them on from the stands. Watch for him again tonight – and his enthusiasm is both precedented and personal. Murray was seen showing similarly vocal support in the stands of Wrigley Field, watching many games as his beloved Chicago Cubs won their historic World Series last year. But rooting for Xavier is a family affair as well: His son, Luke, is a staffer for Xavier coach Chris Mack. Later, at 8:45 p.m. ET, Midwest’s No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks battle the No. 3 Oregon Ducks.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

Jeff Goldblum reprises his role, though Will Smith does not, in this 2016 sequel to the massive 1996 action film Independence Day, about aliens attacking the U.S. Twenty years later, this was the sequel…
 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 1963 movie, starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, was a film that still makes me laugh, a lot. But it also makes me a little wistful these days, because it was one of my late father’s favorite movies, and I remember the joy we had watching it together, first in the drive-in, then on TV. So I’m wondering: Are there movies whose personal impact and import, to you, are enhanced because of someone you saw, or associate, them with? If you don’t mind sharing, I’d like to hear…

 
  
 
 

BBC America, 9:00 p.m. ET

MINISERIES FINALE: Two episodes are shown tonight, back-to-back, to conclude BBC America’s powerful presentation of Planet Earth II. First up is this final installment in the series proper, called Cities, which looks at how untamed creatures have responded, and adapted, to their proximity with human civilization. I loved this episode – perhaps, in part, because I live in a New Jersey suburb with just enough woods and nearby woodland to have families of deer treating my yard as a combo shortcut and salad bar, and because I also had to trap and free several raccoons determined to use my home’s dog door to enter the house and eat the dry cat food. Several, as in 31. Thirty-one. So when you watch the Cities segments on urban deer, and on raccoons, think of me…

 
  
 
 

BBC America, 10:11 p.m. ET

MINISERIES FINALE: And finally, there’s this stand-alone episode of Planet Earth II, explaining how the nature documentary film crew captured some of its magnificent images. It’s a jaw-dropping episode on its own, but, to me, it adds to a very storied and tenure sub-genre of TV nature documentaries. The fabulous series NOVA, which is still on PBS, began its run with an episode I still remember fondly, and clearly: The Making of a Natural History Film, one of the first nature documentaries to turn some of its cameras on the filmmakers themselves, and reveal just how much patience, ingenuity and artistry was required to capture scenes of “raw” nature. And that was back in 1974, so long ago that it was a year before I became a TV critic. But truly, it was one of the television programs that made me want to be a TV critic. So you young people watching Planet Earth II tonight, watch carefully… and be careful what you wish for.

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

A Graphic Introduction – The new FX series Feud: Bette and Joan is a throwback to old Hollywood and the tale of the bitter rivalry between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis during the filming of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane (1962). The clip, inspired by the simple cut-out figures and titles by Saul Bass during the same decade (Anatomy of a Murder, Vertigo and many others you’ll remember) does its job well, setting up the conflict of the main characters and the historical mood of the times. (For a look back at TVWW’s views on main titles, see the season one versions of Vikings here, and Homeland, here.) –Eric Gould

 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

  
   Visit TV We're Watching for these and other shows on
our DVRs right now...


American
Crime
ABC
Sundays
10 PM ET

The Americans
FX
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

Bates Motel
A&E
Mondays
9 PM ET

Baskets
FX
Thursdays
10 PM ET

Feud: Bette and Joan
FX
Sundays
10 PM ET

Girls
HBO
Sundays
10 PM ET

HUMANS
AMC
Mondays
10 PM ET

Last Week Tonight
HBO
Sundays
11 PM ET

Legion
FX
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Planet Earth II
BBC America
Saturdays
9 PM ET
 
 

BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE!


FRESH AIR FAVES

Audio of Bianculli's favorite 'Fresh Air' reports, and the stories behind them...


FAVES FROM
"THE MORGUE"

Bianculli's favorite newspaper articles, and the stories behind them...


EXTRAS & FEEDBACK

Share your favorite TV in-jokes and first TV loves...
 
 
 

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 under $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

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$
Pee-Wee's Playhouse: The Complete Series

Paul Reuben’s revived his TV character for last year’s comedy feature Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday and now, there is a new release of his 1986-91 CBS series that was must-see Saturday morning viewing not only for kids, but adults alike. The Emmy-winning playhouse was a surreal mash-up artwork by Wayne White, music by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh and a cast of puppets and characters that included Laurence Fishburne, Phil Hartman and S. Epatha Merkerson (yes, that's Law and Order's Police Lieutenant Anita Van Buren!!) The madcap always finished with a moral message for kids. This re-mastered HD collection includes all 45 episodes, plus featurettes on the design and writing of the show, cast interviews, all on 8 discs. It’s available at Amazon for $26. (And see TVWW's review of the Wayne White documentary, Beauty is Embarrassing, here.) –Eric Gould