No, you're not imagining things...that's an actual seal giving the "thumbs up" in our new TV Worth Watching® Seal of Approval!! (Inside his very own TVWW lifesaver.) OK, so maybe we're walking on our hands here, but we have tons of recommendations of the best that TV has to offer. And after 35 years of separating the minnows from the big ones, that's an impressive kettle of fish...


2014
Aug
29
 
 
I usually prefer to bestow a Seal of Approval upon a complete series DVD set, but The Avengers – the Sixties TV spy series, not the current series of Marvel Comics superhero movies – encompassed so many different casts and tones, it was more like Doctor Who...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jul
20
 
 
Partly in honor of the passing of James Garner, but also because this 1993 HBO movie fully deserves a Seal of Approval, here it is: a boldly conceptualized, brilliantly realized black comedy about a leveraged buyout corporate takeover of a major tobacco company...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jun
29
 
 
Not that one is necessary, but there’s a timely reason to award this BBC-WGBH miniseries co-production, originally shown on PBS’s American Playhouse in 1982, a TV Worth Watching Seal of Approval. That’s because the central plot of this brilliant seven-part drama is being revisited yet again...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
May
9
 
 
This 1981-87 NBC cop show would have been given a DVD Seal of Approval a long time ago except it’s never been released in its entirety until now...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Apr
23
 
 
Chris Thompson, who had written for The Larry Sanders Show, created this other sly send-up of show business, this time a short-lived (13 episodes) 1999-2000 Fox series about a sarcastic Hollywood studio executive named Peter Dragon...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Mar
21
 
 
This DVD compilation has a bad title, for two misleading reasons... One is that Jay Tarses’ bold NBC comedy lasted only two seasons, in 1983-84, so it might as well have been called Buffalo Bill: The Complete Series...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Feb
24
 
 
The WWII drama Das Boot is a different kind of war epic, at least for American audiences, because it was filmed from the German point of view, originally as a 1981 German TV miniseries. Four years later, It was imported that way by the U.S.’s Bravo cable TV network...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Feb
15
 
 
When I started honoring TV’s best DVD releases in 2012 by giving them a TV Worth Watching Seal of Approval, the very first program so chosen was Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective, a masterpiece of a miniseries, combining drama, comedy and period music in dizzyingly creative and involving ways. Well, here’s another program that fits that same description...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jan
27
 
 
Broadcast news came of age, and reached reliable maturity, in large part because of Edward R. Murrow – first in his prewar and wartime reports for CBS Radio, then for his stubbornly intelligent and mostly meaningful work on the new medium of television...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Jan
3
 
 
How in the world did I overlook giving this set a Seal of Approval until now? When Time Life approached Tom and Dick Smothers about releasing best-of-season sets of their classic, influential Sixties variety series, the company wanted to begin sequentially, with Season 1, but Tom insisted upon starting with Season 3. It was his favorite, and he feared that a complete series might never follow – and damned if he wasn’t right, at least for now...
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 

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. (Paperback will be available September 5th, here.)

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

TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$
Ray Donovan: Season One

The Liev Schrieber series is now back on Showtime for its fifth season and one thing is certain – no matter how bad the jam is, Ray, a Hollywood fixer for stars and crooks alike, finds an inventive way out. Created by Southland writer Ann Biderman, Ray Donovan has the similar emotional stakes and gravitas of that series, all starting with the release from prison of Ray’s father Mickey, a Whitey Bulger doppelganer. Things come unglued from there and season one sets Ray’s house of cards in motion. On sale at Amazon for under $12. –Eric Gould