TVWW Update —
Hey, there, faithful readers! David Bianculli
here, and after months in the hospital and recuperating, I'm back -- doing Bianculli's Best Bets,
at least, on a weekly basis until I get fully up to speed. (Thanks, Eric, for filling the void, and so entertainingly, in my absence.) And what a week for a comeback, starting with postseason baseball on Fox Sports 1, and more faux
presidential debate buffoonery on NBC's Saturday Night Live...
[For more on David's return to TVWW, read his current blog here.]
Saturday, October 22 —
The Cubs return to Chicago for Game 6 in the National League Championship Series, enjoying a 3-2 lead in games over the Los Angeles Dodgers. If the Dodgers win tonight, the deciding Game 7 will be Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. If the Cubs win, it's off to the World Series, and a shot at some improbable, exciting sports history. (All NLCS games on Fox Sports 1.) At 11:29 p.m. ET on NBC's Saturday Night Live,
Tom Hanks hosts, Lady Gaga guests, and there's certain to be a presidential debate spoof open. Lady Gaga also is one of the guests on this night's new The Graham Norton Show
on BBC America (10:16 p.m. ET), along with Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Chris O'Dowd. And earlier, at 9 p.m. ET, BBC America also has the premiere of the series based on the existential Douglas Adams mystery comedy, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency,
starring Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood.Sunday, October 23 —
The evening's big event, unless there's a Game 7 in the NLCS, is the Season 7 premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead
at 9 p.m. ET, in which we learn whose head was caved in at the end of last season. Also tonight: new episodes of Westworld
(HBO, 9 p.m. ET), Shameless
(Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) and Masters of Sex
(Showtime, 10 p.m. ET), all of which are well worth watching, and increasingly involving this season. And political junkies will want to catch new editions of two Sunday public-affairs treats: Showtime's documentary series The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth
(8 p.m. ET), and HBO's satirical comedy series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
(11:01 p.m. ET).Monday, October 24 —
More political satire is in store at 10:30 p.m. ET on TBS, with a new installment of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
There's a new sitcom premiere, the return of Matt LeBlanc in CBS's Man with a Plan
at 8:30 p.m. ET, but it's not really worth the time. What is worth the time is NBC's The Voice,
where new judges Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus have been truly entertaining this season; the Knockout Round begins tonight, and the competing talent this year is exceptional. Also, look for the new PBS offering on POV
at 10 p.m. ET, in which a videogame programmer and his wife collaborate on a game keyed to their son's battle with cancer. It's called Thank You for Playing.
Tuesday, October 25 —
Game 1 of the 2016 World Series is played tonight on Fox, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The Cleveland Indians will be playing for sure, and facing either the Cubs or the Dodgers. (I'm rooting for the Cubs, and for history...) Also on Tuesday, there's another Knockout Round edition on NBC's The Voice
at 8 p.m. ET, and PBS, on American Masters
at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings), has a documentary profile of one of TV's most all-time influential producers in Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You.
The footage from Lear's show is very good, but the new interviews with Lear are even better.
Wednesday, October 26 —
World Series Game 2 dominates the evening's TV lineup, at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. Also on tap: fresh episodes, all at 10 p.m. ET, of ABC's Designated Survivor
with Kiefer Sutherland (still promising), FX's American Horror Story 6
(a bit meandering, but with an interesting "recreated for TV" story structure),
and Comedy Central's always outrageous South Park.
Other options include a politically themed night of movies on TCM, starting at 8 p.m. ET with 1958's The Last Hurrah,
and continuing with 1976's All the President's Men
(10:15 p.m. ET), 1964's The Best Man
(12:45 a.m. ET), and 1972's The Candidate
(2:45 a.m. ET). Also, the Season 2 finale of IFC's ambitious and delightful Documentary Now!
spoof series ends (in an hour-long special at 10 p.m. ET) with a spoof of the Robert Evans documentary profile The Kid Stays in the Picture
by presenting Bill Hader as a pompous movie producer in Mr. Runner Up: My Life As an Oscar Bridesmaid.
Oh, and I'm going to stick my neck out by recommending the newest Nature
installment on PBS at 8 p.m. ET (check local listings): Giraffes: Africa's Gentle Giants.
Thursday, October 27 —
The new CBS sitcom The Great Indoors,
at 8:30 p.m. ET, isn't really worth sampling, but two other sitcoms are. The long-established, reigning champion The Big Bang Theory
(8 p.m. ET, CBS) has an episode about the impending baby, and NBC's The Good Place
(8:30 p.m. ET) continues its cleverly serialized story about life in a very oddball piece of heaven, starring Ted Danson. Also of note this evening: a prime-time showing of the outstanding 1979 movie The China Syndrome,
at 8 p.m. ET on TCM. Friday, October 28 —
Game 3 of the 2016 World Series is played this evening at 8 p.m. ET on Fox, but it's got plenty of competition. ABC repeats the classic Peanuts
Halloween special, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,
at 8 p.m. ET. The CW has the Season 2 second episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
at 9 p.m. ET. Also at 9, on PBS (check local listings), is this year's Mark Twain Prize
special, honoring Bill Murray. Bill Maher returns, after a week off, with a new live edition of Real Time with Bill Maher
at 10 p.m. ET on HBO. And Showtime presents the 2016 documentary Weiner,
about disgraced Democratic politician Anthony Weiner. And finally, TCM devotes the evening to classic Universal horror film creatures: 1931's Dracula
at 8 p.m. ET, followed by 1932's The Mummy
at 9:30 p.m. ET, 1933's The Invisible Man
at 11 p.m. ET, and 1941's The Wolf Man
at 12:15 a.m. ET.
Happy pre-Halloween... and I'm happy to be back. -- David Bianculli