DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

JIM DAVIS

Managing Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

JONATHAN STORM

MONIQUE NAZARETH

GERALD JORDAN

DAVID SICILIA

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

CANDACE KELLEY

 
 
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SATURDAY
FEBRUARY 6
2016

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET

Thursday’s Democratic national debate from New Hampshire, pared down to just the two remaining candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, was the most substantive debate to date in this already lengthy election cycle. That’s as much a function of the reduced number of voices as anything else, which viewers should keep in mind if they turn tonight to the Republican debate from New Hampshire. This one is televised by ABC News, and moderated by David Muir and Martha Raddatz, with invitations extended to seven Republican candidates: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich. For all but the first three, this debate, and next week’s primary, are pretty much stand out or get out.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 1987 James L. Brooks comedy – which he wrote, produced, and directed – is a solid romp from start to finish. It ranges from all-out slapstick (Albert Brooks’ on-camera flop sweat) to a tenderly depicted romantic triangle, with TV news producer Holly Hunter caught between brainy colleague Albert Brooks and vapid but handsome anchor William Hurt. The female analogue of this, with a man torn between two women, has been done hundreds of times – but not the reverse, as Jim Brooks presents here, brilliantly.
 
  
 
 

BBC America, 9:00 p.m. ET

Here are two more Season 9 repeat episodes of Doctor Who, embellished with what BBC America is calling “Doctor’s Notes,” pointing out details and “in jokes” you might have missed the first time around. Tonight’s episodes are “Under the Lake” and “Before the Flood,” and they were very entertaining the first time – so why not revisit them?

 
  
 
 

OWN, 10:00 p.m. ET

Oprah Winfrey’s guest tonight is a female African-American TV star who boldly went even where Oprah had not gone before. Oprah’s guest is Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieut. Uhura on the original Star Trek series – and was told then by, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. himself, how important her TV role was to race relations in the 1960s.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 11:29 p.m. ET

This must be so sweet a victory lap for Larry David. Decades ago, in the 1980s, he was a writer for Saturday Night Live, but only lasted one year – and in that year, got only one sketch on the show. He and another under-utilized SNL alumnus from that period, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, turned around and reteamed for a little show called Seinfeld – then reteamed again for a full-season Seinfeld “reunion” story line on his subsequent hit series, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. And now, after all that, Larry David has killed it this season whenever guest starring to impersonate Bernie Sanders – and tonight, for the first time in his career, Larry David gets to appear on SNL as guest host. The musical guest: The 1975.

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

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

IF THIS HAD BEEN AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY... -- We’ve mourned the demise of the variety show, but, in truth, it hasn’t gone anywhere. It has relocated to a non-traditional place -- late night television. Especially Jimmy Kimmel. Guest stars, skits, ad-libs, laughs. It’s all there. A perfect and hilarious example aired Tuesday (2/2). Through his intro to a sketch, Kimmel’s sidekick, and parking lot security guard, Guillermo, notifies the audience there will be an E.R. reunion. The sketch opens with Kimmel in a hospital bed when who should walk in to treat him but “Dr. Doug Ross,” George Clooney. It quickly becomes clear a reunion is probably not in the cards, but his fellow TV Medical School graduate, “Dr. Gregory House,” Hugh Laurie – American accent in place -- comes to the rescue. And they wind their way around the sketch beautifully. Hugh Laurie, who first broke out as a comedian and comic actor in England, was breaking character and laughing more at George Clooney than the other way around. I think you’ll find yourself laughing at both of them and Kimmel, too. – Linda Donovan

 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


American Crime
ABC
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Angie Tribeca
TBS
Mondays
9 PM ET 

Baskets
FX
Thursdays
10 PM ET

Billions
Showtime
Sundays
10 PM ET

The Circus
Showtime
Sundays
8 PM ET

Downton Abbey
PBS
Sundays
9 PM ET

The Good Wife
CBS
Sundays
9 PM ET

Galavant
ABC
Sundays
8 PM ET

Man Seeking Woman
FXX
Wednesdays
10:30 PM ET

Mercy Street
PBS
Sundays
10 PM ET
Check Local Listings
 
 

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...

TV JUKEBOX

A new edition of Bianculli's favorite TV themes, coming soon!
 
 
 

From TV Worth Watching
TOP PICKS FOR YOUR HOME LIBRARY

The TVWW Seal of Approval is an honor we save for TV’s very best – our picks for a truly teleliterate home video library.
 
 

FREAKS AND GEEKS: THE COMPLETE SERIES – This is a TV comedy series about high school, putting it in the same continuum as The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Gidget, Square Pegs, My So-Called Life and The Wonder Years. It lasted only one season, but it’s a very important part of that continuum, and this Shout! Factory release more than does Freaks and Geeks justice. All 18 episodes of the series are collected here, unedited, including the groundbreaking episode in which Seth Rogen, as high-schooler Ken, copes with a surprising secret about his new girlfriend. This 1999-2000 series was created by Paul Feig, with Judd Apatow as one of its writer-producers, and the comedy lineage, especially to today’s Apatow movie hits, is strong. Cast members include Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel and stars Linda Cardellini and John Francis Daley, who play brother and sister, navigating their way through high school. It’s an excellent series with a heart, and even more fun to watch to see Franco and company at such a young age. It’s due in March 2016 on Blu-ray, but for now, this is a great price for the DVD set.David Bianculli

 
 
The New York Times Company Store

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$

When Things Were Rotten

ABC’s musical comedy Galavant has returned for its second season but this isn’t the first go-around for a mediaeval TV spoof. Mel Brooks did one in 1975 (although without the music) with When Things Were Rotten — a one-season romp that heralded his own Robin Hood: Men in Tights to come almost two decades later. Until recently, this DVD release was one of the missing links in the Mel Brooks chain of outrageous comedy. On sale at Amazon here. –David Bianculli

 
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