DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

Social Media Manager

Contributors

DONNA J. PLESH

JONATHAN STORM

MONIQUE NAZARETH

NOEL HOLSTON

DAVID SICILIA

P.J. BEDNARSKI

GERALD JORDAN

 
 
Enter your email address:
 
 
 
 
THURSDAY
APRIL 24
2014

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s new episode has Sheldon (Jim Parsons) doing everything he can to be unpredictable, and snap himself out of what he sees as a professional, and perhaps personal, rut. Accordingly, he agrees to accompany Penny (Kaley Cuoco) on a visit to a psychic, to get his fortune told. I predict he’ll have a very funny future.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: It seems very early for this series to call it an end for the season – and it is very early. But this expanded episode, at least, allows Parks to go out with a flourish. You have to wonder, though, as NBC calls such an early end to shows such as this, and Parenthood. what’s left? And the answer is, Not much.

 
  
 
 

ABC, 10:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson! This is not a recommendation – rather, it’s my equivalent of waving my Lost in Space robot arms and trying to steer you from impending disaster. There are all sorts of reasons to expect something good from this new medical series, which stars Kelly Reilly as a neuroscientist who suffers from bipolar disorder. It co-stars Vanessa Redgrave, who’s a class act all the way, and Terry Kinney, whose impressive TV series include HBO’s Oz. It’s by Ilene Chaiken, creator of Showtime’s The L Word. And it has a strong protagonist with a challenging mental condition, just like Carrie on Homeland. But despite those ingredients, Black Box is a hot mess: bad writing, with acting and directing to match. In this premiere episode, at least, the inference is that Reilly’s Dr. Catherine Black can go off the deep end only hours after going off her meds, like a jazz-loving Jekyll and Hyde. Black Box, as boxes go, is depressingly empty.

 
  
 
 

IFC, 10:00 p.m. ET

Let us pray this is as funny as his last appearance: Ed Begley Jr. returns as Father Timothy, the priest with some very unorthodox ideas for shaking up church services and attracting new congregants.

 
  
 
 

CBS, 10:01 p.m. ET

Sibling rivalry at its most heightened is in play against tonight, as Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) receives a visit from his brother Mycroft, played, once again, by Rhys Ifans.

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

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

The No Message Message – Here's an example of a TV ad that uses just stock footage to highlight the icons and words we see in commercials...with no product to sell. In other words, it's a prime example of Marshall McLuhan's 1964 maxim that "the medium is the message." The piece (with over 1 million YouTube hits), is based on a verse written by Kendra Eash at McSweeney's, and is called "This is a Generic Brand Video." It was produced by Dissolve, a stock footage company that makes its hay by selling these sorts of things to commercial production companies. It features the usual suspects -- the serious lab guy, attractive, laughing people, meaningless terms like "innovation" -- and presents them for what they are: maybe more important than the products they're being used to sell. With the imminent return of Mad Men, it may be the right time to think about the guys in the suits who deal more in appeal than in substance. -- Eric Gould
 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

  
   On our DVRs right now... visit the TV We're Watching page for recent posts.



The Americans
FX
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Sundays
FOX
9 PM ET

Fargo
FX
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

The Good Wife
CBS
Sundays
9 PM ET

Mad Men
AMC
Sundays
10 PM ET

Parts Unknown
CNN
Sundays
9 PM ET

Nurse Jackie
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Silicon Valley
HBO
Sundays
10:30 PM ET

Turn
AMC
Sundays
9 PM ET

VICE
HBO
Fridays
11 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...

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.
 
 

ACTION (THE COMPLETE SERIES) --  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. Jay Mohr stars, and plays Dragon with a delicious mix of aggression and exasperation. Illeana Douglas plays his assistant, and guest stars include Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Salma Hayek and Buddy Hackett. Action has no laugh track, and plays more like a series of sharp satirical mini-movies. All 13 episodes are available from Amazon for just $9.98. – David Bianculli

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$

Pushing Daisies: Season 1

This 2007-09 ABC series, a light fable about love and death, lasted only two seasons, but creator Bryan Fuller and director Barry Sonnenfeld whipped up a treat as tasty and lovely as any dessert from the Pie Hole. One of the prettiest series ever made. Worth collecting at the Amazon price of $15.59. -David Bianculli