DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

CANDACE KELLEY

DAVID SICILIA

NOEL HOLSTON

JONATHAN STORM

 
 
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SATURDAY
DECEMBER 3
2016

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Various Networks, 11:30 a.m. ET

This tiny little golf tournament in Bermuda isn’t all about Tiger Woods – except, this weekend, it is, basically. On Thursday, he made a return to competitive golf with a 1-over-par round that was uneven yet promising, certainly encouraging after his coming off surgery and a lengthy layoff. Then came yesterday’s second round, where he nailed seven birdies, avoided bogeys entirely, and finished with a 7-under-par 65. Woods is now five back from the leaders, and on the second page of the leader board – but he’s playing on a weekend, which makes this quite a story to watch, no matter how he finishes. Golf Channel begins live coverage today at 11:30 a.m., and NBC picks up the action at 2:30 p.m. ET.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

And it’s a wonderful movie, made fully 70 years ago this year. Frank Capra’s 1946 holiday fantasy, released the year after WWII ended, is an ultimately hopeful tale about the impact of one seemingly ordinary man on the lives of those around him. James Stewart stars as George Bailey, with Henry Travers as Clarence, the apprentice angel charged with showing George what life in his small town would have been like without him. For Donna Reed’s Mary Hatch, George’s wife, it would have meant the same fate suffered by Shirley Jones’ Marian Paroo in The Music Man: a spinster librarian. As though being an unmarried woman, surrounded by books and knowledge, were an almost unthinkable fate…

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 2015 Western, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, is a wonderful entry in the genre – a character study with twists, turns, meaty monologues and sizzling set pieces. A bounty hunter seeks shelter from a harsh winter storm in a Wyoming cabin filled with nefarious characters, each of whom has a story, a secret, and an attitude. Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins and Demian Bichir are great, but Jennifer Jason Leigh, as the only woman in this wild bunch, is even greater.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 8:15 p.m. ET

Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key go from Comedy Central’s Key & Peele to the big screen in this 2016 comedy, playing cousins who adopt a stray cat they name Keanu, then spend most of the movie trying to retrieve the animal from a drug dealer, played by Method Man. Opposite Key and Peele, he’s very funny, and really gets into his role. And why not? After all, he’s Method acting…

 
  
 
 

BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET

Tom Hanks, whenever he appears opposite the likes of David Letterman or James Corden on an American talk show, comes ready to play, with plenty of material to delight his host and audience. Showing up on Graham Norton’s laid-back British talk fest, Hanks is liable to take it easier. But expect just as many laughs, because no one is better than Norton at making his guests feel at ease, and to get very, very funny moments out of them. Other guests sharing couch space with Hanks tonight include Gemma Arterton, who’s providing the voice of Clover in the upcoming miniseries version of Watership Down, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 11:29 p.m. ET

On tonight’s new outing, Emma Stone returns as guest host. It’s her third appearance, and she’s been very game, and very funny, on previous outings. Musical guest: Shawn Mendes.

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

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Three Laughs and a Funeral — With Grant Tinker’s passing, there are many milestone moments in the MTM archive that helped transform television into what it is today. Tinker’s productions, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, and St. Elsewhere, in many ways set the standard for characters that are fully drawn, often flawed but always full of heart. One of our favorite MTM moments was from the 1975 Mary Tyler Moore Show episode, “Chuckles Bites the Dust." Chuckles, the WJM on-air children’s show star and clown character had been killed by a rogue elephant in a circus parade. Mary, grief-stricken by the news, had been scolding the WJM staff for making repeated clown jokes about the tragedy. Except that all, memorably, changes at Chuckles’ funeral. The scene remains fresh, very funny, and shows what can happen when the best of comedy and drama are shaken together. —Eric Gould
 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
BBC America
Saturdays
9 PM ET

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
9 PM ET

Designated Survivor
ABC
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
TBS
Mondays
10:30 PM ET

Gilmore Girls
Netflix
Streaming

Good Behavior
TNT
Tuesdays
9 PM ET

Mars
NatGeo
Mondays
9 PM ET

Rectify
Sundance
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

The Voice
NBC
Mondays and
Tuesdays
8 PM ET

Westworld
HBO
Sundays
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 now avaialble on Amazon.

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$
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

The holiday shopping season is upon us and Cosmos, the 2014 reboot of the original Carl Sagan PBS series is a good fit for all ages. Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the series brings glorious state-of-the-art CGI to explore all the lessons of the universe. Animated segments illustrating historical moments in scientific discovery are contributed by Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy team. With a fresh style, these animated segments are critical to the clarity and success of the series, as is Tyson’s obvious passion for his subject. On sale at Amazon for $14. –EG