DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

JIM DAVIS

Managing Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

CANDACE KELLEY

DAVID SICILIA

MONIQUE NAZARETH

JONATHAN STORM

GERALD JORDAN

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
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SATURDAY
MAY 28
2016

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET

This quiz show ought to get fairly exciting, should its contestants ever make it close to the end of its marathon of questions. So far this season, though, most of them have had difficulty making it past the opening 20-question round. Still, when one of the previous game shows on TV was one that required its players to do nothing other than choose a briefcase, the level of difficulty here is quite welcome.

 
  
 
 

CNN, 8:00 p.m. ET

Breaking news events over the past month have wreaked havoc with the presentation of this documentary series – pre-empting some episodes, substituting others, and making it hard to catch every installment. Maybe this will help: a Memorial Day weekend Saturday night compilation of several of the episodes so far, starting at 8 p.m. ET. Scheduled among them: Repeats of the two-hour opener about Eighties television (in which I appear, so be forewarned), and the so-far elusive installment about MTV and the rise of music videos (in which I don’t, but the Buggles and Madonna do).

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This weekend of war movies continues, all day and all night, and the opening movie in prime time tonight is one of the genre’s best and most unusual: 1957’s The Bridge On the River Kwai, the Oscar-winning David Lean movie starring Alec Guinness and William Holden as POWs forced by their Japanese captors to build a strategic bridge. The novel on which it’s based was written by Pierre Boulle, who also wrote the Planet of the Apes novels.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 10:05 p.m. ET

This 2015 movie is a bad remake of an enjoyable Sixties spy series, and both Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, as the Solo and Illya roles played in the original series by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, are woefully miscast. (Considering that Hammer also starred in the title role of another TV-to-movie fiasco, 2013’s The Lone Ranger, he should have known better.) So why watch? Because the female lead, Gaby, is played by Alicia Vikander, who made this otherwise forgettable film just after starring in Ex Machina, and just before co-starring in The Danish Girl.

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

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

A DIFFERENT TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS THIS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND – It’s Fleet Week once again and the troops made it to The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. In recognition of the dedication of the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, Fallon and special guest Adam Sandler sang Friends on All Bases, their own version of Garth Brooks’ Friends in Low Places, with lyrics covering everything from their bravery to the anticipated activities for the week…wink wink nudge nudge – Linda Donovan

 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


The Americans
FX
Wedensdays
10 PM ET

Game of Thrones
HBO
Sundays
9 PM ET

Inside Amy Schumer
Comedy Central
Thursdays
10 PM ET

 Last Week Tonight
HBO
Sundays
11 PM ET

 Maron
IFC
Wednesdays
9 PM ET

Orphan Black
BBC America
Thursdays
10 PM ET

 Penny Dreadful
Showtime
Sundays
10 PM ET

 Silicon
 Valley
HBO
Sundays
10 PM ET

 United Shades of America
CNN
Sundays
10 PM ET

 Veep
HBO
Sundays
10:30 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.
 
 

HAVE GUN – WILL TRAVEL: THE COMPLETE SERIES –  Richard Boone starred in three major TV series in the 1950s and 1960s, and all of them were noteworthy and unusual. Medic (1954-56) was one of TV’s first medical series, and The Richard Boone Show (1963-64) was a bold experiment, a repertory company anthology show, decades ahead of the likes of American Horror Story. And in between those two series, from 1957-63, was CBS’s Have Gun – Will Travel, a moody, moral, menacing Western. Boone played Paladin, a gunslinger for hire in the post-Civil War West, dressed in black, and carrying beautifully hand-crafted guns,. Paladin  took only the cases that fit with his personal sense of justice and morality. He worked out of a San Francisco hotel, where he lived lavishly, with doting assistance from his Asian personal assistant, played by Kam Tong, whose character’s name – honest – was Hey Boy. But Paladin was no racist. Quite the contrary: Have Gun – Will Travel featured some of the most tolerant TV story lines of the era. (Gene Roddenberry, later to create Star Trek, wrote a few dozen episodes.) This new, complete collection includes all 225 episodes on 35 discs. Listing at $84.98, that’s about $14 per season, but Amazon is selling it right now for $60.37. Have credit card, will purchase.  – David Bianculli

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$
Peter Gunn: The Complete Series

Here’s classic TV worth collecting for its superior black and white noir cinematography, and its weekly über-cool jazz score. This 1958 -1961 detective drama by Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther) is surprisingly fresh, and a reminder of early shows that did not underestimate their audiences while delivering intrigue with a liberal dose of irony and wit. Lead actor Craig Stevens was part debonair sleuth, part tough guy crashing his way through the underside of modern life, all the while hanging at Mother’s, his jazz club hangout and substitute office. (You’ll also instantly recognize the Grammy-winning danger guitar theme by Henry Mancini here.) Peter Gunn, along with Lee Marvin’s M Squad, helped lead the way for many other lone-wolf detective shows to follow. The complete series has 114 episodes transferred in high quality to 12 DVD discs and is on sale at Amazon starting at $40. —Eric Gould