DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

GERALD JORDAN

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

CANDACE KELLEY

TOM BRINKMOELLER

MONIQUE NAZARETH

DAVID SICILIA

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

NOEL HOLSTON

JONATHAN STORM

 
 
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FRIDAY
SEPTEMBER 22
2017

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Amazon Prime Video, 3:00 a.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: This is the Season 4 premiere of Transparent, and the new season begins with a very significant field trip: Jeffrey Tambor’s Maura is invited to deliver a speech in Israel, and decides to take her family along. But if you’ve watched this series enough to know her family, that’s not necessarily the smartest of plans.

 
  
 
 

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

SPECIAL PREMIERE: Premiering today on Netflix, this is a new behind-the-scenes, but fully approved, documentary about Lady Gaga, showing her at home, in the studio, and preparing for her new album – called Joanne, and dedicated to a late relative. The special also is framed around her Super Bowl LI halftime show, beginning and ending with the moments leading to that triumphant appearance. We don’t see a replay of that Super Bowl show here, but we do hear Gaga sing several times (most memorably at a birthday tribute to Tony Bennett), and watch her deal with back spasms, insecurities, loneliness, shooting a music video, and, from relatives, a lot of support and love. It’s nowhere near as narcissistic as Madonna’s Truth or Dare documentary, and is, at times, much more candid.

 
  
 
 

Science Channel, 9:00 p.m. ET

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. But sometimes, when the wind blows as fiercely as it has lately, it helps to have the Science Channel schedule an instant special to look at, and explain, the sudden barrage of super-potent hurricanes attacking from the Atlantic.

 
  
 
 

Cinemax, 10:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: This new eight-part series is an animated show from Mike Judge, whose cartoon TV triumphs include Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill, and whose live-action TV triumphs include HBO’s current Silicon Valley. Here, he plays combination oral historian and visual storyteller, taking the actual recorded recollections of people involved with various touring musical acts and bringing them to life as half-hour cartoons. Judge also animates and records himself, as narrator and host, and the series will cover such rowdy touring acts as Jerry Lee Lewis, Waylon Jennings, and, as an often tense team, George Jones and Tammy Wynette. First up, in tonight’s premiere: Johnny Paycheck (pictured – or, at least, drawn). For a full review, see Ed Bark's Uncle Barky's Bytes.
 
  
 
 

HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s lineup sounds entertaining from start to finish. At the start, Bill Maher’s guest is Barney Frank. At the end, his guest is Bob Costas. And in between, his guests include Martin Short (pictured), who always seems to crack Maher up. Me, too.

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

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

‘Will & Grace’ 2.0 – Of all the shows premiering this fall, few are more anticipated than the return to NBC of Will & Grace. The show may have been off the air for ten years, but it’s clear the slightly dysfunctional, though very loving, Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack have been missed. A special, airing Sept 19 on NBC – The Paley Center Salutes the Best of Will & Grace – should be a treat for fans who are holding their collective breath until Sept. 28 when the show returns. To whet the appetite of fans (as if their excitement level isn’t already through the roof), NBC has released a short video with treasured old scenes, new scenes that are destined to become favorites and the story of the original casting sessions. And it’s not “Just Jack!” – Linda Donovan

 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


American Horror Story: Cult
FX
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

The Deuce
HBO
Sundays
9 PM ET

Episodes
Showtime
Sundays
10 PM ET

The Guest Book
TBS
Thursdays
10:30 PM ET

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
HBO
Sundays
11 PM ET

Manhunt: Unabomber
Discovery
Tuesdays
9 PM ET

Mr. Mercedes
AT&T Audience Network
Wednesdays
8 PM ET

Ray Donovan
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays
10 PM ET

You're The Worst
FXX
Wednesdays
10 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 available in paperback for under $15. 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. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 
 

This Day in TV History