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DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

KIM AKASS

MONIQUE NAZARETH

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
THURSDAY
MARCH 4
2021

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Paramount+, 12:00 a.m. ET

STREAMING SERVICE LAUNCHES: Actually, it’s a relaunch. What used to be CBS All Access, with a backlog of CBS series and such new fare as a Twilight Zone reboot, a sequel to The Good Wife (the excellent The Good Fight) and more than one spinoff from the Star Trek canon, is now Paramount+.  Those former CBS All Access series still will be there, but so will many new editions, as parent company Paramount extends its corporate brand, and reach. From the MTV arm, it’s presenting a reunion of the original cast of The Real World, which launched the modern reality TV craze back in 1992. From Nickelodeon, it’s got a new movie, and a prequel series, tied to the phenomenally popular and durable animated series SpongeBob SquarePants. The series is a different type of computer animation (pictured), and is a prequel series, introducing younger versions of the familiar SpongeBob characters as they meet at an underwater summer camp called Kamp Koral. This may seem to be an outside stretch for Paramount+, but this long-running cartoon series is one of the most familiar and beloved TV franchises among the newest generation of young adults… so it’s anything but, uh, poriferal…
 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

This 1939 classic is the first of several films shown tonight in this month’s new Thursday showcase of classic movies with some now-problematic themes, characters, or sequences – for example, the casual use of minstrelsy blackface by Al Jolson in 1927’s The Jazz Singer. This new overview is called “Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror,” and it’s another reason why Turner Classic Movies is the best, most focused and most valuable arts network on all of television. More than any other entity out there, it takes its archival role most seriously, and not only keeps old works of art alive by preserving and presenting them anew, but by explaining both their worth and their original context. There are two ways to approach such controversial films as Birth of a Nation, or even Gone with the Wind, with its benign and often comic depictions of Civil War-era slaves and slavery. You can “cancel” them, and refuse to show them – or discuss them maturely and intelligently, pointing out their flaws as well as their achievements. All five of TCM’s film-savvy hosts are in on this act all month, chiming in every Thursday, in a month-long examination that includes John Ford’s The Searchers, Blake Edwards’ Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and such disparate entries as Tarzan the Ape Man and My Fair Lady. There is no shortage of movies that deserve discussion and scrutiny in this manner. There are so many, in fact, that TCM should contemplate making “Reframed” one of its regular weekly showcase offerings, along with dedicated slots to silent movies, film noir, and so on. When it comes to curating movies, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.
 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 

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...
 
 
 

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Television today is better than ever, and David’s book, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific explores it all and how we got here. (Now on sale for $12). David maps the evolution of the classic TV genres – the sitcom, the crime show, doctor dramas, the Western – and many others. "The Platinum Age is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era... interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Matt Groening, Larry David, and Amy Schumer are high points. Bianculli has written a highly readable history." –The Washington Post
 
 
 

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