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

 
 
Enter your email address:
 
 
 
 
SATURDAY
FEBRUARY 24
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Various Networks, 2:40 a.m. ET

I wrote about this in yesterday’s Best Bets, to give you guys fair warning – but if you watched or recorded today’s early-morning coverage on NBCSN of the gold model game in men’s curling, good for you. And good for me, because any abuse that’s come my way about loving and supporting Olympics curling is now drowned out by my last laugh. The USA men’s curling team just won gold, ladies and gentlemen. Gold. Prior to this morning’s victory, the highest our country ever had ranked, in men’s curling, was a bronze medal, in 2006. Today, skip John Shuster and the USA squad earned gold, against world-champ team Sweden. So for me, today’s cable highlight at the Olympics already has happened.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 3:00 p.m. ET

The figure skating gala, the four-men bobsled gold medal final runs, and the men’s hockey gold medal game are the events scheduled to be covered live tonight on NBC, in the prime-time block beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

SPECIAL PREMIERE: This is a filmed version of Anna Deavere Smith’s one-man play about what she calls the school-to-prison pipeline, which she also wrote. I probably should write “one-woman” play, to be gender-specific – but since among the many characters she portrays here, several are men, I’m letting it slide. But Smith, like Hal Holbrook in his one-man portrayals of Mark Twain in Mark Twain Tonight!, is equally impressive in terms of performance and research. In Smith’s case, she interviewed more than 200 people when gathering facts, stories, and even characters for Notes from the Field.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

TCM is saluting Best Actor Winners tonight in its ongoing “31 Days of Oscar” TV fest, and the fun leads off with 1965’s Cat Ballou, for which Lee Marvin won the Best Actor Academy Award that year. Never mind that his performance, as a drunken former gunslinger, actually was a supporting rather than leading role – it was so good, he deserved to win. And this, to me, is the movie where Jane Fonda really proved she was a carry-the-film movie star in her own right – three years before she proved it, a different way, with Barbarella.  But with Cat Ballou, it’s a very clever story, some wonderful music, and one of the lightest and best comic Westerns of that decade, until Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid came along.

 
  
 
 

BBC America, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s penultimate installment of Blue Planet II is “Coasts,” and it’s devoted to the places where the sea meets the land. And, as always, the photography is nothing less than stunning. To hear or read my new review on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, visit the Fresh Air website.
 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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



 The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
FX
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Baskets
FX
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

Counterpart
Starz
Sundays
8 PM ET

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
8 PM ET

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
IFC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

Homeland
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman
Netflix
Streaming

Portlandia
IFC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays
10 PM ET

Victoria on Masterpiece
PBS
Sundays
9 PM ET
Check Local Listings
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

It’s a Beautiful Day in TV History – Today (Monday, February 19), is the golden anniversary of the premiere of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on public television. All manner of tributes are on the way, from film and book biographies and a PBS special to a U.S. Fred Rogers postage stamp, and even the PBS KIDS network is holding its televised week-long Fred Rogers salute to next week. Today, though, there are a few places you can go to honor one of the best children’s shows, and hosts, in TV history. One is to travel to Latrobe, PA, where St. Vincent College will be hosting a special 7 p.m. ET showing of that first, Feb. 19, 1968 Neighborhood episode. (I’ll be there as one of the introductory panelists, if you’re in the neighborhood.) If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, you can watch many seasons of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, including that 50-year-old premiere episode, by streaming it here, or, enjoy episode six here, carried by the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood channel on YouTube. –David Bianculli

 
 

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 $13. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with quality television: what it is and 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. 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

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

Roseanne is scheduled to return to ABC for nine episodes in March, 20 years after it went off the air. Most of the original cast is returning, include Roseanne Barr and her television spouse Dan, played by John Goodman, whose character will be revived (along with the show) even though he died in the prior series finale. Roseanne’s chiming chord with the working middle class was the series main draw, making it the most popular sitcom for a time. Producers are betting that, along with its reunion appeal (as with the recent reboot of Will & Grace) will make a success. On sale at Amazon for $25. –Eric Gould

 
Show your love of The Times. Shop Now!