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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TUESDAY
SEPTEMBER 19
2017

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

SPECIAL PREMIERE: Jerry Seinfeld signed to do two comedy specials for Netflix, and this one, his first, is a smartly autobiographical trip back to his comedy roots. Seinfeld returns, physically, to one of the first comedy clubs where he got his start, and performs some of his earliest material – while, at the same time, presenting new jokes and a new, older perspective. It’s a very funny hour, which is no surprise. But it’s a delight that Seinfeld, as with both his Seinfeld series and his streaming interview show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, continues to come up with ways to present and discuss comedy in fresh, increasingly focused and undiluted ways. Highly recommended.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: Part 1 of 2. The winner of this year’s contest is announced tomorrow, so today is the final push by this cycle’s 10 finalists, covering everyone from a 12-year-old singing ventriloquist to a 13-year-old ballad singer. Okay, so there’s more range than that, and much more drama, since many of the finalists have backstories ranging from endearing to tragic. Including the 13-year-old singer, Evie Clair (pictured), who dedicated each song to her sick father, until and after he died earlier this month of colon cancer.

 
  
 
 

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Part 3. Tonight’s episode is titled “The River Styx,” and covers January 1964 to December 1965 – the time when President Lyndon Johnson escalated U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, even though, as private recordings from the period reveal, he was against it from the start. For a full review of this episode, see Alex Strachan’s TV That Matters. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

This is the third episode of this newest iteration of American Horror Story, and the killer clowns continue to arrive and attack. It’s in the zeitgeist, apparently, because Stephen King’s It is back with murderous clowns, too. To quote Stephen Sondheim: “Send in the clowns? Don’t bother… they’re here.”

 
  
 
 

TBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

Conan O’Brien is at his best when he’s playing an away game, visiting other countries and reveling in their and his differences. Tonight he goes to Israel, where he visits Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other sites – the latest in his comedy passport series, which in the past has taken him on very amusing voyages to Cuba, South Korea, Mexico and, lest we forget, Finland.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 10:01 p.m. ET

SPECIAL: TV history meets TV promotion – but in this case, it’s a comfortable fit. The Paley Center for Media looks back on this 1998-2006 NBC sitcom, which NBC is reviving Sept. 28, by presenting some of its most memorable and amusing moments. For Will & Grace, that’s a lot of moments. And since the folks at the Paley Center both know and respect their TV history, it’s likely to include a clip from the Will & Grace finale – a finale (pictured) that the new series itself will be aggressively ignoring, because it ended up putting its characters in situations, and even with children, the producers of the reboot would rather forget. So they do. For a few minutes behind-the-scenes of the returning Will & Grace, see our Video Worth Watching.


 
  
 
 
 
 
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

 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$$
Show Me a Hero

David Simon’s The Deuce is now premiering on HBO, and like his other series built around ensemble casts and urban themes (The Wire, Treme) Show Me a Hero similarly explored inner-city and political collisions. Following a Yonkers city councilman running for mayor (Oscar Isaac) the miniseries portrays the conflict when federally-mandated public housing came to a middle-class white neighborhood. Simon’s strongest suit is when he brings the stakes to the street and everyday characters. Available at Amazon for $15. –Eric Gould