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:
 
 
 
 
SUNDAY
MAY 20
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: Part 1 of 2. For the first time since it was revived by ABC, American Idol is rolling rapidly towards its final competition – a competition that will compete directly tomorrow night against NBC’s latest wrapup of The Voice. Tonight’s Idol features the surviving Final 3 – Maddie Poppe, Gabby Barrett, Caleb Lee Hutchinson – whose performances tonight will dictate who gets enough votes to compete in Monday’s 2018 reveal-the-winner finale. Oh, and to help pad out this two-night finale, the judges will perform as well. But no one is judging them…

 
  
 
 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

They aren’t quite the Grammys, but the Billboard awards have matured to the point where they have some intriguing things to offer. On this year’s live show, there are scheduled live performances by Cardi B, Taylor Swift and others, and an Icon Award given to Janet Jackson. The current Voice judge, and former Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, hosts.

 
  
 
 

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: This is the last episode of the season for Homer Simpson and family – and it’s Season 29, which is quite impressive indeed. And tonight’s episode, “Flanders’ Ladder,” has Homer undergoing an out-of-body experience – which is just as well, because the body he’s had since the show’s 1989 premiere has been nothing to hold on to anyway.

 
  
 
 

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

MINISERIES FINALE: This new three-hour version of the Louisa May Alcott classic concludes tonight, with Maya Hawke continuing her starring role as Jo. Check local listings.

 
  
 
 

BBC America, 8:00 p.m. ET

In last week’s episode, there was a lot of betrayal. Eve, played by Sandra Oh, traveled to Moscow with her boss, who met with high-level Russian informants – one of whom, unknown to them both (or at least, if you’re paranoid, to Eve), was the handler of the very assassin they’re chasing, the deadly Villanelle (Jodie Comer). But that same handler was playing shady with his own charge, and had given Villanelle the assignment to return to the prison where she once was imprisoned. This time her assignment was to kill a new prisoner and former colleague – but by the time the episode was over, Villanelle was locked away in solitary with her boss having deliberately abandoned her there. So with only two episodes left, what happens now?

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 8:00 p.m. ET

The backstage access demonstrated in this show – who gets where, and gets to talk to whom – is impressive each and every week. But I’ve found that it’s not wise to approach this fast-paced, as-it-happens political documentary series on an empty stomach, because so much of the discussion, and so many of the interviews, take place in restaurants and bars, where the dishes are photographed more lovingly than in travel series on classic eateries.

 
  
 
 

TNT, 8:00 p.m. ET

In Game 2 of this Western series, the Houston Rockets evened its series against the Golden State Warriors 1-1. And now it’s Game 3…

 
  
 
 

Fox, 8:30 p.m. ET

SERIES FINALE: Technically, this is a series finale with an asterisk. After five seasons, Brooklyn Nine-Nine indeed is ending its run on the Fox network, and this episode, built around the long-planned, still somewhat iffy wedding of Jake and Amy, is the final entry in the Fox batch. But now that Fox has canceled the series, NBC has picked it up, and will continue the narrative in the fall. So even though Nine-Nine has been deep-sixed, it’s not over quite yet.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

This is Episode 5 of Season 2, and it’s taken this long for Westworld to venture into new uncharted territory – which it does, in this episode, as Maeve (Thandie Newton) ventures into the strange new fantasy land known as Shogun World. No Richard Chamberlains in sight, though...

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s show built to a great climax utilizing the song “Handle with Care” by the Traveling Wilburys, and gave a wonderful scene to Maggie Siff as Wendy, who got to face down Chuck’s father, and pay him back, and then some, for humiliating her earlier. The crux of the episode was that she persuaded Chuck not to run for New York governor, thwarting his father’s plans. So what comes now? For Chuck, it means staying put in the New York southern district attorney’s office… where nothing interesting ever happens, right?

 
  
 
 

HBO, 11:00 p.m. ET

More allegations of payments by Michael Cohen, this time to other women in the Trump universe. Another fatal school shooting. A royal wedding. The one-year anniversary of the Mueller investigation, and calls by both Rudy Giuliani and Mike Pence to end the probe. For John Oliver, it’s just another week… and once again, I can’t wait to see how he reacts to it.

 
  
 
 
 
 
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 Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
Amazon Prime
Streaming

Archer
FXX
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Brockmire
IFC
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

The Circus
Showtime
Sundays
8 PM ET

Killing Eve
BBC America
Sundays
8 PM ET

Legion
FX
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

Patrick Melrose
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays
10 PM ET

United Shades of America
CNN
Sundays
10 PM ET


Westworld
HBO
Sundays
9 PM ET
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Otterwise, a Great Performance – Critical praise is high for Benedict Cumberbatch on the premiere of his new Showtime series, Patrick Melrose. No surprise there, after his turns in series like Sherlock, Hawking, and many others. He’s also a good sport, instantly game in this clip from a 2015 episode of The Graham Norton Show where Norton posted pictures from an apparently popular meme playing on Cumberbatch’s assumed resemblance to otters. (??) Don’t miss the pose with the teddy bear at the end. –Eric Gould
 
 

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 book, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available in paperback for under $13. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and Bianculli's has to do with quality television: what it is and how it got that way." The Washington Post adds, The Platinum Age of Television 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, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points. Bianculli has written a highly readable history."
 
AT&T
 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$$
The Handmaid's Tale: Season One

This 2017 Hulu series adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian tale garnered multiple awards including eight Emmys, which also set it apart as the first streaming series to win Outstanding Drama Series. Starring Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) as an unwilling captive forced into child-bearing servitude, the series is an acclaimed cautionary tale of theocracy and militarism coming to political power. Handmaid’s Tale second season is scheduled for this summer. The DVD box set is available here for $25 and available here for Prime Video streaming. –Eric Gould