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:
 
 
 
 
TUESDAY
SEPTEMBER 18
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

SPECIAL PREMIERE: D.L. Hughley, like seemingly every other standup comic in America, gets his own Netflix special. But Hughley is clever enough to do something special with his special, so check it out. This one is partly autobiographical, partly topical – and, at times, intentionally confrontational.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: These are the live finals, with the performers who have made it all the way to the end getting one last chance to push to the front of the line. And tomorrow night, on live TV, the winner is announced. I note this for the benefit of those who, unlike myself, care.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

One of this month’s special spotlight series on TCM is devoted to “The Black Experience on Film,” and tonight that series presents some early, important works with extremely noteworthy on-screen talent. At 8 p.m. ET, the prime-time salute begins with 1954’s Carmen Jones, a black modernization of the Bizet opera, starring Dorothy Dandridge, pictured with Harry Belafonte, as the sultry Carmen. (Her singing voice was dubbed by opera star Marilyn Horne; decades later, when MTV adapted the story yet again with what it called Carmen: A Hip Hopera in 2001, the lead was a very young Beyoncé, who did her own singing.) At 10 p.m. ET, another musical appears: 1943’s Cabin in the Sky, a wild yet playful story about a heavenly (and hellish) battle for a man’s soul, with a cast that includes Ethel Waters, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Louis Armstrong, and a sizzling Lena Horne.  (Armstrong sizzled too, but by blowing his horn; Horne did it by singing and dancing.)  And at midnight ET, there’s 1947’s New Orleans. Armstrong is in this movie, too – and so is Billie Holiday.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 10:01 p.m. ET

The NBC series This Is Us won only one Emmy this year – Guest Actor in a Drama Series, for Ron Cephas Jones (pictured) – but NBC confidently scheduled this special the night after the prime-time Emmy Awards show anyway. And it’s not a bad idea, or a bad show. Besides, only one series from a broadcast network won any major Emmy last night: NBC’s Saturday Night Live, which won for Outstanding Variety or Sketch Series. And that was it. Best drama, comedy, actors and actresses – all went to cable or streaming show. That “Broadcast Networks Are Dying” graffiti? It’s the writing on the wall. And SNL series creator Lorne Michaels, defiantly delivering an “I’m Still Standing” acceptance speech on behalf of the broadcast networks, failed to note that, last night, he stood alone, flanked and swamped by Netflix, Amazon, HBO and the like…

 
  
 
 
 
 
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...



Better Call Saul
AMC
Mondays
9 PM ET

Bojack Horseman
Netflix
Streaming

The Circus
Showtime
Sundays
8 PM ET

The Deuce
HBO
Sundays
9 PM ET

The First
Hulu
Streaming

Forever
Amazon Prime
Streaming

Kidding
Showtime
Sundays
10 PM ET

Masterpiece: The Miniaturist
PBS
Sundays
9 PM ET

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

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Picture Yourself Near a Train in a Station — The impromptu surprise appearances by Paul McCartney are starting to pile up (and well, at what point are they less of a surprise?). Performed at New York’s Grand Central Station (Friday 9/7/18) on the occasion of the release of his new album “Egypt Station,” reports had the show not exactly public, held behind blackout curtains for invited guests. So, the rest of us would have only heard McCartney on our way to Yonkers unless we dialed it up live on YouTube. No matter, this is a worthwhile performance for a couple of reasons — with McCartney still graciously game even with some of the old notes now out of his range, and he dusts off “I’ve Got a Feeling” an old fave from the “Let It Be” rooftop concert in 1969 — which isn’t well-known but obviously distinguishes you as a qualified Beatles fan if you know it. —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."
 
 
 

This Day in TV History