DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

Social Media Manager

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

NOEL HOLSTON

GERALD JORDAN

JONATHAN STORM

DONNA J. PLESH

DAVID SICILIA

 
 
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MONDAY
MAY 25
2015

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

AMC, 6:00 p.m. ET

You aren’t going to be able to see many better, or more appropriate, Memorial Day movies than this one. Made in 1998, and directed by Steven Spielberg, it begins with one of the most jarring and intense war movie scenes ever put on film – and keeps going. Tom Hanks stars as a captain given a particularly risky humanitarian mission, of finding and escorting back to safety Private Ryan (Matt Damon), the only surviving son of a woman who lost her three other boys to war the same day. Co-stars include Paul Giamatti, Tom Sizemore, Vin Diesel, Jeremy Davies, Adam Goldberg and Edward Burns.

 
  
 
 

ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET

ABC’s summertime quiz show experiment returns, after a few days of a holiday breather for reruns, with a fresh installment, as contestants try to complete their marathon Q&A sprint without answering three consecutive questions incorrectly.

 
  
 
 

History, 9:00 p.m. ET

MINISERIES PREMIERE: History Channel is aiming to make this new miniseries feel like an old-fashioned Western epic, starting with the decision to film it in classic old CinemaScope. It’s the story of Texas independence, a piece of American history that begins as Mexican history, at the Alamo, and keeps going. Stars include Bill Paxton as Sam Houston, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Erastus “Deaf” Smith, Kris Kristofferson as Andrew Jackson, and Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Emily West, the woman immortalized in song as “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” Don’t expect pure fidelity to the facts here – but millions of people seem to find these History productions entertaining, as with the top-rated Hatfields & McCoys. So if you liked that, chances are you’ll like this.

 
  
 
 

Lifetime, 9:00 p.m. ET

This movie, starring Nicole Kidman as movie star turned actual princess Grace Kelly, premiered last year at the Cannes Film Festival. To say that it was greeted less than warmly is an understatement: Even though it was produced by the Oscar-generating Weinstein brothers, Grace of Monaco left France without a U.S. distributor, and ends up making its American premiere as a Lifetime acquisition. Co-stars include Tim Roth as Prince Rainier of Monaco, as well as Frank Langella, Derek Jacobi and Parker Posey.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: This is not a recommendation, just a notation. On tonight’s new NBC reality competition series, hosted by Bear Grylls, 14 “real men” try to survive on an island. First thing they should do to survive: Turn off their TVs. No, wait, that’s the first thing we should do…

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

WE'LL MISS YOU, MR. LETTERMAN – With David Letterman’s retirement now upon us, I’ve been tasked with finding a Video Worth Watching from Dave’s thirty-three years on late night television. How do I choose a highlight from a career filled with highlights? The Velcro suit. His mom. His Christmas show. Jack Hanna. And on and on and on. But I think the one that will always be close to my heart, and to the hearts of millions of others, is the first show Dave did after September 11th. He spoke with emotion, grace, admiration, and love. Most of all, he helped all of us move toward our new normal and let us know it was all right to go there. When Dave was back on the air making a few jokes, we knew it was ok to laugh again. The man with the reputation as an old grump was the one who held our collective hands and let us know we were going to be whole...eventually. Yes, Dave brought silliness, intelligence, and irreverent fun to late night but he was also there when we needed him. Thanks for all the laughs, Dave, and thanks for looking after us. – Linda Donovan

 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


Big Time in Hollywood, FL
Comedy Central
Wednesdays
10:30 PM ET

The Graham Norton Show
BBC America
Saturdays
11 PM ET

Inside Amy Schumer
Comedy Central
Tuesdays
10:30 PM ET

Inside Comedy
Showtime
Tuesdays
11 PM ET

Louie
FX
Thursdays
10:30 PM ET

Maron
IFC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

Nurse Jackie
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Parts Unknown
CNN
Sundays
9 PM ET

Penny Dreadful
Showtime
Sundays
10 PM ET

VEEP
HBO
Sundays
10:30 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...

TV JUKEBOX

A new edition of Bianculli's favorite TV themes, coming soon!
 
 
 

From TV Worth Watching
TOP PICKS FOR YOUR HOME LIBRARY

The TVWW Seal of Approval is an honor we save for TV’s very best – our picks for a truly teleliterate home video library.
 
 

THE WONDER YEARS: THE COMPLETE SERIES SET – The Wonder Years ran for six seasons, from 1988 to 1993, and featured an adult narrator looking back on childhood with both nostalgic affection and a wizened perspective. It wasn’t a new idea for a sitcom – one of TV’s very first, Mama, pulled the same trick in 1949. But in The Wonder Years, which had narrator Daniel Stern portraying the adult Kevin Arnold looking back on his own junior high and high school years in the Sixties and Seventies, series creators Carol Black and Neal Marlens gave us one of TV’s all-time best comedies. Fred Savage stars as young Kevin, with Danica McKellar and Josh Saviano as unforgettable childhood friends Winnie and Paul, respectively. This complete set, which looked back at a previous generation, took another full generation to arrive on DVD, but it’s well worth the wait. – David Bianculli

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
 
 

Dispatches from TVWW

In Praise of American Idol
By Alex Strachan
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
An Appeal to Hulu for 'Mindy'
By Monique Nazareth
 
 
 
 
 

 TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$

Weeds: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray + UltraViolet)

Showtime's Weeds (2005-2012) took a different spin on the 21st century TV antihero with a widowed soccer
mom who turned pot dealer to make ends meet. Mary-Louise Parker starred as Nancy Botwin, who found the drug trade darker, and with more consequences, than the easy little side business she envisioned. The black comedy probably went on for a few too many seasons, but the tale of the suburban outlaw was always smart and outlandish. (With all previous bonus material and special Day-Glo green acrylic case). On sale at Amazon at 60% off.Eric Gould