DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

NOEL HOLSTON

GARY EDGERTON

GERALD JORDAN

ROGER CATLIN

CANDACE KELLEY

TOM BRINKMOELLER

MONIQUE NAZARETH

DAVID SICILIA

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

JONATHAN STORM

 
 
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SATURDAY
JANUARY 19
2019

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

BBC America, 9:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: The latest nature documentary series from the Planet Earth group takes the very latest in modern technology (both the footage and audio are astounding) and pairs it with an unprecedented commitment of time, filming various creatures and their plights over months and years. In a way, this up-close-and-very-personal approach has a lot in common with those early Walt Disney nature documentaries of the 1950s and 1960s, giving animals names and families and dramatic story lines so that we care deeply about every life, and death, in the natural order of things. In the U.S., the first episode shown involves lions – and with the perennially fabulous Sir David Attenborough as host and narrator, you’ll care, believe me. It’s sad, and especially angering, when one of the most deadly elements encountered by this particular pride of lions turns out to be human beings. Then again, people doing horrible things pretty much describes the majority of documentaries in film and TV history. For a full review, see Alex Strachan’s TV That Matters. This latest series is simulcast across several sister networks in the Discovery pantheon – not only BBC America, but also Discovery, AMC, IFC, and elsewhere.
 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

TELEMOVIE PREMIERE: This new movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch as political strategist Dominic Cummings, who found the path, the issues, the slogans, and the allies to stoke public fervor, flaming the fans of the British movement to exit the European Union – the titular Brexit movement. The parallels to what happened just afterward in the United States, with the rise of Donald Trump’s similarly emotional presidential campaign, are implied but unavoidable. And while, for the first 20 minutes or so, Brexit is a bit wonky and difficult for Americans to follow easily, all that changes the moment Cummings meets with an expert well versed in the dark art of targeted social media information and manipulation. That “aha” moment, and what follows in the movie and around the world in real life, is a wake-up call that may keep you sleepless for a while. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 11:29 p.m. ET

The first new SNL of 2019 is televised tonight, and the guest host for the occasion is Rachel Brosnahan, star of the Emmy-winning Amazon period series sensation, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And since she plays an emerging standup comic, her opening monologue ought to be especially interesting. Musical guest: Greta van Fleet.

 
  
 
 
 
 
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...



Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
9 PM ET

Counterpart
Starz
Sundays
9 PM ET

Future Man
Hulu
Streaming

The Good Place
NBC
Thursdays
9:30 PM ET

The Graham Norton Show
BBC America
Fridays
11 PM ET

Informer
Prime Video
Streaming

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Netflix
Streaming

Project Blue Book
History
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

Ray Donovan
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Victoria on Masterpiece
PBS
Sundays
8 PM ET
Check Local Listings
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Santa Paws –It’s the holidays, and we at TVWW know what you really want for Christmas – a puppy! So, here's the Great Danes Service Dog Project from Ipswich, MA via Explore.org— a non-profit group dedicated to raising the pups and training them to assist veterans and others with mobility needs. Danes are perfect to provide stability for standing adults. Meanwhile, when they’re young, they’re unbearably adorable with their puppy mayhem and dream running. All 11 of them. They’re the sure cure for whatever ails you this year… politics, family, lack of sunlight…—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: Television Finales: From Howdy Doody to Girls, the new collection edited by Douglas Howard and TVWW’s David Bianculli, is now on sale. More than ever, series finales have become cultural touchstones that feed watercooler fodder and tweet storms. TV Finales brings together seventy chapters, each focusing on a separate show, including reliable milestones such as The Fugitive and M*A*S*H through cutting-edge favorites like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Breaking Bad. Writers include today’s leading TV critics, along with many TVWW contributors. "The last word on TV endings." (Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Magazine)
 
 
Television today is better than ever, and David’s book, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific explores it all and how we got here. (Now on sale for $12). David maps the evolution of the classic TV genres – the sitcom, the crime show, doctor dramas, the Western – and many others. "The Platinum Age 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, Matt Groening, Larry David, and Amy Schumer are high points. Bianculli has written a highly readable history." –The Washington Post
 
 
 

This Day in TV History

2008: AMC Debuts 'Breaking Bad'
By David Bianculli
 
 
 
 

New This WWeek
Series and specials in variety formats