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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MONDAY
MAY 21
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Acorn TV, 3:00 a.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: After stepping forth earlier this month with an original production imported from Wales, the Acorn streaming service now presents another new series that scored well when shown in its home country. This time the place of origin is Australia, the program is called Sando, and it’s a comedy. Sacha Horler stars as Victoria Sandringham, known widely as “Sando.” She’s a wealthy, abrasive woman who made her fortune as a buy-in-bulk furniture salesperson, and her aggressive sales ads and public persona have made her a plain-talking media heroine – to everyone but her own disapproving family. The 2018 comedy series launches today on Acorn. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower

 
  
 
 

ABC, 9:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: Last night, in the first part of this first ABC Idol competition finale, the three remaining contestants sang three songs apiece – including, to end their respective sets, Caleb Lee Hutchinson singing Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” Gabby Barrett singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and Maddie Poppe (pictured) singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” After Poppe closed the show with that number, judge Katy Perry pulled out her smartphone and announced, “I’m voting for you!” If America follows suit, tonight will see Poppe crowned as the first American Idol of the new ABC era. But Idol has fallen for deep-voiced country singers before, so don’t count out Hutchinson quite yet…

 
  
 
 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: Part 1 of 2.  Tonight the finales of Idol and The Voice go head to head, which ought to be interesting, at least in terms of after-the-fact network boasting. But for now, in this first half of a two-part finale, The Voice presents its four finalists, who sing one last time to fight their way to tomorrow night’s winner’s circle. First-time judge Kelly Clarkson has one representative, Brynn Cartelli, still standing, while the show’s most victorious judge, Blake Shelton, has two: Kyla Jade and Spensha Baker. The fourth finalist, voted in after a win-or-go-home performance, is Britton Buchanan, representing judge Alicia Keys. Which means, for this cycle of The Voice, one person who has no chance at all of winning is… judge Adam Levine.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

“Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up on a guy, I’ll be there…” John Steinbeck wrote those words in his classic novel about American farmers buffeted by the Dust Bowl, and Henry Fonda brought them to searing, unforgettable life in this 1940 John Ford movie. Sadly, the message still fits, and still resonates…

 
  
 
 

ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET

The Boston Celtics bullied the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first two games of this East series, winning both contests by scores of double-digit margins (the first game by a whopping 25 points). Yet for Game 3, LeBron James and his Cavs team, playing before its home crowd in Cleveland, beat the Celtics 116-86 – an even more whopping margin of 30 points. And tonight is Game 4, played, once again, in Cleveland…

 
  
 
 

AMC, 10:15 p.m. ET

Episode 4 of James Cameron’s very personal look at science fiction is devoted to the topic of “Dark Futures.” And if you don’t like dystopian visions, stay tuned, and perhaps you’ll prefer dat one… And look who’s in tonight’s episode, as one of the talking heads: Twilight Zone historian and analyst (and good TV critic friend) Mark Dawidziak!

 
  
 
 
 
 
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 Americans
FX
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

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
CURRENT SPECIAL DEAL$$
The Crown: Season One Box Set

It’s the royal wedding season after all, so grab your top hat or fascinator and join in this popular Netflix original chronicling the life of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) from her ascension to the throne at the age of 25 to modern times. With her reign at 66 years and counting, there’s a lot of territory to cover, and four seasons are planned. On sale at Amazon for $17. Remember, no smiling and wave only with the wrist. –Eric Gould