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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SUNDAY
FEBRUARY 18
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Various Networks, 2:40 a.m. ET

Because the NBC broadcast network has more time on a Sunday to present Olympic events during the day, there’s less for its sister cable networks to televise that’s truly noteworthy. Among them: On NBCSN, a Nordic showdown on ice (how fitting) in men’s hockey, with Sweden vs. Finland televised live at 7:10 a.m. ET. Another men’s hockey game televised live, this time on the USA network, pits an international favorite against the home team, when Canada faces South Korea at 7 a.m. ET. And though it’s not live, CNBC today presents men’s curling at 4 p.m. ET, with USA vs. Norway. And for live coverage, there’s always NBC’s Olympics site.
 
  
 
 

CBS, 9:00 a.m. ET

David Hogg is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and found himself, like many of his classmates earlier this week, barricaded in a classroom as a former student prowled the school, firing his rapid-fire weapon and killing at least 17 people. The shooter is 19 years old. Hogg, who works at the school’s TV station and volunteers at a local paper, is 17. He wondered what sort of story he’d leave behind if he died there – and took out his phone and began to leave one, by interviewing his fellow students as they all crouched there in fear. You doubtlessly saw him as part of whatever TV coverage you saw of the Florida school shooting. Today, his story, like the stories he gathered, gets told today on CBS Sunday Morning – which should hire him, now. Or if not them, 60 Minutes. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

NBC, 3:00 p.m. ET

On NBC today, Olympic coverage is available, because it’s Sunday, from 3-6 p.m. ET, then again from 7 p.m. to midnight ET, and yet again from 12:35-2 a.m. ET. The prime time block includes some of the big draws, such as live coverage of the ice dancing short dance in figure skating.

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 8:00 p.m. ET

Last week, Showtime premiered the first two episodes of this new animated series, casting Donald Trump as Our Cartoon President. (Not, by itself, a political statement – or is it?) Tonight is episode three, and it’s largely about another President: former President Barack Obama.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

When you start compiling a list of the best movies ever made about politics, it’s easy to forget about this 1979 fable of power and perception. But it’s also wrong, because this film, adapted by Jerzy Kosinski from his own novella, is as shrewd about the ways of Washington as its central character, played flawlessly by Peter Sellers, is simple. And Being There, directed by Hal Ashby, is simply masterful. And it’s shown tonight by TCM as part of its “31 Days of Oscar” celebration, which tonight showcases Best Supporting Actor Winners. Melvyn Douglas won for his role in this film, playing an ailing wealthy businessman who befriends Sellers’ mysterious, mercurial house guest. Also contributing greatly to this film: Shirley MacLaine and Jack Warden.
 
  
 
 

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

Technically, tonight’s episode is the season finale – but there’s one more episode to come, next week, which was presented in the U.K. as a standalone Christmas episode, as is their wont over there. Doctor Who is another example of a series that generates a Christmas Day special episode each year of late. Anyway, tonight’s episode has enough drama for a season finale, with a royal child near death, an adult character experiencing death, and more than one romance torn apart by rash behavior. And in one instance, that “rash behavior” is literal. Watch the episode, and you’ll get what I mean. Jenna Coleman stars. Check local listings.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s second episode of Here and Now is called “Eleven Eleven,” and culminates in an epiphany of sorts as Tim Robbins’ Greg Boatwright, like one of his children, begins seeing, and being affected by, the mysteriously repeating appearances of that so-called “angel number.” Is it a sign from above or beyond? Or just a convenience store that opens late?

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s season premiere ended with a shocker that basically cast members of our own military as Russian-style assassins, willing and able to use exotic toxic poisons to eliminate political enemies on contact – or with contact. So what happens now, to Carrie and others, if they dare resist this Deep State resistance? Claire Danes stars.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 11:00 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: Season 5 of John Oliver’s show begins tonight. I expect nothing less than brilliance, and outrage. But, given the news of the week he’s forced to recount and examine, will there be any actual laughs? And if so, how?

 

 
  
 
 
 
 
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 Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
FX
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Baskets
FX
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

Counterpart
Starz
Sundays
8 PM ET

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
8 PM ET

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
IFC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

Homeland
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman
Netflix
Streaming

Portlandia
IFC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays
10 PM ET

Victoria on Masterpiece
PBS
Sundays
9 PM ET
Check Local Listings
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Love WILL Find You – For Valentines Day, here’s Liam Neeson auditioning for the role of Cupid in a bit from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Of course, it’s in his usual tough-guy Taken character, and is ill-fitting, along with his love-sprite wardrobe. Neeson has played the clueless straight guy to Ricky Gervais before, so we’re thinking when the action roles stop coming, he’ll have a long run as Leslie Nielsen did in crime comedies like Police Squad and Naked Gun. –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 new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $13. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with quality television: what it is and how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. 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." —The Washington Post 
 
 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$$
Roseanne: The Complete Series

Roseanne is scheduled to return to ABC for nine episodes in March, 20 years after it went off the air. Most of the original cast is returning, include Roseanne Barr and her television spouse Dan, played by John Goodman, whose character will be revived (along with the show) even though he died in the prior series finale. Roseanne’s chiming chord with the working middle class was the series main draw, making it the most popular sitcom for a time. Producers are betting that, along with its reunion appeal (as with the recent reboot of Will & Grace) will make a success. On sale at Amazon for $25. –Eric Gould

 
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