DAVID BIANCULLI

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THURSDAY
JULY 2
2015

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Destination America, 5:00 p.m. ET

In anticipation of all the outdoor grilling to be attempted this weekend, weather and vegans permitting, BBQ Pitmasters serves up a seven-hour marathon of grilling tips. Included among the recipes: bacon-covered bison brisket, which may be the most audacious and aromatic alliterative I’ve ever encountered. The coals start heating up at 5 p.m. ET, and the last dishes are served at 2 a.m. ET.

 
  
 
 

CNN, 9:00 p.m. ET

Because this is heading to a holiday weekend, CNN is opting not to present an original installment of its newest documentary series. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, starting tonight at 9 p.m. ET, it’s repeating the three episodes televised so far: on television, Watergate, and the Vietnam War, respectively. Oh, and consider this a warning, as well as a recommendation: In the first part, on television in the Seventies, I appear on camera from time to time. But watch it anyway…

 
  
 
 

IFC, 10:00 p.m. ET

On tonight’s episode, Marc Maron accepts an invitation from his friend Adam Goldberg to visit Adam’s college class and lecture on comedy. I haven’t seen the entire episode, just a preview clip – but even the clip made me laugh out loud, once the students starting interrupting Maron’s lecture. “Academic heckling,” he responded wearily. “Is that a thing, really?” It can be. When I tell a joke or make a reference in one of my classes and am greeted with the sound of silence, I often say, “When I went into teaching, I was told that if I reached only one person, that would be enough. I just didn’t know that, most of the time, that person would be me.” And if they don’t respond to that, either, it just makes me laugh all the more, in a disconnecting downward spiral. Makes me laugh, every time it happens. Makes me laugh – just not them. Good luck tonight, Marc.

 
  
 
 

Comedy Central, 11:00 p.m. ET

In these last Daily Show programs before he steps down, Jon Stewart has made it clear that he doesn’t want a Cal Ripken-style farewell tour – just a last lap with good guests and good friends. Tonight, he has both. His scheduled guest is author Sarah Vowell, who’s not only a former contributing editor to This American Life, but also was a former correspondent for The Daily Show.

 
  
 
 

Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. ET

Larry Wilmore, in the wake of news events the past few weeks, has done his very best work since launching The Nightly Show – great pieces, provocative discussions, and brave, funny, intensely honest personal reflections and history lessons. (For a sample of these, listen to my report, on cable comedy shows and their reactions to recent news events, on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross website.) Tonight, reacting to news events in his booking of guests as well, Wilmore welcomes LaBree Newsome, the woman who recently climbed the flagpole in front of the South Carolina Statehouse and took down the Confederate flag. On Monday, Wilmore said, “It’s kind of like that old saying: ‘If you want something done, wait around and do nothing until a kickass black woman comes along and does that s**t for you.’” Tonight, he talks to her in person.
 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Women's Sports Aren't Worth Watching? Really!?! - Amy Poehler recently showed up on Seth Meyer's Late Night to reprise their old SNL "Weekend Update" bit "Really!?! With Seth and Amy"  -- this time to help skewer Sports Illustrated writer Andy Benoit who had tweeted that it wasn't just women's soccer that wasn't worth watching, but all women's sports. After showing the rocketing go-ahead goal by the UK against Norway in last week's Women's Soccer World Cup match, they followed with some recent examples from men's coverage -- a missed short putt from the US Open and the always-riveting NFL draft. --Eric Gould


 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


The Brink
HBO
Sundays
10:30 PM ET

Deustchland 83
Sundance
Wednesdays
11 PM ET

The Graham Norton Show
BBC America
Saturdays
11 PM ET

Hannibal
NBC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

HUMANS
AMC
Sundays
9 PM ET

Maron
IFC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

Orange is the New Black
Netflix
Streaming

Penny Dreadful
Showtime
Sundays
10 PM ET

The Seventies
CNN
Thursdays
9 PM ET

True Detective
HBO
Sundays
9 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.
 
 

FRASIER: THE COMPLETE SERIES – Cheers already has been awarded the TVWW Seal of Approval, and Frasier becomes one of the few TV spinoff series deserving to make the list as well. Frasier, just collected in a compact edition presenting every episode from the show’s 11 seasons – that’s 257 episodes, folks – seems surprisingly fresh, given that it premiered in 1993, the season after Cheers ended, and called it quits in 2004. Kelsey Grammer’s character of Frasier was gold-plated comic brilliance by then, as was his relationship with icy ex-wife Lilith (beautifully played by Bebe Neuwirth). But on Frasier, Grammer got two more spectacularly gifted comic foils: David Hyde Pierce as fussy brother Niles, and John Mahoney as no-nonsense father Martin. These shows are great fun to revisit, and almost every episode provides, as a bonus treat, an unexpected familiar face as a guest star. Or, at least, a familiar voice, courtesy of Frasier’s phone-in radio show. And right now, it’s offered by Amazon at a ridiculously low price: under $60 for the entire set. – David Bianculli

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$

Twin Peaks: Complete Series (Definitive Gold Box Edition)

ABC’s 1990-91 audacious Twin Peaks, co-created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, peaked early and ended sloppily, but contained within its two seasons of eccentric television an astounding amount of unfettered, unduplicated storytelling genius. It’s been more than 20 years since this series appeared on network TV, yet it’s still like nothing else that has arrived since – and its set pieces, from the dancing man in the red room to the unmasking of Laura Palmer’s killer, are as indelible as they are original. This DVD set includes all episodes from both ABC seasons, as well as the original movie-length pilot that began with the immortal words, “She’s dead. Wrapped in plastic.” Over 50% off at Amazon. –DB