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

 
 
Enter your email address:
 
 
 
 
SUNDAY
MARCH 24
2019

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Various Networks, 12:00 p.m. ET

In these second-round March Madness games, it’s always fun to seek out the surviving double-digit seeds. They’ve already defied the odds, and their higher-ranked opponents, by winning their first game – and now, emboldened by that success, have the opportunity to score another bracket-bending upset. Today, that possibility exists with the first televised game of the afternoon, when CBS begins coverage with its noon ET broadcast of No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 10 Iowa. Other games continue all day, with TNT joining the action at 6 p.m. ET, TBS at 7 p.m. ET, and truTV at 7:30 p.m. ET. The other contests with double-digit underdogs? In the opening TBS game at 7, No. 4 Virginia Tech plays No. 12 Liberty. In TNT’s second game at 8:40, No. 3 Houston faces No. 11 Ohio State. And at 9:40 on TBS, it’s the battle of the double-digits: No. 12 Oregon against No. 13 UC Irvine.

 
  
 
 

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

My all-time favorite episode of The Simpsons – and by “all time,” I’m going back 30 years now, to its 1989 Christmas special – is its “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge” installment from 1990, when Marge organizes a protest against the violence in the cartoons watched by her impressionable children. (Itchy and Scratchy, the perennial and bloody rivals, are rewritten to placate the protesters, resulting in boring cartoons that drive the kids outside to play.) Tonight’s new episode might be considered an homage, even a sequel: It’s called “Bart vs. Itchy & Scratchy,” and has Bart reacting to an all-female reboot of “The Itchy & Scratchy Show”…

 
  
 
 

Starz!, 8:00 p.m. ET

Last week, Shadow Moon’s dead wife came to the rescue, jumping aboard a train where he was held captive by some of the new gods, and preparing to free him. This week, the new gods prepare to retaliate, and enlist a compatriot who has yet to be seen this season. Last season, the relatively new god of Media was portrayed by Gillian Anderson, who adopted such high-wattage pop-culture guises as Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, and David Bowie. (And was terrific as all three.) Anderson left the show between seasons, but Media the character returns tonight – fittingly, as a persona called New Media, and played by Kahyun Kim, with more of a nod to fashion and manga (pictured).

 
  
 
 

AMC, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight is the penultimate episode of the new season, with yet another showdown between the whisperers and the townspeople. And the hour is titled “The Calm Before,” so expect even more action in next week’s stormy season finale.
 
  
 
 

CNN, 9:00 p.m. ET

Episode 2 of this well-made new CNN biography of Richard M. Nixon is titled “Nixon’s the One,” which was one of his presidential campaign slogans. And the closer Tricky Dick gets to Watergate, the more amazingly relevant it is.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

This is Part 3 of this re-examination of the case involving the 1999 disappearance and murder of 18-year-old high school student Hae Min Yee, and the subsequent murder conviction of her former boyfriend, Adnan Syed. Or, more accurately, this is a re-re-examination, since this cold case already was re-examined, famously, in the influential podcast Serial.

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

Billions is stronger than ever this season, which really is saying something. Its ensemble cast is one of TV’s best right now, and the conflicts between characters are becoming ratcheted to even higher levels of intensity. And new characters – bold, exciting ones – keep getting introduced. Watch, tonight for Nina Arianda, from CBS All Access’ The Good Fight and Broadway’s Venus In Fur, as a new Wall Street power player who establishes her alpha-female dominance in her very first scene. She’s great – and so is Damian Lewis opposite her as Bobby Axelrod, and so is all of Billions. For my review of the new season of Billions on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, visit the Fresh Air website.
 
  
 
 

HBO, 11:20 p.m. ET

The Mueller report was released late Friday afternoon, and the reactions and ramifications continue. Good luck dealing with the latest, and the subtleties, at the literal last minute, John…

 
  
 
 
 
 
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...



After Life
Netflix
Streaming 

American Gods
Starz!
Sundays
8 PM ET

Arrested Development
Netflix
Streaming 

Better Things
FX
Thursdays
10 PM ET

The Case Against Adnan Syed
HBO
Sundays
9 PM ET 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
9 PM ET

Documentary Now!
IFC
Wednesdays
11 PM ET

Now Apocalypse
Starz!
Sundays
9 PM ET

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays
10 PM ET

Saturday Night Live
NBC
Saturdays
11:30 PM ET 
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

The Monkees and Their Paw – Sad news, and yet more proof that time is marching on, came the news today (2/21/19) that Peter Tork, the lovable bungler of super pop group the Monkees, has passed away at the age of 77. Tork became an instant star as a member of the group sometimes mocked as the “Prefab Four” when he was selected along with Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones (who passed away in 2012) to star in a weekly comedy series as the American doppelgänger to the Beatles hijinks in Help and A Hard Day’s Night. For a time, they outsold their British competition with number one hits such as “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville” – although the group, despite being musicians in their own right, did not write those and others. Tork and his mates had real charm, as seen in TVWW’s fave clip here from the 1968 episode “The Monkey’s Paw” where Micky buys a cursed artifact, which of course, starts the usual mayhem.  –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