DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

Social Media Manager

Contributors

DONNA J. PLESH

JONATHAN STORM

MONIQUE NAZARETH

NOEL HOLSTON

DAVID SICILIA

P.J. BEDNARSKI

GERALD JORDAN

 
 
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THURSDAY
APRIL 17
2014

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE:  This could be the series finale for Community – with this show, its fate is so tenuous, and its treatment by NBC so uncommitted, there’s really no telling at this point. If Community is continuing, it’s going out with a plot twist to set up a Season 6. And if it’s ending, it’s going out with a bang, and with a tongue-in-cheek product-placement nod to Subway that stays true to the irreverent spirit of series creator (and recently returned show-runner) Dan Harmon. Joel McHale stars.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:30 p.m. ET

Arthur Penn directed this 1967 period bank-robbing film, one of the most influential movies of the Sixties. Warren Beatty plays Clyde Barrow, a small-time crook who hits the big time after teaming up with bored and bold Bonnie Parker, played in a star-making turn by Faye Dunaway. Bonnie wrote letters to newspapers about the duo’s bank-robbing exploits, and had pictures taken of them to commemorate their crime spree. Had there been reality TV in the Depression era, she would have starred in one.

 
  
 
 

CBS, 9:01 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: In this one-hour season finale, we’re introduced to a woman from Simon’s past. She’s the ex-wife of Robin Williams’ Simon, and the mother of  Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Sydney. So who has series creator David E. Kelley cast in that role, which could be recurring if this show returns for a Season 2? None other than former Taxi star Marilu Henner.

 
  
 
 

ABC, 10:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: The Season 3 finale for this series sounds so intentionally and almost absurdly overloaded with plot twists and climaxes, it deserves mention. Most of the show’s characters are gathered at a senator’s funeral – while underneath them, a bomb ticks off the minutes until its preset explosion. And that’s only one of the life-threatening, game-changing plots in tonight’s season finale. Kerry Washington stars.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: It’s the last episode of the season for Parenthood, and NBC has yet to decide whether to renew the series for a Season 6. That hints at a failure of leadership, or at least nerve, in the NBC executive suites, because Parenthood, by far, is the best show the network has on the air right now. Its renewal should be a matter of pride and certainty, not a tough call. Watch tonight, and while you’re wiping away tears and wondering what will happen next to these characters, ask yourself: How could this outstanding family drama series not be renewed?

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

The No Message Message – Here's an example of a TV ad that uses just stock footage to highlight the icons and words we see in commercials...with no product to sell. In other words, it's a prime example of Marshall McLuhan's 1964 maxim that "the medium is the message." The piece (with over 1 million YouTube hits), is based on a verse written by Kendra Eash at McSweeney's, and is called "This is a Generic Brand Video." It was produced by Dissolve, a stock footage company that makes its hay by selling these sorts of things to commercial production companies. It features the usual suspects -- the serious lab guy, attractive, laughing people, meaningless terms like "innovation" -- and presents them for what they are: maybe more important than the products they're being used to sell. With the imminent return of Mad Men, it may be the right time to think about the guys in the suits who deal more in appeal than in substance. -- Eric Gould
 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

  
   On our DVRs right now... visit the TV We're Watching page for recent posts.



The Americans
FX
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Sundays
FOX
9 PM ET

Fargo
FX
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

The Good Wife
CBS
Sundays
9 PM ET

Mad Men
AMC
Sundays
10 PM ET

Parts Unknown
CNN
Sundays
9 PM ET

Nurse Jackie
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Silicon Valley
HBO
Sundays
10:30 PM ET

Turn
AMC
Sundays
9 PM ET

VICE
HBO
Fridays
11 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.
 
 

BUFFALO BILL (THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS) – This DVD compilation has a bad title, for two misleading reasons. One is that Jay Tarses’ bold NBC comedy lasted only two seasons, in 1983-84, so it might as well have been called Buffalo Bill: The Complete Series. Except, because of expensive music rights leading to the omission of a key scene in one of the most memorable episodes, this collection isn’t complete at all. Dabney Coleman plays the abrasive host of a TV talk show – providing the brilliant template for Garry Shandling and The Larry Sanders Show to follow – and in one scene, he sings a caustic “Hit the Road, Jack” in a show about firing a minority employee. In this DVD set, that show-stopping number is replaced by a more literal show-stopper: a written apology for its exclusion. Oh, well. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, this set does include the roomful of Jerry Lewis imitators – including a very young Jim Carrey – and other characters and situations that make this one of the most audacious and unapologetically trailblazing sitcoms of its time. Joanna Cassidy, Max Wright, Geena Davis and Charles Robinson co-star.   –David Bianculli

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$

'Barney Miller': The Complete Series

The 1975-1982 sitcom Barney Miller was notable for its one-act feel since virtually all of the series was set in the same dreary New York City detectives’ squad room. Led by the wise and harried Captain Miller (Hal Linden), typical episodes would see offbeat detectives attending to local complainants or suspects stowed in the squad room’s lock-up. Included in the ensemble cast of workaday detectives was the cross-cultural mix of Abe Vigoda, Ron Glass, Jack Soo and Steve Landesberg. The ABC comedy was a frequent Emmy nominee and ran roughly during the same years as the network’s other hit sitcom, Taxi. The two shows thrived on the same humanistic notes of struggling characters finding humor and meaning in the thankless grind. 25 discs here with many extras, including a commemorative booklet, new cast interviews and the first season of Vigoda’s spin-off series, Fish. 60% off at Amazon for $66. –Eric Gould