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
NOVEMBER 12
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

This week marks the beginning of this cycle’s live playoffs, when the remaining 24 singers – six from each team – fight, and sing, for survival. More important, switching to a live format means that segments can’t be edited, and judges must be aware and respectful of the time allotted for each portion. And the way judge Kelly Clarkson free-associates and freely (and charmingly) gabs, the level of unpredictability from now on is ramped up considerably.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

This new HBO documentary asks a simple yet provocative question: What determines the value of art, financially if not aesthetically? (True story: I asked this same question firsthand as a young TV critic in the late 1970s. I visited the then-extant Dudley Do-Right Emporium on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood then, and saw a Rocky & Bullwinkle animated cel on sale for $50. That seemed a high price to pay for a simple group shot of Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, so I passed. Upon my return home, I received a catalog from that same emporium, run by animator Jay Ward and his wife, and the same cel was now priced at $200. I phoned the store in a panic and bought the cel – but asked, since it was about to become the most expensive work of art I owned, if Jay Ward could please sign the cel. His wife asked him, he thought it was a funny request, and] did. The last time I had the signed cel appraised, with its rare Ward signature, it was worth something like $7,000 – and that was more than 20 years ago. So yeah, the price of everything is really weird. And no, Jay Ward is not one of the artists in this documentary. I digress...)
 
  
 
 

National Geographic, 9:00 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: Is there life on Mars? Well, in the cliffhanger to last season’s National Geographic series – an unusual combination of nonfiction interviews with experts and a scripted dramatization of what a manned mission to the red planet might entail – there was a discovery of life on Mars. The scripted, fictional part of this show, that is. And tonight, that story, and that mission, continues, as do the real-life questions and considerations discussed by the people interviewed. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower.
 
  
 
 
 
 
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...



Bodyguard
Netflix
Streaming

The Circus
Showtime
Sundays
8 PM ET

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
9 PM ET

The Good Place
NBC
Thursdays
8 PM ET

Homecoming
Netflix
Streaming

Ray Donovan
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays

The Romanoffs
Amazon Prime
Streaming

This Is Us
NBC
Tuesdays
9 PM ET

The Walking Dead
AMC
Sundays
9 PM ET
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

THE LAST WORD ON TV FINALES – Yes, I’ve just co-edited (with Doug Howard) a book on TV finales, which is called, fittingly enough, TV Finales: From Howdy Doody to Girls. And I’ve just written, for TVWW, a Bianculli’s Blog about Rowan University’s special, book-launch day-long free event this Friday, Nov. 16, called Finale Fest. But there’s one more piece of the finale puzzle to fill in. Question: What’s the most perfect TV finale of all time? The answer, according to me, is the ending of CBS’s Newhart, which concludes with innkeeper Bob getting knocked unconscious by an errant golf ball, and coming to with a very different state of consciousness indeed. The absolutely perfect ending. – David Bianculli

 
 

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

 
 
 

New This WWeek
Series and specials in variety formats