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
SEPTEMBER 24
2017

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

CBS, 7:30 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: It was precisely 49 years ago today – on Sept. 24, 1968 – that CBS presented the inaugural telecast of a new TV newsmagazine, 60 Minutes. Created by Don Hewitt and co-hosted by Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner, it not only has survived on TV ever since, but has generated a consistently excellent, usually unparalleled body of work in the TV newsmagazine field. To date, 60 Minutes has earned 20 Peabody Awards, 138 Emmys, and still manages, many weeks, to land installments in the week’s Top 10. With tonight’s 2017 season premiere, CBS and 60 Minutes are celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary (which confuses me a bit: shouldn’t it be 49?), and doing so by introducing a new 60 Minutes correspondent. You may have heard of her: Oprah Winfrey. Expect it to start a bit later than usual, after football.

 
  
 
 

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

Ice-T and Soledad O’Brien, a reporting team you don’t encounter every day, collaborate on this two-hour special, which poses the long-unanswered question, Who Shot Biggie & Tupac? Don’t expect it to be answered tonight, either, necessarily. But here this special is, anyway…

 
  
 
 

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Part 6. This begins week two of the Ken Burns-Lynn Novick documentary miniseries The Vietnam War.  And though the five episodes to date have been remarkably instructive, powerful and emotional, these next five more than double down on everything. Tonight, for example, is the episode entitled “Things Fall Apart,” a title that refers to both sides of the war – beginning, in January 1968, with the country-wide attack known as the Tet Offensive. For a full review of tonight’s episode, see Alex Strachan’s TV That Matters. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

CBS, 8:30 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: The newest entry in the Star Trek TV canon, launching a dozen years after the end of Star Trek: Enterprise, begins tonight – and begins as sort of a mystery, because no episodes were provided to critics for advance preview. I know I should be offended by that, but these days, any new TV I don’t have to watch is a gift. But Star Trek: Discovery, like CBS’s the Good Fight last season, is being presented as a bait-and-switch lure to try to get viewers to subscribe to CBS All Access. The premiere episode of Star Trek: Discovery, which is set in time a decade before the original Star Trek, will be televised on CBS – but from then on, episodes will be shown only on CBS’s streaming service, beginning with episode two immediately after CBS finishes showing the premiere. Sonequa Martin-Green stars as First Officer Michael Burnham.
 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

It’s great news that HBO has renewed Deuce for a second season, because this first season ends just as the story is really heating up. But these intervening episodes are fascinating, and deep, character studies – and tonight, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Candy makes her first stiletto-heeled steps into the porn film business.

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

Jon Voight, as Ray’s loose-cannon dad, has taken on unofficial avenging angel status this season – and tonight, intends to right a wrong by recovering the money – more than $1 million in cash – stolen from one of his sons. Meanwhile, another son, Ray, gets more dangerously intertwined with two different woman, while, at the same time, mourning a third.

 
  
 
 

CBS All Access, 9:30 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: Part 2 of 2. So here’s the deal: After CBS is through televising the premiere, for free, of Star Trek: Discovery, viewers immediately can watch episode two. But that’s only if they switch over to CBS All Access, the network’s subscription-fee streaming service, which will be showing all remaining Star Trek: Discovery episodes Sundays on a weekly basis. In other words, the first taste is free. Everything else, you have to pay for…

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

Matt LeBlanc and his writers are in deep huddle mode, trying to come up with one more series idea for him while his iron is hot, and his network has agreed to a contractually mandated new show. Matt already has a title, and a concept – but it turns out Whores is taken. So this week, the creative spit-balling continues.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 11:00 p.m. ET

Last week, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was not televised, because Oliver was in Los Angeles, winning a couple of Emmy: outstanding writing for a variety series, and outstanding variety talk series. This week, carrying all that gold, Last Week returns.

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

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

‘Will & Grace’ 2.0 – Of all the shows premiering this fall, few are more anticipated than the return to NBC of Will & Grace. The show may have been off the air for ten years, but it’s clear the slightly dysfunctional, though very loving, Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack have been missed. A special, airing Sept 19 on NBC – The Paley Center Salutes the Best of Will & Grace – should be a treat for fans who are holding their collective breath until Sept. 28 when the show returns. To whet the appetite of fans (as if their excitement level isn’t already through the roof), NBC has released a short video with treasured old scenes, new scenes that are destined to become favorites and the story of the original casting sessions. And it’s not “Just Jack!” – Linda Donovan

 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


American Horror Story: Cult
FX
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

The Deuce
HBO
Sundays
9 PM ET

Episodes
Showtime
Sundays
10 PM ET

The Guest Book
TBS
Thursdays
10:30 PM ET

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
HBO
Sundays
11 PM ET

Manhunt: Unabomber
Discovery
Tuesdays
9 PM ET

Mr. Mercedes
AT&T Audience Network
Wednesdays
8 PM ET

Ray Donovan
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays
10 PM ET

You're The Worst
FXX
Wednesdays
10 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...
 
 
 

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 $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, 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. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. 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

 
 

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