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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TUESDAY
NOVEMBER 13
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

SPECIAL PREMIERE: This brand-new Netflix offering is described as a music special, but don’t believe it. Oh, it’s got music, and it’s special, all right – but it’s much more than a musical concert. This new TV program by Loudon Wainwright III is a one-man show – part comedy, part drama, part multimedia art project, peppered with songs and salted with generations of memories and insights. I’ve long been a fan of Wainwright’s wry, deft mix of dry humor and raw honesty, but I was unprepared for both the scope and potency of Surviving Twin. The titular twin is his own father, Loudon Wainwright II, who dropped the Roman numeral suffix when writing as a columnist for Life magazine. In this 90-minute performance, the late columnist’s son alternates between performing his own songs and reciting perfectly memorized passages from his father’s magazine output – columns in which the subjects, many times, are the author’s own parents and children, in a one-man show that, by its final song and home-movie montage, has covered four generations of Wainwrights. Wainwright III, by reciting his dad’s words, figuratively walks in his father’s shoes. He also, quite literally, slips into his father’s suit – just one of many stunningly effective dramatic flourishes that make Surviving Twin one of the most special TV specials I’ve seen, and heard, in a very long time. The final credits acknowledge Christopher Guest and Judd Apatow as executive producers along with Wainwright III, and Guest as director (what a great job). That was a surprise, but shouldn’t have been, because those two artists, like the singer-songwriter, have built careers upon doing their own thing, defiantly and brilliantly. Surviving Twin adds another shining triumph to all their resumes. Surviving Twin will entertain you, hit you, move you, and stay with you – but only if you’ve been a parent, or had one.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

All 24 singers sang last night, and tonight those ranks will be whittled substantially. This time around, the performances were good, but few singers emerged as undeniably dominant. The race may be tighter for now as a result – and the votes, and the survivors, more difficult to predict.

 
  
 
 

Fox, 8:00 p.m. ET

Last week, this series delved into the origins of the psychic triplets – and provided some interesting surprises. For one thing, they aren’t triplets, but clones. For another, there used to be five of them, but two were killed as the rest escaped from the facility that created them. This drama about mutants on the run continues to shift in interesting ways, with its characters’ allegiances as well as their actions and motivations.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

“STELLLLLL-AAAAA!” Marlon Brando changed acting immediately, and for generations, with this electrifyingly animalistic portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in this 1951 adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play. Elia Kazan directs, honing in on all the angst and misery, and Brando is matched, in fire and fury and in tortured silences, by Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois and Kim Hunter as Stanley’s passionate spouse, whose name, in this movie’s most indelible scene, he screams to the rooftops.

 
  
 
 

ABC, 9:00 p.m. ET

To celebrate episode number 100, Blackish goes purplish. Or, at least, finds a way to celebrate the music and impact of Prince, and how his music, in tonight’s new installment, got Bow and Dre together in the first place. Along the way, virtually every cast member gets to act a little Princely.

 
  
 
 

NBC, 9:00 p.m. ET

In this new episode, we see, for the first time, some very old drama: Flashbacks to the early road trip that ignited the sparks between Jack and Rebecca.

 
  
 
 
 
 
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