DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
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SUNDAY
AUGUST 25
2019

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

TCM, 6:00 a.m. ET

All day and night, Dustin Hoffman is today’s saluted star. The highlights include his shaken Willy Loman in 1985’s CBS adaptation of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (9:45 a.m. ET), his mousy convict in 1973’s Papillon opposite Steve McQueen (2:45 p.m. ET), his matronly makeover in 1982’s Tootsie(5:30 p.m. ET), and, in prime time, a ridiculously powerful triple feature beginning at 8 p.m. ET: 1967’s The Graduate(pictured), 1976’s Marathon Man (at 10 p.m. ET), and, fittingly arriving at 12:15 a.m. ET, 1969’s Midnight Cowboy.
 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s episode had a scene in which a character joked about running for president despite a complete lack of qualifications. The other characters weren’t laughing, and neither was I. But the characters in this show have been defined so sharply, it’s a pleasure to watch them negotiate with and around each other – especially as the CEO power chair is up for grabs, and perhaps heading to an unexpected beneficiary.
 
  
 
 

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: This is the final season for The Affair, and it’s the first one without central players Ruth Wilson and Joshua Jackson. On the other hand, it’s the first one with Anna Paquin (pictured), who joins the cast as the daughter of Wilson’s ill-fated character. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower
 
  
 
 

Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: There are singular moments of inspired strangeness in this new series, which stars Kirsten Dunst as the wife of a man trying to sell his suburban Florida neighbors on an Amway-type motivational sales scheme. Really inspired, in fact, like her character’s dusted-off pageant dance routine, which is like a cross between David Lynch and the Muppets. But those moments arrive about once per episode, and the rest of the shows just aren’t sharp enough to match. It’s worth a look, and Dunst absolutely is the engine pulling the entire train – but it’s just not as powerful, or weird, as its promos and premise would suggest. Two episodes are shown tonight, which is more than enough to decide if this is the type of God you’d care to follow. For full reviews, see Ed Bark's Uncle Barky's BytesDavid Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower, and Mike Hughes' Open Mike.
 
  
 
 
 
 
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...



A Black Lady Sketch Show
HBO
Fridays
11 PM ET

Last Week Tonight
HBO
Sundays
11 PM ET 

Lodge 49
AMC
Mondays
10 PM ET 

Mindhunter
Netflix
Streaming

Our Boys
HBO
Mondays
9 PM ET 

Pennyworth
Epix
Sundays
9 PM ET 

Preacher
AMC
Sundays
9/10 PM ET 

The Righteous Gemstones
HBO
Sundays
10 PM ET  

Sherman's Showcase
IFC
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Wild Singapore
BBC America
Saturdays
9 PM ET
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

CAN YOU SAY “PERFECT CASTING,” BOYS AND GIRLS? –The first promo clip from the upcoming movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood has just been released, and it proves indisputably that this biopic of children’s TV host Fred Rogers has indeed found its ideal leading man. Tom Hanks portrays the soft-spoken, lovable host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and the illusion is accepted instantly and totally. Hanks already has portrayed Walt Disney, in the 2013 movie Saving Mr. Banks, and here he’s about to portray an even more beloved children’s TV icon. (And one, by the way, that Tom Hanks’ son, Colin, already has played, by portraying Fred Rogers on an installment of Comedy Central’s Drunk History.) Matthew Rhys from The Americans co-stars in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood as the magazine reporter who is unexpectedly charmed by Rogers’ honesty and inspirational manner, and he, too, seems wonderfully chosen. Speaking of choosing – I’m choosing an additional Video Worth Watching to add here. It’s of the real Fred Rogers, accepting his Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in 1997. Prepare to be moved. – 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