Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE: This new Netflix documentary utilizes a rich treasure trove of formerly unseen footage, filmed for a proposed but unrealized documentary during the time in 1999 when Jim Carrey played performance-art comic Andy Kaufman in the biographical movie Man on the Moon. It also interviews, at length, present-day Carrey, with a rich, David Letterman-style beard, reflecting on his life and comedy, and Kaufman’s, and how they intersected, in and beyond the movie they made. Carrey is smart about what made Kaufman’s approach to comedy unique, and even insightful about his own comedy approach, and how his Jim Carrey “Dr. Jekyll,” in front of an audience or camera, turns into an improvising, not-caring “Mr. Hyde.” The behind-the-scenes footage from Man on the Moon, in which such co-stars as Danny De Vito, Judd Hirsch and Paul Giamatti react in amazement, and sometimes annoyance, to Carrey’s “living-the-role” approach to Kaufman – and to Kaufman’s occasional, ultra-abrasive alter ego, nightclub “performer” Tony Clifton. It’s all of a piece, and Jim & Andy shows how, in that 1999 movie and beyond, those two dissimilar comic approaches did indeed meet, and meld.


Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: The latest Marvel series to appear on Netflix has gotten a head-start: Jon Bernthal, who plays this particular brutal and haunted antihero, first portrayed the Punisher in a season of Netflix’s Daredevil, occupying the major story line as a former soldier seeking revenge for the mob-related deaths of his family. This new spinoff, therefore, doesn’t have to spend a lot of time establishing the superhero’s origin story – good thing, because the Punisher, technically, is not super, and arguably isn’t much of a hero, more of a heavily armed and driven vigilante. But Bernthal, who rose to stardom in The Walking Dead, is excellent at portraying both angst and strength, and lends a little depth to a comic-book title that, frankly, needs it. And Deborah Ann Woll, whose own ride to stardom came in another genre series, True Blood, continues her Daredevil role as Karen Page – one of the few people in that show’s story arc who believed in, or at least empathized with, the man known as the Punisher. So now, together, their story continues.


Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

MOVIE PREMIERE: This new film by Dee Rees is based on the novel by Hillary Jordan, a period piece often, and fairly, described as Faulkneresque. It’s set in Mississippi, after WWII, and is about a family of tenant farmers, and all the tensions that the region’s unforgiving conditions and unrepentant racism threw at them. Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige and Carey Mulligan star, with a strong supporting role provided by Jonathan Banks of Breaking Bad.


CW, 8:00 p.m. ET

Last week, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend got lots of comedy out of Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) retreating from her woes by going home to mother – who, played by Tovah Feldshuh, was unusually supportive. Unusually and, as it turned out, deceptively, by slipping Rebecca mood-altering drugs without Rebecca’s knowledge. Rebecca found and stole the pills, left her mother, and, on the plane back home, swallowed them all in a suicide attempt before informing the flight attendant. Then, at episode’s end, came a public service message with a suicide hotline number, encouraging viewers who are depressed and potentially suicidal to seek help. It’s a much stronger tone than you’d expect from a CW musical comedy series – and this week’s episode will build on that, not avoid it.


PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

I saw this on Broadway, and recommend it to anyone who has seen, or loves, a lot of Broadway history, especially musicals. Harold Prince did a lot of amazing work as the producer of some of Stephen Sondheim’s best musicals, including Company and Follies and Sweeney Todd – but also did a lot of other amazing work, too, and tastes of them are here, enacted by a small but talented cadre of performers, each of whom gets a chance to shine. And, briefly, to play Prince himself. Check local listings.


TCM, 9:30 p.m. ET

Hal Ashby directed this astounding 1979 film version of Jerzy Kosinki’s novella, a modern-day fable that took someone as great as Peter Sellers to embody the central role, and the slippery central concept. He plays a man upon whom everyone else projects what they wish, and interprets him accordingly. Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden and Richard Dysart co-star, and there’s a set piece, utilizing a Deodato instrumental, that is cinema perfection.


HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: Chelsea Handler. Max Brooks. Rebecca Traister. Bill McKibben. Carl Bernstein. This is Bill Maher’s last show of the season, and it sure sounds like he intends to go out not with a whimper… but with a bang. The week’s top headlines, from tax bills to Al Franken, should provide all the fuel he needs for a big verbal bonfire.

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Is there a mention here of the final season of Longmire dropping tonight on Netflix?
Nov 17, 2017   |  Reply
Yes! Yes! Yes! Sam Bee WILL have an amazing show tonight! Overage creep at a mall seeking underage girls,signing yearbooks,asking Mommy if it is OK to date a child. A Bannon Breitbart Bad Boy walking through a field of broken Keurig machines!
Just saw the incredible segment on MSNBC today with Ali Veshi & Stephanie Rhule interviewing Ray Moore's attorney,Trenton Garmon. Looked up Garmon's law office website-it is a personal injury operation. Have ambulance,will chase. Paging Saul Goodman! Trenton is your next Cinnabon baker. Maybe an accident in the mixer will make them both rich but joined together in Cinnabon's sticky goo.
Nov 15, 2017   |  Reply
Young Sheldon is a delight. Lots of humor without the canned laughter. I can not watch Big Bang because of its obnoxious sound track - absolutely horrible.
Nov 9, 2017   |  Reply
Canned laughter vs. some of the best writing in sitcom history(exhibit A-Prof. Proton episodes)? Also,I would suspect that knowledge of events in Modern Sheldon's life would bring an added chuckle watching Young Sheldon(exhibit A-Prof. Proton). I'll take some pretend laughs to get some genuine laughs in my life. I was born as TV became a fixture in households so maybe I'm immune from this as an intrusion. Timing is one reason why the giggles are added. Timing is also one reason why giggles are sometimes shortened. Actors breaking up each other can add to the audience laughter,but with only 22 min. of material,those seconds need to be trimmed. That is why editing is so important and when it is invisible,so great. Many a "live" recording in my music collection has turned out to be manipulated with either additional music in a studio to cover mistakes or added audience reactions. Either does not keep me from pulling out the desired album for another listen.
Nov 15, 2017
I don't watch ANY program with canned laughter. Don't understand why anybody does.
Nov 15, 2017
David Clarke
I believe the 'Charles (Manson) in Charge' of AHS was not the season finale but the penultimate episode. Either that or it's a ridiculous cliffhanger for multiple seasons.
Nov 9, 2017   |  Reply
For some reason when people discuss the fact that The Shop Around The Corner/You've Got Mail/She Loves Me were all based on the same play they fail to mention that the play was also the basis for 1949's In The Good Old Summertime starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson and featuring in a seconds long cameo at the end 3 year old Liza Minnelli.
Nov 8, 2017   |  Reply
Keith Robin
I'm right there with you, Professor, as a fan who still has the Drumpfinator installed on my pc. Last week, I had to change my shorts after the first part of the show. John Oliver continues to bring me to tears of laughter whenever he is on!
Nov 5, 2017   |  Reply
11/4 Graham Norton episode has received online uproar. Adam Sandler makes uncomfortable touches on Claire Foy's knee. Ms. Foy has since said she was not offended but the tape appears otherwise. In this era of Harveys & Kevins & Billos-oh my!-it is pretty disgusting. Wonder if the U.S. version gets edited? Adam Sandler - the maker of the least funny films for years. There are a bunch of SNL alum who have made a dud or two, but Sandler has a full blown production company to churn out his crud. Thankfully, the last few tanked, so maybe his audience has aged and left the cinema for Kevin Can Wait, Season 2, and to a new generation of kids just wanting super hero stuff take over the popcorn palaces.
Nov 4, 2017   |  Reply
Wish we here in NYC could watch Big Bang & Young Sheldon, but we're force fed the Jets game
Nov 2, 2017   |  Reply
Keith Robin
You can if you stay up until 3:30 am...WCBS is broadcasting BBT and YS starting at 2:30am, unless you have a dvr, in which case you can set it and watch when at your convenience.
Nov 2, 2017
Those not watching the World Series are missing out of one for the ages. MLB Network is offering a condensed version of Game 5 multiple times between today and Tues., just before Game 6 starts. How they will encapsulate 5 hrs.,21 min. into the two hour slot,I don't know. Hopefully eliminate those sneaky visual ads pushed during the action(note to self:never use T-Mobile or Duracell). If only there was a way to hook up ESPN Radio in sync with the taped action-Dan Shulman & Aaron Boone are stellar. Things were so crazy last night I had to go for a Wawa hoagie run as the game went extra innings. The last time I went for a late-night Wawa hoagie run,NPR called the 2016 election for Trump. I decided to retire during that return trip. Last night-a whoop of elation as your Houston Colt 45s,err,Astros, won(sorry about the noise,neighbors). For those with a Wawa in Pa.,N.J.,Del.,Md.,Va. & Fl.-you know. For all the rest-sorry.
Oct 30, 2017   |  Reply
John m
How can you recommend FEARLESS if it is not actually available where and when you say it is?
Oct 28, 2017   |  Reply
David D
Fearless w/M Gambon not listed on Amazon Prime - anywhere.
Oct 27, 2017   |  Reply
Reiny in Berkeley
Re: Michael Cerveris on Gotham. He also played another "killer" role - Sweeney Todd, opposite Patti LuPone, on Broadway. I also got to see him as Tommy in the Who's rock opera. Incredibly gifted actor. And speaking of Gotham, is it just me, or does this show have the largest concentration of spectacularly beautiful actresses of any on TV?
Oct 26, 2017   |  Reply
While there are alternatives to tonight's TV(World Series),I'm hoping to catch Amy Sedaris at some time. Amy's books seem to give a preview of what may happen. There is a combination of sincerity(she can actually do these projects and is interested in getting others involved) and ridicule(she has a healthy wink-wink that may not be for all tastes).For this she has to go beyond Leigh French's scripted few minutes of dope humor. Gotta use up 22 min. and still want viewers to stay for the ads and come back next week. My advice for TruTV: amass a season of Amy and run two against the morning TV she skewers. This sounds like it could be the Fernwood 2 Night of the cooking/crafting shows. I would watch,but I'm an old white male and TruTV doesn't want me unless I add my name on a class action suit for knee replacement devices or baby powder use pitched by a crazy-eyed blonde. Is there humor to be mined? Hey,this is how Ernie Kovacs started on Philly TV.
Oct 24, 2017   |  Reply
Thanks Linda, while the reviews are good to have for guidance, the usual fall season review link was the best source on the web for the season, to see all of your critics takes on each new show, whether positive or negative....please bring back next season!
Oct 23, 2017   |  Reply
Linda Donovan
We're certainly glad you feel that way, Tom, and appreciate you telling us! Understood. We'll try to do better next year.
Oct 27, 2017
I just want to say, thank you to all who contribute to this wonderful and very helpful site. Kudos!
Oct 23, 2017   |  Reply
Linda Donovan
Thank you, Angela, and thank you for being here with us!
Oct 27, 2017
George Ashur
"I wouldn’t be surprised if the former presidential candidate gets preferential solo treatment, and gets to talk to Norton alone. Power, even when not fully realized in the electoral college, has its privileges." -- Why has Hillary Clinton concluded that she is necessary to our lives? For the love of God, woman, would you please exit the stage?
Oct 21, 2017   |  Reply
Hillary indeed goes solo on the show. Exit the stage? When the DNC or folks running for office do not want her helping,then she might shrink away. But as long as Real News is labeled Fake by those in power,her voice is necessary. Look what happened when Obama returned to campaigning the other day:"Four more years!" We have not heard the last from them. Their kids will be part of the scene as well. For the love of(your deity here),please keep fighting the good fight. Let's start with gerrymandering,voter intimidation,with a goal of having all voters counted in every election by using 21st century technology instead of 18th century standards.
Oct 22, 2017
For better or worse, I don't imagine HRC's going anywhere anytime soon.
Oct 21, 2017
The George Michael: Freedom ‘documentary’ is a farce. Why? Having seen it on Channel 4 in the UK last week, I can tell you it's got real issues of honesty. For instance, (1) the complete omission of anything about Fadi Fawaz, Michael’s partner when he died, and Andrew Ridgeley, Michael's Wham! partner; (2) audio with Michael scattered with fake audio of a guy who sounds like him, but isn't (credits read, “Simon Rutter as George Michael.”) putting into doubt the accuracy of the quotes; and (3) a film produced by Sony Music, who Michael sued, can only be watered down to make Sony look better than they came out. As the Guardian reviewer put it, “(it’s) like seeing that a documentary on Brexit (that) has been funded by the European Union.” Want more reasons? Read The Guardian review at...
Oct 21, 2017   |  Reply
Game 7,ALCS. C.C. Sabathia,Yankees,vs. Charlie Morton,Astros. Game 3,same matchup,in NYC, was a big win for the Yankees. Verlander,who pitched Fri's Astros gem,is possibly available. Heck,everyone is available,including old popcorn vendors like me. Should be lots of scoring on both sides,for a change. Has Fox had only one post season game on the broadcast network? Even tonight, it is FS1 for baseball,while college football is on Fox. Kansas @TCU,while Michigan @ State Penn on ABC and NBC has USC @ Notre Dame,so a Simpsons marathon might fare better.
Oct 21, 2017   |  Reply
Tonight's NLCS info needs the obvious caveat: game 6 & 7 will be played in L.A.-if necessary. We can only hope,if only to skunk a Dodgers-Yankees World Series that makes Fox go nuts with ratings-it will be like Hannity & Billo for a week. Last night's Cubby win and Joe Maddon's ejection for being right will certainly awake Chicago fans,but it is indeed "back against the wall". Meanwhile,The Daily Show is in Chicago this week and Ronny Chieng did a great segment on Chicago style deep dish pizza,how it sucks and how to get the best pizza in the Chicago area---where else,but the Cook County Prison.
Oct 19, 2017   |  Reply
Also, sometimes the site posts stuff shown during the day, and by the time I can check the site (typically in the evening) it is too late to set a DVR. Posting the previous night would be a big help.
Oct 18, 2017   |  Reply
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David Bianculli

Founder / Editor

David Bianculli has been a TV critic since 1975, including a 14-year stint at the New York Daily News, and sees no reason to stop now. Currently, he's TV critic for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and is an occasional substitute host for that show. He's also an author and teaches TV and film history at New Jersey's Rowan University. His 2009 Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour', has been purchased for film rights. His latest, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to the Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific, is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV.