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SUNDAY
JULY 23
2017

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

NBC, 7:00 a.m. ET

The final day of competition features more of the gorgeous conditions that have led to such stellar play and low scores for most of this tournament. Yesterday, Branden Grace from South Africa surged through round three with a record eight-under-par 62, an average of a birdie almost every other hole. (It’s also the first 62 recorded in men’s major championship history.) But even that effort pales to Jordan Spieth’s overall dominance at this year’s British Open. Grace begins this final day at 4 under par for the tournament, while Spieth sits alone in the lead at 11 under, three strokes ahead of the nearest competitor, Matt Kuchar.

 
  
 
 

Discovery, 7:00 p.m. ET

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the TV set: Yes, it’s summer, and Shark Week again, on the Discovery Channel. All this week, the network is filling the water, and its air, with documentaries about sharks – some serious, others about as fanciful as a Sharknado Syfy telemovie. Tonight’s lineup, for example,  begins at 7 p.m. ET with Great White Serial Killer Lives, followed by Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White at 8 ET (relax: the illustration is Photoshopped), Shark-Croc Showdown at 9 ET, and The Great Hammerhead Invasion at 10 ET. And that’s just tonight. Personally, I think much of this Shark Week coverage is nothing but underwater racism. Even in this allegedly enlightened era, it’s all about the Great White…

 
  
 
 

CNN, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s installment of The Nineties is “Can We All Get Along?,” and is about racially charged news events of that decade – including Rodney King and the L.A. riots, the O.J. Simpson murder trial, and the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s opener, like most season openers on this show, reset the stage, and the chess board, and put pieces in motion towards one another. Tonight, expect some alliances you’ve never seen before, and some characters and actors sharing the scene for the first time. It’s getting to be unavoidable, and it’s eagerly anticipated.

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

I’ll say two things about last week’s Twin Peaks. No, I’ll say three, because the continually amassing violence against women – pointed out so presciently by Ed Bark in his season-opening Twin Peaks: The Return review in his Uncle Barky’s Bytes column – shows no signs of abating. That’s a definite issue, as is, by now, the way-too-slow transformation of Dale Cooper back into the character we knew and loved. (Will he ever come back whole?) But here are the two things I wanted to note, two elements of last week’s show that were purely, successfully Lynchian. One was the retro-dressed casino trip of Candie, Mandie, and Sandie (pictured), who move like they’re underwater and act like they’re overdrugged. The other was the closing song performance, a regular feature of Twin Peaks: The Return. Last week was the first time a vocal performance, and the music, fully matched with the old Twin Peaks vibe. Rebekah Del Rio was the singer, “No Stars” was the song, and it was co-written by Del Rio, John Neff, and David Lynch himself. (So no wonder.)
 
  
 
 

PBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

Part 2: This three-part miniseries continues, with Michael Palin’s Tom missing and unaccounted for, as investigators try to sort out the bodies, and mysteries, left behind in his wake. Last week’s opener shifted strongly into paranormal territory – and tonight’s installment has its scares of frights, and apparent ghosts, as well. Check local listings.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 10:30 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: Issa Rae, the star and co-creator of this smartly self-aware sitcom, has not only made a worthy spiritual successor to HBO’s Girls – young women, as friends, trying to cope with life and love in the big city – but done it with two significant tweaks. The city is L.A., not New York, and Issa and her girls are black, not white. Do those changes make a difference? When the writing and acting is in such good hands, absolutely – and here comes Season 2.

 
  
 
 
 
 
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1196 Comments
 
 
Mac
Sat.7/22-TCM has a triple feature of Betty Davis films starting with the Essential All About Eve,with Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey chiming in for what promises to be a bumpy ride,indeed. The next two films also showcase Davis in roles as an actress:The Star and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. I bring these to folks attention after the recent FX series surrounding the real backstory ill will between Davis & Joan Crawford when filming Baby Jane. What's all the hubbub,bub? It's on display tonight.
Jul 22, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Anytime Rear Window rears it pretty little head,it is time to look out for the real David Seville(Ross Bagdasarian) before he turned his rodent problem a profit when he found out the chimpunks living in his house could sing,Raymond Burr and even Frank Cady,before he opened up his general store in Hooterville as Sam Drucker in Petticoat Junction & Green Acres.
Jul 21, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Ed Q
Ditto on Friends from College. Perhaps it's just that the cast is incredible but I enjoyed the series. It's not always perfect and they're not always likable but it's pretty good tv during a summer lull
Jul 18, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
jim
Richard Lester's "Three Musketeers" is a wonderfully entertaining movie, but incomplete without it's somewhat darker sequel "The Four Musketeers" The fact that the cast thought they were filming one movie which turned out to be two movies led to several lawsuits. Whatever. The movies themselves are great fun.
Jul 17, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Joe in SF
If you’re going to start recommending movies based on candy bars, your 7/17 pick is a good one. Much better than any Kit Kat videos currently playing on YouTube.
Jul 17, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Tom Cellupica
Correction: the Dali dream sequence is in Spellbound, not Notorious. In that one, the wine bottle sequence is classic.
Jul 14, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
George Ashur
You do know, don't you, that America's Got Talent has been airing for six weeks, and that tonight's one hour episode is a recap of the first six weeks of auditions? You wrote it up as if tonight was the season premiere.

(By the way, I find AGT to be hugely entertaining, and a real diversion from everything else going on in the world.)
Jul 13, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
PAUL S SCHATZ
I am usually in agreement with your reviews. However I have found the Penn and Teller show amusing. It's not must see TV. But it is fun to watch the various magicians try to stump these guys
Jul 13, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
7/13-...or,spend 2 &1/2 hrs.with the epic 1937 adventure,Lost Horizon,(8PM-TCM)directed by Frank Capra and TCM's Star of the Month,Ronald Colman. Action,fantasy,mystery,romance,special effects,political stuff that resonates today-a then-record high to produce,at one time,a six-hour film(never released commercially at that length and much lost footage)there is now a restored version(though it does include some audio-only sections with stills)that is probably much different if you remember this from commercial TV showings in the past.
Columbia didn't recoup its investment till later re-releases,yet gambled on a 1973 musical version which almost ruined the studio.It also ended the famed Bacharach/David music team and was the last 5th Dimesnion hit. This was the last film made by Ross Hunter. I walked out on the original roadshow version. Liv Ulmann's singing(dubbed) and dancing(can't dub dancing) did it for me. Bad beyond belief,while the original shown tonight is great! Great book,too!
Jul 13, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Stories trickling about Manning's time on field-e.g.- in his rookie year,he was given hearing aids by a coach so he could hear the huddle info-that's a big N-O,buddy! Add to that,the turmoil at ESPN as they lose their cash cow status from Daddy Disney and fire lots of people because so many smart folks(I'm not one of them) have cut the cable. These are some reasons to not view ESPY awards. They add a free night to ABC's dreadful Summer schedule while behind- the- scenes there is less to see and fewer to report about it.
Instead,make it a night of Hitchcock,ending with Sabobteur: Dr. Auschlander (Norman Lloyd from St. Elsewhere) as the unforgettable Frank Fry and comic actor Bob Cummings in a role you will never forget. I saw this decades ago on commercial TV and it scared me more than any horror film. And Lloyd,at 102 years,still is acting.
Jul 12, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
cheryl
No mention of the World Series of Poker? On ESPN, and they are not delaying the final until November this year.
Jul 9, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
With many early Hitchcock films showing up as bootlegged DVDs,these TCM showings should spur folks to steer towards legitimate authorized versions.
Jul 7, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Reiny in Berkeley
The "Bulldog Drummond " song reference was not in a song by the Searchers, but rather was called Searchin'. It was a Leiber and Stoller song written for the Coasters, and as DB says, covered memorably by the Beatles. It also name checks Boston Blackie, another detective whose films TCM is currently showing.
Jul 6, 2017   |  Reply
 
Reiny in Berkeley
And also Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Sergeant Friday, Charlie Chan, and the Northwest Mounties!
Jul 6, 2017
 
 
 
Mac
Ronald Colman had a pretty interesting career in radio and TV. Colman and his second wife,Benita Hume,proved to be such comic fodder to Jack Benny,that The Halls of Ivy,was created by the longtime writer of Fibber McGee & Molly,Don Quinn. While much of early TV was low brow and full of middle class situations,The Halls of Ivy was about a college president and his wife. Radio-1950-52,NBC. TV- 1954-55-CBS. Info from Wiki,but I have heard some of the Colman/Benny stuff and it is fun. Seems like one of the Pythons could have revived this idea while John Cleese went into the hotel business with Fawlty Towers. Or- Wiliam Daniels and his wife,Bonnie Bartlett(did everyone notice her in Better Call Saul? 88 years old and still a scene stealer).
Jul 6, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Keith E Robin
Thanks for the heads-up about Hitchcock's early work on TCM. Their schedule also shows that there are three more films after "Blackmail": "Murder!" at 6:45am; "The Skin Game" at 8:30am; "Rich and Strange" at 10am; and following an installment of MGM Parade, "Psycho" will be on at noon. Hitchcock fans rejoice!
Jul 5, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
jim
If I was to pick a song from The Music Man that described what has made the country what it is I think I would select "Trouble" A huckster manipulating the narrow minded prejudices of the populace to make a buck. I'm not so cynical that I think that's all there is to America, but it certainly sounds like the America we live in today. Sad. Actually, I love this film and if I'm going to spend a couple of hours in the company of a huckster I much prefer Robert Preston's Henry Hill to the one that confronts us all on a daily basis.
Jul 4, 2017   |  Reply
 
Mac
On further reflection on this quote,I want to see someone do a parody with Shipoopi-title it Covfefe and just watch the fun. A shame that most young voters would not get the reference. I just looked up the history of "covfefe" and can't believe that it only appeared May 31st,less than eight weeks ago. It seems that the nonsense has been going on longer than that. It has but we only had "alternative facts" to describe these past two years:"Covfefe,covfefe-the facts that Don makes up!" And Buddy Hackett,RIP, would have done this justice.
Jul 10, 2017
 
 
Angela
Well said. Though I thought you'd be watching the Twilight Zone. ;-)
Jul 4, 2017
 
 
 
Mac
7/4-TCM rules,even though they just had YDD on Sunday. YDD,1776,TMM-then,Miss Firecracker,a Holly Hunter treat. The problem with the PBS A Capitol Fourth is host John Stamos,who will possibly force himself on the touring Beach Boy band,which has only one true BB-Mike Love,1/2 a BB,Bruce Johnston,Jeff Foskett,who used to front Brian Wilson's touring band and a Cowsill( remember them?-he ain't bad,but he ain't a real BB). Likewise,there is only one real Blues Bros. showing up on the show-Ackroyd. There is a local (Lehigh Valley) Blues Brotherhood tribute band which often features original horn arranger Bones Malone(they guy who wore colorful stuff in the CBS Orchestra) & Lou Marini. If they show up near you,check out the lineup and see a great show!
Jul 4, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
I was sorry to see that Season Two of "Cleverman" on the Sundance Channel wasn't one of your highlights last Wednesday. The season premiere plus extras are available on their web site. It airs Wednesdays at 10pm Eastern.
Jul 3, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
Reiny
It's true that Paris is featured in A Little Romance, but the real star is actually Venice. In fact it is the focus of the whole "little romance" A very charming movie well worth your time.
Jun 30, 2017   |  Reply
 
Mac
As good as a romance can get. Both the guy and the girl are super smart,combining their talents to make a great couple. Little touches like the autographed photo of Robert Redford,(the biggest movie star at the time,due to the guy directing the film) and Broderick Crawford's bombastic Trumpian portrayal of "himself" are quite unexpected and keep the viewer to pay attention to details here. The music did get an Oscar and was one of the first LPs released by Varese Sarabande,a label that would make its mark with soundtracks but ALR never achieved the audience it deserved. 40 years later and Lane currently stars in a film set in France,Paris Can Wait.
Jul 1, 2017
 
 
 
Mac
Music for Time For Sushi is Dynamoog,1978, by Jean-Jacques Perry & Gilbert Silrist. Perrey was an early Moog synthesiser proponent. The track also appears on a 2002 CD comp,La Pulpe 2 and shows up on You Tube. Perrey can be seen on You Tube in a 1960 I've Got A Secret episode with a pre-Moog instrument,the Ondioline,used in the 1960 film,Spartacus. Perrey just died last Nov.
Jun 30, 2017   |  Reply
 
EG
Thanks, Mac!
Jun 30, 2017
 
 
Mac
I forgot to add special mention to the cameo in Time For Sushi ,3:13, by Mitch McConnell. Vacation day away from putting together Trumpcare. Imagine Albert Einstein watching this and exclaiming:"Time for Sushi! After Time For Beany!"
Jun 30, 2017
 
 
 
 
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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 and his latest, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to the Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific, is now available at Amazon. The paperback version will be released fall, 2017.

 
 

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 available on Amazon for $20. (Paperback will be available September 5th, here.)

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. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

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