MONDAY
NOVEMBER 11
2019

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

YouTube Premium, 3:00 a.m. ET

DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE: If the segments on Johnny Cash in Ken Burns’ Country Music left you hungry for more, here’s more. You have to pay for it, by subscribing to You Tube’s premium service – but it’s the best lure yet for people who are loath to sign up for yet another streaming service.
 
  
 
 

ESPN, 8:00 p.m. ET

Now that the New England Patriots have fallen, there’s only one undefeated team remaining in the NFL this season: the 8-0 San Francisco 49ers, who tonight try to extend their perfect streak by battling the 7-2 Seattle Seahawks.
 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

TCM has a really inventive double feature on hand tonight: Two war movies that share the same essential premise and structure, yet one is a straight drama adventure, while the other is just as exciting, yet improbably and intentionally comic. The first, at 8 p.m. ET, is 1967’s The Dirty Dozen, starring Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson. The second, at 10:45 p.m. ET, is 1970’s Kelly’s Heroes, starring Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, and Don Rickles. Both movies, amazingly, feature Donald Sutherland in a supporting role. In Kelly’s Heroes, he’s brilliant as the anachronistic hippie-ish tank commander Oddball (pictured) – whom I misidentified, in my YouTube video yesterday for TVWW’s Best TV Tomorrowas Oddjob. Oddjob, of course, threw his razor-sharp hat into the ring, and at James Bond, in Goldfinger. My favorite Best TV Tomorrow mistake to date – but we’ve only been doing these for a few weeks, and since I’m speaking without a script, I promise to make many more embarrassing errors. Collect them all. Trade with friends…
 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s series premiere introduced Lyra, the young orphan (played by Dafne Keen) with latent mystical powers, and the woman (played by the always dynamic Ruth Wilson) who takes the youngster under her wing. Tonight, the apprenticeship begins, and the mystical plots thicken…
 
  
 
 

PBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

Afghan and Iraqi interpreters have served bravely for years in Afghanistan and Iraq, working with U.S. troops to connect and converse with the locals. Now that the troops are reducing their military presence, those interpreters are targeted and in danger, unless the U.S. protects them by supporting them and their families as welcome immigrants to our country. But is there such a policy? Or more like the reverse? Check local listings.
 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
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1783 Comments
 
 
Mary B.
Does Chicago P.D. have something against pizza? In two recent episodes, screenwriters have put words in characters' mouths that associate pizza with crimes.. interesting. Is the reason snobbery or flinching at the proportions in the formula for a radius or diameter? Are the writers on diets, or did they have bad experiences with pizza?
Nov 9, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
In my days as a warehouse schlemiel(3 yrs. out this week),I told my supervisors that in place of employment applications and interviews,simply ask how many hours of Sesame Street the candidate absorbed. That would tell the employer the person knows the letters of the alphabet,knows numbers up to 20,and how to cooperate. Give them directions to the rest room,tell them when to take a break,when to leave and come back next time,and there is the Model Warehouse Schlub.
Nov 9, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Double checking those TCM entries for 11/8: 8PM,The Big Picture. 10PM-Tootsie. 12:15AM-Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. The films listed on the TVWW blurb aired 11/7.
Nov 8, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
OOPS-11/29,not 11/28.
Nov 7, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Black Friday,11/28,is actually Pink Friday on TCM. Five Pink Panthers,back to back to back to back to back-all Sellers, Blake Edwards,Mancini. Pink Panther,Shot In The Dark,Return of ,Strikes Again and Revenge of. All with DePatie/Freleng animated titles. Fun fact-Plas Johnson,who did the iconic sax solo for PP,is still alive at 88. From 10AM to 8PM. Stay outta the stores,get off Amazon and enjoy over leftovers,or a Wawa Gobbler,if you have access in your area.
Nov 7, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
The "Image Makers" documentary will be repeated on TCM 11/9@6:15PM,11/13@4:30PM and 11/27@2:15AM(really 11/28). Each Wed. in Nov., is filled(not just prime time) by some of the greatest films ever made,and some of them premieres/rarities to TCM. It is a classroom study of why the cinematographer is so important to a film. So important,as noted in the film, the credit frame for Citizen Kane lists Orson Welles as director and Gregg Toland,cinematographer just underneath. Both names in the same frame, on a near-equal basis.
Nov 7, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Randy
Let Comcast know how you feel. Does it make any sense to move TCM to the Sports package?
Nov 6, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
Folks should know that this Comcast screwing is titled the "Sports and Entertainment" package,so basically they are putting a premium price on channels many folks use more than others. In the age of cord cutting and subscription,Comcast feels they can charge an extra fee,with a laissez faire attitude. My cable system already screws us with Comcast/NBC Sports offerings which add lots to the bill. Big Ten Sports,foreign language,religious(all organized religions are porn to me),cooking/food/travel channels-I don't cook or travel ,reality scum, Fox News &Fox Business,duplicate networks(2 Fox,2 My,2 CWs,2 weather,multiple kiddie fare(anything Disney),yet no Looney Tunes.
Comcast's explanation,found online,speaks out of both sides of their cable. They say TCM viewership is low,yet term the tier for the new resting home is termed "popular".In 2019 jargon,is Trumpian. They don't care.
Nov 7, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
11/1 TCM Dennis Miller line up is indeed tempting,even including Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. In 1964,under the Christmas tree,I received an 8mm silent truncated version. I've played these few minutes over and over. Universal owned the movie versions of many "monsters". They owned A&C. Comedy & horror-it worked. Dracula,Frankenstein's monster,the Wolf Man and a special cameo,along with the expected Lou sees stuff while Bud doesn't. Worked for me as a kid-still considered on of the best A&C mashups. Dated,but still fun. A day after Halloween yet better than many of the stuff aired these past few days. With Dennis Miller hosting,I have to avoid intos & outros-usually a plus on TCM-Miller males these unbearable.
Nov 1, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
jan
Our cable company--Comcast--took away my TCM. It's part of the sports package now, and you have to pay for it. I can't tell you how disappointed I am. (Just had to vent somewhere.)
Oct 31, 2019   |  Reply
 
jan
I'm definitely not holding my breath, Joe. Comcast also took away one of our PBS networks--of course, the one I watched the most. It has never come back in over a year, and yet we have 2 channels that broadcast the same PBS out of Chicago. I hate Comcast.
Nov 1, 2019
 
 
Joe in SF
I hear you, Jan. Same thing happened to me. I hope Comcast changes that back, but I am not holding my breath.
Nov 1, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
Baby shark,doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby shark.
Mommy shark. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Mommy shark.
Daddy shark. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Daddy shark.
Grandma shark .Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Grandma shark.
Grandpa shark. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Grandpa shark.
Let's go hunt. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Let's go hunt.
Run away. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Run away.
Safe at last. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Safe at last.
It's the end. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. It's the end!
Opening day-3/26/20. 30 teams. 15 games. Life begins again.
Oct 31, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
Tom- Humbling moment,adding to the fun. I was playing the video of Baby Shark for the kid who lives across the hall(she turns 3 in a few months),hoping to show her that the old white guy living across the hall is up to date and hip. Turns out,she has been into all of the Baby Shark stuff for months(including their take on other kid songs) with her Kindle Fire-style device. This kid just beams! Today, at a diner,a kid in a nearby booth was playing Baby Shark on his device.
Even this Phillies fan loves this. I wonder how Misterogers would respond to all of this? I think he would smile,as long as it is mixed in with other kid stuff.
Nov 5, 2019
 
 
Tom
Mac shark,doo doo doo doo doo doo. Mac shark
Nov 1, 2019
 
 
 
"Theatre of Blood" is the summit of Price's marvelous career, fiendish and ingenious. I saw it at a drive-in when it was still new and found it hilariously twisted. "Pit" is somber and slow, but it has images that have haunted me for decades. All that's missing tonight is a show of "The Conqueror Worm."
Oct 31, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Late afternoon TCM alert. A Face In the Crowd,showing up in the daytime "Hollywood hillbillies" theme,shows up(5:45PM) and it is impossible to measure the foreshadowing of modern TV news mixing politics and entertainment that is part of the current day. Andy Griffith,in a role as spooky as any Oct. horror film(film debut), turns from country bumpkin to opinion maker,while adding a healthy dose of a sex scandal and betrayal as a subplot. Amazing cast includes Patricia Neal,Lee Remick(film debut),Tony Franciosa and Walter Matthau. Followed by a night of Godzilla,but here is the real monster,smilin' and strummin' a geetar. Scheduled after the Godzilla nonsense,(actually Fri.10/26@2:15AM), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,co-written by Roger Ebert. Really. Still rated NC-17(originally X). A Fox release,now Disney owned.
Oct 25, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
jim
Am I the only person who is just bored to death with everything and anything having to do with zombies?
Oct 24, 2019   |  Reply
 
jan
I'm with you. And I quit watching "The Walking Dead" several seasons ago. Boring!
Oct 25, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
To put Friday's World Series game coming from Washington D.C. in perspective: Last night(10/24) David recommended the Marx Bros.' Duck Soup-my favorite comedy.possibly my favorite film. Duck Soup was released 11/23/1933. The last World Series game played in D.C. occurred 10/7/1933- 41 days earlier. A 10 year old kid listening to a broadcast on either CBS or NBC radio would be 96 today.
Oct 24, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
KXAS Ch. 5,Dallas-Fort Worth,an NBC Comcast O&O station,delayed news of a tornado by six minutes while broadcasting the Cowboys/Eagles NFL game Sunday(20). Enough time to maybe get to a safe place. Station openly acknowledged the screw up,giving the usual: "...we're doing everything in our power to make sure this does not happen again."
Recent baseball ALCS airings via Fox/FS1 split the screentime with a whiskey ad when the action was low. Things are dull,get liquored up. The ad grabbed the audio. Standard practice.
Maybe boycott a scripted show to see ratings tank(This Is Us,I'm looking at you).Might wake up these conglomerates. FCC/FEMA are worthless,as proven in the past. Companies can get in trouble for broadcasting an exposed woman's breast on TV,but not held in contempt for putting the audience in harm's way by delaying life saving information. TV Worth Saving Lives not part of the responsibility of holding a license
Oct 22, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
The Haunting-another Robert Wise film. Curse of the Cat People. The Day the Earth Stood Still. Tribute To A Bad Man.I Want To Live. Odds Against Tomorrow. West Side Story. The Sound of Music. Andromeda Strain. Excellence in every genre.
Oct 17, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
10/16-Megyn Kelly comes out swinging against NBC News on Tucker @ Fox. NBC paid Kelly the remaining $30 million on her contract,with a nondisparagement clause but no non-compete clause. Her big criticism aimed at NBC about Weinstein & Laurer:"The question is open as to whether NBC put dollars ahead of decency." They hired her,right? Meanwhile,the trailer for Bombshell,centering on Gretchen Carlson and Co.-aka The Women At Fox When Roger Ailes Was Still Alive comes out same day. Does the real Kelly realize she is promoting the film? "Unknowing" seems to be part of her DNA. The film has heavy Oscar buzz. Take a look at the entire cast and lots of real footage-looks like the real Brian Kilmeade & Steve Doocy with Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson in the middle via special effects. Real Trump news footage-no SFX needed. 12/20 in theatres. Can't wait.
Oct 17, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Anne
The game tonight (Monday 10/14) starts at 7:38pm.
Oct 14, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
After a pretty lame opening,I passed on the resat of 10/12 SNL(Woody Harrelson-you're no Joe Biden You weren't two weeks ago,either). Missed the trailer for Grouch,which looks better than Joker. Find it online. Laugh.
Oct 13, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Matt Alpern
RIP Marshall Efron. For those of you not familiar with this brilliantly funny man, go to YouTube and read the well written obit in the NY Times,

Matt A.
Oct 11, 2019   |  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.