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FRIDAY
APRIL 29
2016

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

PREMIERE: This Netflix movie premiere, written, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais, is based on a 2009 French comedy, Envoyes Tres Speciaux, but is adapted and updated to fit Gervais’ comedy styles and rhythms. He plays a nebbishy radio producer teamed up with a glamorous, vain radio reporter, who together are dispatched to cover a possible coup in Ecuador. When their passports and other travel papers and cash are accidentally trashed on the way to the airport, the two decide to hole up in hiding and fake their war reports, hidden safely near their New York radio headquarters. None of it makes any credible sense if you examine too closely, but Gervais, as always, casts his projects with people who are enjoyable to watch. Eric Bana plays the egotistical radio reporter (do those still exist?), and the women get the best roles: Vera Farmiga from Bates Motel as Gervais’s opportunistic and unfaithful wife, Kelly Macdonald from Boardwalk Empire as his empathic co-worker, and America Ferrera from Ugly Betty as a dim but well-meaning co-conspirator. It’s a rather slight film, and predicable, but still pleasant and entertaining.

 
  
 
 

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

PREMIERE: This is a new documentary about the murder of Dave Schultz, the wrestler allegedly killed by millionaire John E. du Pont in 1996. The real-life murder case already was dramatized in the 2014 movie Foxcatcher, with Steve Carell playing du Pont – but where that story ended, Team Foxcatcher keeps going. It also shows lots of home movies by the wrestlers befriended and housed by du Pont, bringing a sense of intimacy to the environment and case being reexamined. Very spooky – and very good.
 
  
 
 

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

Part 5. This is a fascinating episode of this repeat documentary series, showing how the nation and its leaders responded during the Great Depression – with the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was a great idea then, and seems like a good one today as well. Check local listings.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

Among tonight’s guests: actor, director and political activist Rob Reiner.

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

On his previous TV show, Totally Biased, W. Kamau Bell seemed straightjacketed by the show’s rigorously divided format – but on this first standup special of his, he roams the stage and his subject matter freely. Watch and see. And laugh.

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
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806 Comments
 
 
Keith Robin
UPDATE! Sorry to inform everyone that the date and time I listed on 4/25, have apparently been changed. David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies, according to the Smithsonian Channel website, is scheduled to be cablecast on Saturday, May 7, 2016, starting at 6pm EDT. This is preceded by two other productions: Micro Monsters with David Attenborough: Conflict and Flying Monsters with David Attenborough. And, there are two more hours after the three-part CotS, that will run, with selected shows repeated all the way to 1am!
Detailed information is available at http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/tv-schedule/20160507
Apr 29, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
Re: David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies...information that would have been useful YESTERDAY!!! And to add insult to injury, David, 6AM? 6AM? Do you know how many times in the last fortnight I have come to this website in MID-morning, only to find the previous day's recommendations? I had an early a.m. doctor's appointment, so I didn't see today's TVWW until after 12N...what time was the website for Mon April 25th updated? OK, my rant is over and believe me, my appreciation for your enthusiastic recommendation prompted me to seek and find the following more timely and, hopefully, useful information: the three episodes of DA's CotS will be shown again Saturday, April 30th, 2016, on the Smithsonian Channel starting at 3pm EDT. I hope all your loyal followers will take advantage of the opportunity. Thank you again for bringing this to everyone's attention-I know your intentions were well-intended; thanks to you and your staff for continuing to enlighten us.
Apr 25, 2016   |  Reply
 
Bob516
Keith, I guess everyone who runs this website should have a daily conference call with you to make sure their schedule is planned around you doctor appointments.
Apr 29, 2016
 
 
 
MJ
Linda - thanks for that great Prince post!! The URL seems to loop a bit - if people want to jump right to the best part - and you shouldn't miss it - start at 5:25
Apr 24, 2016   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
You're welcome, MJ! Glad you enjoyed it as much as we did. I agree with you on the best part -- it's why I tried to sneak the links into the summary to those points in the video -- but thank you for giving everyone the direct info. Talk about must-see TV! It really is very sweet, isn't it?
Apr 25, 2016
 
 
 
Mac
The Gullible Channel-there you go again. Not unlike your April 1st listings,an idea who's time has come. While it's too cheap a shot to simply choose Fox News,if I was programming a real Gullible Channel,I would pick that crazy eye Jeanine Piro as my ongoing hostess to introduce each show. Just wipe some of that foam from around her mouth,as Bill Cosby said in simpler times. Besides a source for reality show repeats,Lots of weight loss ads in-between.I'd have to include a weekly documentary style wanderer like Anthony Bourdain crossing the globe in search of buying bridges not named The Brooklyn. Of course,the show would be titled Gullible's Travels.
Apr 23, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Jim O
I normally agree with your picks but tonight is the premier of The Night Manager and by all accounts, it looks like it is going to be a great show. AnD no mention on your Best Bets?
Apr 19, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
David,as much as Amoeba is a great store(and all I got from there was a t-shirt thanks to a relative living nearby the place)you are not too far from the Princeton Record Exchange (PREX) and my favorite(just blocks away from where I write this),Double Decker Records in Allentown,Pa. The second hand business in vinyl is alive and thriving,while CDs,new or used,plummet in price and desire. But the disappearance of Tower-that was pretty emotional for this vinyl junkie. Anyway,Record Store Day is April 16-time to get my place in line.
Apr 8, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Nancy
Better Call Saul is one of the best shows on TV. The acting is superb and its shot beautifully. Last episode with Saul changing his wardrobe was brilliant. I'm rooting for Mike and Saul even though I know what their future holds. Thanks Vince Gilligan for bringing your art to the landscape.
Apr 2, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Phil
Thanks for wasting our time
Apr 2, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Dan
I'm deserve a punch in the face. I went to my dvr and huh?? Got me!
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Michele
Well done TVWW! You got me.
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
Oh man, I'm definitely old! I was all set for the newest Ken Burns doc, and then I read the first line of the blurb on Game of Thorns and the flash powder exploded - my daughter looked at me and said "It's April 1st, Dad!" You got me good-well done.
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Frank Dracman
I don't give a hoot about the Ashley Simpson ACS, but I'd stand in line for the one about Jessica! Kudos!
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
jeffrey rubin
Well done, David. I was this close to running upstairs and setting my DVR for the Jessica Simpson mini-series. haha
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
joanne
Thanks for the chuckle. Today's April Fools Best Bets are very funny!
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Frank
Thanks for the heads-up about Shellac. I will rush right down to my Way-Back Machine and set it to record the show. As an overly dedicated, or is it desiccated, TV Zombie, your site is the first thing I bite into every morning in order to plan my waking moments.
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Tom
One mistake, Game of Thorns is on Sunday not Friday.
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Joe in SF
How did I miss the first five episodes of 'Hell's Bathroom'? This show smells like a ratings winner. If the show gets preempted and I miss the final tie breaker (paper towels vs. air dryers), I'll be pi$$ed off!
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
Rinnie
Very clever! Love today's offerings. I think y"all outdid yourselves this year. Always look forward to 04/01 Best Bets.
Apr 1, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
MAS
Re the late, great Garry Shandling, for those who want to watch or rewatch "The Larry Sanders Show" HBO has announced they will be putting the entire series on HBO Go later this year (date TBA).
Mar 27, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
jan
As much as I love some shows on BBC America, I am continually frustrated by the fact that they cut so much out to make room for all of the commercials. Why don't they lengthen the shows and leave them complete? Or at least make DVDs available with the complete show on them. Sundance Channel often does the same thing, and even PBS isn't immune. I was watching Prey the other night, and realized that some things that were happening made no sense whatsoever. Just a pet peeve of mine.
Mar 27, 2016   |  Reply
 
SharonGS
Jan, I so agree with you. Does BBC America worry that we might miss another 'Star Trek' episode if they allow enough time to show entire episodes of their British programming with commercials? Does PBS think we're not bright enough to deal with TV schedules that don't start on the hour? On the positive side, FX does allow 'The Americans' to go long, and it's well worth it.
Mar 27, 2016
 
 
 
 
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David Bianculli

Founder / Editor

Behind David in the picture is the first TV owned by his father, Virgil Bianculli, a 1946 Raytheon. (The TV, not his father. His father was a 1923 Italian.) 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 also teaches TV and film history at New Jersey's Rowan University, and his most recent book, 2009's Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, has recently been purchased for film rights.  He's currently at work on another.