Amazon Prime Video, 3:00 a.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: This 10-part comedy series begins streaming today on Amazon – and it’s a period comedy poking fun at and recalling the 1980s, in the same vein as ABC’s The Goldbergs or Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. Like the latter, Red Oaks takes place during the summer – in this case, the summer of 1985, at a country club in New Jersey. David Meyers (Craig Roberts) is a high school kid who finds work as an assistant tennis pro, and tries to make contacts among the wealthy patrons while following his heart, as he’s torn between two very different young women. The adults have most of the best scenes – among the stars here are Jennifer Grey and Richard Kind as David’s mismatched parents, and Paul Reiser as an ultra-competitive rich guy. Steven Soderberg is one of then executive producers here, but the creators are Gregory Jacobs and Joe Gangemi, whose individual credits stress drama much more than comedy. And it shows, though the period details alone make Red Oaks of more than passing interest.

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

PREMIERE: This documentary begins streaming today on Netflix – though, at least for now, you have to search for it by title, because it isn’t being displayed prominently the morning of its launch. Maybe it’s because it’s a subtitled political documentary about the rise of civil unrest in the Ukraine against its oppressive leader and police force. Because it unfolds day by day, and uses multiple camera views (as well as eyewitness accounts) to capture the growing protests against isolation from Europe and the brutality of police against students, Winter of Fire is captivating, and doesn’t need subtitles to get its message across. It’s like watching civil rights footage from the Southern U.S. during the 1950s and 1960s, or barricaded French resisters immortalized in Les Miserables – except this was just last year, half a world away, and people are still fighting for many of the same ideals: among them, freedom and human dignity.

MLB Network, 12:30 p.m. ET

It’s postseason baseball all afternoon and all evening – though you have to watch three different networks to see all four games. Starting things off, on the MLB Network at 12:30 p.m. ET, is Game 2 between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto is favored to win the entire Series – but that didn’t keep them from losing Game 1, despite home-field advantage. Then, at 3:30 p.m. ET, to find the other American League playoff game, turn to Fox Sports 1, for Game 2 of the Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals contest. Kansas City had home-field advantage – and, once again, the road team won the opening game. Counting wild-card games, the visiting teams are now 4-0 in this year’s postseason play.

TBS, 5:30 p.m. ET

The more baseball history you know, the more meaningful these National League playoff games seem to be. The first of today’s two contests, Game 1 of the Chicago Cubs vs. the St. Louis Cardinals contest, pits these two teams against one another for the first time in postseason play.  And, of course, the Cubs are on a long-standing quest, because the team hasn’t won a World Series since… well, even casual fans know the rest. And after that game, another National League Game 1, this one featuring the New York Mets at the Los Angeles Dodgers, begins at 9:30 p.m. ET. And baseball fans who know their history know full well, even if they’re not old enough to remember firsthand, when the Dodgers were a team from Brooklyn.

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: I was surprised when this marginal sitcom was renewed, and closer to shocked when it was announced that, after an experiment with a live telecast last season, would be performing this entire season live – the first sitcom to do so since Fox’s Roc revived the once-universal practice for the 1992-93 TV season. One difference:  Before it went live, Roc was funny.

NBC, 9:00 p.m. ET

In this two-hour special edition of Dateline NBC, the topic and title are: The Cosby Accusers Speak. And what makes this especially interesting is that it’s presented by NBC, the network that, three decades ago, Bill Cosby almost singlehandedly revived with the popularity of The Cosby Show. And, two decades before that, made monumental strides for minorities on TV by co-starring on I Spy. But the accusations by all these women (27 of them appear en masse in this special alone) appear to be not only tarnishing those accomplishments, but overwhelmingly overshadowing them. And, if the accusations are true, as their sheer number would suggest, with good reason…

A&E, 10:00 p.m. ET

MINISERIES PREMIERE: Acquired from Great Britain, this three-part miniseries plays like, and feels like, a lower-budget, lower-profile version of The Exorcist – and, like that blockbuster thriller, comes from a book telling of the possession of a young girl. This case, based on an actual account, dates back to 1977 in London, when an 11-year-old girl, played by Eleanor Worthington-Cox, begins acting strangely – even for a pre-teen girl. Co-stars include Timothy Spall and Juliet Stevenson.
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" Well, for starters, Noah is biracial, from South Africa"

Why is race an issue?
Sep 28, 2015   |  Reply

Casey, I don't because you are not making any sense.
Sep 29, 2015
Because it's completely cool to have a biracial person in such a high-visibility role on a program known for its focus on politics and other matters our culture cares about. Clearly, race is still an issue, world-wide. This placement is part of the necessary effort to make it NOT an issue. See?
Sep 28, 2015
Keith Robin
I watch "Fear the Walking Dead" and I'm willing to give it time to develop. It is, after all, an origin story. But I can't believe that the characters are written to have absolutely no knowledge of a "Zombie Apocalypse"! If the show was set in the early 50's or even earlier, I could understand, but it appears to take place in the late 20th Century so surely someone has seen or heard of "Night of...Dawn of...Day of the Living Dead" or 28 Days Later"! It's as if no one on this program ever watches television, goes to the movies or READS. I don't get it.
Sep 27, 2015   |  Reply
Well, most of us manage to keep the ideas conveyed in movies and books about zombies firmly in the realm of FANTASY. And, believe it or not, many, many people would respond to mention of the "Zombie Apocalypse" with a bemused "Wut"? Only in the minds of highly suggestible and/or apocalyptically obsessed people would early signs of radical disorder suggest a damned future.

Of course, there IS one character, Tobias, the pimply kid ensconced deep in the bowels of the high school, who is totally clued in. Turns out he's a brilliant nerd, a bullied outcast, and probably a survivor, in contrast to the likely believer I described above. That, by itself, illustrates the fictional, imaginative, fantastical nature of this series.
Sep 28, 2015
Alan Hinton
One of the amnesia series was Coronet Blue with Frank Converse. I don't remember the other one (pun intended).
Sep 27, 2015   |  Reply
So it was Veep's, Olive Kittridge, Game of Thornes, Jon Hamm's year! With the Emmys over its time for the new Fall TV season to begin!
Sep 21, 2015   |  Reply
kurt reinhardt
Seattle MOST CERTAINLY did not go on to win Super Bowl XLIX!! They lost to New England in the most watched event in television history. Wishful thinking, or not a Patriots fan? Those who don't know history are doomed to watch the History Channel, or at least ESPN.
Sep 20, 2015   |  Reply
Kurt - Quite right. And up here in Boston we still regularly watch replays of Malcom Butler's pick. And every time, the result is the same -- Pats win! --EG
Sep 21, 2015
How perfect of you not to give away the details in your recommendation of the Carol Burnett Kevin Spacey bit on the Late Show. I saw it live and guessed what was coming, but it will be fun for folks who missed it to perhaps be surprised.
Sep 19, 2015   |  Reply
Linda Donovan
Thanks, MJ! And how wonderful of you to find a way around it, as well. Nicely done!
Sep 19, 2015
I keep reading about the slowness of The Bastard Executioner and I'm not a fan of slow moving plots but I still want to and will give it a try.
Sep 15, 2015   |  Reply
George Ashur
"Last Tuesday, broadcast TV premiered the most eagerly anticipated series of the year: Late Show with Stephen Colbert." -- Hmm, methinks not.
Sep 15, 2015   |  Reply
Alan Hinton
David:I believe James Garner's Nichols came after Rockford and before Bret Maverick. And yes, it was a very good show.
Sep 13, 2015   |  Reply

Garner was in 2 different Maverick series,
before and after the other 2 shows, you are
both right.
Sep 14, 2015
What do you think of Married on FX?
Sep 12, 2015   |  Reply
As hopeful that Colbert will crush the Jimmys and restore intelligent dialogue to the first tier of late night talk shows(leaving some wiggle room for James Corden), Lorne Michaels control on pre=planned You Tube friendly bits may be a difficult mountain to conquer. Michaels has accelerated the pace to dumbness paved by Leno. CBS seemed to be satisfied with Dave as #2, and as long as those Thursday movie trailer ads continue to foot the bill,Colbert will be given plenty of time to find a wide audience. The formula is still pretty cheap to produce with decent profits.
Sep 8, 2015   |  Reply
Keith Robin
Jan, I'm so glad to hear you are a fan of "WTS". A real shame NBC didn't give it a chance!
They broadcast four episodes before cancellation, because "Gustav's Dog" is episode three. So you can start with four and they'll all be new to you. Watch for a great cameo in episode five.
This is the only program I have ever recommended to a friend who then agreed with me 100% that it was an outstanding comedy. Hulu, Netflix, Crackle, anyone?
Sep 7, 2015   |  Reply
Thank you! That helps me a lot. Now I know what to look for.
Sep 8, 2015
I was 10 at the time this originally aired and it would be a few years later when I turned 14 while on a school trip to Gettysburg in which I finally realized the importance of & became fascinated by The Civil War.I am thrilled to finally get to watch Ken Burns documentary.
Sep 7, 2015   |  Reply
Keith Robin
Re: TV We're Watching-"Welcome To Sweden", NBC Sundays, 8pm ET...I have bad news and I have good news: NBC canceled this marvelously funny show several weeks ago and stopped airing it. The good news is you can watch all the episodes on YouTube!
Sep 6, 2015   |  Reply
I love Welcome to Sweden, and I think I watched every episode they broadcast. Do you have any idea which episode comes next? I can't remember how many they did this second season, but it didn't seem like that many. When I look on YouTube, I can't tell where I left off. The last one I saw was the one where the brother stole someone's dog, and everyone was going on a skiing trip. I loved that episode.
Sep 6, 2015
Glenn Jackson
Really love your website. Worth checking daily. Thanks for all the work you do to make it available to us.
Just finished watching Narcos. I agree with your comments but think it is worth at least an A+.
Sep 6, 2015   |  Reply
My mom and I felt the same way about this season of Under the Dome.I have fast forward through mostof it and think I missed the "sex goo" part, ah well but I will watch every second of the last two.
Sep 3, 2015   |  Reply
Martha J. Winkler
Because of YOU, David Bianculli, I got to call all my friends and family (ok, not all of them, that would take all night) and say, a la Paul Revere, "The Whales Are Coming! The Whales Are Coming!" This moment would not have happened without TV Worth Watching. Thank you, sir.
Sep 1, 2015   |  Reply
Sean Dougherty
Goodfellas is not 50 years old.
Sep 1, 2015   |  Reply
Divid wrote, "...this year is the movie’s *silver* anniversary." as in silver for anything that has completed a 25 year mark.
Sep 1, 2015

Mr. Robot finale has been postponed and
will now air next Wednesday,
September 2 at 10 PM.
Aug 27, 2015   |  Reply
I hope you give a shout out to Sabado Gigante in the coming weeks before it's series finale. 53 years on the air with the same host deserves some kudos.
Aug 25, 2015   |  Reply
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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.

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