WEDNESDAY
MARCH 31
2021

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

I’m not likening the end of TVWW’s 14-year run to the end of life as we knew it… Where daily newspapers and magazines were once the nexus of TV criticism, it seems fair to say this is another reminder that a torch is passing...(continued)
 
  
 
 

I did not have a TV when I grew up. The family moved from city to city, country to country — a life on the road, constantly on the move. I have vague recollections of Doctor Who playing — in flickering black-and-white — in a tiny room in a tiny house during one early childhood memory, but I don't remember much about it, except that I'm pretty sure that incarnation of the Doctor was played by Jon Pertwee and I was terrified of the Daleks...(continued)
 
  
 
 

By now, way too many TV memories are taking up space in my mind.

They leave little room for anything else, except movie plots and Cubs' batting averages. But one vivid memory is basic – a show in which a man simply played records...(continued)
 
  
 
 

There has never been a showcase for smart television criticism quite like TVWW...I may never have to get used to a world without I Love Lucy, but I can't say the same about TVWW. I'm going to have to get used to that. Sort of...(continued)
 
  
 
 

For me, David Bianculli on "Best TV Tomorrow" was TV Worth Watching. 

It was fun streaming along, seeing if David knew what day it was, watching him build to a terrible pun. Every show ending with that Mickey Rooney grin. It was a minute or two with a friend, delivered every day to my inbox. For free!...(continued)

 

 

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
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2105 Comments
 
 
Ken Rehfield
Hi David. Sure miss your daily recommendations. Would you happen to have a recommendation for another site that would do what you have been doing each day? It wouldn't be as good as you (I've been following you since your Daily News days) but at least I would get some guidance for TVWW.
Apr 16, 2021   |  Reply
 
Randy R
I have been wondering the same thing.
Apr 16, 2021
 
 
 
Ed
Hello David,
Always loved your reviews. Sad that the site had ended but like all good things...Any recommendations for online tv reviews not named RT and IMBD? Asking for a friend. Anyway good luck and hope to hear you on FA.
Edwin
Apr 13, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Ed
Hello David,
Always loved your reviews. Sad that the site had ended but like all good things...Any recommendations for online tv reviews not named RT and IMBD? Asking for a friend. Anyway good luck and hope to hear you on FA.
Edwin
Apr 13, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Andrew
I just wanted to say Hi. I had finished reading Platinum Age of Television for the second time, and decided to expand on some of it, first took the 18 categories and added a sixth TV show to make the genres a little more updated. I also added more genres to include, game shows, reality tv, news, sports, talk shows anthology series, late night and more each with six entries that I feel added to evolutionary of television. Lastly, I took all the tv shows and using the classic bracket tournament system, and trying rank the best show out of all of them. The point is, I couldn't do this without your book and your insights to television lore.
Apr 13, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Ed
How many of this community still check this site every day (like I do) to see if David has changed his mind about stepping back from it? ??
Apr 13, 2021   |  Reply
 
Carrie
I check it still almost every day. It is a long standing habit. I do not think he realized how many people loved this site.
Apr 13, 2021
 
 
 
Sandra Dandrade
Thanks David and Mac! Yes, David, you are immortalized as the cold case Frank solved upon his return from his massive stroke. And, mac.. you have been missed. The rights do seem to be a muddle.. think that Fontana/Levinson were, essentially, bought out by NBC Network after season 2 (or 3) as a condition for the show to continue. Good to hear from you both!
Apr 12, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Sandra Dandrade
David: If you are still out there.. you are missed. Perhaps you or someone else can answer a question.. with the incredible proliferation of streaming channels, why still no 'Homicide: Life on the Street?' A great and honorable series and the first masterwork from David Simon. Would love to see it again. Thanks
Apr 5, 2021   |  Reply
 
Mac
Homocide,kinda complete, was released twice on DVD via A&E Networks and,in their infinite cheapness,decided closed captioning was not necessary. Now Shout! Factory has a newer version(2017?) but I have no info about captioning. I do know that Shout! has often avoided the captioning process for many of their physical DVD sets. The Sgout! version is supposed to have the Homicide TV movie ,the Law & Order cross overs(these never show up on L& O cable versions) and the excellent documentary of how they filmed one of the saddest episodes, The Subway(PBS broadcast this along with the episode years ago). There is certainly something screwy about the rights of Homicide. Wiki lists NBCUniversal as rights holder,which might mean it may show up on Comcast's Peacock paywall. Why is this the ugly stepchild of greedy Comcast? Possibly because of the many cooks involved on the series productions. Beware after-market used versions unless the seller give info.
Apr 11, 2021
 
 
David Bianculli
Dear Sandy -- Yes, I'm still out here. Here's my recommendation regarding Homicide: Life on the Street... Pop for the complete series DVD box set. You can pick it up fairly cheaply, and even more so on Ebay... and everyone should keep a DVD player around, and DVDs, because I refuse to trust streaming services, or the Cloud, to keep things reliably, because they don't. If they had called the Cloud something like the Vault, I might have been less wary. Oh, and if you get the Homicide box set and watch the extras, I'm leading one of the roundtable panel discussions with Tom Fontana and company. -DB
Apr 11, 2021
 
 
 
Simon in Japan
Hi David, thank you so much for your years of quality critique and recommendations.
I found you through Fresh Air and used your top 10 list to decide my DVD rentals.
Since then with netflicks and other online platforms I have still checked in to see what was worth dedicating time to. I skipped breaking Bad but through Better call Saul your recommendation I went back and watched it. Fargo the series was another recommendation I was grateful to get but your best was "Justified". I keep waiting for the prequel or sequel but maybe it's best they stopped while things were fresh and well written. Hello "The Blacklist ".
Take care and all the best.
Regards
Simon
Apr 5, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Simon in Japan -- Hi, way over there! Glad I had a hand in helping you find such great shows. You're absolutely right about The Blacklist. Black Hole is more like it. Thanks for the kind words. -DB
Apr 11, 2021
 
 
 
sitary
Si, mas. Thanks!
Apr 5, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
MAS
If people are still lurking here there some interesting stuff tonight (Sunday,4/4) Please check your local listings, especially for PBS, these are Eastern times.
My Grandparent's War with Helena Bonham Carter, PBS 8pm
A new Masterpiece, Atlantic Crossing on PBS, 9pm
Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist is back and now on Sundays for reasons unknown. NBC, 9pm
The Walking Dead season finale, AMC, 9pm
Gangs of London, new show on AMC, 10:14pm. Looks like it has potential.
City on a Hill (S2, E2) is back on Showtime for a second season, 10pm
John Oliver is new tonight, HBO, 11pm
Apr 4, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Stacy
Thank you so much for the last few years since I discovered TWW. I would have missed so much fantastic tv: Bloodlands, City on the Hill, great movies, etc. Am I correct that you did not want this? This will not only hurt the audience, but the shows as well, because we’ll probably miss half of them because we don’t hear of them. How about a podcast? I look forward to your book and will miss you. Thank you!
Apr 1, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Stacv -- Thanks for taking the time to write. It makes me feel good, and a little less useless, whenever any reader lets me know what specific shows he or she watched because of a recommendation from TVWW. I appreciate it. And a podcast? That's one of the things I've decided not to pursue for now, as yet another effort to save energy and get healthier. But I was a guest on one I really liked last month, when I spent an hour talking music on television with Tom Honan on his podcast. You can find it by going to recordstoreradio.biz and searching for Bianculli. Best part: a snippet of Robert Downey Jr. and Sting singing a duet on "Ally McBeal." -DB
Apr 2, 2021
 
 
 
ThoroughbredOfSin
Oh man. The first site I checked every morning as I drank my coffee. I'm going to miss it! Thanks for your ongoing guidance.
Apr 1, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
That's nice to hear. You're welcome. -DB
Apr 2, 2021
 
 
 
Randy R
Thank you for pointing the way toward TV worth watching for so long. If not for TVWW, I might've missed great things like "Legion" and "What We Do in the Shadows."
Apr 1, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Randy -- I really appreciate hearing that. I just revisited the premiere of the FX version of Shadows myself earlier this week -- and the energy-suck vampire idea made me laugh just as much the second time. Thanks for letting me know you liked it, too! -DB
Apr 2, 2021
 
 
 
MAS
Happy April 1st, aka Opening Day! Except for Red Sox fans who have a rain delay until Friday :( Otherwise not a whole lot to note. There's yet another spin off of "Law and Order" on NBC - this one is called "L&O Organized Crime." Do we really need more L&O? Is Dick Wolf now the richest man in scripted TV? Netflix has a new sweet-sounding documentary series called "Worn Stories" about people's favorite clothing attachments. Will it just be T-shirts with holes? Should they do a segment on David's Hawaiian shirts? I hope someone who watches these will let us know tomorrow if they are really worth watching or a waste of electricity.
Apr 1, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear MAS -- Thanks! Keep it up. And keep it going... -DB
Apr 2, 2021
 
 
 
CARYLANN DAUBER
David,
You will be truly missed but I am glad that you are going to take good care of yourself. Take care, stay well and please just enjoy your life.
Apr 1, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Carylann -- That's the plan precisely. But could someone explain to me how you enjoy your life while avoiding most of the foods that make you smile? -DB
Apr 2, 2021
 
 
 
Bob Prestifilippo
I have been following you since your day at the Daily News. And loving it. I will miss your sage advise. I look forward to reading your next book. Please stay healthy and if bands ever start touring again, try and catch Hot Tuna.
Mar 31, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Bob -- Ha! Thanks for looking for the next book. Can't wait for you to get a copy, because that means I'll have written it. And as for Hot Tuna... I was just listening, as I began typing this, to my Jorma Kaukonen channel on Pandora. But you know what band I can't wait to see live again, for maybe the 20th time, when touring and concerts resume? The Fab Faux. Really. -DB
Apr 1, 2021
 
 
 
Jim
I missed you while you were gone, David, and of course I'll miss you a lot worse when you shut the show down. But thanks for 14 years pointing out the TV worth watching. I'll keep listening for you on Fresh Air and otherwise rely on dumb luck to find quality TV. Best regards.
Mar 31, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Jim -- I appreciate it. Thanks. Thanks for being here the whole time, and thanks for missing me when I was gone, and expecting to miss me more in the future. It's much more flattering than having people miss me while I'm still here. -DB
Apr 1, 2021
 
 
 
MAS
Okay, since we're good enough and smart enough -- tonight on PBS at 8pm (check your local listings as every station is different!), "Extinction: The Facts" with the great David Attenborough. I think it's going to be tough, but necessary, watch.
Mar 31, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear MAS -- NOW you're talking! And by the way, watch for not one, but two, new Attenborough specials arriving on Earth Day. I've previewed the first hour of one of them, Netflix's "Life in Color with David Attenborough," and it's so wonderful, I'll probably to a Fresh Air report on it. So MAS, you're on the perfect wavelength. -DB
Mar 31, 2021
 
 
Linda Donovan
A few thank yous are in order here, MAS. Thank you for your very kind words in your first post. And thank you for making me laugh on this one! Thank you for pitching in with a recommendation! We couldn't agree more with your choice for tonight. In fact, David Hinckley wrote about it yesterday before the reviews ended. http://www.tvworthwatching.com/post/Extinction-The-Facts-is-a-Sobering-Call-to-Action.aspx
Mar 31, 2021
 
 
 
jim
I guess this is just another reminder, as if we needed one after this terrible year, that we should appreciate the good stuff because nothing lasts forever. Good luck David. I'll miss you and your colleagues here at TVWW, but will still listen to your contributions on Fresh Air. Too bad that none of your colleagues were able or inclined to take over the website, but I imagine they all have day jobs and running a website is no walk in the park. Wish the best for all of you and I'll probably continue to click on my TVWW bookmark every morning for a while...just because.
Mar 31, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Jim -- Thanks for the somber perspective and appreciation. But I'm not dead, just living in Jersey. And the website really was more work than you can imagine, and I don't know how I'll ever pay the gang back for keeping it running all these years. Remember, you readers can keep throwing recommendations to each other, and keep the spirit going. Thanks for all the visits... -DB
Mar 31, 2021
 
 
 
Sandra Dandrade
David:
Today, a lot of us.. who have enjoyed your daily work for so many years.. are feeling very sad and more than a little adrift. You take good care of yourself, please, and we will see you on the radio!
Mar 31, 2021   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Sandra -- "See you on the radio." I love it. I swear, the readers on this site write as well as the writers. What a pleasure. Much appreciated. -DB
Mar 31, 2021
 
 
 
 
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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.