PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Season 3 of Downton Abbey, featuring Shirley MacLaine, doesn’t premiere until next year – okay, January 6, but still, it’s a wait. In the meantime, here’s a new special, a retrospective that will remind fans what we’ve been missing, and initiate newcomers to what’s about to come. Angela Lansbury hosts. Check local listings.

CBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

Last week, Judd Hirsch guest starred as a judge, and gave a typically complex, captivating performance. This week’s new episode presents another guest star who can be counted on to provide the same: Stockard Channing, playing Veronica, the meddling mother of Julianna Margulies’ Alicia. This is her first appearance, but I’m already betting she’ll make more.

AMC, 9:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s episode was a strong and pivotal one, taking several formerly disparate story lines – the prison, the Governor’s compound, the nomadic Michonne, Daryl and his brother – and weaving them, like a DNA strand, into one. And it left us with Rick, coming off a mental crisis that was cleverly scripted, staring through the prison fence at a wounded, wordless Michonne. But when she does speak, it’ll lead to a collision of the two camps, and, perhaps, to the two brothers.

Lifetime, 9:00 p.m. ET

This is not a recommendation in terms of quality – but this new Lifetime telemovie is fascinating in its own creepy way. It stars Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor, and Grant Bowler as Richard Burton. Bowler is convincing in the part, but Lohan isn’t, not for a second. And that becomes fun to watch, in a way, especially when the 1960s show-biz romance wallows in knowing allusions to the present. When the celebrity supercouple is chased by photographers, Lohan’s Taylor shrugs them off as a temporary nuisance. “They’ll find someone else to stalk,” she tells Burton. “You think?” he asks. Drolly, Taylor replies: “Yeah, I think.” And so they have. And while Lohan doesn’t improve her image with Liz & Dick, it has its moments, or at least its seconds. It’s written by Christopher Monger, who wrote the screenplay for one of the best telemovies in recent years, HBO’s Temple Grandin. For a full review, see Ed Bark’s Uncle Barky’s Bytes.

Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

Last week’s episode ended with a cliffhanger that left us up in the air – or close to it, as Brody (Damien Lewis) was driven to a remote wooden clearing, with a helicopter appearing from nowhere. Its passenger? The elusive, manipulative and very dangerous Abu Nazir (Navid Negahban).
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Weekend Update continues to be the best thing about SNL. Are there goingto be any decent musical act booked? You know, somebody who performs live?
Oct 11, 2015   |  Reply
" 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
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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.