MONDAY
JANUARY 21
2013

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Various Networks, Check local listings

To watch President Obama’s public inauguration to begin his second term (the private one was held yesterday), tune in, starting at 7 a.m. ET, to any of the broadcast or cable morning shows. It’ll be the big topic, and include expanded live coverage. C-SPAN begins coverage an hour earlier, and CNN plans coverage most of the day and night, covering inaugural balls and other related events.
 
  
 
 

CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

Last week, the closing seconds teased us with the actual occurrence of the title – if only for a second, and if all we saw of her was from the rear, as she was playing a guitar onstage. But at least it’s a start, and moves the plot forward, however incrementally. Meanwhile, Ted seems intent on moving backwards, by dating a girl so young, she asks him if he fought in Vietnam. She’s played by Ashley Benson, who plays Hanna on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars.
 
  
 
 

HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

I liked hearing Martin Short so much on this first Real Time of 2013, which premiered live on Friday, that I thought it was worth pointing out in this repeat telecast. Especially on such a slow night.
 
  
 
 

Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: Kevin Bacon stars in this bold, intriguing but very violent new series, playing a former FBI agent who’s called in to help recapture a serial killer obsessed with the works of Edgar Allen Poe. One thing this series is guaranteed to do? Quoth the critic: Neverbore. For a full review, see Bianculli’s Blog.
 
  
 
 

PBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

If you liked American Splendor, the quirky, original film biography of quirky, original comic-book writer Harvey Pekar, chances are you’ll like this, too. Beauty is Embarrassing is a close, inventive look at artist Wayne White, whose works have enlivened everything from Peter Gabriel videos to Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Part of this feature is an autobiographical comic strip, narrated by White himself, telling how he met his future wife. It’s a charming study of a Tennessee wild child who left town, but never conformed – and never completely grew up. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 
 Name (required)
 
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 
 Website (optional)
 
XVNMC
Type in the verification word shown on the image.
 
 
 Page: 1 of 25  | Go to page: 
500 Comments
 
 
Jan
I was lucky as a child--before DVDs--that both The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind were both re-released to theaters, where I saw both of them. When The Wizard if Oz went from black and white to color, it was magical. Only years later, when I saw it as an adult, did I realize how clever the lyrics were. And Gone With The Wind was shown complete with intermission. I'll never forget either one, and I am eternally grateful for my father who loved movies so much that we went almost every weekend. (For some reason, he never let us see The Bowery Boys :-( but I used to see them on a Chicago TV station every Saturday morning and grew to love them. Still do.)
Nov 24, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Lynn
It's not Thanksgiving yet but I am so thankful for the TVWW emails I receive. After reading about the exhibit I now realize all that has been going on and why the TVWW email's timing has been off on some days. But here's the thing-- I see so many of the 'busy' people around me simplify and very much alter the quality of the products they produce. Personally I would rather most products come later but with the depth and quality I count on. A holiday example, I would always rather receive a thoughtful Christmas letter a month after Christmas than a hurriedly signed card weeks before. I watch TV to enrich my life, so I want to watch quality shows and I don't have or want to make the time to check them out myself. So to get reviews I can trust from TVWW, that are pretty much on time, that is absolutely worth receiving a few late ones for me.
Nov 24, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
You wrote today, "Why in the hell hasn’t [The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize] award been bestowed upon the Smothers Brothers..." Simple answer: demos. Everyone wants the 18-49 audience, including PBS. Leno is relatively current, and he appeals to people in that demo who watched the Tonight Show over the last few decades. To have watched and appreciated the Smothers Bros. Comedy Hour in their last year on air, you needed to have been at least 9 years old in 1969, which puts their audience at age 54 or older today. That's past the demos the TV industry wants to reach, so hence, no Smothers. The Prize Committee's choices have to be influenced by that thinking.
Nov 23, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
You wrote today, "Why in the hell hasn’t [The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize] award been bestowed upon the Smothers Brothers..." Simple answer: demos. Everyone wants the 18-49 audience, including PBS. Leno is relatively current, and he appeals to people in that demo who watched the Tonight Show over the last few decades. To have watched and appreciated the Smothers Bros. Comedy Hour in their last year on air, you needed to have been at least 9 years old in 1969, which puts their audience at age 54 or older today. That's past the demos the TV industry wants to reach, so hence, no Smothers. The Prize Committee's choices have to be influenced by that thinking.
Nov 23, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Mike Pavlov
Jay Leno was a great comic that was, in my opinion (IMO) ruined by the
Tonight Show. I also love the contrary, somewhat snarky Dave Bianculli. Much better than an "agree to disagree" comment.
Nov 23, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Fred Montgomery
Your picks for Saturday are, like, so stale. An old SNL with Drew Barrymore? Really? How about something new like "The Missing," a new series beginning tonight on Starz? Cmon, let's look forward, not backward :).
Nov 15, 2014   |  Reply
 
Angela
I would like to apologize for my last comment as it wasn't fair or nice. Often I see recommendations for shows here in the comments section. (I've also read that it's not always easy to choose only 5 shows for the Best Bets.)
I usually read the comments partly for that reason as I've found out about some great shows I might have otherwise missed.
All the writers on TVWW do great things here and it's made even more special because they only do it out of their passion for TV (and not money) and wanting to share that love with everyone. How can we criticize that?
Nov 18, 2014
 
 
Angela
I have an idea! Why don't you start your own website with what you consider to be the best bets for TV worth watching instead of criticizing others who do more than complain? :)
(did my smily face take the sting out of what I said?)
Nov 18, 2014
 
 
Curtis
As the last person, most likely, in the country that doesn't have cable or satellite tv I appreciate Dave's picks that come up on broadcast channels. Considering that NBC has 40 years of SNLs to choose from the chances are very good that an old rerun will be pretty good so that's a gimme. New SNLs - not so much. I still appreciate the heads up. Conversely, we just got n•tfl•x. Now we're never going to get anything done.
Nov 15, 2014
 
 
 
Alan
Your picks of the day come along so late in the day that I generally click on your web cite just to see what I missed from the previous day. Really, can't you get your picks on pre-noon?
Nov 12, 2014   |  Reply
 
Bob
Really? Alan, how much do you pay for this website that you can request a time of delivery?
Nov 13, 2014
 
 
 
Bob
Updated before 8AM? What am I going to complain about all day?
Nov 10, 2014   |  Reply
 
Angela
Thanks for the smile on my face.
Nov 18, 2014
 
 
 
Janet
dare I say it. I like, I really like ... Constantine. And the Flash. NO NO NO
Nov 8, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Angela
Hey, I would like to chime in here too. Casey, and Elise's comments echo my own sentiments. The only time I don't check out TVWW is when I'm not going to turn on the tube...Er, maybe I should say turn on the chip?

I wish whatever is going on in your life, is all good, and your effort pays off in a way that makes you happy.
Nov 6, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
Two comments: First-Gracepoint...I have, indeed, avoided watching because I have seen Broadchurch, so thank you for the heads up about the upcoming episodes. Second, Parenthood...I have been watching this outstanding show since the first episode and I was never a big fan of the character Joel. I tolerated him. After the way he reacted to Julia's misstep and decided to separate, and then was so reluctant to work it out with her, it's my hope that she makes the divorce final and allows herself the happiness she deserves. Joel set himself up for this and I hope the producers & writers give him what he deserves! That's just my opinion, what's yours?
Nov 6, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
jan
Thanks for mentioning "A Sloth Named Velcro." If you hadn't, I probably would never even have been aware of the program. Fascinating stuff. And that's not the first time I've watched something that you mentioned that I had never heard of before. So thanks for all those other times, too.
Nov 6, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
David Wieck
Dave, your tribute to Tom Magliozzi made me choke up and smile at the same time. Bravo!
Nov 5, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Casey
Just a pat on the back: if your Best Bets show up at all, I'm eternally grateful. Can't imagine what the hurry is among some posters here. Not our job to tell you what YOURS is. Thanks for this great site. You're open in a permanent tab in this household.
Oct 31, 2014   |  Reply
 
elise
Well, then, Let me second Casey's sentiment. TVWW is my go to site for all my entertainment needs. I have your website open all the time, too! I hope your "hectic" is a nice problem to have. Hang in there, and it will patiently and kindly wait for any words you post .... Good luck!
Nov 5, 2014
 
 
David Bianculli
Dear Casey, Thanks so much. Really nice. And believe me, everyone, the second I can get ahead on Best Bets, I will. Right now, for reasons I'll write about as soon as I get a chance, things are incredibly hectic even by my standards. But support like yours, Casey, keeps me going...
Nov 1, 2014
 
 
 
Mike C.
Dave...........where are today's (10/30/14) Best Bets?
Oct 30, 2014   |  Reply
 
Mike C.
Thanks, Dave.
Oct 30, 2014
 
 
 
Mac
Another sports comment about 10/24/14.Numbers for the first three World Series games show the Kansas City market holding near 50 percent of all TVs watching these games in real time.The other half is missing quite a show.
Oct 26, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Mike C.
Dave...........what happened to Friday's (10/24/14) Best Bets?
Oct 24, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
John Coleman
umm...Friday's Picks, please!
Oct 24, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
Jim
LANA TURNER? This is Halloween, not April Fool's Day. "The Innocents" stars the great Deborah Kerr in what is quite possibly her greatest performance. It's a great movie - maybe the best ghost movie ever made - with the original "The Haunting" being a very close runner-up. By the way that stars Julie Harris, not Virginia Mayo.
Oct 23, 2014   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
You're right, of course, Jim. Thank you for making us aware of our egregious mistake. Fixed!
Oct 23, 2014
 
 
 
I'm sure it's already been pointed out. That's Deborah Kerr not Lana Turner. When I first saw it, it scared the hell out of me. Bought the DVD too.
Oct 23, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
 
 Page: 1 of 25  | Go to page: 
 
 

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.