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TUESDAY
JANUARY 22
2013

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

This installment is devoted to prime-time soaps – but has such a narrow focus, it’s devoted almost entirely to Dallas, its spinoff Knots Landing and its main Eighties competitor Dynasty. Though ABC’s Sixties hit Peyton Place does get a mention, the genre’s first prime-time series, DuMont’s Faraway Hill in 1946, isn’t noted at all, not even with a fleeting mention. Nor, for that matter, is the current TNT revival sequel to Dallas, which seems really odd. All that said, this hour is worth watching for getting Larry Hagman on the record before he died, and for exploring and explaining both the “Who Shot J.R.?” and “Bobby Ewing in the Shower” Dallas phenomena. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: Does TV really need another cooking competition show? Of course not. But this one, like The Voice, brings something new to the mix: a democratic sense of fair play. In The Voice, contestants, in the initial round, are heard but not seen, so judges spin their chairs around in approval based on only the singing skills of the competitors. The Taste is the culinary equivalent of that. A quartet of judges, including Nigella Lawson (pictured) and Anthony Bourdain, select the best recipes in a blind taste test. Not blind as in blindfolded, but blind as in not knowing which chefs prepared which dishes, and having only one spoonful to register a very important first impression. So taste tonight's episode, and form your own first impression.
 
  
 
 

NBC, 10:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: This final episode of the season is a pivotal one, especially for the women on the show. Kristina (Monica Potter, pictured) gets ready for the next stage of her cancer treatment, and Sarah (Lauren Graham) makes the choice regarding the two men in her life.
 
  
 
 

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

Where are things going this season? I’m not sure – but the twin primary plots this year, a cold case involving a skyjacker thief and the intrusion of a new fundamentalist religious sect into the Kentucky countryside, seem quite promising. And Timothy Olyphant, as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, continues to swagger with a wry comic edge that hasn’t been seen since early Eastwood.
 
  
 
 

BBC America, 10:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: Dominic Monaghan, the charismatic actor who played Charlie on Lost and “Merry” Brandybuck in the Lord of the Rings movies, takes viewers on a hectic romp to try and hunt dangerous animals and insects – but only with a film crew, and a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm. He ends up being an infectiously delighted, unafraid and nature-loving mixture of Sir David Attenborough and the late Steve Irwin. The opener takes him, and us, to Laos, and deep into a cave in search of the world’s largest spider. For a review of the show, and an interview with Monaghan, see Bianculli’s Blog.
 
  
 
 
 
 
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653 Comments
 
 
Jan
American Graffiti takes place 1962
Aug 2, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Jim
"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" is quite simply one of the most beautiful love stories ever filmed. Be sure to pay attention to the gorgeous musical score by Bernard Herrmann. Also, take note of the little girl playing Mrs. Muir's daughter - Natalie Wood.
Aug 1, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
JOhn rogers
Thank GOD your back, had to watch bad TV for 2 weeks. I always take your advice just dont say follow me off a cliff.
Jul 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Hans w
Ditto!! So great to have the site back up! I really missed it when it was down. Thanks Dave & gang.
Jul 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Alex
Happy you're back...YEA!!!!
Jul 28, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Bob
So glad you are back!
Jul 27, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
gail
David,
I watched Married on FX.
I thought it was pretty good, you?
Jul 18, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Archie Phillips
I just add my strong support for the new series, Mr. Robot. This is one of the most creative and innovative series on TV. The writing is excellent, the acting is superb, and the series isn't afraid to try new things. It is very "raw" in some ways, but the characters are multidimensional, and even though it is often dark, you begin to really care about these people. The tech is 100% on point, and while that might make it a little more of a challenge for some viewers, the show is accessible on so many different dimensions that it really should appeal to a wide audience. I hope you take a deeper look at it.
Jul 17, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sarah
I caught the Emmy Nominations on CNN and even though most of the time I have no idea what is happy I am happy Tatiana Maslany has finally been nominated and am routing for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Jul 16, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Gigi
I can't get audio on the Graham Norton highlight reel. Help!
Jul 12, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
David, Djok's on you. You may write these blurbs before your first cup of Djo', but your score that day was Nolan-Love, so Sanka very much.
Jul 12, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Mark
What about Mr. Robot? As a technologist this show just gets it right. Rami Malek's acting is superb. I think it's one of the best shows on right now.
Jul 10, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Bob
David, I am so glad you recommended Dates. I would not have watched it if you had not listed it in Best Bets, and I am really glad I did watch it.
Jul 10, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
jan
Thanks for the heads up on The Spoils Before Dying. I've seen the first two and love it so far, and I hadn't heard anything about it before you mentioned it. Loved the first series, too. If it had not been for this blog, I would have missed it.
Jul 10, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sue Marie
Dear Mr. Biancull,
We are on a quest to locate a parody by the Smothers Brothers based on the 1968 hit song "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro. I believe the skit was referred to as "Honey House" and humorously portrayed the guys trying to sneak a peek up the girls dresses. My research indicates the skit appeared during season 3, however I have thoroughly watched The Best of the Smothers Brothers, Seasons 2 and 3, and Honey House is not on either of those two collections. Do you, or does anybody, have any information as to where the Honey House sketch might be located in the Smothers Brother's archives?
Many thanks and kind regards,
Suzie
Jul 7, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
Well, you obviously( have you ever recommended a repeat broadcast?) enjoyed the season finale of "Penny Dreadful" as much as I did! It was certainly everything I expected and more, except the loss of a character who was just starting to become more interesting. For a second, I thought about taking him to Dr. Frankenstein, but I was very satisfied with the conclusion. I anxiously await next season of this remarkable show...at least I don't have to wait too long for season two of "The Strain"!
Jul 6, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
SharonGS
Wimbledon and the Women's World Cup are certainly 'TV Worth Watching', but once again you have failed to mention the equally exciting Tour de France, which started this year on July 4. Great competition and great scenery for three weeks.
Jul 5, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Sarah
I saw the daily show live 10 years ago and love that Jon Stewart us just interviewing people he likes and no long goodbye (just some quick montages each week. As for Larry Wilmore his show has gotten so much better since it began.
Jul 2, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Martha
If you are looking for the David Attenborough/Obama interview On Demand it's listed under the show BBC Earth, at least on Comcast.
Jun 30, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
Terry
I appreciate Jon Stewart, but don't watch him much because of the canned laughter, which I can't stand. Apparently there is a studio audience, but its reactions are overwhelmed by the recorded stuff.
Jun 29, 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.

 
 
Nyrius