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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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Joe in SF
All reality competition shows are not created equal. “The Great British Baking Show” and “Face Off” are miles away from “Bachelor in Paradise”. But none of them compare to “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on LOGO TV. Tonight (Thurs. 8/25) at 8PM, it’s the premiere of the All Star edition. There’s dancing, (lip-sync) singing and other stupid things unlike anything you see on other talent shows. The last ten minutes will feature a ‘Lip Sync For Your Life’ and someone will be required to ‘Sashay Away’. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is definitely the most unique show on television tonight. And congrats to RuPaul Charles on the Emmy nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program.
Aug 25, 2016   |  Reply
Thursday - What's on

6:00 BBCA - Ripper Street - If you are tired of senseless reality shows, who is dancing, singing, doing other stupid things, this show deserves one's attention

10:00 FX S&D&R&R - Not nearly as good as Rescue Me or The Job from 2001, this gives viewers their fix of Denis Leary

10:00 NBC Aquarius is back now that the Olympics is over, oops, preseason Football, 2 hours of Aquarius on Saturday.
Aug 25, 2016   |  Reply
Joe in SF
If you loved the old ’90s sitcom “Caroline in the City” and/or the “Back to the Future” franchise, then you’re probably a Lea Thompson fan. Well, at 9PM on the CW tonight (Wed. 8/24), you’ll get a kick out of seeing Lea as the guest star of “Whose Line Is It Anyway”. And then at 10PM, switch over to “American Gothic” on CBS to watch how in the heck they are going to incorporate this week’s painting. For those who don’t watch this Boston serial killer drama, the show runners name each episode after a famous American painting and then, for no really good reason that I can figure out, position the characters into a re-creation of the painting. Tonight’s work of art is “The Veteran in a New Field” portraying a guy with a scythe harvesting wheat. You don’t see serial killers in Boston doing that very often.
Aug 24, 2016   |  Reply
Wednesday's Suggestions

10:00 CBS American Gothic - Can't wait till it is over and can stop watching

10:00 Sundance Gomorrah - From Italy, a very popular show there about what else, Organized Crime by the original OGs. 2 hours plus each week, record and enjoy.

9:00 USA Suits - Mindless T.V. you can multitask to.

10:00 USA - Mr. Robot - UGH - Really, renewed for a 3rd season with tiny viewership, has 500 scripted series on TV reached it's limit?
Aug 24, 2016   |  Reply
Tuesday's Suggestions

9:00 and 10:00 AMC Halt and Catch Fire returns now based in Silicon Valley

11:00 HBO Real Sports

10:00 NBC Better Late Than Never - A new show, if you watched the Olympics you know about it

You know the shows, no need to add much detail.
Aug 23, 2016   |  Reply
Abbie Peters
I am loving BrainDead and fear it will not be renewed. It's my recommendation for tonight besides Olympics closing ceremonies.
Aug 21, 2016   |  Reply
Absolutely agree about BrainDead! Binge watched the first 8 episodes last week. Smart writing, good acting (Tony Shaloub is great), novel premise that is well executed. I haven't watched a network series in a long time, but this one is definitely worth it. And hopefully it will survive even though it's a bit smarter than most network fare.
Aug 22, 2016
E Lomke
Cf Joe in SF (8/19). W F Buckley was buried with his TV remote (true). But you and I have been thro that, & this is not our fate.
Aug 21, 2016   |  Reply
Danny Miz
9:00 - AMC- Fear the Walking Dead
Aug 21, 2016   |  Reply
Re today's post showing the odious Michael Cohen's interview with Brianna Keeler on CNN.. you should try to find the interview from 8/19 with she and the equally odious Jack Kingston, when - in response to her question about DT addressing rallies full of white faces while discussing (insulting) African Americans - he replied "well I guess he could have had a burning car behind him, then"...appalling, to say the least.
Aug 21, 2016   |  Reply
Another night of Anything But Olympics finds few treasures. Boston EMS is new and,though buried on Saturday night,provides an hour of reality medicine drama that won't leave you feeling dirty,as say, Sex Sent Me To The ER(same Bat Time,different Bat Channel).
TBS has the usual marathon of six-count 'em-six episodes of The Big Bang Theory. TBS shows them in sequence,so if you stumble upon the 8PM,ET,episode tonight you will see the last episode of Season 8(2015) followed by the pilot(2007),which was re-shot from the original idea that had a darker tone,as well as no Penny.
Antenna TV,one of those broadcast oldies channels has the last episode of The Newhart Show,cleverly titled The Last Newhart. Don't be fooled. It is classic. Hopefully,the network includes the MTM logo ending,featuring Mimsie the Cat as you've never heard her before. Wait for it.
Aug 20, 2016   |  Reply
Joe in SF
Last night, I dreamt that Mr. Bianculli was in his recovery room when the Grim Reaper floated in and stood by his bed. He pointed his bony finger at David and said, “’DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’ on the CW. ‘Houdini & Doyle’ on Fox. ‘Preacher’ on AMC. ‘Heartbeat’ on NBC. ‘Angel from Hell’ on CBS”. David yelled, “NO! Those aren’t recommendations! Those are warnings!!” David pointed his trusty TV remote at the ghoul and clicked the button.

I woke up all panicky, but I knew then that Mr. Bianculli would be fine. Get well soon, David. And keep your TV remote close by, just in case.
Aug 19, 2016   |  Reply
Where's the "like" button when you need it? This is a wonderful comment, Joe from SF. Thanks for the grin on my face.
Aug 20, 2016
Thurs. 8/18/16-Larry Wimore closes shop on his two-year Nightly Show. Comedy Central,the channel bleeding money since the exits of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert,also lost John Oliver & Samantha Bee to do their own versions of Stewart's job(and Oliver gets to let the f-bombs go out without censoring). Hoping there's lots of Wilmore and less of his posse,which sometimes drew cringe-worthy moments(Nightly! Nightly!-that catchphrase and segment was annoying from the start. And the Trump guy-once is enough. Trump,live on the campaign trail,gives plenty of comedy fodder and horrors,too.) But if Larry kicks Cosby one more time(besides last night),he will have accomplished much. These last shows have been alcohol-fueled,thanks to care packages from Ms. Bee & Mr. Colbert. Larry,throw the last glass of that cable-quality wine in the fire and move on.
Aug 18, 2016   |  Reply
Chris Wilcox
Sex&drugs&rock$roll.... All right! Need I say more? Dennis Leary is an aging super cool, almost famous, rock 'n' roll star--trying to make a comeback with his beautiful daughter as the lead singer in the band. They dress like rock 'n' roll stars. They've got attitudes and quirks and personality. And there's a great music that sounds great blasting through my new sound bar! They just need a little bit more nudity! It's on at 10 PM on FX.
Aug 18, 2016   |  Reply
Mr Robot is great, on USA, at 10 pm Wed night (also can get reruns). I also really like the show Tyrant on tonight, 10 pm on FX.
Aug 18, 2016   |  Reply
Nothing on TV? :-/ Man I miss TVWW BBs. Those hidden gems I could never find on my own. Wish I had a recommendation for Tuesday but I don't. Sorry. I'm just checkin in hoping to see TVWW Live once again!
Aug 17, 2016   |  Reply
Just how hard up are the cable channels to put up something against the second Olympic Sunday,when NBC/Comcast really pours it on with coverage on their many networks? Well,The Food Network has a new episode of their flagship show,Chopped!,centering around the lowly hot dog. This isn't an episode with kids in the kitchen(those are earlier in the day),but grown adults,pro chefs,working with tube streaks,including dessert.
Meanwhile,TCM has 24 hours of Cyd Charisse films(6AM to 6AM,ET)so they get to pull out such oft-shown MGM musical treats as Singin' In The Rain, Brigadoon,Silk Stockings,The Band Wagon and It's Always Fair Weather(in that order,from 2PM to Midnight). But set your DVR for the overnight(4AM) spooling of The Unfinished Dance,Cyd with Margaret O'Brien(the ten year-old got top billing, as she was a box office scene stealer)and Danny Thomas. Not the usual joy-filled MGM fare,but a drama of ballet,a child responsible for a hurtful act and the consequences that follow.
Aug 14, 2016   |  Reply
Joe in SF
It’s the grand finale of this season’s Great British Baking Show tonight (Fri. 8/12) on PBS. We’re down to the final three and they are going to make filled iced buns! I know, right?! I hope that means there will be yeast rising and proofing because there is nowhere else on television where you can watch bakers stare at their proofing drawers. I didn’t even know what a proofing drawer was until I started watching this show.
Aug 12, 2016   |  Reply
I love this show. Unfortunately, I read someplace by accident who this season's winner was, but even that didn't spoil the finale for me.
Aug 13, 2016
BBC America has done it again: "Ripper Street" was moved to 6 p.m. ET rather than 10 p.m. ET on Thursdays this week, without any apparent warning. And Dave's favorite "The Graham Norton Show" is now at dawn on Fridays. Horrible scheduling.

Tonight, Friday, the final competition of this year's "Great British Baking Show" should be available on most PBS stations.
Aug 12, 2016   |  Reply
Imagine my surprise when "Ripper Street" was taping much earlier than anticipated, but, fortunately, my cable will tape a series at whatever time it occurs. I don't know what happened with Part 2 of the opener, though, as I didn't get that one. Luckily, I was able to find it On Demand, so I watched it before I watched the last episode. I knew when they had the "Previously on" section that I definitely had not seen some of what they were showing. I'm not sure what you do about changes in show times if your DVR only records the exact time listed.
Aug 13, 2016
Frank Dracman
Depsite the indicator saying they are "New" on BBCAmmerica, The Graham Norton Show episodes being shown at 5:15am, are from Season 18. Season 19 just concluded in prime time.
Aug 12, 2016
Joe in SF
For tonight (Thurs. 8/11), you can watch “Big Brother” on CBS at 9PM (“oooh, somebody said something about so-and-so behind their back!”). Or you can watch “Naked and Afraid Pop-Up Edition XL: South Africa Part 5” on the Discovery Channel at 10PM (“oooh, if I squint my eyes and turn my head sideways, I think I see someone’s you-know-what!”). Or you can watch the Olympics on NBC continuously (“Is the pool supposed to be that green color?”). I’ll be watching Rose Nyland fight with Daisy over a teddy bear on the Hallmark Channel at 8PM Pacific Time. I’m pretty sure that “Golden Girls” episode is cheesecake-free, but it does feature a pepper sandwich.
Aug 11, 2016   |  Reply
Joe in SF
For tonight (Wed. 8/10). I’m recommending “Whose Line Is It Anyway” at 9PM on the CW. The improv show has been around for twelve (!) seasons, but Aisha Tyler and company manage to keep it feeling fresh. And tonight, everyone’s favorite Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rachel Bloom, makes a guest appearance. The good news is that I’ll also probably watch, “Penn and Teller: Fool Us” on the CW at 8PM, so I won’t have to get up from the couch and ‘touch that dial’ to change the channel.
Aug 10, 2016   |  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. His next, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to the Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific, is coming this fall, 2016.


Good news, TVWW readers: An advance copy of David’s upcoming book from Doubleday has just arrived! The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available on Amazon for pre-order for its November 15th release. You can read some of the dustcover summary here, including: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way. In tracing the evolutionary history of our progress toward a Platinum Age of Television,…he focuses on the development of the classic TV genres, among them the sitcom, the crime show, the miniseries, the soap opera, the Western, the animated series and the variety show. David Bianculli's book is the first to date to examine, in depth and in detail and with a keen critical and historical sense, including exclusive and in-depth interviews with many of the most famed auteurs in television history.” —TVWW