WEDNESDAY
OCTOBER 10
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

MOVIE PREMIERE: Paul Greengrass directs this new feature film, which premieres today on Netflix, and also premieres in a couple of movie theaters nationwide. It concerns a mass shooting and its impact, but for once, the focus is not on one of the maddeningly plentiful gun tragedies in the United States. Instead, this film examines the events of, and the ensuing reactions to, the 2011 mass shooting at a youth camp near Oslo in Norway. The shooting claimed 77 deaths, and the film, 22 July, assesses the fatal onslaught by paying attention to the politicians reacting to the tragedy, the attorneys involved in ensuing lawsuits, and the survivors themselves.

 
  
 
 

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

This Nova look at volcanoes is divided into two hours: Volcano on the Brink and Volcano on  Fire. In the first, scientists descend deep into one of the least studied volcanoes on Earth: deep in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they climb up the cone and into the mouth of Nyamuragira. Afraid to climb it? I’m petrified to pronounce it… Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

Comedy Central, 10:00 p.m. ET

Last week, I asked, and answered, “Has this long-running series finally lost its edge, and its appetite to approach third-rail subjects?”  My answer, based on Season 22’s premiere episode on school shootings, was: “Uh, no. Not even close.” And now, another question, which the title of this week’s episode makes all but rhetorical: “Has South Park cleaned up its act?” Not when this new episode, reaching back deep into the show’s feces-fascinated history, is called “The Problem with a Poo” (pictured).

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
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1542 Comments
 
 
Ken
Tonight's NLCS would be Game 3, not Game 1
Oct 15, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
George Ashur
Paul Simon is 77 and retiring. Get him while you can, this might be his final SNL appearance. What a treasure; his music has been an important part of my life.
Oct 13, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Had to check IMDB-Paul guested on the 2nd SNL,10/18/75,along with Phoebe Snow and Randy Newman. Simon performed 8 songs,including two with a surprise visit from Art Garfunkel. Randy did a song,Phoebe had a solo spot(and a song with Simon and Jesse Dixon). The following week-no musical guest. SNL was still experimenting with a workable formula.
It should be noted that Simon's recent release is a revisit of older material,which he claims are personal favorites.
Oct 13, 2018
 
 
 
MAS
Doctor Who is on Sunday at 8, not tonight. At 10:30 tonight BBCA is showing a rerun of last week.
Oct 13, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Tammy
if we are going to quibble about what the Editor thinks is Worth Watching, I'd like to propose an argument against sports shows. Even avid sports fans don't know if a session is actually going to be good until late into the game. (But then again, we're never completely sure if SNL is a home run until after the laughs). As far as I am concerned, sports is never worth watching (only doing). But then again, I don't think Bianculli reads these comments. Or if he does, he certainly doesn't care what WE think.
Oct 13, 2018   |  Reply
 
Tammy
(GASP! He speaks directly to the plebeians!) Of course I take it personally, I wouldn't dare skip over the sports selections, just in case there is a pun (if you take requests: MORE PUNS, PLEASE!!) Also, when are you going to finish the Teleliteracy Trilogy?
Oct 13, 2018
 
 
David Bianculli
Dear Tammy: Bianculli does read these comments, and does care what you think. Hence, this reply: The reason I point out sports (and usually, when I do, it's postseason, or World Cup, or such) in Best Bets is as a guide for fans who might be interested, but aren't sure when or where events can be found. Baseball is spread across several networks in the postseason, as is soccer. It's easy enough to skip the item in Bets if you're not into sports, but don't take it personally, please. I'm sure there are some Bets readers who aren't into old movies, and just skip past my regular, enthusiastic TCM listings. -DB
Oct 13, 2018
 
 
 
Chris
How come you never alert your viewers to LAST MAN STANDING but you showcase MURPHY BROWN and Bill Maher. LAST MAN STANDING is more popular than MURPHY BROWN and Bill Maher is (well, never mind). That wouldn’t be your politics making your picks, would it?
Oct 12, 2018   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Chris: Since you asked so directly, I'll respond in kind. Last Man Standing is, indeed, much more popular than Murphy Brown, but it's also less amusing. Murphy's not my favorite comedy, by a long shot, but its revival and content make it, like Maher, worth pointing out. And some of Maher's comments, especially during interviews, bother me as much as they might bother you, but there's usually a lot of substantive ideas covered in his show, and usually with a wide range of political thought. So no, it's not politics making my picks. It's perspective. - DB
Oct 13, 2018
 
 
Mac
Our house enjoys lots of stuff(Law & Order,all 8 million episodes,all things Chicago) that never make it to David's table.The site is "TV Worth Watching",not "TV Many Are Watching". LMS has indeed won Fri. night-registering the best comedy for Fox in 7 years(source-TV By The Numbers). ABC/Disney canned it because of cost effectiveness. Fox brought it back because another arm of Fox owns it. In the near future,Disney will own that arm. What'll happen?
Personally,reruns of LMS seem to show whenever I visit my barber. I am thinking of going bald. After viewing a few minutes of Tim Allen's "The Santa Clause" franchise,I stopped believing in Christmas till Linus Van Pelt reminded me of what it is all about,and I'm agnostic. Tim Allen is the Adam Sandler for Baby Boomers-irritating yet everywhere.
Oct 12, 2018
 
 
 
Mac
10/12-TCM tonight's prime time uses the title of Robert Redford's latest(and maybe his last) film,"The Old Man and the Gun" by showing "The Candidate",a Redford classic that shows up often on TCM (mid-terms just days away,kids). Then two films,without Redford,but concerning an ex-con,(the reference to the new film) and how he handles the outside world. "Straight Time"(10:15PM),starring Dustin Hoffman,is a flawed but interesting take on the subject. The "behind the scenes" story is actually more interesting than the film and would make an great multi-chapter TV idea. The action stuff is fun,as is the soundtrack. Smash & grab. Next up-"Invisible Stripes"(12:30AM)-full of tough guys-George Raft,William Holden & Humphrey Bogart and Jane Bryan as the prerequisite "dame". Bryan isn't really a baddie here. In real life she would be in one more film before marrying Justin Dart, the guy behind Rexall Drugs and lots of other businesses-a bazillionaire.
Oct 12, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
For those who checked in at TCM 10/12,Redford & "Old Man" director David Lowery were kinda "Guest Programmers"though TCM did the selecting with Ben Mankiewicz interviewing. So the "Straight Time" slot was not only tied into the theme of crime as alluded to "Old Man",but was for Redford to wax about Dustin Hoffman. I could find no mention of a Guest Programmer,as there was also no mention of Bradley Cooper showing up to introduce the 1954 "A Star Is Born" last Sunday.
Oct 13, 2018
 
 
 
Mac
A reminder that TCM has the 1954 Judy Garland version of "A Star Is Born" in all its near 3 hour glory @2:30PM,while the 2018 version hits theaters. Lots of Oscar buzz on the new one with a 91% Rotten Tomatoes score based on 264 reviews. A major exception-Leonard Maltin,a guy I admire if only for his takes on the high,middle and low brow-sees the new one as merely ordinary. I still keep one of his old movie guides near the TV. Monday 10/15 has Maltin hosting another Treasures From The Disney Vault night on TCM as he is the perfect host for these events: animated or live action hits and misses-Maltin knows Disney better than Disney.
Oct 7, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
George Ashur
"Awkwafina...the first female Asian to host SNL since Charlie’s Angels star Lucy Liu appeared in 2000" -- Why would anyone possibly track that? Why can't she host as herself, as an individual, rather than as a representative of a racial/gender category? Must absolutely everything in our society be about identity politics?
Oct 6, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Even Awkwafina made this the center of her monologue,remembering that she stood outside 30 Rock when Liu was hosting. Just being in the aura of the building was a deep,lasting memory for this kid with stars in her eyes. I thought Ms. Liu might have been waiting in the wings as a "surprise" but it didn't happen and,in retrospect, that wasn't the point. Multiple stories leading up to the show centered on the gap between then and now.
Oct 7, 2018
 
 
 
Mike Brady
You have exactly the same paragraph for SNL as FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS - LIVE IN LONDON. Thought you should know.
Oct 6, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Steven
BCS is listed at 10pm, I've checked AMC web page and it's listed at 9pm. Thanks for everything, I use this daily!!
Oct 1, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Linda-This season of "Saul" was consistently scheduled @ 9PM,followed by Lodge 49,right? After the first episode of this season's "Saul",I backed off as the show became darker,so there was no other reason for me to visit AMC,but they seem to plug their premium shows and time slots frequently.
Oct 3, 2018
 
 
Linda Donovan
Thanks, Steven. Sometimes we don't get updated info in time. And thank you for hanging out with us!
Oct 2, 2018
 
 
 
George Ashur
I have Murphy Brown in the new-show death pool. Now, if you tell me that Pee Wee Herman will be back as her Assistant, well then that's a different story....
Sep 27, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Unadjusted overnights indeed show what TVbythenumbers headlined "premiere(ing) quietly". Outside factors-decent NFL numbers and many a news junkie on cable to process a day many will remember.Many a grandmom hoping their grandkid will benefit from the testimony. MB's "cameo" moment went viral,as to prove there is some gas left in the tank.I think CBS knew the job was dangerous,counter-programming vs.Thursday NFL(a set up they abandoned). This wasn't the only disappointing premiere this week,but Ed Bark's dark review of the 2nd episode does not help those giving a 2nd chance to the reboot.Original Murphy Brown episodes are on Antenna TV.
Sep 29, 2018
 
 
 
Michael
Where are you today? It is after 3pm EDT.
Sep 26, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Lois
While I understand your decision not to run down the new shows in advance, would it be possible to post about any that you do recommend at least a day beforehand? That would allow your readers time to plan to watch or set DVRs for anything we want to see. I sometimes forget to check your site early enough in the day to catch any same-day recommendations.
Sep 24, 2018   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Valid point, Lois. It's not always possible, but we'll do our best to post the reviews as early as we can. Thank you!
Sep 25, 2018
 
 
 
Frank Dracman
Mac, I was the one that posted "What?" because I had not watched the premiere episode of FF w/Sam Bee. Without knowing she had launched a game app, your comment was very confusing to me. Now that I have seen the show AND downloaded the app, I have reread your comment of 9/13, and it makes perfect sense. Apologies...no trolling intended, just elderly confusion.
And George A., you're right...there were definitely more people watching Americ's Got Talent on Tuesday than the Emmys on Sunday, probably because they were on Monday.
Sep 22, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Frank,sorry for the late reply as i Iwas not online. if someone asks "To Bee or not to Bee",you have embraced what she is wants to do. Hope to win a prize and have a virtual pizza party as part of your winnings. Enjoy a slice in my name!
Meanwhile,another slow news week ahead,especially if one is employed by the FBI. Trump just approved the overtime.
Sep 29, 2018
 
 
 
Mac
"...starring Tamara Dobson(pictured) as the titular drug agent." Oh,Magoo,you've done it again.
On a less titular note,all three of these films have noteworthy soundtracks. Even if the blaxploitation is indeed all-exploit,there were some great sounds on these '70s soundtracks. After the success of "Superfly", Curtis Mayfield penned "Claudine" around the talents of Gladys Knight & the Pips. He also did "Sparkle" with Aretha Franklin(R.I.P);that soundtrack arrived late in the CD era but a favorite for true Aretha fans. "Something He Can Feel" was a hit for the Queen of Soul and later En Vogue,but no tracks from Irene Cara."Cleopatra Jones" boasts a score by J.J. Johnson,a versatile trombonist with roots in the bebop era. Millie Jackson & Joe Simon are featured on the vocal tracks. No CD issue until a pricey 2 disc set from Film Score Monthly,though it includes music from" Cleopatra Jones & the Casino of Gold",a 1975 sequel .
Sep 20, 2018   |  Reply
 
Tammy
Mac, your Magoo comment is still making me laugh days later. It enhances the original joke. Thanks. ;)
Sep 22, 2018
 
 
 
George Ashur
"These are the live finals, with the performers who have made it all the way to the end getting one last chance to push to the front of the line. And tomorrow night, on live TV, the winner is announced. I note this for the benefit of those who, unlike myself, care." -- 2.6 million more people watched America's Got Talent on Tuesday than watched the Emmys on Sunday. So, I guess some people care.
Sep 19, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Me,I'm hopefully welcoming all opinions,as long as they are thought out. No need to be well-thought out. Just able to create a declarative sentence and explain an opinion. Last week,someone responded to one of my posts with "What?". That means nothing. Comes off as trollish.
Disagreeing with the boss? That should be a given. He used to write for NYC newspapers. He teaches. He'll get over it. The idea here seems to be to bring as many opinions as possible.
Every Fri. means the new batch of premium shows debuting,while broadcast TV thinks little about Fri.(Fox -"Last Man Standing",I'm looking at you). Fine,except I don't participate with streaming and even later DVD versions are price prohibitive. Meanwhile,I'll scour second hand shops-the hunt is the fun. Finally scored the last season of MadMen(both parts) for under 10 bucks total.
But it is interesting that even the guy who invented Monk is on Netflix. With Tony Danza,too. Who says there isn't "ordinary" on streaming services?
Sep 21, 2018
 
 
Angela
George, In my zeal to post my comment below to you and even though it goes without saying, I forgot to mention how much I also value the other contributing writers on TVWW. Again, I'm sure I speak for most all viewers when I say that.
There was a time not that long ago when David Bianculli wasn't able to post the Best Bets for weeks and it felt like it stayed that way for far longer than it really was. We were reminded just how much we depend on this website . I hope this comment clarifies a little bit about why it doesn't hold much weight around here when someone only has something negative to say about the Best Bets.
Sep 21, 2018
 
 
Angela
Alex Strachan wrote that Emmy viewership was down by 10% from last year so no, it doesn't surprise me at all that more people watched AGT. But more importantly to me is that the owner of TVWW, David Bianculli who has *a lot* of cred around here and everywhere else isn't interested in AGT and most of us come here to find out what David *is* interested in watching. I believe he only posted about AGT because a couple AGT viewers complained it wasn't in the Best Bets. If it had been me I wouldn't have bothered so it just goes to show how much nicer of a person he is than me. Plus this is his website and we have been able to enjoy it for free for many, many years. I know I speak for most viewers when I say we are very grateful for TVWW and don't like it when people complain it's not what they want to see because they are more than welcome to make their very own TV review site.
Sep 21, 2018
 
 
Tammy
I wonder how many of those viewers are also visitors to this site? (Does anyone here care?) And if there is a large enough percentage, if one of the reviewers would focus on that show as well as other shows? Personally, I use this site like Cliffnotes, so I can have coherent conversations with coworkers about ALL TV events without having to actually care. The things I care about are shows to binge watch (i.e. nothing network), and TCM.
Sep 20, 2018
 
 
 
Tom
Where's the season preview section? It was eliminated last season, and it was said it would be brought back since it was so popular, but I don't see it....
Sep 19, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Tammy
Someone was tired out by watching the Emmys last night: " a sizzling Lena Horne. (Armstrong sizzled too, but by blowing his horn; Horne did it by singing and dancing.)"-c'mon, there are multiple options for great puns. Only a small fraction of those are dirty.
Sep 18, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Ken
Interesting de ja vu description of Better Call Saul
Sep 17, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
So many reason not to see or even consider the Emmys ,"so let's see what happens And who wins." Sorry,Emmys mean nothing if they aren't inclusive. Even with Che & Jost,pass. New SNL's soon. Emmys,Grammies,Oscars & Tonys- an EGOT is like the winner on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
Sep 17, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Angels-Another apology for a late reply. Do not think your suggestions are being ignored.
Our continued use of cable is based on many factors,not the least is the simplicity of cable for my wife's use. We do own a Roku-a clumsy device- and she has never used it.
Oct 1, 2018
 
 
Angela
For what it's worth, I only cut the cord a few months ago but if I had known then what I know now I could kick myself because I would have done it years ago! I didn't realize I would still have access to almost *every* channel that I watched with my cable package including local channels and all network channels. And because I bought a Chrome stick I can stream all online content channels to my TV and watch it from there. Anyway, I'll stop pestering you about it. I'd make a great salesperson...?
Sep 21, 2018
 
 
Angela
Mac, I believe awhile ago that you weren't able to let go of cable atm. Isn't there any way you could perhaps take advantage of the Prime membership on Amazon since aside from free shipping you also get access to all their online video content. With Prime's free shipping I'm able to justify it in my mind. :) Netflix is altogether different to me. They have so many old movies! Have you checked into it? It's a pretty cool for online viewing or DVDs only. Then there is another completely different option, Roku or Chome Stick. A whole different animal. If you ever want more info pleas let me know.
Sep 21, 2018
 
 
Mac
Fascinated by the medium. Bored with the self-congratulations.Also,the Netflix era leaves me behind.I know little about much of what is available online. Strange as I had one of the first "boxes" in the early days of HBO. 1973-a couple of movies,repeated ad infinitum. "Towering Inferno"was one. But the idea of cable was new to me,coming from 4 VHF & 4 UHF stations in Philly. Add to that,years with no TV at all:1970-72,88-94,outside of visiting a friend. Back then,local cable included New York,Scranton & Philly,sometimes 3 network shows at the same time. But no shopping,religious or forced sports(Big 10-PSU-I'm looking at you through my cable bill). For others,I'm sure the news,reality and pseudo-PBS fare is a waste(it is),but that will never change. Cable will have to fall out of favor as folks just don't need another channel with a Law & Order franchise. It will happen,but the process will be incredibly slow. The last cable show may be an airing of Towering Inferno,2040.
Sep 19, 2018
 
 
Walter
Mac, T.V. is your life, what are you saying?
Sep 17, 2018
 
 
 
 
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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.