WEDNESDAY
NOVEMBER 7
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

Even by this show’s standards, last week’s episode was really, really weird – but made room for Ann Dowd, who encouraged the new Antichrist, who got to kill a couple sacrificial (human) lambs, cause a call girl to spontaneously combust, and eventually be presented with a robotic recreation of his late, beloved satanic mentor, played by Kathy Bates (pictured). So now what?
 
  
 
 

TBS, 10:30 p.m. ET

Monday, on election eve, Samantha Bee hosted a pre-voting day special. Today, she’s back with her take on what happened yesterday. So now what?

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
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1566 Comments
 
 
Bob516
When I first read "ROWAN UNIVERSITY'S TV FINALE FEST IS THIS FRIDAY" I thought it said Final Test. I thought it would be really interesting to the see the final exam in your class. I am a perpetual student at heart.
Nov 12, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Tammy
Breaking Away 1st timer: Odd movie to broadcast/recommend just after elections, when the idea of divisiveness is still prominent. Both the film & politics seem to frame themselves as if they are about a single winner, rather than what they are: a relay w/ constantly changing elements.
“Cutter” is what invading college kids call the natives, even though those kids will never have the masonry jobs their parents had. The father objects to an Italian invasion by his own son. In my hometown, townies are Irish and/or Italian and I had never heard “Itie”. Interesting to note what seems foreign and what is as American as “French Fries”. Evolution & growth are the crux.
Details & lines glow, scenes breathe; character development doesn’t have to compete w/ plot. The film starts & lingers at the swimming hole at the quarry, the water is impossibly blue, as is the angle of the stone they sun themselves on. Sky seen through trees. The journey is much more interesting than the race itself.
Nov 12, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
"Breaking Away"-perfect. A once-a -year revisit always yields something new(currently,the music).When first released,the good reviews and Philly-born Dennis Christopher(Dave) meant a must-see. Screenplay by Steve Tesich-proof of great storytelling about America often from someone outside-Tesich was born in Yugoslavia and came to the U.S. in his teens. A story as red,white & blue as "1776". Directed by the guy behind "Bullitt"-and he was British. Original & Classical music adapted by the late Patrick Williams,finally released on CD in 2015. 5 Academy award noms-one win for Teisch. Paul Dooley,who steals every scene-no nom-sad:"Refund? REFUND?"
Perfect Sun. afternoon film.
Nov 11, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
SharonGS
“Breaking Away” is a wonderful movie and well worth watching. It is, however, set in Bloomington rather than Indianapolis.
Nov 11, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
ethan
Re David's summary of last weeks American Horror Story... That wasn't Ann Dowd, but Harriet Harris. And his sentence re her is rather akwardly constructed. Too much cough syrup last night?
Nov 8, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
bruce
Info pls about Bianculli's upcoming talk at Rowan...

Tnx.
Nov 8, 2018   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Regarding the Finale Festival at Rowan... Just waiting for the final lineup to be approved. We'll post it ASAP. Hope to see you there!
Nov 11, 2018
 
 
Mac
Yes,info pls. Mention is made at the end of the Radio Times interview of an all-day event at Rowan University on Fri.Nov.16 titled Finalefest,but I can find no mention on Rowan's online schedule.
BTW,Rowan is located in Glassboro,NJ,less than 20 mi. from Philly. Lots of foodie places nearby for those wanting to make a day of it.
Nov 8, 2018
 
 
 
Mac
Sam Bee should have much to celebrate. It appears lots of voting,which was the message. Big winner 11/7-Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com(Disney owned via ESPN) and polling in general. 538 had Vegas-like odds showing Dems in the House & Reps in the Senate. Governor race predictions not so much. Real news includes polling and predictions,Mr. President,bombast does not.
Personally,I stayed away from the comics in real time but Seth Meyers ,viewed online,captured the moment,with a shout out to writer Amber Ruffin. Keep a "What!" out for this talent. Meanwhile,Beto O'Rourke dropped a much needed f-bomb,doing a ragged John Kerry impersonation. Biden and other Irish Dems must love this guy. If not a front runner in 2020 prez race,he'll get a convention moment which is how Obama gained a national stage in 2004.
Nov 7, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
A heads up that the editors of the "TV Finales" book you see on the right side of the front page show up for a radio interview that can be found online. Live @ 10AM via whyy.org,,TVWW boss David Bianculli and co-editor Douglas Howard,along with another TV historian,Robert Thompson,talk about the subject with host Marty Moss-Coane with limited listener participation. Rebroadcast @ 11PM,depending on election coverage, and available via podcasts.
Nov 6, 2018   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thanks, Mac!
Nov 11, 2018
 
 
 
Mark
Love your site but get so tired of your praise for the late night "comedy" shows which are no longer funny to half the country. The constant ranting against the current administration is tedious. Give me Jay Leno and equal opportunity razzing any day. Can't you see how lame these so-called comedians have become?
Nov 5, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Half? % of folks enjoying the current slate of late night "comedy " shows are hard to pin down,but this is certainly a "golden age" for quantity. Bill Maher just celebrated 25 years.Jon Stewart disciples Stephen Colbert,John Oliver,Sam Bee & Trevor Noah. Lorne Michaels' Jimmy Fallon & Seth Meyers. Jimmy Kimmel - 30+ years on TV.
I check in with the "king of late night",Johnny Carson,via his estate's edited shows on Antenna TV. Weekend shows are 90 Min. and feature the oldest material in the vault. This past weekend had a 1975 entry with jokes about Ca. Gov. Jerry Brown. Fast forward 43 years and Jerry Brown is governor of Ca.
As for Leno,he didn't invent this,nor do I think he added much to the dialogue. David Letterman did it better.
As for Trump-too often too easy. TP on the shoe,umbrella closing,denture glue problems,Rambo fantasies. Oh,and the lies and misleads....6,420 ( source-Wapo),less than two years in. Truly tiresome. Everyone vote.
Nov 6, 2018
 
 
 
Mac
Tues. 11/6 Colbert goes live on CBS,not Showtime,as he did 11/8/16. A Wapo review of that night recalls Mark Halperin was with Stephen when Fl. went for Trump and,in effect,the Electoral College. No jokes. CBS already pre-empted The Late Show,so going to sister Showtime,with no censors,seemed a brilliant idea. Can CBS keep from interrupting Colbert with West Coast returns and analysis tomorrow? BTW,a year later,no Mark Halperin.
Sam Bee will also have her usual Wed. slot with the aftermath.
Everyone vote,no matter what. That has been Sam's push for weeks,including last minute online Voter Guides With Soothing Images. Facts & kittens-it works for Wapo's Fact Checker,hopefully it works for getting out the vote. Somebody get a Peabody for Sam & Co. Feck should be rewarded.
Nov 5, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
jim
I just discovered something will probably be of interest to a few people who visit this site. Hulu is now streaming all six seasons of "St. Elsewhere". Only one season of this show was ever released on dvd and it has been out of circulation for years. I'm betting I'm not the only one who has been anxiously waiting for an opportunity to revisit this binge worthy series. Just wanted to let everyone know it's now available.
Nov 3, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Thanks. Truly tempting. Still no word from Shout! Factory for a complete DVD release. They did WKRP(with the real music),NYPD Blue & Lou Grant -all Fox distributed,but no St. Elsewhere. Disney just put more money into Hulu and soon takes over Fox-sigh.
Nov 6, 2018
 
 
 
For enthusiasts of film history, TCM features Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers on Nov 1&8. Beginning with Alice Guy-Blache, probably the only female director between 1896-1906, she used special effects to great effect and is considered the first director to systematically develop narrative filmmaking (vs “Actualities” which were closer in definition to just setting up a camera in public). She created the FIRST NARRATIVE FILM, La Fee Aux Choux/The Birth of the Infants in 1896, very appropriate subject matter for the literal birth of the film industry. Also featured was Lois Weber, one of the first directors to experiment with sound, split screen, and who took on controversial topics like abortion & birth control Where are My Children? (1916) and-get this!-one of her films had the first female full-frontal nude scene, Hypocrites (1915). If you have access to TCM online, films featured are on-demand for 7 days post-air. If not, online digging is the answer.
Nov 2, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
If you didn't catch Barbra Streisand on James Corden's Carpool Karaoke 11/1 and will watch via DVR or You Tube,you missed Stephen Colbert's closing with Tony Bennett. Sure,these episodes will be available again but think for a moment- last night Tony Bennett followed Babs. And one of them was on the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theater. The other in an SVU(I think). A really big shew.
Nov 2, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mark Madison
Can't believe you're not watching Godless
Oct 30, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
While I don't do Netflix,this show came out a year ago. David Hinkley did his take last Nov. and got a few comments from readers. To quote James Thurber-you could look it up. Still no word on additional episodes past the first seven.
Oct 31, 2018
 
 
 
Bob516
No Friday update, hope everything is ok.
Oct 26, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
While I don't get the Paramount Channel, I like and appreciate that David thought enough of his readers to explain the backstory of the series Heathers, while prefacing it with a "not recommended" label on the preview.

Oh, and DB, thank you for turning me on to The Good Place, which has become one of my very few Network TV viewing "appointments" this season. An actual smart sitcom, and on NBC, no less! How rare a treat is that?
Oct 25, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Michael
Where is the list for Wednesday?
Oct 24, 2018   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thanks for asking, Michael. We've run into a few problems today, but we're working on it.
Oct 24, 2018
 
 
 
George Ashur
The Guest Book returns tonight. That's TV worth watching.
Oct 23, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
Yes, it's Tuesday already. And the _only_ Best Bet for today is the World Series? Not that I don't think the Series is worthy of being a Best Bet, but how can it be the only one? If nothing else, Alex Strachan highlights Frontline tonight (re: pension promises), so why isn't that included as an alternate option to the ballgame? I've been noticing fewer selections appearing in the Best Bets space on the average evening. Is that a statement about the paucity of good choices, or a byproduct of DB's limited bandwidth because of all his other commitments? If you folks think there aren't enough quality programs worth mentioning, maybe you should be more overt in your criticism.
Oct 23, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Michael
It is TUESDAY ALREADY! Where are the Best Bets for today?
Oct 23, 2018   |  Reply
 
Bob516
You sound to me like you are demanding something. Did you pay for this service?
Oct 26, 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.