MONDAY
FEBRUARY 12
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Various Networks, 2:40 a.m. ET

NBCSN is all over the Olympics today, showing a few live, but mostly taped, events throughout most of the day and night. In fact, it’s easier to say when NBCSN is not televising coverage today: from 3-5 p.m. ET. Otherwise, it’s there, showing something. Over on CNBC, there’s only one scheduled event: delayed coverage of the mixed doubles semifinal in one of my favorite Winter Olympic sports, curling (pictured). Other coverage can be found, of course, on NBC’s Olympics website, as well on the network’s broadcast coverage today, which is detailed below.
 
  
 
 

NBC, 3:00 p.m. ET

Today’s NBC coverage (some of it Today’s NBC coverage) runs in the morning hours, then resumes in the afternoon from 3-5 p.m. ET, in prime time from 8-11:30 p.m. ET, and for a final burst from 12:05-2 a.m. ET, when all coverage will be live. In prime time, live coverage was scheduled to include the combined downhill run, and late night to feature – also live – the combined slalom gold medal final run in men’s alpine skiing. But wind gusts of 50 mph postponed the opening events in men’s downhill Sunday in Pyeongchang (pictured), so who knows what’s really going to be performed, much less televised, as scheduled?

 
  
 
 

HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

Somewhere on our globe, there’s a fire raging closer to a mostly forgotten pocket of nuclear waste – and the fire, like the radioactive material, is underground. That’s surprising enough, but what’s really surprising is where that hidden ticking danger is located: suburban St. Louis. Starting in 1942, a processing plant in that city supplied some of the uranium for our country’s first atomic bombs, the ones that eventually ended WWII. But the radioactive waste from that processing that wasn’t shipped elsewhere ended up being buried in a local landfill – and now it’s like a time bomb with a lit fuse, on a very, very large and dangerous scale. Rebecca Camissa directs. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Bob Fosse’s choreography for this 1972 film version of the famous musical, itself based on the semi-autobiographical prewar Berlin stories by Christopher Isherwood, is fabulous. Fosse’s work as film director, though, is even more superb, and he manages, in this version of the story, to make every musical number feel totally of the moment. Liza Minnelli became a star, and icon, as American-in-Germany lounge singer Sally Bowles, a hot mess of a central character, and Joel Grey earned just as many accolades as the seedy cabaret’s master of ceremonies. Michael York is the naïve visitor to Berlin who gets drawn into Sally’s web, and he’s good too – but watch not only how Fosse treats and photographs these three characters, but how he frames and propels each musical number. TCM’s “31 Days of Oscar” is saluting Best Director winners tonight in prime time, and leading off with Cabaret, and Fosse’s Oscar-winning triumph, is an excellent move. And it isn’t the film’s only Oscar, by the way. Cabaret earned eight in all, including Academy Awards for Minnelli, for Grey, and outstanding editing and cinematography – each of them richly deserved.
 
  
 
 
 
 
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1492 Comments
 
 
Angela
No matter what happens during the day, it's always good to know I learned something new; drupelets!
Aug 18, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
I thought I heard mention of a PBS special about Aretha airing Fri. 8/17,possibly replacing the Great Performances scheduled broadcast. I can find no online mention. Any news? Our local PBS station,Lehigh Valley's WLVT,rarely goes with any scheduled as they would rather go the cheapo cheapo route,but was hoping Philly's WHYY might be participating. Any news?
Aug 17, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Linda -Thanks for speedy delivery. I understand not able to make changes to the TTWW. Turns out it's produced by the PBS Newshour. I may have stumbled across that info in my searching,ignoring another news program and expecting more than 1/2 hr.Good news-the show is available online via thirteen.org.
NPR ,with their coverage Thurs. and Fresh Air's archive 1999 interview did things better and quicker than TV. Philly's WXPN,switched to all Aretha Thurs. from 10AM to 7PM and Funky Friday had a nice "favorites" list. Other stations did things right,too. That figures,since the world heard the Queen first on radio.
For me,Thurs. PM I was blasting Aretha's "Angel" over and over-this is the anthem that has pulled me through rough times.
BTW,Rhino Records had already scheduled a 2CD(vinyl?) set of 34 of Aretha's Atlantic singles, remastered original mono mixes. Yes,MONO,as you heard them on the radio! Currently #6 on Amazon but not available till 9/28.
Aug 18, 2018
 
 
Linda Donovan
Hi Mac — Yes, there is an Aretha special on tonight. Info too late to put into Bets. It’s on tonight (Fri) at 8:30 ET (check local listings). And WHYY is carrying it. Thanks for asking!
Aug 17, 2018
 
 
 
Vince Everett
“Disenchantment”, haven’t we seen this before?.... Anybody remember “Galavant” ?
Aug 17, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
8/17-The new version(#4) of A Star Is Born opens Oct. 10.,with a modest $30 million budget and star Bradley Cooper producing, directing and co-writing. The film had been bounced around for different premiere dates,but now is squarely in Oscar nominating territory with an R rating. Jon Peters,who was listed as co-producer of the 1976 version,largely because he was Streisand's live-in, is also listed as a producer. Peters lost a $3.3. million sexual harassment suit in 2011,pre-metoo, and has been a no-show in Hollywood.
Warner Bros.,now part of AT&T, produced the 1976 version,is partners with MGM for the new one, owns the 1954 Judy Garland version and owns TCM,so no wonder the Garland version(now restored to 3 hrs.) shows up 10/7 on TCM,during the new version premiere weekend.
Aug 17, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
8/15-Another interesting Finch film comes up early,10AM(missed it?TCM schedules it frequently,usually on a Sun. afternoon) is Fred Zinnemann's Nun's Story with Audrey Hepburn,seemingly out of her element playing the nun the story is about. Many of Zinnemann's films had a struggle of morals and A Nun's Story is one of the best. Don't mistake Hepburn for some goodie-two-shoes. Finch here plays a doctor involved with helping the sick in the Congo. Her Christian values,already coming under question,is in conflict with the atheist surgeon Finch but they learn from each other. There is much more to the film,but that is Finch's part. The filming experience led to Hepburn's real life work with UNICEF years later.
Aug 15, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Bill
"The leader after Day 3, former PGA champion Brooks Koepka (pictured), sits alone at 12-under par"


His first win in this tournament was on Sunday, he was not a former PGA Champion though he has won two U.S. Opens. Four wins overall, three of them Majors.
Aug 13, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
The Palin episode delay of Who Is America is not just a rumor,though Showtime is coy about its future. They are leaving it up to Cohen for final decision. Showtime has a free weekend,Labor Day weekend, 8/31-9/3, for non-subscribers with cable. Some episodes of WIA are included during trial. With all of the publicity for the show yet resulting so-so numbers, they are wise for airing WIA during the free weekend. Unfortunately,they are also showing Our Cartoon President,which seems too tame for its subject matter
Aug 12, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
ZenBeast
So you say there's NOTHING else of quality to watch tonight ? OBVIOUSLY you have not viewed a single episode of Snowfall. Great storytelling. Top notch cast, acting and cinematography. Get a clue my man.
Aug 9, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
8/9 TCM salute is for Walter Matthau. 5 goodies in a row. 6PM-Sunshine Boys. Neil Simon play. Oscar for George Burns. 8PM-Odd Couple. Another Simon,with Jack Lemmon. Matthau plays Oscar. 10PM-Fortune Cookie-Billy Wilder co-written with I.A.L. Diamond & directs. First Lemmon/Matthau team up. Matthau wins Oscar. 12:15-Taking of Pelham 123-the good one. Hijack a subway? Robert Shaw is a baddie. 2:15AM-Charley Varrick-a low key violent caper,directed by Don Siegel. A great supporting cast,including Dean Wormer(John Vernon),who evidently was already on double secret probation before Animal House.
Aug 9, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
jim
The first time the Godfather films were shown on network tv (NBC?) the two films were edited together and shown over two or three nights with the events unfolding in chronological order. In other words, it began with the DeNiro segments from II followed by the Brando film and concluded with the Pacino segments of II. I was one of the half dozen people in this world who hadn't already seen the films in the theater so that was the way I first experienced Godfather. It included scenes that were not in the original films, but which I still expect to see when I watch them. Hopefully someday Coppola can be persuaded to release that version again. I wouldn't want to be without the originals, but this other version is a worthwhile variation.
Aug 8, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
The TV showings of the Godfather films are so complicated the story has its own wiki entry. As much as I,too,would like to see a DVD of The Godfather Saga,or Epic or Trilogy or whatever,Coppola's idea to watch Michael's fall parallel with Vito's rise is one reason why Godfather II is so great. And Don Jr.,err, Fredo,shows just how much John Cazale is missed. 40 years gone.He was in only five feature films. Total. Godfather I & II, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter. Best Picture Nominations for all.
Aug 9, 2018
 
 
 
Mac
Kind of a quiet day on TCM-literally,as Harold Lloyd is the star 8/7. There are a few talkies in the mix,but the prime time set of Safety Last,Girl Shy,The Freshman and Speedy is silent relief on another hot,humid 24hrs. in the Northeast US. Keep the drinks full of ice. Stay hydrated,my friend,but stay away from over-hyped beer.
Aug 7, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
David-Thanks for the "no spoilers". Unfortunately,David Hinckley went the Imdb route about spoilers. Better Call Saul is one of the few of the smart modern shows not locked by a paywall a la Nexflix,Hulu, and HBO. Just the crummy cable bill. For the next few weeks,AMC is worth watching. I don't think I've been on the channel since the last BCS episode almost 14 months ago. With Lodge 49 following BCS,no Talking Saul anymmore. TS was hosted by Chris Hardwick,who seems to be regaining employment following abuse accusations and I especially enjoyed watching the bad guys leaving their personas behind to explaining their craft. BTW,the new BCS episode repeats @ 11PM and shows up 3 more times till the next episode.
Aug 6, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
8/4-TCM spotlights 24 hrs. of Clint Eastwood,starting @ 6AM. From Noon till 8PM,the Dollars Trilogy of Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns is shown in order and commercial free. I didn't appreciate these when first released. They are great! Next-8PM,Hang 'Em High, Eastwood and the horse he rode in on
are back in the U.S. but still influenced by Leone's work. 10PM-Coogan's Bluff-a pre-Dirty Harry modern cop film I like better than the Harry series. TV shaped Coogan into Dennis Weaver in the "McLoud" Mystery Movies.
TCM's Aug. Spotlight days puts Underground,Noir Alley,Sunday Silents and Foreign Films on vacation. Hope they can all find a place "down 'da shore."
Aug 4, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Re: NPR's Fresh Air hosted by Our Host,on 8/3. David takes extra care not to reveal what happens in the new season. While listening,I went over to Imdb for some trivia and to refresh on what happened. I was immediately hit with a spoiler. Why? Often,Imdb gives little if any info about films & shows that have not been made to the public. Not here. Stay away from Imdb.
Aug 3, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
8/2-HOF pre-season football is Real Fake Sports. It's an exhibition game,where,not unlike Who's Line Is It Anyway,the points don't count. Somebody breaks a collarbone ending their season and possibly career- that counts. Question- Are the players getting ready for pre-season kneeling,standing or staying in the locker room for the National Anthem? And,if so,will these actions cause Trump to use CAPS when Tweeting about those who protested,pre-season?
In the meantime,real baseball,where everything counts, is played and on lots of outlets.
Aug 2, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
8/2 TCM has a day of Myrna Loy, including 6 of the 14 films made with William Powell while,today,only one Thin Man film(there were 6). Watching Loy is always an enjoyable experience. Beauty,quick delivery,nuanced moments. During WWII she put her career on hold for the Red Cross and the USO. While she did some TV,it was infrequent and unmemorable. She was a movie star.
Aug 2, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
August means TCM goes 24 hours celebrating one star. Aug.1 salutes Frank Sinatra with hits(From Here To Eternity, 2:15AM)and misses(Double Dynamite-you missed it-you're welcome). Dog days. Often surprises and rarities,even with the big names.
Aug 1, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
7/25- Sam Bee once again used the right words for the occasion. She called Maria Butina's boyfriend an "effin jabroni". Like when Joe Biden re-established "malarkey" to the 21st Century conversation,"jabroni" was a phrase I hadn't heard since high school. Best fiend knew all the cool Italian insults. Some are really nasty. And, sorry urban dictionary,"jabroni" ain't just a wrestlin' insult. Sam also compared the guy to Kevin from "The Office". Just the best!
Aug 1, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Fun facts around Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. The TV Alice spun off Flo to 29 episodes of her own series,creatively titled "Flo.". In her place,Diane Ladd,the original Flo in the film, was cast as Belle. By summer of '81 both Flo and Belle were gone. Flo never returned to the "Alice" TV show. Antenna TV currently schedules two episodes of "Alice" @ 8PM,M-F.
Jul 30, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
ken
Where is the notice for Preacher? CNN is recommended, and not Preacher? You need to get out of your comfort zone more..o
Jul 29, 2018   |  Reply
 
Keith Robin
I totally agree, Ken, both about "Preacher" and comfort zone.
Jul 30, 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.

 
 
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