TUESDAY
JULY 10
2018

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Fox, 2:00 p.m. ET

It’s really serious now. We’ve arrived at the semifinals, and so have only four teams, each of whom is still, quite literally in this tournament, alive and kicking. Tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET on Fox, we have England vs. Croatia, a must-see game. But today’s is must-see, too: It’s France vs. Belgium, a game of two explosive offenses. Belgium leads the scoring thus far in the 2018 World Cup, notching 14 goals in its five matches to date, and coming back from an 0-2 deficit to Japan to win that thriller of a match. Right now, oddsmakers have given these two squads the best chance of winning this year’s Cup, but only one will advance to the final. Vive la France!

 
  
 
 

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

This continuation of the 10 [INSERT PLURAL NOUN HERE] That Changed America series of PBS specials has host Geoffrey Baer taking a tour of, and making a case for, 10 U.S. streets with major historical, social and architectural significance. Some, like New York’s Broadway (pictured), are no-brainers. (David Hartman devoted an entire hour to it on New York public TV years ago, superbly.) Others, like the Kalamazoo Mall in Michigan, require a bit more explanation. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower.  Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

CW, 9:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: This new summer CW fantasy series – imagine Game of Thrones without money to spend – stars relative newcomer Jessica Green, playing a warrior with nascent supernatural powers who is the only survivor of a brutal attack on her family and townspeople. At least it’s not a rerun, or a reality show, so I mention it here. Once.

 
  
 
 
 
 
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1530 Comments
 
 
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
"...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
 
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
 
 
 
Mac
TCM is remembering Burt Reynolds with a Tribute airing 12/26. With that advanced time frame,they put together 6 decent titles. Well,maybe 5 and 1/2.
8PM-Smokey & the Bandit-In theaters now-really.
10PM-Deliverance-One scary masterpiece.
Midnight-The Longest Yard-The original, not the sad remake.
2:15AM-Hooper-A personal favorite.
4:15AM-Smokey II Well,indulge TCM.
No "Boogie Nights" but that might be a little beyond even TCM Underground.
Sep 14, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Keith Robin
As a fan since the premier of Season One, I could not agree with you more concerning NBC's last-minute effort to excite new viewers about "The Good Place"! If they really wanted to attract new viewers, they should have started rerunning both seasons weeks ago so the game of catch-up would have concluded as the third season premiered. Oh, I'm sorry, that sounds like something HBO and Showtime have been doing forever. It's great that Netflix has both seasons available to binge-watch, but not everyone has Netflix. And they wonder why network TV is less popular than cable and streaming.
Sep 13, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
Adding on to DB's Best Bet for The Good Place today, Netflix has the entire Season 1 and Season 2 package, 26 episodes in all, available for streaming right now. Season 2 just came online a week or two ago. (Since the episodes, stripped of commercials, only run 20-21 minutes each, you can catch up on an entire season in about three hours of "couch potato" time. Which I did last week.) IMHO, this is a really smart comedy, with a lot of "low-and-inside" humor that requires you to pay attention.
Sep 13, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Near forgot that Sam Bee returned for what appears to be an energized show(titles,OK-new set,meh) for the mid-terms. Sam partnered with techies to create a humor-filled political-themed trivia app,awarding cash prizes,to invigorate the youngins' to learn,laugh,and,hopefully,register & vote. First game started as the show ended. Crashed due to heavy traffic. Rescheduled for tonight(11PM?). I don't app or social media,but I always vote,so they don't need me. I was one of the first bunch when the voting age dropped to 18,going on a streak of any Presidential nomination I voted for,lost,save 2012. A reminder that her show is rerun Sat. @11PM.
Sep 13, 2018   |  Reply
 
Frank Dracman
What?
Sep 13, 2018
 
 
 
Mac
A fun time-killer on You Tube is revisiting "Fall Preview" shows from the networks from decades past(going back to the '50s). Best parts,for me,are the shows that bombed,with proof. "Music Scene","The New People"-kinda like "Lost,1969,"Harold Robbins' 'The Survivors' "-awful. But,also "Marcus Welby","Brady Bunch", "Room 222" & "Love,American Style",as well as the Burt Bacharach theme for 'The ABC Movie of the Week",aka "Nikki",written for his troubled daughter.
Tonight,@10PM, "Brooklyn Nine Nine Presents NBC Fall 2018" A sitcom canceled by Fox,but owned by NBC's parent,explores what a night of Dick Wolf Chicago shows will look like,back-to-back-to-back. Also,"Manifest",kinda "Lost",but found 2018. BTW, new Brooklyn episodes don't show up till early 2019,after something on the schedule stumbles.
Sep 11, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Two oddities take up TCN's Sunday-a good scheduling time before TCM's Silent Sundays,\ since both are centered on silent films. 8PM-Dawson City:Frozen Time brings footage of presumed lost movies that were literally unearthed during excavation in 1975. Outside of water damage,much was preserved and there are bits and pieces of film long thought lost. Dawson City was the end of the line for these films' distribution,hence the title. Lots of surprises.
10:15PM-Fragments-more bits,more pieces of lost film,including an Oscar-winning performance, and a John Ford trailer from 1922. Not only footage of child star Baby Peggy,but an interview with her in 2010. Peggy,now Diana Serra Cary,is still with us and turns 99 next month. Baby Peggy was a child star along side Jackie Coogan(yes, Uncle Feater in TV's Addams Family) and Baby Marie. Baby Peggy starred in over 150 shorts and earned $1.5 million in movies alone. By the '30s-poor and just bit parts.
Sep 9, 2018   |  Reply
 
Tammy
I love every time a single film draws together connections and creates a further set of nodes along a giant web. Dawson literally offers a whole new sense of place. Klondike was an ice cream bar and a word that appeared next to "Gold Rush", but had never seemed any more concrete than Brigadoon, or a slightly fictional setting for a silent movie or comic book. But to learn it is more deeply connected to history through a brothel owned by Fred Trumpf (Donny's grandfather) & where theater owners Sid Grauman and Alexander Pantages got their start.
Also, wondering if Carl Barks is related to Ed Bark of Uncle Barky's Bytes on this very site?
Sep 10, 2018
 
 
Mac
I could watch that Dawson City doc at least once a year.
I'm a fan of the Uncle Scrooge comic books invented by Carl Barks.Scrooge made his fortune in Dawson City in "Back to The Klondike",one of the key Barks stories. Barks also created complex personalities for nephew Donald and his three nephews. Later,Don Rosa did a 12 part back story(and some side stories) that eventually centered on Scrooge finding Klondike gold and meeting up with Glittering Goldie O'Duck,his unrequited love,based on the real life Klondike Kate Rockwell. Both Barks and Rosa used real life events and geography(Barks often used the National Geographic for backgrounds)in their stories, making readers believe a universe populated with talking ducks,dogs and other animals was quite possible. Some of the animated DuckTales,both versions, use the comic book stories as touchstones for new adventures. For decades Disney cared little about Barks and hid credits from the comic books. Carl Barks-The Good Duck Artist.
Sep 10, 2018
 
 
Tammy
Thanks for pointing these out, Mac! Films from 2016 and 2010 had me curious. One of the most intriguing elements of Dawson, in addition to its miraculous origin story of accidental preservation, is the STYLE of the film. The story of the town and its boom and bust gold rush luck reveal elements nugget by nugget, with a non traditional and haunting score. 533 reels were found, revealing scenes from over 300 lost films, and and an amazing amount are featured. Even the bits which reveal decay or damage lend an otherworldly quality and their own sense of art and serendipity. I was riveted & transported. Does every generation see themselves and their version of reality depicted in their films?
Sep 10, 2018
 
 
 
Erin
Small correction: Jim Carrey had a prominent role on Fox's "In Living Color" in the 1990s for several years.
Sep 9, 2018   |  Reply
 
Tjogil
Haha - was about to angrily email DB about this
Sep 10, 2018
 
 
 
Mac
Charlie Dent on Bill Maher. This guy was the House Rep for my area,till he left in May. Weird, as he has become a CNN go-to guy largely because he doesn't foam at the mouth. Politics Plus 2018-doesn't foam. Meanwhile,Charlie's district was changed over gerrymandering charges with voters now electing his replacement in the old district,serving till Jan. 2019,and electing a rep for the new district,serving till 2020. Got it? Good,'cause we don't. On the Reps side-Olympic Gold medalist. On the Dems- City controller. The city controller is getting outside big bucks;the Olympian, not so much,having just cleared sexual harassment charges. Soon,bigger money coming in on both sides. A big close race looed on national level.Paging Steve Kornacki!
Sep 7, 2018   |  Reply
 
Mac
Mr. President,wake up. Obama finished his speech. Oh,and wipe that drool from your red tie. What is that? Enomynous covfefe? Russian dressing? Diet Coke & KFC mixed with chocolate cake & ice cream? Mr. President,don't lick that tie! You don't know where it was last!
Sep 7, 2018
 
 
Walter
Zzzzzzzzzz
Sep 7, 2018
 
 
 
Mac
Wonder if they got ahold of Sean Wyeth,believed to be the bastard son of Andy? has lived local(Lehigh Valley) for years. Story rings true.
Sep 7, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Tammy
Just before Mockingbird, at 8pm, there is another great Broadway/Hollywood piece, A Raisin in the Sun. A few nights ago, TCM showed an amazing silent film in prime time, 1920's Within Our Gates, known as the response to Birth of a Nation (1915), directed by Oscar Micheaux. It is the oldest known surviving film made by an African American director. Mark Twain wrote about race, TCM is talking about it and offering perspectives from people's own voices. The past isn't dead. it isn't even past.
Sep 6, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
If you love "It's The Great Pumpkin,Charlie Brown",know that the soundtrack has never been available and thought long lost. But 10/5 a CD & vinyl LP come out. While kinda short(around 20 min.) and including some sound effects that cannot be excised(but no voices nor narration),these versions of "Linus & Lucy" & "The Great Pumpkin Waltz" are part of your DNA if you've been a fan,like me,for over 50 years. In 1966 I put a battery operated tape machine under the TV & recorded the show on a noisy,speed varied 3" tape that was my only source for decades. Not a limited edition,but interest in this title,especially vinyl, could be high first time around,so pre-orders are being taken. This is what October sounds like if you have ever jumped into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker. Listen while enjoying a Coke and a pack of Raspberry Zingers.
Sep 5, 2018   |  Reply
 
a
Mac, Since I spent my childhood in northern Wisconsin I'm not sure where I got the Orange Crush love from but I've always had a fondness for the Deep South so maybe that's why. As to not being able to enjoy junk food anymore and other various "childhood" pursuits I like to say, I'm sure glad I did it when I could! :)
Sep 12, 2018
 
 
Mac
I used the Coke/Zingers reference as they were the original sponsors of the Peanuts specials. Their billboards bracketing the shows have been excised from both broadcast & home video.
Orange Crush &a Moon Pie? I am familiar with the RC Cola & Moon Pie song and its southern roots. An Orange Crush instead of an RC seems to bring it to the Deep,Deep South. My Philly roots would be a Frank's Black Cherry Wisniak & a pack of Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets(in the original wax paper packaging,so as to lick the icing from the paper),but diabetes eliminates any of these wonderfully junkie choices.
Sep 6, 2018
 
 
Angela
Or maybe a Orange Crush and a Moon Pie, and I love this, "This is what October sounds like if you have ever jumped into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker."
Sep 5, 2018
 
 
 
Mac
Fun fact:Dean Martin's "Ain't That A Kick In The Head",never charted and music maven Bob Furmanek suggests many radio stations found the lyrics "too suggestive" and refused airplay.This was 1960. Furmanek and his brother Ron were the first to discover a stereo version...in 1989. This info from the Capitol CD:Dean Martin-Collector's Series. Folks finding any of these late '80s-early '90s Capitol Collector Series CDs-do not pass up! Well written notes and probably at least one surprise in every entry. The Sinatra entry is essential! The Martin CD, has only 3 stereo cuts because they were the only ones recorded in stereo. For decades,folks picking up Martin Capitol hit collections after mono was eliminated(around 1968)only heard rechanneled phony stereo versions. Some think these sound like the artist was "singing in the bathtub".
Sep 5, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
 
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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.