MONDAY
AUGUST 12
2019

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

AMC, 9:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: In 1941, the time in which this second season of AMC’s anthology horror series The Terror is set, the date which would live in infamy was December 7, the day Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor. This 10-episode Season 2, like its predecessor, adds a malevolent supernatural element to an already foreboding setting and historical moment. Last season, it was an ice-bound ship surrounded by mysterious, deadly forces. In Infamy, it follows a Japanese-American family as, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, they’re rounded up in an internment camp, which quickly houses not only thousands of people who look like them, but an evil spirit who feeds on them. The supernatural horror is something – but it’s the all-too-real horror of America’s fears of its own citizens, and what was done to them in the name of national security, that truly runs chills down the spine. Especially in today’s political context. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower. And to read George Takei's remembrance of his family's internment, see Mike Hughes' Open Mike and Roger Catlin's TV Eye.
 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

MINISERIES PREMIERE: The first two episodes of Our Boys are presented back-to-back tonight – and that will be more enough to see if you’ll be pulled into the deliberately paced, methodically recreated case that further inflamed tensions in and around the West Bank after a trio of Israeli teens, making their way home from an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, were kidnapped and held hostage by Palestinians. Filmed in Israel, this HBO-Israeli production is a team effort by a remarkably diverse team: Hagai Levi, who created the original The Affair, is joined here by Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar and Palestinian writer-director Tawfik Abu Wael. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower.
 
  
 
 

FX, 10:00 p.m. ET

SERIES FINALE: Legion is one of my favorite series on TV, and it goes out as it came in: boldly, wildly, inventively, unforgettably. I’ve seen tonight’s final episode, and all I can say – all I want to say, until you’ve had a chance to see and enjoy it for yourself – is that Noah Hawley and company totally stick the landing. (If there’s a second edition of my Finales collection about TV series endings, I’m claiming Legion right now.) With so much of this series finding ways to go anywhere, everywhere, and to any point in time and space, it might have been too much to ask for this show to find the exact place, time and way in which to end its wild, complex story. But Legion delivers. I love it. Well done, everyone.
 
  
 
 

AMC, 10:10 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: There’s a new boss at Lodge 49 this season, and he’s not the same as the old boss. Not even close. And the changes he begins to implement are even more rattling than what the members of the Fraternal Order of the Lynx are used to enduring. And remember, that list of indignities includes shark attacks…
 
  
 
 
 
 
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1787 Comments
 
 
Mac
11/16-the 50th anniversary celebration for Sesame Street hits PBS,a week after HBO.Philly has it scheduled for an hour,7PM,nearby Lehigh Valley outlet,as often happens,ignores things like this till a later date,even though the local paper gave the show an extensive write up a few days ago. The station recently did this with Ken Burns' Country Music,delaying it for a Sunday binge. Big Bird turned 50 11/10/69. Sesame Street premiered during my first college semester. Still the most educational thing I witnessed that semester,maybe during my brief time in higher academia,outside of working in college radio(Hey,it's how Terry Gross started-same time frame,different school.) I didn't see a color episode of Sesame Street till years later. There is a t-shirt reading:"Everything I know I learned on the Street". Truth on a tee.
Nov 17, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
Review-trying to balance original viewers,now in the 50s,and current audience of 3 year olds is difficult. Kids have no idea who the original cast grown-ups are,and many of the original viewers have no idea who Gonger is. But,in true Sesame Street tradition,inclusion is the word. Susan,Bob,Maria,Luis,Linda-nice to see these folk alive,kickin' & smilin'. Lots of original songs written by Joe Raposo still hold up,but these mean nothing to kids. Wonder what the negotiations with Disney were to feature Kermit-who straddled both the Muppet world and Sesame Street? Lots of Easter eggs(Mumford,the counting baker,ladybugs picnic) and remember the role Jim Henson played as the glue to hold it all together. Missing-counting intros with the Pointer Sisters. Sesame Street deserves a series of specials,some serious(Mr. Hooper's passing,the sad tale of David,Kevin Clash),some funny(Henson outtakes). There is a 2 DVD set celebrating the 50 years-the special is online for free till 11/24.
Nov 18, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
Question-"What is a friend?" Answer-Uhh,give Disney eight bucks every month and they'll let you in on the secret. Maybe Forky will give you an answer,maybe even continue to be your friend for about a hundred bucks a year. Mister Rogers asked the viewer(note:not "viewers",he was always on a one-to-one basis):"Won't you be my neighbor?" He asked via free broadcasting at the beginning of every episode. IMDd lists 895 episodes of Fred's Neighborhood;337 episodes of MisteRogers-1232 times he asked that question-you only needed to be near a TV to hear him ask,with hopes that you would return next time. I suspect Forky won't respond unless the bill is paid up.
Nov 15, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
11/13 TCM already has a fantastic double bill today. Before The Red Shoes,@ 6:15PM,Michael Powell's previous film,Black Narcissus,airs. I think they have put these together before-either as an Essentials evening ,or when saluting directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger or cinematographer Jack Cardiff. Thanksto tCM I now know about both of these masterpieces. For me,Black Narcissus begs for as many repeated viewings as The Red Shoes. Nuns and lust in the late afternoon-whew!
Nov 13, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Disney. ABC.Philly Ch. 6,an O&O channel. Freeform. Disney Channel. Disney Jr.ESPN.ESPN 2. ESPN Classic. ESPN News.Disney XD. National Geographic Channel. FX. 1/2 of A&E Networks. 2/3s of Hulu. That's just the U.S.,just TV and I'm probably missing parts. And now Disney+. Sorry, ODed on Disney. d-Con for The Mouse in this house.
Nov 12, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mary B.
Does Chicago P.D. have something against pizza? In two recent episodes, screenwriters have put words in characters' mouths that associate pizza with crimes.. interesting. Is the reason snobbery or flinching at the proportions in the formula for a radius or diameter? Are the writers on diets, or did they have bad experiences with pizza?
Nov 9, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
I'm a regular Chicago One franchise junkie,but have missed since the 10/16 crossover(World Series),so I have no specifics. But in keeping with Dick Wolf projects having local flavor(these shows are actually filmed in Chicago),pizza is an obvious subject. Pizza=crimes? I'm a pizza addict and diabetic,so personal crimes are committed every time I grab a slice.
I grew up nearby Pica's,outside Philly-Tina Fey's favorite(she is also from the neighborhood) so I know how dramatic pizza can play in one's life. Chicago? NYC? Other Philly spots? Sorry,Pica's thin crispy crust square pie-cheese on the bottom,gravy on top- beats them all. Tough guy Hank Voight cannot intimidate me otherwise. I'll lawyer up.
Nov 12, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
In my days as a warehouse schlemiel(3 yrs. out this week),I told my supervisors that in place of employment applications and interviews,simply ask how many hours of Sesame Street the candidate absorbed. That would tell the employer the person knows the letters of the alphabet,knows numbers up to 20,and how to cooperate. Give them directions to the rest room,tell them when to take a break,when to leave and come back next time,and there is the Model Warehouse Schlub.
Nov 9, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Double checking those TCM entries for 11/8: 8PM,The Big Picture. 10PM-Tootsie. 12:15AM-Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. The films listed on the TVWW blurb aired 11/7.
Nov 8, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
OOPS-11/29,not 11/28.
Nov 7, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Black Friday,11/28,is actually Pink Friday on TCM. Five Pink Panthers,back to back to back to back to back-all Sellers, Blake Edwards,Mancini. Pink Panther,Shot In The Dark,Return of ,Strikes Again and Revenge of. All with DePatie/Freleng animated titles. Fun fact-Plas Johnson,who did the iconic sax solo for PP,is still alive at 88. From 10AM to 8PM. Stay outta the stores,get off Amazon and enjoy over leftovers,or a Wawa Gobbler,if you have access in your area.
Nov 7, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
The "Image Makers" documentary will be repeated on TCM 11/9@6:15PM,11/13@4:30PM and 11/27@2:15AM(really 11/28). Each Wed. in Nov., is filled(not just prime time) by some of the greatest films ever made,and some of them premieres/rarities to TCM. It is a classroom study of why the cinematographer is so important to a film. So important,as noted in the film, the credit frame for Citizen Kane lists Orson Welles as director and Gregg Toland,cinematographer just underneath. Both names in the same frame, on a near-equal basis.
Nov 7, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Randy
Let Comcast know how you feel. Does it make any sense to move TCM to the Sports package?
Nov 6, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
Folks should know that this Comcast screwing is titled the "Sports and Entertainment" package,so basically they are putting a premium price on channels many folks use more than others. In the age of cord cutting and subscription,Comcast feels they can charge an extra fee,with a laissez faire attitude. My cable system already screws us with Comcast/NBC Sports offerings which add lots to the bill. Big Ten Sports,foreign language,religious(all organized religions are porn to me),cooking/food/travel channels-I don't cook or travel ,reality scum, Fox News &Fox Business,duplicate networks(2 Fox,2 My,2 CWs,2 weather,multiple kiddie fare(anything Disney),yet no Looney Tunes.
Comcast's explanation,found online,speaks out of both sides of their cable. They say TCM viewership is low,yet term the tier for the new resting home is termed "popular".In 2019 jargon,is Trumpian. They don't care.
Nov 7, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
11/1 TCM Dennis Miller line up is indeed tempting,even including Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. In 1964,under the Christmas tree,I received an 8mm silent truncated version. I've played these few minutes over and over. Universal owned the movie versions of many "monsters". They owned A&C. Comedy & horror-it worked. Dracula,Frankenstein's monster,the Wolf Man and a special cameo,along with the expected Lou sees stuff while Bud doesn't. Worked for me as a kid-still considered on of the best A&C mashups. Dated,but still fun. A day after Halloween yet better than many of the stuff aired these past few days. With Dennis Miller hosting,I have to avoid intos & outros-usually a plus on TCM-Miller males these unbearable.
Nov 1, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
jan
Our cable company--Comcast--took away my TCM. It's part of the sports package now, and you have to pay for it. I can't tell you how disappointed I am. (Just had to vent somewhere.)
Oct 31, 2019   |  Reply
 
jan
I'm definitely not holding my breath, Joe. Comcast also took away one of our PBS networks--of course, the one I watched the most. It has never come back in over a year, and yet we have 2 channels that broadcast the same PBS out of Chicago. I hate Comcast.
Nov 1, 2019
 
 
Joe in SF
I hear you, Jan. Same thing happened to me. I hope Comcast changes that back, but I am not holding my breath.
Nov 1, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
Baby shark,doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby shark.
Mommy shark. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Mommy shark.
Daddy shark. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Daddy shark.
Grandma shark .Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Grandma shark.
Grandpa shark. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Grandpa shark.
Let's go hunt. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Let's go hunt.
Run away. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Run away.
Safe at last. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. Safe at last.
It's the end. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. It's the end!
Opening day-3/26/20. 30 teams. 15 games. Life begins again.
Oct 31, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
Tom- Humbling moment,adding to the fun. I was playing the video of Baby Shark for the kid who lives across the hall(she turns 3 in a few months),hoping to show her that the old white guy living across the hall is up to date and hip. Turns out,she has been into all of the Baby Shark stuff for months(including their take on other kid songs) with her Kindle Fire-style device. This kid just beams! Today, at a diner,a kid in a nearby booth was playing Baby Shark on his device.
Even this Phillies fan loves this. I wonder how Misterogers would respond to all of this? I think he would smile,as long as it is mixed in with other kid stuff.
Nov 5, 2019
 
 
Tom
Mac shark,doo doo doo doo doo doo. Mac shark
Nov 1, 2019
 
 
 
"Theatre of Blood" is the summit of Price's marvelous career, fiendish and ingenious. I saw it at a drive-in when it was still new and found it hilariously twisted. "Pit" is somber and slow, but it has images that have haunted me for decades. All that's missing tonight is a show of "The Conqueror Worm."
Oct 31, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Late afternoon TCM alert. A Face In the Crowd,showing up in the daytime "Hollywood hillbillies" theme,shows up(5:45PM) and it is impossible to measure the foreshadowing of modern TV news mixing politics and entertainment that is part of the current day. Andy Griffith,in a role as spooky as any Oct. horror film(film debut), turns from country bumpkin to opinion maker,while adding a healthy dose of a sex scandal and betrayal as a subplot. Amazing cast includes Patricia Neal,Lee Remick(film debut),Tony Franciosa and Walter Matthau. Followed by a night of Godzilla,but here is the real monster,smilin' and strummin' a geetar. Scheduled after the Godzilla nonsense,(actually Fri.10/26@2:15AM), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,co-written by Roger Ebert. Really. Still rated NC-17(originally X). A Fox release,now Disney owned.
Oct 25, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
jim
Am I the only person who is just bored to death with everything and anything having to do with zombies?
Oct 24, 2019   |  Reply
 
jan
I'm with you. And I quit watching "The Walking Dead" several seasons ago. Boring!
Oct 25, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
To put Friday's World Series game coming from Washington D.C. in perspective: Last night(10/24) David recommended the Marx Bros.' Duck Soup-my favorite comedy.possibly my favorite film. Duck Soup was released 11/23/1933. The last World Series game played in D.C. occurred 10/7/1933- 41 days earlier. A 10 year old kid listening to a broadcast on either CBS or NBC radio would be 96 today.
Oct 24, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
KXAS Ch. 5,Dallas-Fort Worth,an NBC Comcast O&O station,delayed news of a tornado by six minutes while broadcasting the Cowboys/Eagles NFL game Sunday(20). Enough time to maybe get to a safe place. Station openly acknowledged the screw up,giving the usual: "...we're doing everything in our power to make sure this does not happen again."
Recent baseball ALCS airings via Fox/FS1 split the screentime with a whiskey ad when the action was low. Things are dull,get liquored up. The ad grabbed the audio. Standard practice.
Maybe boycott a scripted show to see ratings tank(This Is Us,I'm looking at you).Might wake up these conglomerates. FCC/FEMA are worthless,as proven in the past. Companies can get in trouble for broadcasting an exposed woman's breast on TV,but not held in contempt for putting the audience in harm's way by delaying life saving information. TV Worth Saving Lives not part of the responsibility of holding a license
Oct 22, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
The Haunting-another Robert Wise film. Curse of the Cat People. The Day the Earth Stood Still. Tribute To A Bad Man.I Want To Live. Odds Against Tomorrow. West Side Story. The Sound of Music. Andromeda Strain. Excellence in every genre.
Oct 17, 2019   |  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.

 
 
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