ESPN, 8:00 p.m. ET

These “final” college bowl games – especially this one – were created and designed to end all the bickering, at the end of each college football season, about which team actually was the overall best, and the reigning champ until the following year’s bowl games. I’m not sure it actually solved much, and neither are many other sports fans. But here we are: the so-called “national championship” game, this year between No. 1-ranked LSU and No. 3-ranked Clemson. Both teams have a 14-0 record, but it’s a safe bet to put your money on the Tigers. That’s because both Clemson and LSU, as teams, are called the Tigers.

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: This sequel to The Young Pope, which also starred Jude Law, brings John Malkovich into the fold and to the fore – but like its predecessor, this series is much stronger on spectacle and visuals than scriptwriting and logic. It might be worth seeing, if you’re curious to know how both Marilyn Manson and Sharon Stone are worked into this story line. But only if that’s the case… 

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Marty Winkler
Duuuude! You did NOT just solicit MORE Hawaiian Shirts!!! OMG. I hope they show up in droves, so that you can roll your eyes and remind yourself to "be careful what you pray for." With great affection, Your Georgia Connection
Jan 20, 2020   |  Reply
>>...he’s returning at a time when the current has amped up from 110 to 220 volts.<<

David, buddy, you know I love ya, but -- uh, how can I say this nicely -- VOLTAGE IS NOT CURRENT!!! 110 (or 220) volts is voltage. Amps are current. Think of a garden hose: you open up the spigot to a certain point, and a certain amount of water (i.e., gallons per minute) comes out. That's the equivalent of current or amperage. But put a nozzle on the end of that hose and dial it around to different amounts of force behind the water, and that's voltage, the equivalent of pressure. The same amount of water can come out in a wide dispersion (lower voltage) or a tightly focused ribbon that hurts your hand if you hold it in front of the water (higher voltage). Same *amount* of water, different pressure behind it. I know you were just turning a phrase, but that's not even electrical engineering, it's 8th Grade Shop class.
Jan 17, 2020   |  Reply
NBC has been showing spots promoting "Lincoln Rhyme" with Keith Morrison,host of Dateline,evidently trying to say:"If you like true crime from,me, the goofy-looking white hired guy telling you a true crime story,you'll like this pretend-crime story that's on next." The spot shows no footage from the pretend-crime show(possibly because only one episode aired,there may not be much without spoilers). Dunno. I consume lots of pretend crime stuff(nowadays Dick Wolf stuff),but true crime on TV is stupid and relies on talking heads or faux footage acting out the true crime. If the spot helps attract viewers,fine,but it fails for me. I've yet to watch an episode of Dateline and this Morrison guy doesn't help. Blurring the line between "news" and "scripted" TV is a no-no. Reading or audio-only is how I explore true crime. Book stores often classify "true crime" as an ugly stepchild of fiction and non-fiction heritage-NBC seems to take the same approach.
Jan 17, 2020   |  Reply
Jan 16, 2020   |  Reply
Mary Padgelek
I just finished “Seriously Funny” and “The Platinum Age of Television” and I love them both and I’ve learned lots! Thanks so much for writing them and sharing your insight and information!
Jan 11, 2020   |  Reply
Congrats to Mark and all the family!!!!! Sweet.
Jan 10, 2020   |  Reply
Cathy B.
Loving the JEOPARDY tournament! Very confusing schedule. Thank you so much for providing the particulars about where and when to watch so we don’t miss it!
Jan 9, 2020   |  Reply
Of interest to the boss but too early to mark it on your calendar-ABC today announced a live musical version of "Young Frankenstein",with Mel Brooks producing. Probably set for near end of this year,casting and other details have not been announced. The musical has been around for over ten years and,while not a "My Fair Lady",it has done decent business both in the U.S. & London. Megyn Mullally,Andrea Martin & Sutton Foster were part of the Broadway premiere in 2007. Interesting that Disney-owned ABC is behind this even though their only other live musical was last Nov.'s "Little Mermaid Live",a property they owned for years. Disney has had tremendous success with Broadway versions of "Beauty and the Beast" ,"The Lion King","Mary Poppins" but only "The Little Mermaid" has made a televised version.
Jan 9, 2020   |  Reply
1/7,10PM As NBC previews a new show,CBS premieres a new one ,FBI Most Wanted,not only an FBI spinoff but another Dick Wolf operation-six on air for 2020. While the FBI series isn't nearly as interesting as the politics of the real FBI butting heads with the Cheeto-In-Chief, this Most Wanted series has longtime Wolf associate,Rene Balcer, in charge. Balcer's work with the Law & Order franchise is long and oft-nominated,but for me,it has been Law & Order:Criminal Intent where he found his stride. A whodunit where the intro often tipped off the baddie before credits,how Detectives Goren & Eames(and a few others) got to the questioning room for the denouement was great fun. Goren,often described as a modern Sherlock Holmes,had lots of personal issues and a truly deranged arch nemesis,Nicole Wallace, sprinkled throughout the seasons;Nicole even caused a ruckus in absentia. If you're breezing by an L&O:CI episode and see Olivia d'Abo in the credits,stop and enjoy
Jan 7, 2020   |  Reply
Where did you get that title for the Linda Ronstadt show?
Jan 1, 2020   |  Reply
Linda Donovan
It’s been fixed, Courtney.
Jan 1, 2020
TCM's night of "A Star Is Born" is actually a triple feature,as the 1976 Streisand/Kristofferson version shows up @ 1:15AM. All 3 back-to back-to back-almost an 8 hour shift.
Bloated and forgettable. Garland's 1954? Bloated yet unforgettable,with even the outtakes a plus.
Dec 30, 2019   |  Reply
frank steen
We enjoyed (were taken in by) DUBLIN MURDERS on Starz great acting, many
Irish police cars and colorful language in this intense 8 part series. Captions on for us.
Dec 30, 2019   |  Reply
Gavin and Stacey - where is a mention to this absolutely hysterical BBC series! I have been following your site for years and am surprised not to see it mentioned on your site. Thanks, Maura
Dec 29, 2019   |  Reply
While not familiar with this show,it seems that the recent holiday special was the first episode since 2010. Add to that,the new episode seems to be only available in the U.S. via BritBox,another dreaded subscriber system. NBC,ABC & Fox have attempted a U.S. version-zero episodes.Seems like a series about a show never making it to series could be in order. Maybe CBS,as they haven't put their toe in the water and they have Jams Cordon,who c-wrote it all..
Dec 30, 2019
Wondering if this idea was ever actually used:a marathon of Rocky movies for 12/26. Include the two Creed films. Throw in The Champ(1931),Requiem For A Heavyweight, Raging Bull,Somebody Up There Likes Me,Ali: Boxing Day.
Dec 26, 2019   |  Reply
Thanks,Matt Sure,lots of boxing movies out there-just Ali alone as bio fiction & documentary would fill up hours. My choice-When We Were Kings. Google places The Set Up from Robert Wise,but,yes,a film much better than it had to be.
Dec 28, 2019
Matt Alpern
Matt A.
Hey, Mac, you left off "The Set Up," a great little movie, directed by Fred Zinneman, with a superb performance by Robert Ryan. Happy Festivus and thanks for all your writing.
Dec 27, 2019
Meet Me In St. Louis has been bouncing around from a limited run in theatre to slice,dice,speed up,throw ads versions these past weeks; but tonight,Christmas Eve,TCM has it in your home(10PM),but not on your phone,uncut, commercial free and centering on Judy Garland singing it to Margaret O'Brien,and even by the song's premiere to the public,had lyric revision. Sinatra had lyricist Hugh Martin change another line in 1957. Judy even sang that revision on her CBS variety series,taped just days after the assassination of JFK, airing 12/23/63. Terry Gross interviewed Martin years ago on NPR's Fresh Air. Spoiler alert-you may find an online version of the interview introduced by the chief cook here,Mr. Bianculli. Bottle washers at TVWW? Eric Gould & Linda Donovan and lots of contributors,fine writers who keep this a place to visit every day. Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Keep in touch with someone in your life,sometime this week-visit,phone,social media.
Dec 24, 2019   |  Reply
Ken smith
I heard you today on NPR radio listing your top 10 I did not hear you mention
Reprisal on Hulu. If you have not seen this you’ve got to check it out
Dec 23, 2019   |  Reply
Wondering if 12/21 SNL episode might see Eddie Murphy reprising Mister Robinson's Neighborhood with a surprise from Tom Hanks in a smile, a sweater and tennis shoes? Maybe a little kerfuffle between the two over the new Air Jordans. This wouldn't sully Fred Rogers' reputation,as Fred had given Murphy a hug of approval back in the day. Hanks' biopiic is still in some theatres and would still be a good movie to see over the holidays. The movie did OK BO,but only doubled the cost,but promotion may have taken a chunk out of profits. Added bonus-no Disney connection-Frozen & Star Wars free.
Dec 21, 2019   |  Reply
FX, 8:00 p.m. ET

What time?
Dec 19, 2019   |  Reply
I would love to hear comments from folks viewing Wed.'s primetime fodder on broadcast TV. CBS had the end of season 279 of "Survivor". NBC had Ellen giving away crap. Fox unmasked a forgettable B-Grade Masked Singer. And ABC tried to roll back to the Gerald Ford era by revisiting scripts from "All In The Family" and "Good Times". Any mention why Gerald Ford was the Prez back then? Meanwhile, C-SPAN and some cable outlets were focused on the House vote while another C-SPAN channel showed the Trump Michigan rally. I was bouncing from C-SPAN/House vote to MSNBC,an occasional peek into Laura Ingraham-keeping enemies closer. Missed the:"Don the Con,You're Fired!" banner till this AM. C-SPAN did show it while the crowd did a "USA" chant. Trump responded:"Get her Out!",calling her "a real slob", "a disgusting person",predicting that she'll catch hell from Mom when she gets home. Good times 2019. What did broadcast TV show/deflect?
Dec 19, 2019   |  Reply
RC wieser
Bianculli is soooo right on about production values of new season of """Maisel.". The open shot of episode 1 is enough to earn the Emmy. Perhaps best StediCam shot ever... Surpassing the restaurant walkntalk in Goodfellows.
Dec 18, 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.