NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

I was able to see, and approve of and recommend, last week’s premiere episode in advance, but not tonight’s second episode. So I’ll be watching with interest, just as I hope you’ll be – since this new NBC series is developed by executive producers Mark Bianculli and VJ Boyd. One of them is my son. And it probably doesn’t take a detective of Lincoln Rhyme’s intellect to determine which…

HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: This is the Season 18 premiere of Bill Maher’s live, live-wire show. It’s the first time in a long while he’s been able to comment on current events – and he’s returning at a time when the current has amped up from 110 to 220 volts. His show’s guest bookers haven’t wasted their time off: The opening guest for this 2020 opener is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who’s been quite busy while Maher has been on break. Also scheduled to appear tonight: Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, and historian Jon Meacham.
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Please update recommendations for 2.26.20 ALSO, send me emails like you have in the past at:
Feb 26, 2020   |  Reply
Reiny in Berkeley
Oh, if only Trump were obsessed with building a Border Well! (see review of What's Eating America) Would cost MUCH less, and bring water to a very dry part of the country :<)
Feb 16, 2020   |  Reply
2/16-One needs a few TVs,DVRs and an extra day to absorb it all. With many folks,that day doesn't include President's Day anymore-just another clock-in. But I'll add another 7 hrs. of TCM. 8PM-The Lion In Winter. 10:30PM-Silence of the Lambs.(Sorry,no Applebee's ads promising: "good eatin' in the neighborhood").12:45AM-Taxi Driver.3AM-Young Frankenstein. Whew.
Feb 16, 2020   |  Reply
Uh,9 hours of TCM-8PM-5AM.
Feb 16, 2020
TCM's Valentine night was kinda purposely filled with lawyers,the Mob,prisoners and murder-one film chosen during their Oscarfest just because a song was nominated. So,2/15 they schedule one of the greatest love stories in film-Casablanca. Just like the crowds thinning in restaurants after 2/14,one can bask in the glory of Bogey,Ingrid Bergman and Dooley Wilson,a guy you must remember. Oh,the supporting cast is special,too.
Woody Allen has his detractors these days,but in 1972 he wrote and starred(but didn't direct),Play It Again,Sam. In 1969 the original stage version starred Allen,Diane Keaton & Tony Roberts-all 3 reprise for the film. A fun scene involves a vinyl record-2020 hipsters,take note. Fun Wiki Fact-Bob Denver(yes,Gilligan) replaced Allen near the end of the Broadway run and got decent notices.
Feb 15, 2020   |  Reply

Uhh, where? When?
Feb 8, 2020   |  Reply
TCM has the expected remembrance of Kirk Douglas via You Tube now,but as of this minute,no notice of a tribute night(or entire day,as Douglas could surely fill 24 hours with just greatest hits. Near impossible to disrupt 31 Days of Oscar, probable night in Mar.
2/11(actually 2/12)@1:15 AM-Lust For Life,the Van Gogh biopic.
Try to avoid ad-driven movie channels -they slice 'n dice,speed up times as well as often ignoring wide-screen ratios.
Feb 6, 2020   |  Reply
3/1-6PM-A Letter To Rhee Wives. Douglas is part of an ensemble of married folk.A little soapy but a decent payoff. Shows up again 3/28@ 8PM.
Feb 6, 2020
Vince Everett
The “X” rating for Midnight Cowboy was a new system meant only to convey “no one under 18” . It was later co-opted by porn films as a “forbidden fruit” enticement (later they added non-existant “ XX” & “XXX” to up the ante . It began to seem silly to lump serious dramas with realistic relationships and real life problems in the same group as porn , so”X” became “porn” and Midnight Cowboy” was retroactively up-graded to “R”
Feb 5, 2020   |  Reply
There seems to be confusion about all of this. Wiki has "minor cuts" for Midnight Cowboy & A Clockwork Orange. They reason that the MPAA never trademarked X,so anyone could use it. Nothing silly seems to have separating serious vs. porn-a noted example was that RoboCop needed 11 edits till it got an R rating. It was a money issue. Many legit houses wouldn't show an X rated film; many newspapers would not advertise an X,so no business sense for keeping a non-porn film X. The later NC-17 was trademarked by MPAA. Why? Some films skirted by any rating with an "unrated" note in ads and posters.
I saw Midnight Cowboy,then R, in 1971,as part of a double bill,with Harry Kellerman,another Hoffman vehicle with NYC scenes.
1969's "Last Summer" was originally rated "X",but was edited to an "R" that year. I saw that first-run. Interesting new Hollywood Reporter article about the life of one of the stars,Catherine Burns, No 35mm prints exist -just one problematic 16mm version found in Australia.
Feb 5, 2020
Best Super Bowl ad? Dunno. Hoagies instead of a diner with no TV. TCM had Hold Back the Dawn-Billy Wilder/Charles Brackett script.But if you saw the Bill Murray/Jeep ad,know that there is a teaser with Ned Ryerson. Stephen Tobolowsky and his 16 seconds solo possibly upstaged Murray-Spoiler!-both appear in the SB ad.. Stephen gets more screen time than ever-Goldbergs,SVU,etc. Teaser went viral Fri.-4+ milllion hits as of 2/3,early AM. The actual ad-20 Million in one day.
Feb 3, 2020   |  Reply
Happy Palindrome Day-02022020! Take a few minutes out of this Big Game Day and look up a music video from Weird Al Yankovic: "Bob",easily available online. A nod to Bob Dylan and the late D.A. Pennebaker. Brilliant! If you take away just one phrase from this,know that A Toyota's a Toyota.
Feb 2, 2020   |  Reply
Bob T
Giri / Haji (Series) @ Netflix
Great show!
Feb 1, 2020   |  Reply
Mary B.
It may be openly evident that Americans are overly influenced by or give too much time to game shows run by directors too lazy or cheap to hire genuinely creative, original writers, who might at least give us worthwhile ideas, and characters, but shouldn't we be a little concerned about the ethics of giving in?
Feb 1, 2020   |  Reply
1/27-Missed the real Best Bet. I couldn't comment about TCM last night as I had little knowledge about what was airing on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the prison camp(s) in Auschwitz,Poland. TCM had Shoah:Four Sisters,the 2018 release from director Claude Lanzmann;his last,released the day before he died. Lanzmann was responsible for the original Shoah-a 9 &1/2 hour documentary with the survivors of Auschwitz Four Sisters spotlights extended interviews about 4 lives,including post WWII stories;two of them were in the original. Interviews from the mid-70s. Riveting. They remembered much-forget little. Outside of DVD,I don't see any other way to view this. Thankfully,my wife noticed this on TCM's website and we plunked down for the entire night. Much in English,CCd properly. A special cable viewing missed by many.
Jan 28, 2020   |  Reply
Rose Hawley
I get notices on my phone of David’s videos on YouTube, but I always hit the wrong button (?) and lose it, without seeing video. Could you send me a link where I can see videos? ps. Tell David that Mickey said, “Hello!”
Jan 27, 2020   |  Reply
Just search for, "TV Worth Watching" in the YouTube search bar and subscribe to the channel so you can easily find it again on YouTube without searching or the link.
Feb 23, 2020
Trump just complained about the Reps turn at the impeachment well,calling Sat. "Death Valley on TV". Seems appropriate since Ronald Reagan hosted Death Valley Days. Some of those shows were fiction,not unlike what happens Sat. in the Senate. Trumps lies for the first three years in office-16,241(source_Wapo). Borax sponsored Death Valley Days. Maybe the three days of the Reps. telling their side could be sponsored by Whoppers candy.
Jan 24, 2020   |  Reply
Joe Isuzu! Perfect. How '80s/Reagan can you get?(Well,outside of Back To The Future). Joe Isuzu-when Ollie North was someone who stood for Truth,Justice and the Amer....I can't continue. Scruples get in the way.
The comic strip "Lil Donnie" by Mike Norton had Trump offering "thoughts and prayers",then quickly shutting down,admitting that he is capable of neither.
Jan 25, 2020
Matt Alpern
Matt A.
Or, Joey Isuzu..
Jan 24, 2020
Wondering how Moscow-Midnight- Merrickless- MItchpoo McConnell will disrupt network TV in general with late night shenanigans in Congress and how it might affect the airing of the two-par This Is Us in particular. A real hell of a week,no matter how The Turtle undermines events once again.
Jan 21, 2020   |  Reply
Hi Dave. You should mention Schitt's Creek on Pop TV Tuesday's at 9PM. It is a very funny show.
Jan 21, 2020   |  Reply
A head's up to Mike Hughes' column just posted today(1/21).
Jan 21, 2020
1/21-TCM prime time double feature,with Patrica Neal's greatest performances. 8PM-A Face In The Crowd. This shows up often on TCM with good reason. So tonight maybe concentrate on Ms. Neal,who is an equal partner with Andy Griffith,just not as monstrous. 10:15PM-Hud. While Ms. Neal's screen time is less here,her moments are powerful,in a film just bursting with energy. Little in common between both films,outside of great supporting actors and black & white in a time of technicolor taking over. Hud especially shows the art of b&w. Best Actress Oscar for Ms. Neal for Hud.
Jan 21, 2020   |  Reply
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
My wife says the same thing, Angela. (Were you in the same Home Ec class?)
Ohms are a measure of resistance. The classic formula is E=IR, or in English, voltage equals current times resistance. Or, flipping the equation mathematically, R=E/I (resistance equals voltage divided by current). In my "garden hose" analogy, the nozzle provides more or less resistance, depending on the setting. (Wide open is the lowest resistance, whereas torqued down to the tightest setting before it's completely closed is the highest resistance that gets some water output. (Completely closed is a resistance of infinity, no amount of water volume or pressure allows output, so I and E go to zero. Though in reality, if "E" gets high enough, the hose itself won't be able to withstand the pressure and will rupture.)
OK, enough Electrical Engineering 101 for today.
Jan 22, 2020
I must have missed shop class (honestly, girls had boring home economics when I went to school) 'cause that's the best analogy I've heard for volts/amps. Can you tell me how ohms would fit in? I want to use a mechanical mod to vape with & ohms law verses having enough battery amps so I don't stress them too much always confuses me.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled program. :)
Jan 22, 2020
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
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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.