Decades, 12:00 a.m. ET

More episodes of the mid-’60s Western-spy series mashup are presented today on Decades – and by the afternoon, we’re into Season 2, which means the episodes, beginning with September 1966, are in color. Watch for a full-color appearance by Michael Dunn as recurring villain Dr. Loveless (at 6 p.m. ET), as well as a guest appearance, in an episode shown at 8 p.m. ET, by both Sammy Davis Jr. (pictured, with Robert Conrad’s Jim West and Ross Martin’s Artemus Gordon) and Peter Lawford – a significant percentage of the Rat Pack. Oh, and watch the animated opening credits for a startling shift in content from black-and-white to color – keeping your eye on the femme fatale at lower right.

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

In last week’s premiere telecast, HBO established the tone, setting and central characters of this eight-episode prequel to the classic Erle Stanley book and TV series. Tonight comes episode two, with the plot thickening, and with down-on-his-luck private eye Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys) getting closer to the grisly murder case of a kidnapped baby.

HBO, 10:00 p.m. ET

DOCUMENTARY MINISERIES PREMIERE: This six-part documentary is based on the book by Michelle McNamara. Like that book, which was completed after her death by a researcher and crime writer selected by her widower,  comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, this miniseries by filmmaker Liz Garbus, also with Oswalt’s cooperation, continues and extends McNamara’s work. McNamara became interested in violent crimes and criminals, and survivors of those attacks, when a woman was killed near where McNamara lived as a young teenager. Eventually, McNamara established an information-gathering website, TrueCrimeDiary, in 2006 – in Internet terms, a few lifetimes ago – and in 2013, wrote an article for Los Angeles Magazine about the unsolved cases of the serial rapist and murder she called the Golden State Killer. McNamara died suddenly of what was ruled an accidental overdose in 2016 while working on a book about that killer. That same year, DNA evidence led to an arrest in the case… and director Garbus, in addition to including evidence and sampling audio and video recordings from McNamara’s own voice, also updates the Golden State Killer story, from the points of view of the survivors as well as the investigators. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower.

Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: This is the last episode of the season. And while last week, there was a tense yet ultimately tender reconciliation of the Vega family members at the center of this period story, don’t expect two happy endings in a row. But do expect both Nathan Lane and Natalie Dormer to stand out, and fight fiercely…

HBO, 11:00 p.m. ET

On Friday, Bill Maher said goodbye for a month, with his current-events comedy series to return after a long break, but in time for convention and election coverage. That leaves the field wide open for the likes of Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert on The Late Show – and my favorite of them all, John Oliver here on HBO.
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Ken Rehfield
David, you're a very punny person!
Dec 2, 2020   |  Reply
Phillip R. Crabb
Well, my 57th year of watching Rudolph - now, with my first Grandchild. Glad it's on Network television still. Even with Year-Round streaming, it's important to watch this as your Living Room, in season....

Thank you CBS.

Phillip R. Crabb
Franklin, NJ
Dec 2, 2020   |  Reply
Jay Gold
"The present-day composer refuses to die" was said by Zappa's boyhood idol, the composer Edgard Varèse. Zappa included the quote, with attribution to Varèse, on the jacket of Freak Out.
Nov 27, 2020   |  Reply
Mary B.
Could you all take a look at the title of Put a Ring On It?
The configuration on the On Demand title is
Put a
Ring on It..
so if you read the first line as one word, in Spanish, that is, possibly, "puta."?
If you wanted to play with the acronym, you could read "Ringo" into the jumble, too.. probably not intentional. But still.. might want to split the phrase differently.. or something.
Nov 23, 2020   |  Reply
Kind of kills the joke of the intentional repetition. Makes it look like sloppy copy editing. Which it is. :<)
Nov 22, 2020   |  Reply
Randy R
Oooops. Duck Soup, 1933.
Nov 22, 2020   |  Reply
Harry B Kidd
OOOPPPSSS - Duplicated the write up for Bananas and Duck Soup...
Nov 22, 2020   |  Reply
George A.
Freaks is highly disturbing. I couldn’t sit through the whole thing.
Nov 13, 2020   |  Reply
George A.
Freaks is highly disturbing. I couldn’t sit through the whole thing.
Nov 13, 2020   |  Reply
Harry B Kidd
OOOOPPPPPSSSSS - pasted the wrong text in the Law & Order post...
Nov 12, 2020   |  Reply
Linda Donovan
We got it, but we always appreciate the help! Thanks!
Nov 12, 2020
Matthew Alpern
George A. Nice to have a different point of view posting here. Hope you vote today.. same goes for all. USA, and the entire world are, truly, holding their breath as we're 'rounding the corner' on this election cycle.
Nov 3, 2020   |  Reply
George A.
Tonight’s guests include The Circus correspondent John Heilemann and former U.S. Senator (and Saturday Night Live writer-performer, and sexual predator) Al Franken.

I fixed the above for you. You’re welcome.
Oct 30, 2020   |  Reply
Matthew Alpern
George A. Of course, you can vote for whoever or whatever you want. But, why would you want to?
Oct 30, 2020   |  Reply
George A.
If I watch what I’m sure will be the wildly entertaining Every Vote Counts special, and then vote for the candidate that every single person appearing on the show wants to defeat, is that allowed? Just asking.
Oct 29, 2020   |  Reply
That would be MABEL'S strange predicament (not Martha's)
Oct 27, 2020   |  Reply
Friday, 10/23: Eight choices tonight, none of them Bill Maher. Wouldn't you think Real Time would be appointment TV in the home stretch of this totally weird election campaign?

And by the by, DB had The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror listed last Sunday, but game 7 of the NLCS (or was it the ALCS? - who even remembers 5 long days ago) pre-empted it here on the West Coast. I assume it never ran in the eastern time zones either. So when's it getting rescheduled? Can't be this Sunday, that's undoubtedly the World Series, unless the game's rained out. Hey, I know, what's more appropriate that right on Election Day! Treehouse of Horror indeed!
Oct 23, 2020   |  Reply
Phillip R. Crabb
So, "Charlie Brown Christmas" won't be on broadcast TV for the first time ever this year. Apple TV will have a two-day window to watch it in December.

Truly, nothing is sacred. Now, this year is officially a disaster...
Oct 20, 2020   |  Reply
TBS apparently was not expecting a 7th game as they have Avengers Infinity Wars scheduled.
Oct 18, 2020   |  Reply
Like the Spanish Inquisition,nobody expects these things,but Plan B must always be ready. Needing anything past Game 4 or rain delays and cancellations. When I was a kid,Philly TV slotted Rainout Theatre and too many times the film was The Babe Ruth Story,starring William Bendix. Leonard Maltin's quick take:"Perfectly dreadful." Having abandoned comic books(save Disney Ducks) and movies based on caped crusaders,I'd pass on Avengers Anything,but at least it isn't The Babe Ruth Story.
Oct 18, 2020
Mary B.
About a movie that may end up on TV:
I'm guessing that French people would be offended by the scene in which French friends of "Emily in Paris" insult Chicago pizza as terrible competition for quiche (oh, Lord, that conversation would never happen) and then talk about how fat Americans are (very old idea, unlikely cheap shot and too clumsy.) Maybe the scene is supposed to be comic, spoofy?
Oct 17, 2020   |  Reply
10/16-ABC's Biden Town Hall seems to be scheduled for 90 minutes plus 1/2 analysis-8-10PM. NBC's Trump Town Hall is for an hour on NBC,CNBC & MSNBC. Meanwhile,as noted, Fox as the Braves-Dodgers NLCS @ 8PM. No word if Amy Coney Barrett will throw out the first pitch,as she is easily the Dodger Of The Week.
Oct 15, 2020   |  Reply
Tons of criticism towards Comcast for scheduling Trump's Town Hall,many "A" list actors,writers,producers-many of them involved with Comcast/NBCUniversal shows & movies. Labeling the company "Concast",someone not on that list criticized Trump's Town Hall in advance with this quote: "It's NBC,the worst. Home of Sleepy-Eyed Chuck Todd and some others".? The critic also said that the company was setting Trump up. Well,that would be Donald John Trump,Sr.
Another quote:"I can't remember the last time I was shocked by an NBC programming decision." -Conan O'Brien.
Variety/Hollywood Reporter source.
Oct 15, 2020
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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.