SUNDAY
JANUARY 10
2021

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Various Networks, 1:00 p.m. ET

Yesterday, one of the three wild card playoff games was a nail-biter to the end: the Indianapolis Colts-Buffalo Bills game, which the Bills emerged victoriously 27-24 after a long series of challenges and twists and turns. Today, once again, three games are played in a rare post-season tripleheader – but today, you may have to go farther afield to find the right field, or, at least, the right network. The day’s opening game at 1 p.m. ET, for example, between the 11-5 Baltimore Ravens and 11-5 Tennessee Titans, isn’t televised by one of the broadcast networks. Instead, you can watch it on ESPN, ESPN+, and, for some corporate synergy reason that escapes me, Freeform. At 4:30 p.m. ET, the game pitting the 12-4 New Orleans Saints against the 8-8 Chicago Bears is available on CBS – but, in another bit of sister-network sharing, also is available on Nickelodeon. The final game, though, is in a standard and familiar place and time: the contest between the 12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers and the 11-5 Cleveland Browns will be the prime time showcase game on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which last season was the No. 1 series on all of television.
 
  
 
 

CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

On Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi was one of the politicians targeted, and ushered to safety, when a mob egged on by President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. Four days later, she’s a featured interview on 60 Minutes, discussing the deadly assault, and what she thinks should happen next to the still-current occupant of the White House, with Lesley Stahl. When Stahl last interviewed Trump for 60 Minutes, he abruptly and prematurely ended the interview and walked out. Pelosi, presumably, will stay seated longer than he. Just as she will politically.
 
  
 
 

Showtime, 8:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s new episode is an expanded one-hour special, providing a behind-the-scenes and on-the-scene look at this week’s astounding political events in and around Washington, D.C. – the Georgia runoff election, the shift of power in the Senate, the storming of the Capitol by a destructive and deadly mob sent there at the urging of Donald Trump, and the subsequent calls for another Impeachment, or the invocation of the 25th Amendment, by Democrats and even some Republicans. The subtitle for The Circus this season is Inside the Craziest Political Show on Earth – but this week, the term “Craziest” doesn’t seem to apply. "Scariest," maybe…
 
  
 
 

Starz!, 8:00 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: Each season of this adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel has had a different showrunner – and, basically, a different approach in tone. Season 3 begins tonight, and it, too, has different people in charge, led by new showrunner Charles H. Eglee. If that name’s not familiar, he has a long, impressive resume, starting as a writer on St. Elsewhere and Moonlighting, a long stint working with Steven Bochco on such shows as L.A. Law, NYPD Blue and Murder One, and subsequent turns on The Shield, Dexter and The Walking Dead. Oh, and the director for tonight’s Season 3 opener is another person that comes to American Gods with a peerless pedigree: Jon Amiel, who 35 years ago directed TV’s greatest dramatic masterpiece, The Singing Detective. Still returning to American Gods, from the show’s original cast, are Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon, Emily Browning as Moon’s raised-from-the-dead wife, and, most crucially, Ian McShane (pictured) as the manipulative god Mr. Wednesday.
 
  
 
 

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: James Herriot’s beloved books about the people and pets he met as a veterinarian in Yorkshire in the 1930s were adapted into a very successful miniseries once before, starring Christopher Timothy as Herriot, and co-starring Robert Hardy and Peter Davison. But that was back in 1978, several TV lifetimes ago (shortly after I started as a TV critic – that long ago). Here comes a new version, which already has been renewed for a second season, and which stars newcomer Nicholas Ralph as Herriot, and co-stars Samuel West – with a supporting role (her last) from Diana Rigg, as Mrs. Pumphrey, owner of a pampered Pekingese. Check local listings. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower, and get more info at Mike Hughes' Open Mike.
 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE: Part 1 of 2. Scheduled to premiere last year but postponed, here comes another sports documentary, like ESPN’s The Last Dance about the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan, that shows up during the pandemic to remind us of the times when sports were played as thousands of fans gathered, closely huddled, to watch and cheer. This is a biography of Tiger Woods, so expect some stunning highs – and, away from the links, some noteworthy and unavoidable lows. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower
 
  
 
 

Showtime, 9:00 p.m. ET

After a pair of very entertaining supporting-cast highlights packages, Shameless is back to business as usual. And tonight’s business is all about the feud that erupts after the Milkovichs move in next door – threatening the Gallagher family’s role as the standout scourge of the neighborhood.
 
  
 
 

Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

This series was intense from the very start, but now it’s getting insane. Last week, New Orleans judge Michael Desiato, played by Bryan Cranston, was being blackmailed by someone who claimed to have proof that the judge’s son was the true culprit in the fatal hit-and-run of the teen son of Jimmy Baxter, a powerful New Orleans mob boss. And as the judge was dealing with that, the mobster in question (played. By Michael Stuhlbarg, pictured) made the link between his son’s fatality and the judge’s after-the-fact complicity. And did I mention that the mobster’s daughter has met and befriended the judge’s teen son, without knowing that the young man had accidentally hit and killed her brother? The plot thickens…and thickens…
 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 
 
 
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2063 Comments
 
 
Ken Rehfield
Don't know what to watch tonight. Had to scramble for something yesterday! David, come back!
Mar 7, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Neil
Hope DB's okay. It's Saturday evening, almost 7 pm EST, and Friday's Best Bets are still showing up. This is pretty atypical.
Mar 6, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Robin
Poor review of Behind Her Eyes. Seriously who would want to watch that twice?! The paranormal BS was a little much. Very disappointed in your raving review. The entire concept of the cheating friend and husband was really rather disgusting. Wish we hand the watched it once!
Mar 4, 2021   |  Reply
 
William
Robin, I could not agree more. DB way oversold this utterly mediocre limited series. The big reveal at the end that was supposed to be the payoff not only was not worth the build up, it was made possible by several plot twists that were unconvincing in themselves. The script was awash with cliches. Any credibility DB had with me was completely blown by his exaggerated praise for this TV definitely not worth watching!
Mar 8, 2021
 
 
John
I totally agree. I was wary about the show before hearing his review, but his enthusiasm convinced me to try it out. I could barely make it past the first episode! After reading about the eventual plot twist I’m glad I didn’t stick it out.
Mar 7, 2021
 
 
 
David M Blair
I want to add a 2 thumbs down for "Debris" which is an apt title. In particular the soundtrack is so annoying that I turned the show off after the first commercial. Also, the senseless amount of rapid edits is pointless and with the sound buries the show.
Mar 3, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Lizzie Brown
I’m very surprised by your enthusiasm for BEHIND HER EYES. I watched it with great interest for the first 3 episodes and then i felt irritated and almost wanted to laugh at how ridiculous the story became. I loved the actors but truly am disappointed with your comments. I confess i have not read the book.
Mar 3, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Roger
In regards to your 2/28 comment on the one-sidedness of Allen v Farrow, isn’t this a chance to see Farrow’s side and rebut the 2020 Woody Allen book? Audio from his book is included so that viewers can dig deeper into his biography if they are interested. As well-respected as Allen is as a filmmaker he, like some other notable entertainers, is deeply flawed personally.
Mar 1, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Laurie
I have shamelessly depended upon you for years and often get the credit for pointing people to great shows that I've learned about on TVWW. I missed you during the hiatus and will also say how much your work is appreciated!
Feb 23, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Susan
Glad you’re back! We miss you when you’re not here. Hope all is well. Your work here is appreciated!
Feb 22, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Jim
Glad to see you’re back to touting best bets, and best wishes to David!
Feb 22, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Elise
I hope this is David posting and I hope you are feeling 100%!

You’re always my go to for tv recommendations! I’ve missed you!!
Feb 21, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Shanni
Welcome back!! I'm Shanni, nice meeting you!
Feb 21, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Pat Shelton
In retrospect, David had been appearing daily for 365 days. Thank you, David!! A constant in our now very constant shut-down lives. Of course, your comments were entertainment. Sometimes noted something I'd thought I'd like. But since I'm smitten with British, Australian, even French police procedurals and you act like you get paid to eclectically watch everything (maybe you do) you provide a rich diversity to my cultural awareness. Nice replacement but we miss you. Love, Pat
Feb 18, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
Derek Johnson
I'm constantly telling my wife that we have to check out a new show because David Bianculli likes it--wishing him a speedy recovery from his technical difficulties!
Feb 18, 2021   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thank you, Derek! His technical difficulties are becoming much less difficult. He should be back next week.
Feb 19, 2021
 
 
 
Shanni
I just found this website, I am curious if daily content gets updated? Thanks in advance
Feb 18, 2021   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Usually, Shanni, yes. Unfortunately, the Founder and Editor who does daily Best Bets has been out of commission for a couple of weeks. That should change next week. Welcome!
Feb 19, 2021
 
 
 
John Coleman
i cannot imagine that it is impossible for another writer to assume the Best Bets "mantle"...isn't there like ten people in the TVWW masthead? none can be bothered with this? wow...
Feb 17, 2021   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
We didn't anticipate David being out so long, and most of those names listed on the masthead are not full-time. Though we're grateful for their contributions! If all goes well, David should be back next week.
Feb 19, 2021
 
 
 
Sandra Dandrade
David could have just said that "I need a vacay from you people!" Did not have to
get himself 'sicked up," as the Brits describe it.
Feb 11, 2021   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thanks for the laugh, Sandra!
Feb 11, 2021
 
 
 
Bob516
I take it a "technical tap" to shake up the loose vacuum tubes and soldered connections would be insufficient.

Wishing David a complete and speedy recovery.
Feb 11, 2021   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
We'll give it a shot, Bob. I mean, you don't know unless you try, right? Thank you -- for the idea and the wishes. We'll pass both along to David.
Feb 11, 2021
 
 
 
Sandra Dandrade
Elise was/is speaking for many thousands of us.
Feb 10, 2021   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thank you, Sandra. It means the world to us. Especially David. We'll be sure to let him know.
Feb 10, 2021
 
 
 
Elise
Uh oh..... get well soon!! Hope all isn’t too serious!! ??
Feb 10, 2021   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Thank you so much for your concern, Elise. So far, so good. We'll be sure to let David know of your good wishes!
Feb 10, 2021
 
 
 
SharonSG
Just wanted to say that we really enjoyed “Resident Alien,” which we wouldn’t have known about if not for this site.
Jan 29, 2021   |  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.