DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

Social Media Manager

Contributors

DONNA J. PLESH

JONATHAN STORM

MONIQUE NAZARETH

NOEL HOLSTON

DAVID SICILIA

P.J. BEDNARSKI

GERALD JORDAN

 
 
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SUNDAY
APRIL 20
2014

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

CBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

The last frames of last week’s The Good Wife had Michael J. Fox’s Louis Canning answering his cell phone, and fielding a call from an angry David Lee (Zach Grenier), who floated a verbal test balloon by asking Louis if he might be interested in merging their law firms. After the loss of Will, we get the temporary return of Louis? The Good Wife certainly is demanding attention this season – and deserving of every bit of it.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 9:00 p.m. ET

Now what? Last week’s episode used the occasion of a royal wedding to shake up things yet again – and nearly as drastically as last season. One thing’s for sure: the morning after the festivities will have several people acting much, much less than festive.

 
  
 
 

AMC, 10:00 p.m. ET

The new, final season began last week shrouded in so much mystery, it was challenging to even discuss it. But now, a week later, a few elements are fair game. One is that this final season has resumed near the end of 1969. Another is that Don’s wife, Megan (Jessica Paré), is up for a part in that glamorous 1969 TV trivia answer, Bracken’s World. And a third is that Don is surviving, for the moment, by getting a former associate to pitch his ideas, serving as a front. What happens tonight? No idea. AMC sent out only the season opener for preview.

 
  
 
 

Showtime, 10:00 p.m. ET

If you watched last week’s premiere, you saw Harrison Ford, seeing the devastation of Indonesia’s supposedly protected national forests by interlopers, growling, “I can’t wait to see the minister of forestry. I can’t wait!” Viewers had to wait, though, until tonight’s second installment of this activist documentary series – when Ford comes face to face with the public official he feels responsible for the environmental devastation.

 
  
 
 

WGN America, 10:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: WGN America, like so many networks before it, is hoping to redefine itself, and gain attention and viewers, by launching one game-changing, different, put-it-on-the-map drama series. This time, the series is called Salem, it’s set during the time of the Salem witch trials, and it rewrites history by having an increasingly powerful witch (Janet Montgomery) being behind all the paranoia and odd phenomena. The pilot starts slowly, but stay with it to sample its memorable set pieces: one involving a frog, the other involving a possessed young woman repurposed as a fierce, frightening human dog.

 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

The No Message Message – Here's an example of a TV ad that uses just stock footage to highlight the icons and words we see in commercials...with no product to sell. In other words, it's a prime example of Marshall McLuhan's 1964 maxim that "the medium is the message." The piece (with over 1 million YouTube hits), is based on a verse written by Kendra Eash at McSweeney's, and is called "This is a Generic Brand Video." It was produced by Dissolve, a stock footage company that makes its hay by selling these sorts of things to commercial production companies. It features the usual suspects -- the serious lab guy, attractive, laughing people, meaningless terms like "innovation" -- and presents them for what they are: maybe more important than the products they're being used to sell. With the imminent return of Mad Men, it may be the right time to think about the guys in the suits who deal more in appeal than in substance. -- Eric Gould
 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

  
   On our DVRs right now... visit the TV We're Watching page for recent posts.



The Americans
FX
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Sundays
FOX
9 PM ET

Fargo
FX
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

The Good Wife
CBS
Sundays
9 PM ET

Mad Men
AMC
Sundays
10 PM ET

Parts Unknown
CNN
Sundays
9 PM ET

Nurse Jackie
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Silicon Valley
HBO
Sundays
10:30 PM ET

Turn
AMC
Sundays
9 PM ET

VICE
HBO
Fridays
11 PM ET
 
 

BUT WAIT... THERE'S MORE!


FRESH AIR FAVES

Audio of Bianculli's favorite 'Fresh Air' reports, and the stories behind them...


FAVES FROM
"THE MORGUE"

Bianculli's favorite newspaper articles, and the stories behind them...


EXTRAS & FEEDBACK

Share your favorite TV in-jokes and first TV loves...

TV JUKEBOX

A new edition of Bianculli's favorite TV themes, coming soon!
 
 
 

From TV Worth Watching
TOP PICKS FOR YOUR HOME LIBRARY

The TVWW Seal of Approval is an honor we save for TV’s very best – our picks for a truly teleliterate home video library.
 
 

BUFFALO BILL (THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS) – This DVD compilation has a bad title, for two misleading reasons. One is that Jay Tarses’ bold NBC comedy lasted only two seasons, in 1983-84, so it might as well have been called Buffalo Bill: The Complete Series. Except, because of expensive music rights leading to the omission of a key scene in one of the most memorable episodes, this collection isn’t complete at all. Dabney Coleman plays the abrasive host of a TV talk show – providing the brilliant template for Garry Shandling and The Larry Sanders Show to follow – and in one scene, he sings a caustic “Hit the Road, Jack” in a show about firing a minority employee. In this DVD set, that show-stopping number is replaced by a more literal show-stopper: a written apology for its exclusion. Oh, well. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, this set does include the roomful of Jerry Lewis imitators – including a very young Jim Carrey – and other characters and situations that make this one of the most audacious and unapologetically trailblazing sitcoms of its time. Joanna Cassidy, Max Wright, Geena Davis and Charles Robinson co-star.   –David Bianculli

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$

Pushing Daisies: Season 1

This 2007-09 ABC series, a light fable about love and death, lasted only two seasons, but creator Bryan Fuller and director Barry Sonnenfeld whipped up a treat as tasty and lovely as any dessert from the Pie Hole. One of the prettiest series ever made. Worth collecting at the Amazon price of $15.59. -David Bianculli