DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

GERALD JORDAN

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

CANDACE KELLEY

TOM BRINKMOELLER

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DAVID SICILIA

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

NOEL HOLSTON

JONATHAN STORM

 
 
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MONDAY
OCTOBER 23
2017

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET

The Battle Rounds continue – and in this second week, continue to escalate in drama because each time a judge uses a “steal” to save, and inherit, a rival team’s losing candidate, there are fewer reprieves in play the rest of the way.

 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s a marvelous night for movies on television. It begins with this moody, emotional, utterly beautiful 1980 black-and-white drama, starring John Hurt as John Merrrick, the disfigured man who is discovered in, and rescued from, a Victorian freak show. This film was produced by Mel Brooks for his new Brooksfilms company, and he kept his name off all publicity when the movie was released because he didn’t want it incorrectly anticipated as a comedy. (That also, by the way, explains the presence if his wife, Anne Bancroft, in a small but breathtakingly touching supporting role.) And Brooks, as producer, hired as director someone with no major feature-film experience: an unusual, and unusually gifted, young man named David Lynch.

 
  
 
 

Sundance, 9:00 p.m. ET

Sundance Channel, tonight, presents a double feature that would have been one of the ultimate double features for my then-teen daughter: The Princess Bride, followed by Labyrinth. First up: This 1987 delight, adapted by screenwriter William Goldman from his own novel and directed by Rob Reiner. Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, Christopher Guest, Chris Sarandon, Andre the Giant – and don’t forget Peter Falk and a young Fred Savage – help make this flawless fantasy film the 1980s generation’s family-film equivalent of The Wizard of Oz.

 
  
 
 

Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET

In this episode, the mutant rebels plan a surprise attack to rescue one of their own – which has a woman with unusual powers and purple hair teaming with a girl with unusual powers and blonde hair to rescue a woman with unusual powers and green hair. If this series isn't sponsored by Clairol, it should be...
 
  
 
 

Sundance, 11:00 p.m. ET

This 1986 film by the late, great Jim Henson is about a teenager (played by a young, already beautiful Jennifer Connelly) who wishes ill upon her baby brother – a wish that is granted by the Goblin King, played magnificently, and maleficently, by the late, great David Bowie, leading Connelly’s Sarah to find a way to save herself, and her baby brother, from the goblin Gareth’s clutches.

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

TV WE'RE WATCHING

  
   Visit our TV We're Watching page for these and other shows on our DVRs right now...



American Horror Story: Cult
FX
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

Better Things
FX
Thursdays
10 PM ET

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
8 PM ET

Curb Your Enthusiasm
HBO
Sundays
10 PM ET

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
BBC America
Saturdays
9 PM ET

The Good Place
NBC
Thursdays
8:30 PM ET

Mr. Robot
USA
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Ray Donovan
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays
10 PM ET

This Is Us
NBC
Tuesdays
9 PM ET
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

On The Menu, Coming Up — Too Funny to Fail, the new documentary about the rise and flop of The Dana Carvey Show in 1996 is now available at Hulu. (David reviews it, here.) Aside from the story of Carvey’s high-wire alt-comedy act on prime-time TV for ABC, Too Funny to Fail also recounts the recruitment of a now-astonishing all-star team of players including Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell and head writers Louis C.K. and Robert Smigel. (Smigel is reknown for the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog act.) Unknowns when they were cast, Colbert and Carell here do the infamous “Waiters Who Are Nauseated by Food,” which made their names among producers and helped launch their careers after Carvey’s show was cancelled after seven episodes. –Eric Gould
 
 

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...
 
 
 
Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post 
 
 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$$
The Dana Carvey Show

The new Hulu documentary about SNL veteran Dana Carvey’s failed 1996 ABC sketch comedy show is now available. Too Funny to Fail recounts how the iconoclastic series, cancelled after seven episodes, got off to a horrendous start with advertisers, after a sketch with Carvey as then-President Bill Clinton, eager to demonstrate his compassion, suckled a baby, puppies and a kitten simultaneously from canine-like array of prosthetic nipples. Carvey’s edgier side turned out to be somewhat ill-suited for prime time, and the show lost six million viewers before the premiere episode ended. The show is now considered a milestone however for it’s now A-list stable of performers and writers: Louis CK, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Robert Smigel. Includes the final unaired eighth episode and deleted scenes. On sale at Amazon for $18. –Eric Gould