DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

Social Media Manager

Contributors

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

DONNA J. PLESH

MONIQUE NAZARETH

JONATHAN STORM

P.J. BEDNARSKI

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THURSDAY
JULY 24
2014

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

NBC, 9:00 p.m. ET

Greg Poehler, as an American willingly transplanted to Sweden to experience the land and lifestyle of his Swedish girlfriend, is very droll and funny here – and Josephine Bornebusch, playing the girlfriend, is one of the most pleasant surprises of the summer TV season. Together, they make a very sweet TV couple. And in tonight’s episode, even in this remote location, Welcome to Sweden finds room for another guest star: this week, it’s Aubrey Plaza, from Parks and Recreation.

 
  
 
 

CNN, 9:00 p.m. ET

It makes sense that this really smart CNN documentary series would be perceptive enough to single out the year 1968 as one volatile and meaningful enough to warrant its own hour – titled, simply, 1968. And what relevance does that year hold to today? Well, start with the Soviet incursion into Czechoslovakia, if you want modern parallels. And of you want pivotal historical events, start with the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., and the election of Richard Nixon, and… well, watch and see. It’s amazing, and frightening, that all of that happened in one explosive 12-month period.

 
  
 
 

Lifetime, 9:00 p.m. ET

SEASON PREMIERE: It’s Season 13 for Project Runway, but it’s difficult to attach any superstitious meaning to the fact that Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, though moving from one network to another, are embarking on their 13th cycle together. After all, how many shows get to run that long?

 
  
 
 

Sundance, 9:00 p.m. ET

Daniel (Aden Young) continues his largely passive journey through the new, unexpected chapter in his life, not so much embracing freedom as wondering what to do with it. Ht, a series of conversations and confrontations finally leads him in a direction – backwards, to consider the past.

 
  
 
 

ABC, 10:00 p.m. ET

If you’ve been watching this uplifting nonfiction series this summer – and since it’s been winning its time slot since it premiered, many of you have – tonight’s installment is particularly dramatic, and involving. One of the many strong story lines that real life serves up in this documentary series tonight has to do with Debbie Yi, the doctor who has been showcased to great effect before. Tonight, she’s not only central to a case involving a patient – but her own personal story reaches a pivotal point as well. What a doctor… and what a show.

 
  
 
 

FX, 10:30 p.m. ET

Aya Cash’s Gretchen is a brave comedy character to inhabit with commitment – kind of like Dabney Coleman’s unapologetically acerbic TV host in Buffalo Bill so, so long ago. She does it beautifully, and somehow, remains beautiful as she does so – playing a magnetic personality that simultaneously repels and attracts. Her male counterpart in this new comedy, Chris Geere’s Jimmy, is outclassed and outshone – but it fits their unsteady, even unwanted onscreen relationship, even as, in tonight’s show, Jimmy thinks of asking the commitment-phobic Gretchen out on a date.

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

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

British Open Golfers Take Beatles Pop Quiz - and Finish Below Par - ESPN, as part of Friday's coverage of the British Open golf tournament, took advantage of the course location at Liverpool to ask competing golfers an instant Beatles quiz. They didn't ask anything difficult, like, say, which two Beatles composed "Cry For a Shadow." Instead, they just asked some of today's best golfers to name all four Beatles. Sadly, many of these superb athletes went nowhere, man. For more details, see Gerald Jordan's Crossing Jordan. -- David Bianculli
 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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



Almost Royal
BBC America
Saturdays
10 PM ET

The Divide
WeTV
Wednesdays
9 PM ET

Drunk History
Comedy Central
Tuesdays
10 PM ET

The Leftovers
HBO
Sundays
10 PM ET

NY Med
ABC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

POV
PBS
Mondays
10 PM ET
Check Local Listings

Ray Donovan
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET

Real Time with Bill Maher
HBO
Fridays
10 PM ET

Rectify
Sundance
Thursdays
9 PM ET

The Strain
FX
Sundays
10 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.
 
 

BARBARIANS AT THE GATE – Partly in honor of the passing of James Garner, but also because this 1993 HBO movie fully deserves a Seal of Approval, here it is: a boldly conceptualized, brilliantly realized black comedy about a subject as complex as it would appear to be humorless: the true-life behind-the-scenes story of a leveraged buyout corporate takeover of a major tobacco company. Larry Gelbart wrote the teleplay, based on the nonfiction book by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, that achieved this triumph, and Garner, starring as plain-spoken tobacco executive F. Ross Johnson, absolutely nails it. One of the best, and smartest, and funniest, telemovies ever made, by HBO or anyone else. Co-stars include Jonathan Pryce, Peter Riegert and Joanna Cassidy. Glenn Jordan directs. –David Bianculli

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$

From the Earth to the Moon (2009 Special Edition)

The anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969 is this month, so it’s a good time to revisit the 1998 Emmy-winning HBO miniseries from Ron Howard and Tom Hanks that made a docudrama out of the Gemini and Apollo space projects. From the Earth to the Moon was a very high budget affair and got 17 nominations as it built its story around the milestone events, including Edward H. White's first US spacewalk, the Apollo 1 launch pad fire and the successive moon landings in the early '70s. There is plenty of historical footage here to tell the whole tale and a special treat in the finale, with clips from French filmmaker Georges Méliès' 1902 Le Voyage dans le Lune to complete the story – that’s the one where the ship lands in the moon’s eye. 12 hour-long episodes on 5 discs, and a great deal at $15.99. –Eric Gould
 
Immigration Collection