DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

KARLE DUNBAR

Social Media Manager

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

CANDACE KELLEY

DAVID SICILIA

NOEL HOLSTON

JONATHAN STORM

 
 
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FRIDAY
DECEMBER 2
2016

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: Today, Netflix – which has presented a large tonnage of new series this month – presents another, with the Season One unveiling of an animated comedy series called Pacific Heat, about an investigative squad Down Under. Think of it as an Australian Archer – which is a compliment, because this show is just as verbally quick and naughty and unexpected as that delightful FX animated spy spoof. Try it. Bet you can’t watch just one. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower.

 
  
 
 

CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

SPECIAL: Two episodes of the classic 1950s series I Love Lucy are colorized for the holidays, as they were last year. One is a repeat of the colorized “The Christmas Episode,” and the other is the newly colorized episode “Lucy Gets in Pictures,” in which Lucy (Lucille Ball) gets a part as a chorus girl in a Hollywood movie. It’s one in which the colorization really works, no matter what you pink of the whole computer-coloring issue. I’m sorry. I meant to type, “No matter what you think.” But wow…

 
  
 
 

CW, 9:00 p.m. ET

Tonight’s episode is called “Who Needs Josh When You Have a Girl Group?,” and by focusing on the old and new women in Rebecca’s life, this hour is positively spicy – as in, it makes room for a musical number paying homage to the Spice Girls.

 
  
 
 

HBO, 11:00 p.m. ET

SEASON FINALE: This is the Season 1 finale for Tracey Ullman’s Show, and I certainly hope HBO picks up the show for its sophomore season, which already has been announced back in Ullman’s home turf of England. Her gift for impersonation, and immersion into characters, has, if anything, gotten better over the years, though that would have been impossible. Except that the first time Dame Judi Dench showed up, I thought it was Judi Dench, as a guest star – but it was Ullman. And the balding guy in the coffee shop who bullies the employees and refuses to leave while mooching off the free wifi – that’s Ullman too, and I didn’t suspect that at first, either. Tune in and see how many times she makes you laugh. And fools you. In last week’s episode, I’m not even sure those were her breasts she was flashing. Truly.

 
  
 
 

IFC, 11:00 p.m. ET

SERIES FINALE: This series ends tonight, with a doubleheader of episodes that culminate with Andrew Lloyd Webber as a special star. If that seems odd – well, so is this entire series, so there you go. And it’s not really Andrew Lloyd Webber, just comic Paul F. Tompkins making one final guest appearance playing him, which is even odder…

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

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

Three Laughs and a Funeral — With Grant Tinker’s passing, there are many milestone moments in the MTM archive that helped transform television into what it is today. Tinker’s productions, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, and St. Elsewhere, in many ways set the standard for characters that are fully drawn, often flawed but always full of heart. One of our favorite MTM moments was from the 1975 Mary Tyler Moore Show episode, “Chuckles Bites the Dust." Chuckles, the WJM on-air children’s show star and clown character had been killed by a rogue elephant in a circus parade. Mary, grief-stricken by the news, had been scolding the WJM staff for making repeated clown jokes about the tragedy. Except that all, memorably, changes at Chuckles’ funeral. The scene remains fresh, very funny, and shows what can happen when the best of comedy and drama are shaken together. —Eric Gould
 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


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

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
CW
Fridays
9 PM ET

Designated Survivor
ABC
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
TBS
Mondays
10:30 PM ET

Gilmore Girls
Netflix
Streaming

Good Behavior
TNT
Tuesdays
9 PM ET

Mars
NatGeo
Mondays
9 PM ET

Rectify
Sundance
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

The Voice
NBC
Mondays and
Tuesdays
8 PM ET

Westworld
HBO
Sundays
9 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...
 
 
 

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 avaialble on Amazon.

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. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 
 

This Day in TV History

 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

The holiday shopping season is upon us and Cosmos, the 2014 reboot of the original Carl Sagan PBS series is a good fit for all ages. Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the series brings glorious state-of-the-art CGI to explore all the lessons of the universe. Animated segments illustrating historical moments in scientific discovery are contributed by Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy team. With a fresh style, these animated segments are critical to the clarity and success of the series, as is Tyson’s obvious passion for his subject. On sale at Amazon for $14. –EG