DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

GABRIELA TAMARIZ

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TOM BRINKMOELLER

JONATHAN STORM

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TUESDAY
JULY 28
2015

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

PBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

No, this isn’t a repeat of Fox’s Utopia. It’s a new two-hour documentary about the atomic bomb, keyed loosely to the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb to end WWII in 1945. This documentary traces the history and development of this deadly super-weapon, which transformed global politics in ways that are still being felt. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

PBS, 10:00 p.m. ET

Part 1 of 2. Uranium is the element at the core of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 – and 70 years later, it’s the subject at the core of this new two-part PBS documentary, concluding tomorrow night. Check local listings.
 
  
 
 

Fox, 9:00 p.m. ET

Knock Knock, who’s there? Hap. Hap who? Happen to see last week’s premiere of Ryan Seacrest’s new series, Knock Knock Live? If not, you may want to sample tonight’s second installment. And if so, you’ll know, for yourself, whether it’s worth tuning in again.
 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Documentarian Les Blank made his first movie in 1960 (a short film with a long title: Running Around Like a Chicken with Its Head Cut Off). His last one was released in 2014, a year after his death. In between, he made dozens of nonfiction films, including my personal favorite, 1980’s Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. Neither of those is presented tonight, but 11 others are, starting with four set in his beloved New Orleans. At 8 p.m. ET, there’s 1978’s Always for Pleasure (a look at Mardi Gras, pictured), followed at 9:15 p.m. ET by 1972’s Spend It All (about Cajun culture, especially its music), at 10:15 p.m. ET by 1973’s Dry Wood (a brief biography of Cajun musician “Bois Sec” Ardoin), and at 11 p.m. ET by 1980’s Yum Yum Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking of Louisiana.
 
  
 
 

Comedy Central, 11:00 p.m. ET

Last night, scheduled Daily Show guest Ted Cruz backed out at the last minute – prompting host Jon Stewart, somewhat gleefully, to replace him, almost instantly, with respected historian and bestseller David McCullough. Tonight’s scheduled guest is Tom Cruise, and if he pulls a last-second no-show, Stewart, no doubt, will “trade up” again. So tune in tonight, regardless.
 
  
 
 
 
 
Read and add comments HERE for today's Best Bets!
 
 

VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

WILLIAM SHATNER SINGS WHILE VINTAGE ‘STAR TREK’ PLAYS – In 2004, original Star Trek icon William Shatner teamed up with musician Ben Folds, who produced Shatner’s shockingly listenable Has Been CD, the highlight of which is the opening track. That would be “Common People,” a remake of the 1995 Pulp song, and has Shatner singing lead, eventually trading vocals with Joe Jackson. It’s got more snarl and attitude than most “original” British New Wave, and someone made a video of it in 2008, using footage from the Star Trek animated series as visual accompaniment. It’s good – but a subsequent one, uploaded to YouTube in 2011, is warp-speeds better. It uses Star Trek footage from the actual live-action show – starring Shatner and his colorful cohorts – and every image is cleverly chosen, with an emphasis on all those memorable space babes. This video was recommended to me by Roland Ochoa, who deserves a shout-out – especially for alerting me to something that’s been out there for four years, yet had escaped my notice entirely. Until now. –David Bianculli

 
 

TV WE'RE WATCHING

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


Dates
CW
Thursdays
9 PM ET

Deustchland 83
Sundance
Wednesdays
11 PM ET

Hannibal
NBC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

HUMANS
AMC
Sundays
9 PM ET

Maron
IFC
Thursdays
10 PM ET

Mr. Robot
USA
Wednesdays
10 PM ET

Ray Donovan
Showtime
Sundays
9 PM ET 

Rectify
Sundance
Thursdays
9 PM ET

True Detective
HBO
Sundays
9 PM ET

Welcome to Sweden
NBC
Sundays
8 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.
 
 

PARENTHOOD: THE COMPLETE SERIES – One of the few happy by-products of the end of a beloved series is the subsequent release of that series in a complete DVD box set. With this collection covering all 103 episodes, NBC’s 2010-2015 drama series is there for the savoring, all over again or for the first time. Series creator Jason Katims, who did similarly great and singular work in Friday Night Lights, finds high levels of both comedy and drama by looking at family dynamics. Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard, Monica Potter, Erica Christensen and Craig T. Nelson are among the stars, and guest stars making a major impact include Ray Romano and Jason Ritter. Story lines cover such raw topics as cancer and Asperger syndrome, but also the kind of lighter moments more typical of the 1989 Steve Martin Parenthood movie on which this series was based. Family dramas don’t get much better than this. – David Bianculli

 
 

This Day in TV History

1952: NBC Introduces 'Up to Paar'
By Christy Slewinski
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TV WWorth Buying
 TOP TVWW SPECIAL DEAL$

Drunk History: Seasons 1 and 2

Take history experts, ply them with lots of alcohol, take the soundtrack of their sloshy, often erratic discussions of their subject, have A-list talent lip-synch and perform the whole thing in costume, and what have you got? Drunk History, of course. Conceived and hosted by Derek Waters (who is usually pouring by the tall glass for the narrators), DH is a recurring TVWW guilty pleasure and leads viewers across the country to learn the inebriated history of American cities, including Chicago, Detroit and Hollywood. (The tale of Mary Dyer against the Massachusetts Quakers starring Winona Ryder and Michael Cera is gold.) 18 episodes here, including outtakes, extended scenes and “Sober Reveals," all under $15 at Amazon. —Eric Gould