DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
2013
Dec
24
 
 
It’s now been 30 years since this little movie about Jean Shepherd’s holiday memories was released – and quite a few since TBS turned it into an annual TV tradition by showing it nonstop for 24 hours starting on Christmas Eve. So here it is again, thank goodness – a full day’s worth of BB guns, leg lamps and hidden squirrels. Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin star.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
24
 
 
Alastair Sim makes a crabby, craggy, perfect Scrooge in this 1951 version of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic – and though this is a very vintage version, in black and white, it’s also one of the scariest, even after all this time.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
24
 
 
In a case of either perfect or poor timing – a case could be made for both – Sundance uses Christmas Eve as the occasion to televise Jesus Christ Superstar, Norman Jewison’s 1973 movie version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock opera. Yvonne Elliman reprises her role of Mary Madgalene, singing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” as she did in the original LP that predated the stage and movie versions, but the other stars in this movie – Ted Neeley as Je
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
24
 
 
The poet Charles Simic has a wonderful article on about finding even his most obscure childhood TV and film remembrances all readily available on YouTube with the click of a mouse... and I found a few of my own...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
23
 
 
This 1985 time-travel comedy is presented tonight along with (at 10 p.m. ET) its 1989 sequel, Back to the Future Part II. That’s the one in which Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly finds himself, for a while, in the not-distant future – of 2015. We’re getting closer, boys and girls. But hey – I can remember anticipating the actual arrival of 1984 and 2001, and neither of those precisely matched their respective works of fiction, either. So don’t hold your breath wai
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
23
 
 
This three-hour documentary visits the place where Charles Darwin compiled the isolated observations that helped prove his theory of evolution. Still remote, and with its access tightly controlled by a government wary of even unintentionally harmful impact by visitors, these remote islands and their unique animal residents can be witnessed effortlessly, and impressively, by watching this beautifully filmed series.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
23
 
 
This is the 1944 movie musical on which director Vincente Minnelli met, and later married, its young star, Judy Garland, five years after her portrayal of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. (Among the duo’s subsequent collaborations: daughter Liza Minnelli.) Fittingly for the holidays, this film also is the one in which Garland introduced what is now a Christmas standard, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – which, in the early draft of its lyrics, was much more melanchol
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
23
 
 
David Gelb’s vivid documentary profile is the first TV show I wish had been made in Taste-O-Vision. It’s about Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi chef who is an astounding perfectionist and culinary artist. He works out of a small place at the Toyko subway, yet has earned three Michelin stars and is hailed in his country as a national treasure. What drives him? What distinguishes him? And what can you learn from him, about sushi preparation or just approaching life? Tune in… and s
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
23
 
 
Like the best of the classic Sixties TV game shows it emulates and echoes, Hollywood Game Night is an airy, instantly dismissable little confection that is enjoyable and effortless to watch, pure and simple. Jane Lynch hosts, and this special holiday edition includes impromptu fun from Ray Romano, Rachel Bilson, Andy Roddick and others.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
23
 
 

The last week of 2013 is a doubleheader for me on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. First comes a last-second roundup of DVD gift ideas – then my year-end TV chat with Terry…