DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

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MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

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MONIQUE NAZARETH

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NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
2013
Dec
22
 
 
HBO presents a new, tender tribute to the most famous actor in the history of its network: the late, great James Gandolfini. Intimate behind-the-scenes footage is used, and stories are shared, including some by Sopranos co-star Edie Falco.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
22
 
 
The third season repeats continue – and, next week, conclude, to make room for new Season 4 episodes the first week of 2014. So if you need a refresher, or to catch up, here’s another well-timed two-hour repeat installment. Check local listings.  
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
21
 
 
Once it was one of the big deals of the TV holiday season – the then-annual special showing of The Wizard of Oz. Now it’s being shown tonight as a cable double header (repeating at 9:15 p.m. ET). But if you’re trying to replicate the feel of “family viewing” traditions over the holidays, the land of Oz is a wonderful place to start.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
21
 
 
Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote the screenplay for this Rosalind Russell vehicle, based on the book by Patrick Dennis. This movie was released in 1958. Less than a decade later, Broadway unveiled a musical version, starring Angela Lansbury as Mame and Bea Arthur as bosom buddy Vera.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
21
 
 
A new episode of this freewheeling British talk show has Ben Stiller visiting to publicize his Secret Life of Walter Mitty movie – alongside Martin Freeman, who’s publicizing the latest Hobbit film. But don’t expect either of them, in this context, to do the standard talk-show spiel. Norton never supports it – or allows it.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
21
 
 
On such a slow night, it’s nice to have an exciting movie to turn to – and here’s one, from 2012, retelling the long-suppressed story about the rescue of U.S. embassy workers after the start of the hostage crisis in Iran. Alan Arkin and John Goodman are a delight, and Ben Affleck, as both star and director, gained a new level of respect in Hollywood. And look! Bryan Cranston, too!
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
21
 
 
For the last new show of 2013, SNL presents an all-star tag-team of guest host and musical guest: Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. This is one to watch – and, most probably, to record and save.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
20
 
 
I’m of two minds about this one-hour special, which pairs and colorizes two old episodes of I Love Lucy for modern prime-time consumption. One mind, the TV historian and teacher, is happy for anything that keeps old television alive, for younger audiences especially. Besides, in addition to the “Lucy stomps grapes” episode, there’s also a Lucy Christmas episode which was never part of TV’s syndication package. So that’s all good. But the other mind – the
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
20
 
 
Anchorman 2 opened this week in theaters, bringing back Will Ferrell’s local-TV newsman and inserting him into the nascent 24-hour cable news scene in 1980. All his cronies are back as well, which makes it even more fun to return to this original comedy, made nine years ago, to appreciate what started the slow but steady groundswell for another visit with Ron Burgundy and his pals.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2013
Dec
20
 
 
John Hughes wrote this 1989 comedy, which once again puts Chevy Chase at the center of a slapstick-heavy story about the Griswold family. Randy Quaid all but steals the show as cousin Eddie, but watch the Griswold kids, who received a major upgrade for this holiday sequel. In 1983’s original National Lampoon’s Vacation, Rusty and Audrey were played, respectively, by Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron. Six years later, for Christmas Vacation, the young actors playing those roles are