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

MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
2017
Feb
27
 
 
PROGRAM PREMIERE: When my book on the Smothers Brothers came out in 2009, Craig Ferguson had me on as a guest on his CBS late-night TV venue, The Late Late Show. I appreciated that gracious gesture a lot – years before, when I was writing for The New York Daily News, I had identified Ferguson, one of the dozen or so personalities given on-air tryouts as possible replacements for Tom Snyder on The Late Late Show, as the person who should be given the job, based on his tryout performances on
 
 
 
  
 
 
2017
Feb
27
 
 
SEASON PREMIERE: In the most recent cycle of this musical competition series, Miley Cyrus did a very good job sliding into one of the judges’ chairs for the first time. She’s established herself as someone who deserves a return invitation – but for this cycle, her chair is being filled by returning judge Gwen Stefani. Stefani has appeared two previous times as a judge on The Voice, and now, of course, is the girlfriend of Blake Shelton, who has been a judge every cycle since Th
 
 
 
  
 
 
2017
Feb
27
 
 
MINISERIES PREMIERE: This scripted miniseries about the rise of LGBTQ rights is the sort of miniseries, and meaningful drama, broadcast network television used to present almost routinely, in such vintage made-for-TV movies as 1972’s That Certain Summer (starring Hal Holbrook and Martin Sheen in a story of a family man who divorces his wife and informs her, and their teenage son, that he’s gay) and 1985’s An Early Frost (starring Aidan Quinn as a young lawyer who comes out to h
 
 
 
  
 
 
2017
Feb
27
 
 
Last week, Bates Motel inaugurated its final season by introducing some delicious new twists. Chief among them is that Norma Bates, played by Vera Farmiga, is dead – but that doesn’t mean she’s not still hanging around the house, and in the disturbed imagination of Freddie Highmore’s Norman Bates. This has made Bates Motel even more fascinating, unhinged and entertaining: Farmiga gets to act not as the old “living” Norma, but as various shades of Norma as conc
 
 
 
  
 
 
2017
Feb
27
 
 
After what happened last night at the Oscars (for details and a reaction, see Bianculli's Blog), tonight’s show, with first-time Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel returning to his home base, has got to be considered must-see TV. Don’t be surprised if there’s lots of laughs based on a comedy of errors – and don’t be surprised, somehow, if Matt Damon’s around to participate…
 
 
 
  
 
 
2017
Feb
26
 
 
ABC, long ago the network of Roots, boldly strives to make another landmark contribution with the four-part, eight-hour When We Rise. Mission accomplished...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2017
Feb
26
 
 
Just because you loved the movie franchise Taken doesn’t mean you can take it easy when you watch NBC’s new quasi-prequel...
 
 
 
  
 
 
2017
Feb
26
 
 
This series will conclude next Sunday – but in the meantime, as a counter-programming move against ABC’s Oscars telecast, PBS is gathering the six episodes to date, and repeating them in a mini-marathon from 4-11 p.m. ET. Jenna Coleman is quite good as the young Queen Victoria, and this binge-watching opportunity allows you to see her character’s gradual transformation, and growth, in an accelerated and exceptionally clear fashion. Check local listings.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2017
Feb
26
 
 
Last Sunday, CBS presented the premiere episode of The Good Fight, the excellent spinoff sequel series to The Good Wife, starring Christine Baranski. Tonight, you can see episode two – but not on CBS. You have to go to CBS All Access, the network’s streaming site, where you also can see episode three right now, offered as part of a one-week free trial basis. But from then on, you’ll have to pay – and if that weren’t bad enough, given that The Good Fight is better th
 
 
 
  
 
 
2017
Feb
26
 
 
The expansion of the number of nominees in some of the major categories has made for a more inclusionary Oscars contest – kind of like NFL parity – but not necessarily a faster or more interesting awards show. Still, this year makes room, in the Best Picture category, for the likes of La La Land, Hidden Figures, and Manchester By the Sea, and Moonlight – so 2017 is a good vintage for offbeat films. And with Jimmy Kimmel as host, and with so much politics in the air, even the mo