Founder / Editor


Associate Editor


Assistant Editor











Tonight's TV Worth Watching? Here Are My Best Bets -- No Fooling
April 1, 2012  | By David Bianculli

On this particular day, April 1, there are so many TV shows of note that there wasn't room for them all in BIANCULLI'S BEST BETS. So today only, if you want to find out about the best shows on TV tonight, keep reading BIANCULLI'S BLOG here...

Today's BIANCULLI'S BEST BETS, as I hope you've realized by now, are -- for the second annual time -- a tongue-in-cheek April Fool's Day joke. (If you read the BETS without realizing that, I've failed completely. As a humorist, and as a human being.)

But here are the real BEST BETS for Sunday, April 1. Enjoy... because there's a lot going on.


THE KILLING (AMC, 8 p.m. ET) -- SEASON PREMIERE: This series, based on the Danish mystery, is back for a second season, picking right up where the action didn't end last season -- infuriating many viewers in the process.

But within minutes, the game is afoot again. So if you have forgiven this series its clumsy cliffhanger, this new season begins by reminding what was so appealing about these central characters in the first place.

For more, see my Bianculli's Blog HERE and listen to or read my NPR Fresh Air with Terry Gross review HERE.


FROZEN PLANET (Discovery, 8 p.m. ET) -- This is the Winter installment, when, in the north and south polar regions of our planet, winds are freezing, oceans are frozen, and animals are finding astounding ways to survive.

This hour presents a lot of them, and it's a whale of a show -- including the part where orcas travel in small pods, swimming from ice hole to ice hole in search of places to get their breath. Literally. You can catch my Fresh Air review of this show by clicking HERE.


MASTERPIECE CLASSIC: "GREAT EXPECTATIONS" (PBS, 9 p.m. ET; check local listings) -- Part 1 of 2. This new two-part adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel -- a story that's been dramatized almost as well, and as often, as A Christmas Carol -- is sharp in parts, dull in others, but gets more than enough right to make it worth sampling and enjoying. David Suchet and Ray Winstone turn their supporting roles into tasty feasts -- and the biggest scene-stealer of all is Gillian Anderson, as a younger than usual, but still white-haired and unhinged, Miss Havisham.


GAME OF THRONES (HBO, 9 p.m. ET) -- SEASON PREMIERE: Let there be dragons! And there are, as this sprawling HBO fantasy series begins a second season of treachery, blind ambition and gratuitous nudity.

Peter Dinklage, who won an Emmy for his role here as a particularly devious, resourceful and resilient member of the Lannister clan, remains one of the strongest players here -- in the story and in the cast -- as the conflicts between kingdoms become more and more pronounced. And, for the most part, more and more interesting.

For more, see my Bianculli's Blog HERE and listen to or read my NPR Fresh Air with Terry Gross review HERE.


MAD MEN (AMC, 10 p.m. ET) -- After last week's wild season premiere and that French-infused surprise birthday party, the Mad Men gifts keep on coming.

In tonight's episode, they include a fancy leather valise, embossed with six special words: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Tough words -- especially for a professional TV critic.

For my Fresh Air review of this series, click HERE.




Erin said:

You got me, again! I looked and said, "Did David have a stroke? Real Housewives, but no Mad Men, Killing, or Game of Thrones?" It took me an embarrassing amount of time to realize the joke. Just like last year!

[Fool you once, shame on me. Fool you twice... - DB]

Comment posted on April 1, 2012 11:36 AM

Eileen said:

Love those April Fools "Best Bets". All I had to see was "Showgirls" and I immediately knew what day it was! But thanks for a great morning laugh.

Actually, these "Best Bets" almost look like programming on one of our fabulous cable/reality networks. Hope no one gets any ideas! (E! and Bravo -- I'm looking right at you!)

[Hard to go wrong, or play fair, when there's a Showgirls marathon out there, right? - DB]

Comment posted on April 1, 2012 1:01 PM

jan said:

I must admit, I first read the "suggestions" for tonight and wondered if you were on some kind of New Jersey kick. Forgive me for doubting your sanity. I had completely forgotten it was April Fool's Day until all the comics in the newspapers made a big deal of it, but now--several hours later--it dawned on me. And by this time you had the blog up. Guess I'm just a little slow on the uptake, but thanks for the blog where you have some real choices. (And maybe you don't watch "Shameless," but I'm hooked on that, so that figures into tonight's DVR juggling, too.)

[No, the truth of the matter is, there's SO much good stuff on Sunday right now, even two REAL Best Bets columns wouldn't include them all. And I say that Shamelessly... - DB]

Comment posted on April 1, 2012 1:12 PM

Jim said:

But there really is a Showgirls marathon!?! And a Jersey Shores marathon? Lord, there's enough fools in this world year-round.

[Verily. What fools these mortals be -- especially the ons programming, and watching, the likes of E! and Bravo. - DB]

Comment posted on April 1, 2012 6:32 PM

Katy said:

I think it says "Judge not"...but it's a little blurry.

[You're right. It did. Bad typing on my part, of course. I was the one, I'm afraid, who was a little blurry. Thanks for the catch. -- DB]

Comment posted on April 1, 2012 9:04 PM
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 Name (required)
 Email (required) (will not be published)
Type in the verification word shown on the image.