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

 
 
 
 
 
TVWW Wants YOU! -- To Welcome Our New Writers, and Maybe Write a Little Yourself
June 29, 2015  | By David Bianculli  | 39 comments
 

[NOTE: Just posted a new round of replies to your latest wave of responses. Thanks! And keep them coming! -- David]

Here at TVWW, it’s time to share some news, officially introduce some new contributors, and ask for a bit of help – from you, if you’re so inclined. But it's not financial...

TV Worth Watching began as a solo website in 2007, with help and design know-how from Chris Spurgeon and the only still-active founding contributor, Eric Gould. Very quickly, with help from editor and columnist Diane Werts, it expanded to make room for other features and lots of other writers, all of whom I’m proud to display under the TVWW banner. Some have been with us for many years, some have gone and returned, and others have joined us quite recently, adding to our scope and vision as well as our roster.

I’d like to introduce and thank them in a moment, as well as note some backstage changes. But first, a thanks to you, because we all consider you so vital to our little mission here.

One thing that has amazed and impressed me about TV Worth Watching from the beginning has been the intelligence, enthusiasm and civility of its online readership. I suspect it’s because the reason we’re all here, readers as well as writers, is to seek out and celebrate the best that TV has to offer. But even when you readers disagree with us or with one another, or find and correct mistakes, you do so with a polite tone, proper grammar and spelling, and a general enthusiasm for quality rather than snark.

On the web, that’s not only refreshing. It’s damned near unprecedented.

So thanks for that. Thanks, also, for the continued support, whether you’ve discovered us lately or have been reading and commenting for years. And thanks, while I’m at it, for those of you who have expressed understanding that we’re a tiny operation, doing what we can while real life continues to pull all of us in other directions.

The Big Request: But we’re at the precipice of vaulting to the next level – and if we’re going to make that commitment, and do it successfully, we need your help. Don’t panic. I’m not talking about a Kickstarter campaign or anything requiring money – we’ve always refused to ask our readers for any subscription fees or contributions at TVWW, just as we’ve refused to install any pop-up ads.

No, the way to help us right now, if you have the time and motivation, is to write us a few sentences describing your experience with TV Worth Watching: How long you’ve been with us, how regularly you visit, and if it’s helped you find some quality TV shows you might otherwise have missed. That’s it.

If we’re going to be able to get to the next level, demonstrating the worth of TVWW is part of the equation. As one of the writers on this site, I feel one major value we offer is the aggregate expertise of our contributors, many of whom have decades of experience covering television. The other major value, though, is our readership – smart people in search of smart TV. So if you help us describe you, and your perception of TVWW, that’s a big help.

--

TVWW News:

The sad news is the unexpected death, earlier this year, of one of our writers, Donna Plesh. For three decades, she wrote about television, mostly for California’s Santa Ana Register, and was one of the reliably friendly and professional faces at the Television Critics Association press tour. As both critic and interviewer, she was a welcome and strong addition to TVWW.

Before long, though, she was fighting cancer, gamely and bravely. Eventually, she succumbed – though not before apologizing that she wouldn’t be attending the next TCA press tour for us. Like that’s what mattered.

In her honor, we’re keeping her collection of TVWW articles in our active archive, accessible at Donna J. Plesh’s Talking Television. Please peruse them whenever you have time – and you’ll encounter a very sweet spirit.

On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, the happy news at TVWW is that we continue to add folks to our website family, both in front of and behind the scenes.

Tom Brinkmoeller, one of our earlier contributors, has returned to the fold, reviving his Raised on MTM blog, and we’re very happy to have him back.

You may already have read stories by some of our new columnists: Alex Strachan’s TV That Matters, Barry Garron’s The Itch of Opinion, and Candace Kelley’s Bingeworthy. Each of them is a catch: Alex has been a Canadian TV critic and inquisitive press-tour staple for decades; Barry has clocked many, many years in the TV-critic trenches as well, most notably for The Hollywood Reporter; and Candace is a professor and journalist who’s also a TV producer and writer.

They’re the latest additions to a lineup that continues to impress me – and, I hope, you. Ed Bark (Uncle Barky's Bytes), Noel Holston (The Grassy Noel), Gerald Jordan (Crossing Jordan), and Jonathan Storm (Eye of the Storm) started out as TV critics about when I did, which is really saying something. Ed Martin (Ed Martin's TV Mix) and Bill Brioux (TV Feeds My Family) followed very soon after, and all of us bring our own perspectives and interests to the beat. We even have some relative youngsters, to help make our lineup younger than, say 60 Minutes: Monique Nazareth (MNtv) and Gabriela Tamariz (Streamline). And some intentionally far-flung perspectives, from business history professor David Sicilia (TV Moneyland) and from British TV professors Kim Akass and Janet McCabe (One if by Land, Two if By TV).

Not only couldn’t we make it without the contributions and talent of all these writers, but we wouldn’t want to. To find quality TV, you need quality writers about TV – and we’ve got more of them than any other TV site, period. I’ve grateful to, and proud of, each and every one.

How are we handling all of these contributors and contributions? Right now, barely, with most of the help (okay, all of the help) coming from associate editor Eric Gould (The Cold Light Reader) and our assistant editor, Linda Donovan (Donovan's Blog).

It’s been two years since a sudden death claimed another member of the TVWW family, managing editor Christy Slewinski, whose byline lives on in most of our “This Day in TV History” entries, and we’ve all been treading water ever since.

Meanwhile, readers, thanks for being here, as always. We’re coming up on eight years of daily Best Bets and articles – and we’re not through yet.

Not quite, anyway.

 
 
 
 
 
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39 Comments
 
 
Dennis P
I have been a TVWW reader for 5 or 6 years and read the daily picks, well, daily. I usually then read any articles that catch my eye which is quite often. I have found many great shows and have avoided many of the bad ones thanks to your writings. With the continuing expansion of cable/satellite TV and original shows appearing now on internet sites and streaming outlets, it is nice to know that someone gives us a heads up when a great show appears in an out of the way place. Thanks for all you do.
Jul 9, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Dennis, I haven't been able to reply until now because of our server crash. But thanks! Glad we're back - and hope you're still there.
Jul 27, 2015
 
 
 
Mark Isenberg
Hello from Florida, I appreciate what David is doing here when not seeing him on the Fresh Air radio program,huh? Anyway,Hannibal has been canceled by NBC but will play out this season till early Sept. Watch it. Great writing,style,music and the whole psychological battle of wills over what body part goes best with a nice chianti? We all want the countdown to Jon Stewart's final run on the Daily Show and not whether Mr. Noah will fail afterward. We all sense Mr.Colbert will do great,better than burnt out Dave did. And no,we don't want Bill Cosby to be shamed to death or talk to Oprah.He can just retire and maybe apologize to the women he druged and his long loving,fooled wife,Camille.Tv is not reality and his best work was on I Spy not on Playboy after Dark with Hugh Hefner,look it up on You Tube....
Jul 8, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
David, I'll bet you know a friend of mine by the name of Jimmie D. Davis. We just met and had a nice chat at a High School reunion. Davis often talks (writes) about all his friends when he worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer (I hope I have the paper's name right). Not once have I ever heard Davis speak ill of his colleagues. (As you probably know, he retired from the Fort Worth Star Telegram a year or so ago.) If you want a real "winner" on your team here, in case he isn't already contributing, you should contact Davis. I am not a newspaper man by profession but I do read a lot and I am retired.
Jul 5, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Casper -- You get credit for prescience, but with the timing, not for originating the thought. Amazingly, I already had reached out to my order boss and asked him to consider coming aboard -- and he has. And I agree: We've just added a real winner to our team. And as Managing Editor, yet...
Jul 27, 2015
 
 
 
Pat Clements
I have been reading TVWW as long as it's been available, usually on a daily basis with my coffee before I jump into the work day. Now, I use it to set the DVR. It's always entertaining, informative, interesting, funny or touching ... I could go on. Many recommendations have led me to new shows or movies, or to appreciate a repeat viewing or to just learn what's out there. I have adopted your coinage of the term "spiderweb" movie to explain why I can't bypass Jaws or The Princess Bride or The Godfather when I am surfing by. Thanks for all your hard work and great insights!
Jul 1, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Pat -- Oh, thanks, really. I love that you relate to my "spiderweb" movie idea. Still gets me all the time - most recently with the umpteenth showing of "All the President's Men." Thanks for being here for, what, coming up on eight years now? Couldn't do it without you -- or, at least, wouldn't.
Jul 2, 2015
 
 
 
Norma Unger
I am very pleased to have someone recommending TV that is worthwhile to watch; it saves a lot of time and energy. I don't know why the recommendations sometimes arrive the day after the show has aired tho. I just go to your website when I don't see anything relevant. Still....it would be nice to have it on time.
Jun 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Norma - The reason that happens is if I post the day's bets so late in the day that they miss the morning automatic send feed -- the RSS, or SST, or DDT, or whatever the hell it is. And when that happens, it's always my fault. But it's never simple negligence - just complex life.
Jul 2, 2015
 
 
 
Scott Browne
I have been reading TWW from the beginning after you left the Daily News. I check everyday to see what you are recommending for viewing each day. I read the columns if the subject matter interests me. We were colleagues at the Daily News and I have always enjoyed your work even when I was correcting your "extras."
Jun 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Hey, Scott! It must be less stressful to be bale to read me without having to catch and correct my typos and errors. Sorry - I meant to type "able to read me." My mistake. One of many. Hope you're well - and thanks for being here for the whole stretch.
Jul 2, 2015
 
 
 
Charles J. Cohen
I go here once a day, during my lunch break. Which means that I'm disappointed if the daily summary isn't up by Noon. I like some of the longer articles (I read about half), and I've definitely found great shows to watch by visiting here.
Jun 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Charles -- Glad to know we're with you on your lunch break. And on days we're not, at least take solace in the fact that, most likely, you're having a better day than I am. Thanks!
Jul 2, 2015
 
 
 
Mary
As a busy mom, TV Worth Watching constitutes my ONLY source of advice on how to spend my precious TV-watching time. It's even got real estate on my Google Chrome Bookmarks bar so I can refer to it daily. I especially love that recommendations run the gamut -- sports, dramas, comedies, documentaries. As a result, your site gets me to watch a wide range of stuff I otherwise wouldn't consider switching to, like golf! Thanks for expanding my world!
Jun 25, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Mary -- Thanks! And Gerald Jordan, our resident golf enthusiast, will be especially happy to hear of your comments. But he does the same thing when I read him... We're honored to be bookmarked. Glad to hear it...
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Abbey
I've been following TVWW on Facebook and visiting the website for a year. I respected David's reviews and interviews on Fresh Air, which led me to visit the site. While pursuing a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies I began to focus my studies on television and found the site to be a great source for me to follow the current reviews and analysis of the television scholars I was reading for my research for papers and presentations. I have used the site for my scholarly work, have presented at a Liberal Studies Conference, and finished my Master's Thesis on nostalgic television, and found TVWW and great source for my scholastic and personal engagements with television. I love reading opinions and recommendations for shows, as watching television can often feel like a solitaire activity, I feel back in a classroom or at the proverbial water-cooler with TVWW. I hope to move forward with my analysis and writing of television and will keep coming back to the well of TVWW for inspiration.
Jun 25, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Abbey -- Not only are we glad to have you here, and pleased by your kind words, but consider this an invitation to contact us about maybe doing a guest contributor's column. You sound more than qualified, and at any rate, I'd be very curious to read your thesis on nostalgic TV. So get in touch, if you're interested.
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Neil
I've been coming here since Day One, back when Major Armstrong was doing his early TV testing from that tower in Alpine NJ. (I recall that DB was partial to the "Indian Head" test patterns even back then.) This is one of my go-to bookmarks each morning, along with Dilbert, Doonesbury and a few sites for radio geeks (which I proudly plead guilty to being, even though the commercial side of that medium is in the late stages of a suicide pact). Ever since I cut the cable a few years back, TVWW discusses programs I generally can't receive, but I appreciate reading their expert opinions on what's worth keeping an eye out for when it hits Netflix, my web browser, or even the library's video shelf. In a world that's rapidly devolving into Stupidland, DB and the whole TVWW team is a welcome breath of intelligent commentary. Now if David would just take me up on my standing offer to experience the Stanford Theatre when he comes out West...
Jun 25, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Neil -- You HAVE been here since Day 1, and made yourself a welcome presence via your funny and frequent comments. You're right: The Indian-head Test Pattern logo was a favored element in our TVWW 1.0 layout -- designed, as have all the others, by our intrepid TVWW multi-talented multi-tasker, Eric Gould. And sure, I'll visit the theater when I come west... but I'm writing a book this summer, or trying to. Have Assignment, Won't Travel... Meanwhile, thanks for being here from the beginning, and for staying put. I'm honored that you cut the cord on cable, but not on us...
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Anne
I visit the Daily Picks every day and have found many good programs I would likely have passed up. I also enjoy the columns although I don't read all of them. I particularly like the cable shows on Pivot, Ovation, and National Geographic that have been recommended. My only critical thought is that it would be nice to see Sunday picks that are not on HBO or Showtime as I don't have either channel. But it's a detail really.
Jun 25, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Anne -- Thanks, and I actually agree with you about the Sunday picks. But every day, when choosing Best Bets, I go where the quality is regardless. It's just that on Sunday, because it's the most viewed, and most competitive, night of television, every network tries to put its best foot forward. And unless something like CBS's "Good Wife" is on, cable just seems to have bigger and better feet...
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Barbara
I have been reading your TV WW for the past several years. Don't know how I first found you but part of my morning ablutions along with my 1st cup of coffee is seeing what you recommend for the day. There are so many programs I wouldn't even know about without your recommendation. I tell all my friends who appreciate and only watch quality TV; sharing recommendations calling you 'my TV Guru'. Please keep doing what you do. You're the best thing or maybe even better than the old New York Sunday times with the booklet for the week of TV. If I would have one criticism which is really only a frustration, is that sometimes the daily blog is not available until midday. I am a very satisfied reader
Jun 24, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Barbara -- I know, on occasion, I file Best Bets too late to get it there for your morning cup of coffee. Apologies for that, but there's always a good reason behind the scenes. This morning, for example, when I didn't post until 7 a.m. ET, it was after a week of a multi-day power outage, the birth of my second grandchild, and a weekend of celebratory dinners with friends. But I'm honored to be part of your morning reading-and-coffee ritual, and I'll try, really, to be there for you more reliably. Thanks for being here!
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Rinnie
I've been reading your daily picks and your blog for years now. I don't remember when I first discovered your website, but I believe I heard you on a Fresh Air episode reviewing one of my favorite shows and so I checked out TVWW. I'm a pretty avid tv watcher and what I've appreciated most about TVWW is that my tv choices are validated on a regular basis. I love checking out the daily Best Bets in anticipation of one of my shows that night and seeing what you have to say about it before it airs. Justified, for example, is one of my favorite shows of all times, but when it was on, I rarely found people who knew anything about it or watched it. So tuning in to TVWW was always a pleasure because I knew you would mention it every week and that there were others out their appreciating a show I loved. Thank you!
Jun 23, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Rinnie -- Thanks. You validate US on a daily basis as well, just by showing up. And I still mourn for the absence of Justified. Great finale, but still. As with Deadwood, I'm greedy enough to want more.
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Bob
Hi David, I have been with TVWW since the beginning. I always followed you and your recommendations when you were in the NY Daily News so while I was sad to see you leave there I was happy to still be able to get your daily recommendations and everything else that TVWW has become.

I have convinced my wife to stick with series, or go back to them, based on your recommendations and make sure to tell her that "my TV guy" recommended it when we start a new one. She has also come to rely on and trust your advice.

Without your strong and consistent recommendations we probably would have missed Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey, along with many others...so thank you and keep up the great work!
Jun 22, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Bob -- Asking for these comments has reinforced what I already knew, that the TVWW readers are exceptionally smart, friendly and literate. But having me referred to, by several of you, as "my TV guy" is a surprise, and a real treat. And if we really did steer you towards Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey from the start, then hey, we ARE doing a good job. Thanks!
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Sarah
Let me start by confessing that I am in my mid 30s and have been obsessed with TV since I was a kid. We had no iPads to help pass the time in the car. So when my sister or I asked how much longer till we get to grandma’s house my parents would answer “three Fraggle Rock(s)” for 1½ hours.
I’ve been reading TVWW every day for almost as long as you’ve been around. During the Fall TV season my dvr is busy keeping me on track as I watch 40 hours a week (it’s a lot but I have to watch cable if I want to keep it)
TVWW has been a big help and-while at times I disagree-I take your suggestions (and Best Bets) to heart and give every series a chance. I tell whoever will listen about shows I discover and even started my own blog (don’t worry TVWW still has way more readers).
TV is my life and, from the TV Upfronts, to the stories behind series, to dissecting the good, bad and in-between, David Bianculli and everyone who writes for TVWW are a main source for my daily viewing
Jun 22, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Sarah -- Obviously, you're a kindred spirit. Very funny about "Fraggle Rock" -- my daughter, in her early 30s, definitely could relate. And 40 fours a week of TV viewing may sound like a lot -- but we here at TVWW clock in even more, because we have to KEEP watching the bad stuff. The pilot episodes, anyway. So consider yourself fortunate, and never feel guilty about your viewing hours, if it's good stuff you're watching. So glad to have you around...
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Joanne
I'm like many of the others in that I found TVWW through David Bianculli's hosting Fresh Air on Fridays a few years ago. After listening for a while, I decided to check out the website and now get the daily emails. I want to thank you for recommending so many shows that I otherwise would have ignored, like iZombie, Jane the Virgin, Fargo, Bosch, and others. Nice to be informed about quality television series and also movies that are on other than the major networks and premium cable channels, and I've recommended the series (and your website) to others.
Jun 22, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Joanne -- Thanks. You mentioned four great and very different types of shows. So if we have good taste here at TVWW, so do you. I'm glad we found each other.
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Marlark
Back in the "Philadlephia Inquirer" days there was no TV critic I read with greater appreciation -- in every way -- than David Bianculli. Aside from "B.C.," "Doonesbury" and "Funky Winkerbean" David's column was worth the subscription to the paper. When I heard on Fresh Air about this site I had hoped the experience and enjoyment from David's writing would be continued. And has it! Beyond expectation. What day hasn't gone by without checking in on Best Bets and critical reviews? But oh, how the site has grown in scope and value. The timing couldn't be better. If ever there was a time of TV Worth Watching it's now. Remember what seems like only a short time ago when NBC replaced its scripted prime time with a line up of reality shows and Tonight Show dreck? It gave a new meaning to "gag reel." But the TV universe has changed and we're lucky enough to have TV Worth Watching to help us navigate through it. Thanks to all of you at TVWW. You are Worth Visiting.
Jun 22, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
You're one of our oldest and most fervent readers, and have even helped us out on occasion with your Internet expertise -- so thanks for all that, Larry. Good to know you're still out there... and thanks, too, for the great review, stretching back to my Inquirer days. Which, at this point, are about 30 years ago. Sigh. One of us is getting older.
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
I was listening to Fresh Air in my car when this new website was first announced. That David Bianculli was going to try a new venture. I remember thinking, "Well, I don't know if it'll be successful, but I hope it goes well." And it has, obviously.

I basically check it every day since my RSS feed reader tells me what new reviews and articles are up. If there's a show I haven't heard of, then I make sure to read TVWW's review. So many times they have introduced me to new great shows, or warned me off bad ones.

When I tell my wife of news or shows I've heard about from TVWW, I can't help but refer to David Bianculli as "My TV Critic." (E.g., "Oh, we should check out this new Manhattan show. I hadn't heard of it, but My TV Critic says it's really good.") And really, with TVWW, who needs any other TV critics? It's so comprehensive in its scope and trustworthy in its evaluations, it's all the TV critiquing you need. And it's just plain fun.

Maybe Bianculli is "your" TV critic too.
Jun 22, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Stuart -- Thanks so, so much. Since I've already replied to Barbara, who wrote of annoying her husband by calling me "my guy," by joking that she should get in touch if her marriage breaks up, equal time rules suggest I should do the same to you. But seriously, when you call us trustworthy, that's one of the best compliments we can get. We all have strong opinions here, but we come by them honestly...
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Ken
Hi again David. I read your Best Bets every day and they influence my viewing choices. Appreciate your info. I've been avidly following you since your Daily News days. Now.... you may remember me. I somehow won an "exciting prize" in one of your "guess-the-gate" contests about five years ago. Your reasons for not getting me my prize have run the gamut from waiting for the re-launch of TVWW in which you said "the longer I screw up, the more freebies I stick in the bag." (August of 2010) Next, "my computer blew out my entire email program and I hadn't made a backup, so I lost my files in my "RRGENT" folder. You will get more than one prize now that I have your address again. Consider it interest, and a hope at restoring good will. And I'll email you when I've sent it. If my ex-wife were as patient as you, I'd probably still be married." (October of 2011) You must now have set a new record for procrastination (I'll submit to Guinness Book of World Records)!
Jun 22, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Ken -- I don't mean to play favorites, but yours may be my favorite comment yet. Because you're right: You've been incredibly patient, and I've been absurdly ineffective, in sending you your TVWW prize for whatever the contest was so many years ago. I love that you quoted from my previous emails -- and a little jealous, because my laptop recently crashed and I lost 85,000 emails. But one of the emails of mine you quoted said, a few years ago, that the same thing had happened, taking 55,000 emails with it. (I'd forgotten it had happened to me before.) Anyway, here's the good news: Over the weekend, I mailed a package your way. It'll get there by the end of this week, and I crammed it full of enough goofy TV crap, I hope it'll allow you to forgive me. Thanks for remaining as a loyal reader regardless. And for a special treat, push the button on the TV key chain.
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
Angela
It's funny how certain moments tend to stay in one's memory for so long and remain crystal clear. And that's how I remember when I first began visiting this site, ever since I first heard David Bianculli on Fresh Air talking about this new show called, Mad Men. I was so taken by what David had to say that I sat in the parking lot until the show was over. I won't even bother turning on the TV unless I've checked to see what any of the excellent writers here have to say. And I read every Best Bet even if it's a show I don't care for because I enjoy his writing (and his puns) so much. It's really nice not to have to try and read TV Guide in the checkout lines at the grocery store or scour the newspaper and Internet for TV watching possibilities. In other words, I'm totally spoiled, and I love it. Thank you, keep up the great work!
Jun 21, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Dear Angela -- You've been a very long-time and loyal supporter, and it's great to have you here. I do many "sit in the car" moments listening to other public radio shows myself -- so it's especially nice to know that I can be the cause of it sometimes, as well. And wasn't the Mad Men finale great?
Jun 29, 2015
 
 
 
 
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