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What Did YOU Watch, Or Record, Sunday Night?
October 31, 2011  | By David Bianculli
I hope you caught the first installment of PBS's America in PrimetimeSunday night -- and if so, I'd love to know what you thought.

But then it occurred to me: Sunday night, at this point in 2011, is so bursting with good TV, I'd be very interested in hearing about whatever you watched, and what you thought of it -- and, if any, which shows you recorded to save for later...

once-upon-a-time-snow-white.jpgLook at what was available Sunday, and then tell us if you DID look. Fox's The Simpsons, ABC's Once Upon a Time and Desperate Housewives, NBC's Sunday Night Football, PBS's America in Primetime, CBS's The Good Wife and 60 Minutes, AMC's The Walking Dead, Showtime's Dexter and Homeland, HBO's Boardwalk Empire and more.

What did you watch? What did you think? And what, if anything, do you still have recorded and awaiting time to see it?

They say everybody's a critic. Today, once again, it's YOUR turn.





Eileen said:

Sunday night began for me with 60 Minutes. As much as we all revile the Madoff Family, I was really curious to hear what Ruth had to say. Hard to imagine this woman "knew nothing" of Bernie's business dealings, especially having been in such a long standing marriage. I thought her son came off as totally arrogant. I guess we'll never know who knew what and when. They are certainly a strange crew, more to be pitied (not more, of course, than their victims). I had to exit CBS early to get to the real TV for Grownups, which would be PBS' Primetime in America.

What can I say? Perfect execution of a wonderful topic. I was happy the show started with Lucille Ball's Lucy, as she never was Mrs. Cleaver, Margaret Anderson or Donna Reed. Under her veneer of wife & mother, Lucy was always aiming for something a little bit more, be it a member of Rickey's band, a worker in the chocolate factory or a showgirl. She just seemed to need to express herself which was practically unheard of in the real and tv world of the 50s.

I loved Mary Tyler Moore, and watching her morph from Laura to Mary Richards was a joy. She, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman and Betty White really set the pace for the women's evolution/revolution on tv.

This may seem trite, but what consistently amazed me, especially seeing Candice Bergen, was that these great ladies of tv, Mary Tyler Moore, Candice, Edie Falco, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Roseanne, etc., have not gone the way of Hollywood and botoxed themselves beyond recognition. Hooray for that! They are all lovely, intelligent and talented women who have chosen to age naturally and gracefully. Those old enough to remember Candice Bergen's early career know well she was a high fashion model, movie star (!) sister of Charlie McCarthy, and beloved wife of the great Louis Malle. Her years on Murphy Brown were just a delight. She's accomplished so much in her career, that it was gratifying to see her look her normal age. And I mean that in the most positive way.

Taken as a group, these ladies have really set the bar for women and comedy on tv.

It was such a pleasure to actually (commercial free, might I add) sit in front of the tv and not only watch, but learn. Once again PBS has given the viewer a terrific gift which only PBS could give. I can't wait for the upcoming installments. TV for Grownups -- such a pleasure.

[And reading your comments -- such a pleasure, too. Thanks, Eileen! - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 10:53 AM

Roger Caine said:

Sunday nights...Watching "Once Upon a Time" because the wife likes it and she won't watch "Boardwalk Empire" due to the gore -- but I won't miss it so it gets DVR'ed for this evening. I like OUaT so far and will keep watching for as long as she makes me! We both LOVE "The Walking Dead" so it also gets DVR'ed for tonight or Tuesday. Looking forward to HBO's "Luck" and can't wait to hear what you and your cohorts think about it.

[Can't wait to see it, myself. Meanwhile, thanks for this play-by-play. I really like reading this -- teaches me how people are REALLY watching TV. - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 10:59 AM

Dan said:

Why has it become necessary to put all of my favorite shows on in one night - Sunday? Thank god for DVR, or I would miss many of them. My line up includes : 60 Minutes, Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, The Walking Dead, Homeland, and the only major network show - The Good Wife, a great show CBS seems intent on killing off with this stupid schedule change. Also, it seems to be losing its way a bit this season now that the original "good wife" plot has been resolved somewhat, and the sexual tension between Alicia and Will has been resolved - somewhat. I also think having Eli Gold in the law firm offices was a mistake. Finally, the very best part of this show for me last season was Archie Panjabi's masterful protrayal of Kalinda Sharma. She has been relegated to the back burner of what is a huge stew of ever growing characters.

[Love your choices, and your comments. And yes, CBS should put The Good Wife back on Tuesdays. - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 11:20 AM

Dona said:

Homeland. Love that show.

[Me, too. -- DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 11:26 AM

Mike McCurdy said:

Too much good stuff on Sunday nights. Simpsons Tree House of Horror a must last night! Watched Madoff interview on 60 Minutes (can't CBS and the NFL figure out how long a game lasts so the show starts on time??). Not missing Walking Dead. Recording Dexter and Homeland. Using "on-demand" for Boardwalk Empire. Caught up last week with BE with 3 back to back episodes. Wonderfully rich show.

What did you think of Strike Back on Cinemax? Amazing action and production values.

[Pleasantly surprised by Strike Back's first season, which came out of nowhere. And CBS isn't concerned about overruns. Usually means higher ratings, even if it screws up DVR pre-record settings. - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 12:02 PM

Bob Shaw said:

Watched CBS line-up - 60 Minutes, Amazing Race, The Good Wife. Taped Masterpiece Theater, The Walking Dead, Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, Homeland, and The Next Iron Chef. Obviously I'm a TV addict and Sunday night is the busiest night of the week. Fortunately the cable networks repeat shows and make all this viewing and taping possible. Of these Sunday night shows, my favorites are The Good Wife (easily the best network show) and Boardwalk Empire. As for the others, Michael C. Hall and Damian Lewis are actors I would watch in almost anything.

[Great taste! Great shows! - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 12:54 PM

Sarah said:

I don't like to admit this, but to put it simply, I watched The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives. Recorded America in Primetime, The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Emipre, Homeland, The Good Wife and Once Upon a Time. How, you ask, can one record three series in the same time slot? Let me just say thank goodness for repeats and I have PBS on two channels and on-demand. Unfornunately, I won't have the time to watch any of the recorded ones until the weekend so as much as I would like to write reviews for all at this point in time that's impossible but if you check in on me next Sunday Night I should be all caught up.

[Come back and post them any time. Meanwhile, I'm beginning to realize that quality TV viewers have to have advanced degrees in VCR or VDR programming just to keep up. - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 1:16 PM

Danny said:

Amazing Race (30 minute delay due to football)
Boardwalk Empire
The Walking Dead
Fell asleep.......

Tivo has Housewives, Hung and Homeland

[Your posting almost reads like a horror haiku: "The Walking Dead / fell asleep..." - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 1:24 PM

Mike F said:

"The Simpsons", "Dexter", "Boardwalk Empire", "The Walking Dead" and "Homeland" were all recorded and thoroughly enjoyed. Biggest Sunday night disappointment: "Allan Gregory". Interesting animation style but I despised just about every character to the point where I just couldn't finish it. It may be a little to "inside" for those of us outside of the "business". Bring back "Bob's Burgers" please.

[Agree completely regarding Fox's newest sitcom. Though, I most admit, I share no tears for Bob's Burgers, either... - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 3:26 PM

Rich said:

Sunday Nights - I watch (albeit online) "Dexter" & "Boardwalk Empire"...anything else I watch (online) after the fact.

I watched "Fate/Zero" (epic episode! if you like the intrigue of "Game of Thrones" you could dig this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-7PFiut1HI ), "Shakugan No Shana" (The Epic final season battle for existence of earth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d81crxUT5M8 The series almost never completed cause the creator had Cancer for over a year), and the surprise hit NO One saw coming - "Ben-to" (about the underground 'Fight Clubs' over 1/2 lunch boxes http://youtu.be/NduO-UwPMG4 It's the next level of Extreme Couponing!). I still have to watch "Maken-Ki" & "Mirai Nikki"- usually I can't watch these till Monday afternoon but I had my afternoon open Sunday. Sorry you asked.

I've been asking for a little over a month what are people watching on Sunday myself - Disturbingly over 50 percent say "Nothing" (or they said local sports teams). Is it the recession? Lifestyle changes? Sunday used to be a settle-in TV night after the weekend - Maybe this will change as Winter approaches.

[Rich -- It's clear, from this viewing regimen as well as your occasional informative Student Blogs for us, that you're blazing your own trail -- a trail that includes lots of first-run anime secured online. But from where I sit, Sunday has plenty of domestic offerings right now. No need to seek out the imported... But sorry I asked? Hardly. Again, I'm learning a lot here about how, as well as what, people watch. - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 3:40 PM

Angela said:

I'm recording American Broadcast TV (and I loved the 15 minutes that I caught live).

I would have recorded Homeland if I had access to Showtime. Instead it's in my Netflix queue.

I deleted the recording of The Good Wife in progress, which I'm still not watching it on a regular basis in order to watch Prime Suspect On Demand because I kept hearing how much better it's become and I have to agree. I don't normally watch procedurals but each of the shows' characters have tons of depth, are all so different from each other, with unusually interesting personalities and yet they all remain true to life. Plus it's pretty funny so I I'm in for the long haul.

This is my first season for The Walking Dead and not sure I'll stick with it yet. I tried Boardwalk Empire 3 times last year and it's just not for me. But I may buy HBO simply for Luck. I'm not into horse racing but I doubt I could pass up anything by David Milch.

While taping The Walking Dead my DVR assured me I was recording something else though I have absolutely no idea what it was. As you can probably tell I'm undecided about what it is I want to watch this season.

[Undecided, but very daring --and very impressive. Keep it up. And good luck with your "mystery" recording -- "Dead" or alive. - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 8:14 PM

Mark N said:

I watched start of Madoff interviews...didn't want to but felt the gravity of it. But my night was built around Boardwalk Empire. One of my dearest friends (Ed Hyland) was appearing as the Judge in Nucky's case. Just a further note... Ed (who I went to college with) is Sarah Hyland's DAD. She is one (as we mostly know) of the daughters on Modern Family. He was GREAT!
Recorded (I still use video tape) Dexter and Walking Dead for later.

[Wow! Not only for your choices, which are so smart, but for the connection, which I never knew, that the lovely young woman on Modern Family was Ed Hyland's daughter. He's got to be so proud -- and, considering the quality of that comedy, so happy for her! - DB]

Comment posted on October 31, 2011 10:33 PM

Murray said:

Enjoyed America in Primetime - thank you for the recommendation. Thanks also profusely to PBS and affiliates for scheduling the episodes a week apart. I couldn't watch Prohibition and prior PBS miniseries in their entirety because they aired on consecutive nights.

Also watched How to Make it in America and Boardwalk Empire. Next week I'll have to do some time-shifting to fit in Nova's Fabric of the Cosmos and Masterpiece Contemporary.

Thank goodness for my old reliable Pocket TV Browser app on my clunky old Pocket PC with two weeks of listings from SchedulesDirect.org for only $25 per year. I would welcome a comprehensive review from TVWW on options for learning about future TV shows and times and for integrating what you want to watch into your calendar. The "approved apps" section of SchedulesDirect provides a wonderful resource for the wide variety of products that can be used with their raw data feeds.

[I would welcome the same thing, if only I could begin to comprehend it. And one of our correspondents, Eric Gould, already is all over the "Nova" program, with a preview on the way very soon. Once again, the readers and writers of TVWW seem to be on the same wavelength. - DB]

Comment posted on November 1, 2011 12:05 AM

Ike Moses said:

Homeland and Boardwalk Empire, enthusiastically.

The Walking Dead and How to Make it in America, reluctantly.

[And all of it, concisely. Thanks. - DB]

Comment posted on November 1, 2011 1:35 AM

Mara said:

On Sunday night, I was sitting at home in the dark cursing the fates and their timing. We were buried under a foot or so of heavy, wet snow, and we lost power from Saturday evening until 4am on Tuesday. No TV, no internet, no recording devices (not to mention no furnace, stove, hot water or sump pump). And the first thing I checked when it was all restored, was whether America in Primetime will be rebroadcast (It won't. But I can watch it online). And then I'll start catching up on the rest of my Sunday lineup. And then I'll take a shower. Priorities...

[I feel your pain, Mara. I lost power for a day with the recent hurricane that hit the Northeast -- and taking power from a TV critic is like... well, it's horrible. And PBS is releasing the series on DVD, by the way, if that eases the pain. - DB]

Comment posted on November 1, 2011 7:08 AM

Frank Dracman said:

I first want to thank TVWW for alerting everyone to America in PrimeTime. Then I need to thank DISH Network for their excellent DVR which allows me to record three different channels simultaneously because it has an over-the-air module that lets me record my local channels in HD along with all the satellite-provided programming. So, I was able time-shift Once Upon A Time, Dexter and Homeland; American in Primetime, The Walking Dead AND Talking Dead, and watch Boardwalk Empire as it aired. I have since watched all the Sunday night programs and I enjoyed all of them, with the exception of Once Upon A Time, which was subjected to the whim of an over-zealous weather-centric south Florida broadcaster that must think that no one watching can read the already-intrusive crawl about local flooding and possible tornadoes. There were several live break-ins during the show that made watching it difficult. I suggest that if they weather is so threatening that they need to keep interrupting, why not pre-empt altogether and run an hour of weather updates and rebroadcast the entire program later the same
night. They could promote it repeatedly during the pre-emption.

[Normally, I edit out anything that sounds like sly plugs from Dish Programming, because I get a lot of that on this site. But this sounds both genuine and germane, so I went with it. - DB]

Comment posted on November 2, 2011 6:49 PM

Frank Dracman said:

Thank you for that, Mr. B. I forgot to mention that I also time-shifted and watched Pan Am, which despite any criticism, has become one of my must-see new shows this season. I am old enough to remember flying Pan Am, and people dressing in suits, hats and gloves to fly! I love the cast and I find the stories well worth the hour I invest in them every week (but I also watched and enjoyed every episode of The Chicago Code, Lights Out and Terriers).

Comment posted on November 3, 2011 8:52 PM
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