David Bianculli has been a television critic for a very long time. He writes the "Bianculli Review" column for Broadcasting & Cable and is TV critic and guest host for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. He also teaches television history at New Jersey's Rowan University, and offers nightly viewing recommendations and observations on his website, www.tvworthwatching.com.
Post-Super Bowl "Office": Big Platform, Wrong ApproachSunday after the Super Bowl, NBC presents a special one-hour episode of The Office – one designed to introduce many, many millions of viewers to a show that, despite its regular appearance on the network’s Thursday night schedule, has yet to attract the audience it deserves. Problem is, it’s over-designed. In trying to please most of the people most of the time,... More
Katie Couric As Ready-for-Prime-Time PlayerLast night, CBS presented what it claimed was a first-time event in TV history: a prime-time evening newscast, presented as a special nighttime edition of The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. It was historic only as a precedent – but it’s easy to imagine it being followed, in time, by others. The prime-time newscast itself, while featuring a few different interview and... More
The Last Templar on NBC: Let Us Hope SoLet’s hope NBC takes the title of its newest miniseries, The Last Templar, seriously. For all our sakes, this had better be the last one. The Last Templar, premiering Sunday and Monday night at 9 ET, is a decode-the-clues, find-the-treasure adventure starring Mira Sorvino as the second least credible female scientist in modern entertainment history. (For the least credible of... More
"Lie to Me" Should Be a Fox Hit -- HonestIf I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’: Lie to Me, Fox’s new midseason drama starring Tim Roth as a human lie detector who solves crimes and other mysteries by “reading” people and their subconscious tells, should be an instant hit. (Related: Fox Trots Out ‘Lie To Me’ in a City Where “No One Lies” ) It doesn’t... More
"United States of Tara" Is Successful Showtime SynergyShowtime’s newest series, The United States of Tara, is a perfect example of TV synergy: role by role, and episode by episode, Toni Collette’s show about a wife and mother with several alternate personalities turns out to be greater than the sum of its parts. And of hers. That’s because Tara, premiering Sunday night at 10 ET, takes a high-concept idea and takes... More
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