David Bianculli

David Bianculli is a guest host and TV critic on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. A contributor to the show since its inception, he has been a TV critic since 1975.

From 1993 to 2007, Bianculli was a TV critic for the New York Daily News.

Bianculli has written three books: Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, 2009), Teleliteracy: Taking Television Seriously (1992), and Dictionary of Teleliteracy (1996).

An associate professor of TV and film at Rowan University in New Jersey, Bianculli is also the founder and editor of the online magazine, TVWorthWatching.com.

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Television
11:53 am
Tue March 24, 2015

James Corden Hits Late-Night TV With His Own Skill Set And Mindset

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Television
11:11 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Forget Binge Watching: Great Television Happens When Networks Pace Shows

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Television
11:20 am
Wed March 4, 2015

'American Crime' And 'The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Highlight The TV Revolution

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Television
11:39 am
Thu February 26, 2015

'Battle Creek' Has The Flavor Of A TV Throwback From An Earlier Age

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 1:28 pm

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Television
11:07 am
Tue February 10, 2015

New Comedy 'Schitt's Creek' From Canada Is A Reboot Of 'Green Acres'

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Television
10:52 am
Wed February 4, 2015

'Better Call Saul,' The Prequel To 'Breaking Bad,' Stands On Its Own

On Better Call Saul, Bob Odenkirk plays Jimmy McGill, a fast-talking, struggling public defender who decides to remake himself as Saul Goodman, a lawyer specializing in representing unabashed criminals.
Ben Leuner Courtesy of AMC

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 1:35 pm

I'm guessing that the first thing fans of Vince Gilligan's Breaking Bad want to know is whether its AMC prequel series, Better Call Saul, premiering Sunday and Monday, is anywhere near as good as the original — which was TV at its very best. And I'm also guessing that people who haven't yet worked their way through Breaking Bad -- and, really, by now, why haven't you? — are wondering whether they can enjoy this new series without having absorbed the old one.

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Television
11:02 am
Tue January 20, 2015

'The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore' Debuts In Slot Vacated By Stephen Colbert

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Television
11:33 am
Tue January 13, 2015

'Man Seeking Woman' Examines How It Feels To Be Single, Dating And Rejected

On Man Seeking Woman, Jay Baruchel plays Josh, who is getting used to dating again after a breakup.
Michael Gibson FXX

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 12:47 pm

Describing Man Seeking Woman, the new comedy series premiering Wednesday on the FXX cable network, isn't going to be easy.

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Television
10:26 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Matt LeBlanc Has Quietly Made 'Episodes' A Must-See Comedy

In Episodes, Matt LeBlanc plays an exaggerated version of himself, a self-centered womanizer who uses celebrity and money to coast through life, much like Larry David does in Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Des Willie Courtesy of Showtime

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:14 pm

After the holidays, it didn't take any time at all for TV to get back into the swing of things, at least on Sunday nights. Last Sunday, both The Good Wife on CBS and Downton Abbey on PBS returned with strong new episodes to start the New Year — and ABC premiered an odd little musical comedy series, called Galavant. All those shows are back with fresh episodes this Sunday, and this weekend, they're joined by a handful of returning cable series as well.

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Television
9:34 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Bianculli's Top 10: 2014 Was A 'Good Year For Programming'

Allison Tolman plays Deputy Sheriff Molly Solverson in the FX TV series Fargo. It's a breakout role for the actress who had done only theater and commercials.
Chris Large

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 11:47 am

Although it wasn't a great year for the shows themselves, it was a good year for programming, says TV critic David Bianculli.

"In terms of what was happening on television, in terms of new and old formats and new, exciting players coming into the mix — [it was] another good year," Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm actually kind of encouraged."

Bianculli reflects on how far TV has come.

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Television
12:15 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Peter Pan's Magic Is In The Pixie Dust

In Peter Pan Live, Christopher Walken plays Captain Hook. David Bianculli says Walken has credibility that should draw people to the live telecast on Thursday.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

NBC devotes all three hours of its prime-time lineup Thursday to a new production of the musical Peter Pan. It will be performed and broadcast live, nearly 60 years after the first live telecast.

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Television
10:25 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Holy Smokes 'Batman,' The '60s Series Is Out On DVD

Unlike later incarnations of Batman, the '60s version was tongue-in-cheek.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 1:31 pm

If you're an impressionable young kid hitting your teens right now, chances are pretty good you've been watching and enjoying some Batman — either Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan's just-completed Dark Knight trilogy, or the prequel series, Gotham, now showing on Fox. If you came of age a generation ago, your Batman of choice was likely to have been the big-screen caped crusader played by Michael Keaton or George Clooney. Or maybe even Val Kilmer.

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Television
11:48 am
Fri October 31, 2014

In The Life Of 'Olive Kitteridge,' It's The Little Things That Add Up

Richard Jenkins plays Henry, Olive's husband.
JoJo Whilden Courtesy of HBO

Olive Kitteridge, a new two-part, four-hour miniseries that runs on HBO Sunday and Monday, sounds like the kind of long-form dramas TV used to make back in the '70s and '80s when miniseries ruled. Like them, Olive Kitteridge covers an entire generation in the lives of its characters — a 25-year span — but otherwise, it couldn't be more different. Most of those sprawling classic miniseries were set against major historical events, and were as much about passionate romance and glamorous costumes as anything else.

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Television
12:16 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Nostalgia, Now Out On DVD, With 'Wonder Years' And 'Pee-wee' Releases

On The Wonder Years, Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) had a crush on his neighbor Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar).
Courtesy of Scoop Marketing

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 3:50 pm

At the moment, we're at yet another pivotal point in the history of home entertainment, which keeps changing with sudden — and major-- tectonic shifts. Just ask Blockbuster Video: Videocassettes for home libraries gave way to DVDs, which now seem to be giving way to streaming video and the cloud.

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Television
11:06 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Inconsistent Memories Are Revisited In 'The Affair,' A Captivating New Drama

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Television
11:53 am
Fri October 3, 2014

'Homeland' Regains Urgency With Twin Protagonists And Divided Loyalties

Claire Danes plays Carrie Mathison on Homeland. Season 4 begins Sunday on Showtime.
Joe Alblas Courtesy of Showtime

Season 4 of the Showtime drama Homeland begins Sunday — and it begins with a very significant change. Claire Danes is back as Carrie Mathison, the gifted but troubled CIA agent with bipolar disorder. But her co-star for the first three seasons, Damian Lewis, who played former prisoner-of-war and suspected traitor Nicholas Brody, is not.

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Television
3:58 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

In 'Transparent,' A 70-Year-Old Divorced Dad Comes Out As A Woman

Jeffrey Tambor plays Maura on the new drama Transparent on Amazon Prime.
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Originally published on Sat September 27, 2014 2:00 pm

Thanks to Netflix, many of us are familiar with the concept of new TV series that premiere not on broadcast or cable television, but on a streaming entertainment service. And Netflix isn't the only streaming service getting into the act. Starting Friday, Amazon Prime subscribers have access to the entire first season of a new series called Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor.

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Television
2:21 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

'Madame Secretary' Pales In Comparison To 'The Good Wife'

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 2:39 pm

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Television
10:38 am
Wed September 10, 2014

3 Roosevelts Come Alive In PBS Documentary, Ken Burns' Best Yet

In this undated photo, Theodore Roosevelt waves to a crowd.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 12:28 pm

Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his most resonant and famous line during his presidential inauguration speech of 1933: "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief, that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." It was resonant because he was being defiant, and optimistic, in the face of the Great Depression — and it was famous because it was broadcast live, to the entire nation, on the relatively new medium of radio.

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Television
12:50 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

In 'The Chair,' Two Filmmakers Make Movies From The Same Script

One of the competitors on The Chair is Anna Martemucci, a graduate of New York University film school who has written and acted before, but never directed.
Helena Lukas Martemucci 2014 Chair One Productions

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 8:18 pm

Here's where I stand on so-called reality TV. All those shows that are built around people misbehaving to get attention and claw for fame — in other words, all those Real Housewives shows, and every Big Brother and any show like it — I have absolutely no use for.

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