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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1:18pm

Mon November 17, 2014
Television

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

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 4:31 pm

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

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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2:32pm

Fri October 31, 2014
Television

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

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 2:48 pm

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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3:09pm

Tue October 21, 2014
Television

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

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 6:50 pm

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

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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2:06pm

Fri October 10, 2014
Television

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

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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2:46pm

Fri October 3, 2014
Television

'Homeland' Regains Urgency With Twin Protagonists And Divided Loyalties

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 2:53 pm

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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4:32pm

Fri September 26, 2014
Television

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

Originally published on Sat September 27, 2014 5:00 pm

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

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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2:39pm

Mon September 22, 2014
Television

Fall TV Preview: 'Gotham,' 'Scorpion' And 'Black-ish'

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. For the major broadcast networks tonight is the official start of the new TV season. Our TV critic, David Bianculli, has a list of the new shows you should make an effort to sample. He says it is not a very long list.

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3:43pm

Thu September 18, 2014
Television

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

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:39 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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1:05pm

Wed September 10, 2014
Television

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

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 3:28 pm

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

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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1:56pm

Thu September 4, 2014
Television

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

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 11:18 pm

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

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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