TV tonight: Bryan Cranston on ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘JFK’ on PBS

‘Breaking Bad’ star Bryan Cranston returns to comedy on ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ Photo: CBS/How I Met Your Mother

WASHINGTON, Nov 11, 2013 —Young fans of “Breaking Bad” probably assume Bryan Cranston got his start in TV playing a gangster or a serial killer. But Cranston owes his TV career to the sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle.” He had a recurring role in “Seinfeld,” but his role as dad in “Malcolm” is the most enduring.

Tonight on “How I Met Your Mother,” Cranston returns to comedy as Ted’s former boss, instantly making the tired sitcom a must see, for at least one episode of its final season.

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Since Monday Night Football features the winless Buccaneers against the mediocre Dolphins, watching Bryan Cranston in any role will probably be more entertaining than the game.

Last week on the fourth season premiere of “Mike & Molly,” Molly quit her teaching job to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy have made this show one of the best sitcoms on TV, so the new plot line should give them plenty of fresh comedic fodder. Tonight at 9 p.m. Molly goes on a ride-along with Mike to do research for her crime novel. It sounds like a perfect set up for a half hour of laughs.

The Kennedy focus continues tonight on PBS with the airing of part one of “JFK” at 8 p.m. For a comprehensive look at Kennedy, this is probably the best choice. From the death of JFK’s older brother that left him the next Kennedy in line to enter politics, to his final hours in Dallas, “JFK” covers it all. If you are going to watch only one of the many JFK programs this month, watch this one.

For conspiracy fans, REELZ is airing the Oliver Stone film “JFK,” starring Kevin Costner. Stone’s film is probably the most controversial interpretation of the assassination, but don’t forget it is just a movie. Costner does a good job in the lead role, but the participation of Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Bacon, Joe Pesci, Jack Lemmon, Ed Asner, Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek in supporting roles are the real treasures in this film.

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The ten p.m. time slot has become a battle between “The Blacklist” and “Castle.” But after adding the “plus three day” numbers to the live viewers, “The Blacklist” is the clear winner. Last week’s episode of “The Blacklist” set a record for the biggest “live plus three day” increase in TV history. The live telecast had 10.3 million viewers, and the following three days added 5.4 million more.

The ability to watch one show and record another to watch later is making the traditional Nielsen ratings less relevant with each new season, and “The Blacklist” is a perfect example of why. If the 15 million people who watched “The Blacklist” had all tuned in for the original broadcast, James Spader and company would consistently be on the list of the top five dramas of the week.

Maybe we need a new equation to sort it all out. But please discard any formula that includes “derivatives.” We have already seen the folly of that approach unfold on Wall Street since late 2007, though the perps behind that caper, unlike us, remain rich, at large, and still selling the same snake oil.

On a more positive note, thank you for your service to all veterans.

To help wounded veterans, please visit the Wounded Warrior Website

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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.


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