Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, October 30. All times are Eastern.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): This is only the second time Fox has aired the “Treehouse Of Horror” episode of The Simpsons in October since 1999. Since the network got the rights to playoff baseball, it’s usually bumped the annual Halloween special to the first week of November, creating a decidedly odd sense of post-Halloween malaise when the episode would pop up. (The only other time the episode aired before Halloween since ’99? In 2009, it aired on Oct. 18, nearly two weeks before the big day.) Needless to say, having the episode air the night before Halloween is cause for celebration, even if the episode ends up being terrible, and “Treehouse Of Horror” is one of those things The Simpsons has usually done well, even in its worst seasons. Hayden Childs wants you to come on over to his review, so he can tell you some spooky stories.
The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m.): The race hits Africa after spending the first several legs in Asia, which means that the contestants will be set for maximum ugly American-ness, something that makes every season well worth watching. Or, if the other legs of this season are any indication, everybody will just kind of snooze their way through the challenges, and then somebody will win pretty much by default and/or blow everyone else away. Scott Von Doviak is hoping for some calamity.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): This week’s episode of ABC’s unexpected new hit is entitled “The Thing You Love The Most.” And we’re not afraid to say the thing we love the most is hot dogs, which probably wouldn’t make for very interesting TV. Just us, eating a bunch of hot dogs? We can’t imagine that anybody would watch that with too much interest, though Oliver Sava would probably give us a C, just on general principle.
Boardwalk Empire (HBO, 9 p.m.): Richard Harrow seems like the second-most popular TV-related costume this year after Hector “Tio” Salamanca. (Don’t tell us that it’s actually Snooki, which we know to be true. We enjoy living in our bubble of misinformation.) And the show’s been using the half-faced fella particularly well this season, too, with last week’s episode being a particular stand-out. Noel Murray checks in with the season’s halfway point tonight.
Dexter (Showtime, 9 p.m.): Is it just us, or does the “big twist” in this season of Dexter seem pretty bleedin’ obvious? Considering that comments sections around the Internet picked up on it after episode one, it sure seems like the show is in for a world of hurt, if it’s building to a big reveal that will play for most fans as a fizzle. On the off chance that you haven’t figured out the big twist yet, please don’t read any comments sections and just read Joshua Alston’s review.
Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): It’s Always Sunny’s Kaitlin Olson performs a guest voice tonight as Quagmire’s sister, who’s got an abusive boyfriend, which piques the concern of the residents of Quahog. Wait. They’re only getting concerned about abuse now? For someone they’ve just met? Look, domestic abuse is a serious issue, and if Family Guy, against all odds, does a good episode on the topic, more power to them. But, well, this isn’t the best show on TV to be issuing a, “Hey, respect and love each other, OK?” message. Kevin McFarland agrees.
The Good Wife (CBS, 9 p.m.): Parker Posey is turning up tonight as Eli’s ex-wife, which should be a lot of fun because Alan Cumming and Posey bouncing off of each other? We’d watch that! Then again, we thought we’d watch Parker Posey bouncing off of Lauren Ambrose, both of them saying dialogue written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, and look how that turned out. In fact, David Sims was the only person on Earth to watch all of Return Of Jezebel James. (This is only a mild exaggeration.)
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): “The group awaits Shane’s return, unaware he’s trapped in a school surrounded by zombies,” reads tonight’s plot summary. Y’know, if someone’s running late in the Walking Dead universe, I’m going to pretty much just assume zombies, right? It’s not like somebody’s going to be caught in traffic or running late at the pet groomers or something. Except for Zack Handlen,, who’s obsessive about maintaining his Himalayan’s lion cut.
Homeland (Showtime, 10 p.m.): The CIA zeroes in on the young couple that’s all wrapped up in the season’s central terrorist plot, whose names are Aileen and Faisel. God, can you imagine being friends with a couple named Aileen and Faisel? How hard would that be to get out? “Oh, look, here’s a letter from Aileen and Faisel! And they’re inviting us over to their house for a little Aileen and Faisel time!” So… none of you agree? Just Todd VanDerWerff, then? Fine.
Hung (HBO, 10 p.m.): One of the two titles of tonight’s episode is “Crooks And Big Beaver,” which suggests fun for the whole family. In fact, we recommend the folks behind Hung get right on coming up with a board game with that name, just in time for the holiday rush. You could play a bunch of crooks on the run from a big beaver, just waiting to eat you, and… oh, that kind of beaver? Ohhhhh. Sorry, Will Harris. We got distracted.
Pan Am (ABC, 10 p.m.): Sounds like tonight’s episode will finally be Maggie-centric, which means that the show may finally suggest why it hired Christina Ricci, instead of some other random actress it pulled in off the street. Alas, though, there doesn’t appear to be too much Colette, so Erik Adams’ prayers for the return of his sweet French baboo don’t appear to be reciprocated by Jack Orman and the team behind the show.
How To Make It In America (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): According to tonight’s plot summary, “Rachel undergoes an eye-popping transformation.” We can’t wait for her to disappear into her cocoon and emerge seven days later, wings iridescent and beautiful, body made subtly sleeker, thorax primed for whatever it is butterfly thoraxes do. And if that happens, you’ll know How To Make It has gotten its hands on a little of that Boardwalk/Game Of Thrones money. Sweet, sweet money. Kenny Herzog is also forever changing.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Doctor Who (11 a.m.): This episode is called “Kinda,” and from the screencap Christopher Bahn has made for it (complete with awesome caption), it appears to feature Janet Fielding cloning herself via the awesome power of early ‘80s special effects. We don’t really want to know anything more about the episode than that, since whatever it’s actually about is never going to live up to the awesomeness living in our heads.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
America In Primetime (PBS, 8 p.m.): Kenny Herzog reviews this new PBS miniseries that celebrates the awesome power of television. Listen, PBS. You don’t need to convince us. We cry every time we hear the Sanford And Son theme. You need to convince all the people we meet at parties who say, snobbily, “Oh, I only watch PBS. And Mad Men.” But you guys probably like those people, huh? Carry on then.
Haunted House For Sale (DIY, 8 p.m.): As far as haunted houses go, we want to live in that weird house down in Key West that’s haunted by that doll that can run around and kill people or whatever. What was his name? Robert? Yeah, that’s an awesome haunted house. We don’t want any of this, “Oh, sometimes, you can hear knocking on the ceiling!” crap. WE WANT KILLER DOLLS.
Allen Gregory (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Todd VanDerWerff and Rowan Kaiser drop in on the newest addition to the Fox animated lineup, a cartoon about the world’s most pretentious 7-year-old, who’s voiced by Jonah Hill. And, listen, we like some stuff about this show, but we don’t like even more about it, particularly the way there’s no story and stuff just sorta happens. But we’ll save it for the review.
Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs (Food Network, 9 p.m.): Normally, we wouldn’t have anybody dropping in on this, but Food Network is forcing all of its superstar chefs to do battle, which can only mean one thing: Alton Brown is going to break out the ham catapult (or the ham-apult) and take aim squarely at Paula Deen. Which is why Margaret Eby will have a premiere review.
Tron: Legacy (Starz, 7:54 p.m.): There was a time when you were excited for this. Don’t play with us. There was a time when the promotional materials made you think, “Hey, the original Tron was kind of stupid, but maybe this will be good! And Olivia Wilde is hot!” Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, maybe you still feel that way, so, uh, check it out and get back to us when you just love it. Right.
The Hurt Locker (TMC, 8 p.m.): Or you could just watch this Best Picture winner, one of the best American movies of the last decade, complete with award-winning direction by Katheryn Bigelow, who was the first woman to win the Best Director Oscar. Admittedly, most of you probably don’t care about that, but this movie’s still awesome.
Sunday Night Football: Cowboys at Eagles (NBC, 8 p.m.): Is there a more disappointing team this season than the Eagles? Then again, when a team that’s spent a bunch of money to try and buy championships flops, we can’t help but feel some delightful schadenfreude, so maybe by “disappointing,” we mean, “incredibly awesome.” Sorry, Philadelphia. There will be no more good times.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
From The Sky Down (Saturday): Maybe you’d really been wondering just what went into the making of Achtung, Baby, U2’s landmark 1991 album. Maybe you’re just hankering for the memory of when you first bought it 20 years ago. Either way, this Davis Guggenheim-directed documentary that debuted on Showtime this weekend probably isn’t the way to recapture that feeling, as Steven Hyden’s review points out.