Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, October 31. All times are Eastern.
The Returned (Sundance, 9 p.m.): It’s Halloween! You’d think that would mean a reprieve in the world of television, but that is not the case. Halloween specials and scary shows abound. While trick-or-treaters knock down your door with silly costumes and a hankering for candy, Sundance will be premiering the first season of a French-language, subtly terrifying zombie show. Todd VanDerWerff watched the season and found it fantastic; now Erik Adams will be taking the show week-to-week.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m.): Vampires have to work overtime on Halloween. Elena and Damon attend the Whitmore Historical Ball dressed as Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, which naturally sets Catherine of Aragon’s hackles right up to the sky. Mary Boleyn is too busy making out with Silas in a corner to come to her dear sister’s aid. Oh, and Carrie Raisler is there, too, dressed as Thomas Cromwell. It’s a Tudor Halloween.
Reign (The CW, 9 p.m.): Meanwhile, in France, Mary, Queen of Scots is offered marriage by a Portuguese prince. Francis has to struggle with his feelings for Mary as she’s being pursued by the Portuguese heartthrob. Caroline Framke, meanwhile, has to struggle with her feelings about this show.
The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC, 9 p.m.): Mike and Annie go somewhere without Halloween, but with golf, which sounds like a terrible bargain. Robert David Sullivan is planning to carry a bag of golf clubs around tonight, but it’s not for a Halloween costume, it’s performance art. You wouldn’t understand.
White Collar (USA, 9 p.m.): Neal is spending his Halloween planning a complicated museum heist. “Mozzie, it’ll totally work! Everyone else will be wearing masks, so it won’t be weird if we wear masks, too!” Kenny Herzog is also going to be wearing a mask, but he’s not impressed by the logic.
Elementary (CBS, 10 p.m.): Buddy-detectives definitely do not celebrate Halloween. But they do celebrate home-invasions that occur to their police captain’s wives. If by “celebrate” you mean “investigate.” Myles McNutt will be “celebrating” with them.
Scandal (ABC, 10 p.m.): Lisa Kudrow continues to guest-star as Pope and Associates start investigating her for a potential presidential run. And Olivia goes to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner dressed in the most fantastic gown imaginable, with slightly Rihanna-ish hair. Sonia Saraiya is going to double as a fashion correspondent for the evening.
Parenthood (NBC, 10 p.m.): The Bravermans don’t celebrate Halloween, apparently, or maybe they just forgot what day it is. Either that, or the plot summary “Julia and Joel try to keep things together” has far more sinister implications that we could have hoped. Todd VanDerWerff is hoarding all of his peanut butter cups for the broadcast, just in case he needs to grief-eat.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Gilmore Girls (1 p.m.): The third season comes to a close with Jess’ weird spinoff episode and a finale titled “Those Are Strings, Pinocchio.” David Sims thinks that’s a great title.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (ABC, 8 p.m.): Sorry we don’t live in a world where this classic is replayed every night in primetime. Plus the bonus cartoon “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown.”
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 9 p.m.): “Eerie patients” show up to Seattle Grace to be treated for their eerie health problems. Like eerie stomachache and eerie broken-leg. Eerie heart disease. Eerie black lung. Eerie psoriasis. Eerie whooping cough.
The Millers (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): The Millers take the youngest Miller out trick-or-treating to a house where a witch probably doesn’t but also might live. The witch holds the secrets to eternal youth and family harmony. The Millers are intrigued; they can’t help it. A Very Special Episode.
Tim And Eric’s Bedtime Stories (Adult Swim, midnight): Tim and Eric bring Zach Galifianakis along for a Halloween special that’s also a pilot for a full-on anthology series. We hope someone will be covering this. But we hope for a lot of things that don’t come true, like world peace, and puppies.
Ghostbusters (Comedy Central, 8:30 p.m.): WHEN THERE’S SOMETHING STRANGE / IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD / WHO YOU GONNA CALL / DAN AYKROYD!
Gremlins (CMT, 8 p.m.): We can’t even think about this movie without getting freaked out. Tiny evil things wreak havoc on Smalltown, U.S.A. Zach Gilligan stars. The stuff of our nightmares co-star. Featuring special guest the subjects of bad trips.
NBA Basketball: Knicks at Bulls (TNT, 8 p.m.): BASKETBALL IS BACK! Finally, we can stop pretending we care about baseball like everyone else. New York’s record against Chicago in the last decade is a dismal 3-19, suggesting Chicago might be the best. THAT’S RIGHT. WE’RE PARTISAN ABOUT BASKETBALL no just kidding please don’t hurt us—
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
South Park (Wednesday): Kyle and Ike went to see a taping of Yo Gabba Gabba! on last night’s South Park. We’re confused, but intrigued. Marcus Gilmer has the review.