Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, October 26, 2011. All times are Eastern.
Beavis And Butt-Head (MTV, 10 p.m.): However many years ago it was that Beavis And Butt-Head originally debuted—and we know we could look this up, but we’re lazy, so let’s just say “around 70” and call it good—most people would have been forgiven for being shocked at the fact that the show and Mike Judge, the man behind it, became comedic institutions. Now Judge, after enduring the box office flop of Extract and the Nielsen flop of The Goode Family (remember that?) is bringing back the two teenagers who originally made him famous, and the network and critics—who’ve generally been kind to the two delinquints—are all but ready to throw him a parade. Will dumb shit happen? Will Beavis get easily agitated? Will anything have changed for these two boys… sorry, young men? You’ll have to tune in tonight to see, but Kenny Herzog and Erik Adams will have an early review this afternoon.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 p.m.): Monday is Halloween, so tonight’s lineup is positively filled with comedies doing their best to do episodes that are spooky, scary, like the long-fabled Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. In this one, Sheldon tries to scare his friends, which will inevitably include some variation on the old Calvin & Hobbes strip where Calvin’s hiccupping and Hobbes tries to scare him with lots of facts on how humanity is ruining the planet. (Oliver Sava recommends holding your breath for 30 seconds.)
Community (NBC, 8 p.m.): The study group tells seven scary stories after Britta’s personality tests determine one of the seven of them is seriously disturbed. Doesn’t that sound a little like “Remedial Chaos Theory”? Yes, it does. But it’s still Community, and it’s still Halloween, and there’s fun to be had with the group going all “Treehouse Of Horror” on us. All of Todd VanDerWerff’s scary stories involve laundry hampers that come to life.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m.): Every episode of this show is a Halloween episode, but tonight’s promises to be the series’ own version of Coast To Coast AM’s annual “Ghost To Ghost” event, as Mystic Falls is invaded by the spirits of the dead. Some of them are angry. Some of them are sad. Some just want to play Boggle. Hopefully, the show focuses on the first group, or Carrie Raisler’s in for a long night of word counting.
Parks And Recreation (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): We’re not sure if this is just a trick of the lighting or what, but the promo photo for this episode on the screener DVD NBC sent out appears to feature Chris Traeger dressed in a pink Sherlock Holmes costume, which would just be great if that was really the case. On the other hand, we’d also take Ron Swanson dressed as a Butterball turkey because, why not? Steve Heisler investigates.
The Office (NBC, 9 p.m.): On average, would you say the folks at Dunder-Mifflin have celebrated Halloween or Christmas more festively? Surprisingly, there have only been a few Halloween episodes, but at least one (season two’s “Halloween” is an all-time classic. Still, we’ll give the edge to Christmas, just for having more episodes and most of them being of high quality. Myles McNutt might beg to differ.
Person Of Interest (CBS, 9 p.m.): The only information we can get on this episode from our usual sources is that it is called “The Fix.” We’re going to assume it’s a misspelled biopic of the band, The Fixx, and hope that Michael Emerson will be dancing around to “One Thing Leads To Another” while playing pool. Zack Handlen says automatic B-!
Project Runway (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): And so ends what just might be the most boring season of Project Runway yet, complete with last week’s episode that may have been the single dullest, least compelling 90 minutes of television in history. (That’s probably not true, but it certainly felt that way at the time.) John Teti is just going to be happy to be done with this bullshit, weeping for relief as he slowly crawls his way through a tunnel of shit to make it to the rain outside.
The Secret Circle (The CW, 9 p.m.): Here’s a more proper CW Halloween episode, as the characters throw a party for the occasion and a bunch of bad guys show up, spoiling for trouble. Speaking of Halloween, whatever happened to dressing up as a witch. Doesn’t it seem like nobody does that anymore? Maybe that could be your costume for the year. “A witch.” Katherine Miller will applaud you for getting back to the true spirit of Halloween.
Whitney (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): Tonight’s episode is called “The Wire,” which is just so ironic on so many levels that we thought we’d just leave all of the jokes to you. Erik Adams appreciated having last week off from the show, and the last we heard from him, he was lying on the floor of his custom-padded, patented A.V. Club cell, howling in rage that he would be dropping in on the show again this week.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX, 10 p.m.): The episode summary for this one—which involves the gang getting stuck inside and inventing its own board game—involves the sentence, “They also drink,” which is probably the sentence that should be stuck into all episode summaries ever, even just for panel discussion programs and cooking shows. Emily Yoshida will write up the review tomorrow night. She will also drink.
Prime Suspect (NBC, 10 p.m.): Tonight, some crimes are committed, and Jane investigates them. She also has some personal problems that she just has to put her head down and get through. Now doesn’t that sound like riveting television? Actually, it probably won’t be half-bad, and you won’t hate yourself for watching it, but it won’t really justify NBC’s relentless pimping of the show as THE NEXT BIG THING, now will it? Hayden Childs knows what we’re talking about.
The League (FX, 10:30 p.m.): This episode is called “Ol’ Smoke Crotch,” which is going up there with the best episode titles of the season. Really, it’s going to be hard for anything else to top this because it just sounds like a good time or, alternately, like someone has set their penis on fire. And penis on fire gags are the sorts of things we always enjoy. (Margaret Eby thinks she’s too good for an old-fashioned “penis on fire” gag, but deep down, she’s not.)
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: The Next Generation (11 a.m.): It’s taken around 70 years, but Zack Handlen is finally closing in on the end of this series, even as he’s slowly realizing that he’s essentially out of classic episodes. Tonight, Beverly Crusher attends the funeral of her grandmother, and while that could be good and all, it’s not exactly people shooting at each other in spaceships, if you know what we mean.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Ghosts: Caught On Tape (Biography, 8 p.m.): Listen, if you’re a ghost and you’re “caught on tape,” then you are not very good at the essential business of being a ghost, and you should have your ghost license revoked. If we can’t all agree on this, then this isn’t America anymore.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (ABC, 8 p.m.): ABC hauls this one out of mothballs for the year to try to make up for losing Charlie’s Angels. Inevitably, it will crush Community and Parks in the ratings. But it’s hard to get too upset at a show that features Charlie Brown’s ghost costume or Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin or Snoopy’s adventures behind enemy lines. So we’ll only get a little mad.
The Education Of Dee Dee Ricks (HBO, 8:30 p.m.): HBO’s documentaries are almost always worth watching, but we’ll admit to being a touch skeptical about this one, which is about a millionaire contracting breast cancer and then having to find out what it’s like to seek healthcare when you have enough money to access the very best. Yeah, death’s the great leveler and all, but come on!
Good Vibes (MTV, 10:30 p.m.): MTV’s pairing Beavis with this goofy California-set series about a kid from Jersey—voiced by Broadway’s own Josh Gad—who moves to a beach town and has to learn how to navigate the new place with the help of a new friend voiced by Adam Brody. Heeeeey… is this just an animated version of The O.C.? Todd VanDerWerff will find out.
Blade Runner (Reelz, 8 p.m.): If you’ve seen movies in the last 30 years, you’ve almost certainly seen stuff that was taken from here, whether it’s the production design or the neo-noir cinematography or somebody making fun of the “tears in the rain” speech. So if you haven’t seen this one already, what the hell are you waiting for? Plus, then you can join the whole “is or isn’t he” debate.
Harlan County, U.S.A. (Flix, 8 p.m.): Director Barbara Kopple headed down to Kentucky to follow coal miners on strike, and she walked away with what’s arguably the best documentary ever made. This is another movie where, if you haven’t seen it, you really should. You’ll be blown away. (As a bonus, it’s followed by another great doc, Grey Gardens.)
World Series, Game 6: Rangers at Cardinals (Fox, 7:30 p.m.): Remember how we told you this was happening yesterday? Well, we lied, because the weather refused to cooperate. So here you are, with the rescheduled sixth game. The Rangers can win it all with a win, while the Cardinals fight for their lives. We’ll repeat ourselves: Yay, baseball!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
South Park (Wednesday): Trey Parker and Matt Stone were joined by their Book Of Mormon collaborator Robert Lopez for this episode, featuring Randy learning about the secret powers of Broadway musicals, and the whole thing turned into one of the standout episodes of the show’s 15th season. Ryan McGee lets you know just what you missed.