Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31. All times are Eastern.
Ash Vs. Evil Dead (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): It’s been 30 years since wisecracking, boomstick-wielding, heroic fuck-up Ashley J. “Ash” Williams strapped on his chainsaw and mowed down some rotten, pus-filled Deadite ass. And (unless you count the post-credits stinger from the 2013 Evil Dead remake, which, no, no you don’t), it’s been 23 years since Bruce Campbell pretended to do so onscreen, so—kind of a big day for horror fans everywhere, as the original Evil Dead trilogy continues, with Ash lurching back into action once he (again) accidentally unleashes slavering, goopy hell on earth. Our own Michael Roffman gets the weekly reviewing duties, because he’s not a medieval screwhead.
Grimm (NBC, 9 p.m., Friday): Poor Nick has lady troubles, what with his mom being beheaded, and his ex-girlfriend being dead, and that sexy monster lady having tricked him into impregnating her (thus losing his powers) and all. Les Chappell returns to sort all this mess out—and, since he’s back, that means it’s time for the return of the Grimm monster picture of the week!
The Returned (Sundance, 10 p.m., Saturday): In more sedate but eerier Halloween horror news, season two of this atmospheric, chilling French sort-of zombie series returns. The valley might have flooded at the end of last season, but now it’s six months later, and the inhabitants are coming back in search of their loved ones, even though they may or may not be the evil dead (if not, you know, the Evil Dead). Erik Adams is back, too, although we have it on reliable authority that he is, in fact, alive. The A.V. Club zombie squad is at condition yellow, just in case. There is no reason to panic—Laura M. Browning will put an undead Erik down like Zombie Shakespeare if she has to. (Alex McCown has the pre-air TV Review, but we’ve already administered the test—he checks out.)
Please Like Me (Pivot, 10 p.m., Friday): Arnold invites his seemingly lovely parents to his birthday party for his big coming out announcement. Brandon Nowalk isn’t entirely sure things are gong to go well for the guy, but he’s comfortable predicting this series will continue to impress.
The Knick (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): Sure, it’s not a horror series, per se, but, as Brandon Nowalk masterfully describes the previous episode of this early 20th-century medical drama, Hostel ain’t got nothin’ on The Knick:
For anyone worrying that The Knick wouldn’t be able to match its grisly early surgeries, “You’re No Rose” has you covered. Instruments spread Algie’s eyelids on the side needing surgery so that his eyeballs are disarmingly mismatched. A needle pierces the eyeball. It numbs it so that it remains stationary while the other one moves around increasingly worried. The camera slowly pushes in on Algie as Thack approaches with a tiny scalpel. He’s supposed to make an incision but his hands keep shaking. He’s aware of the problem but too proud to stop. Closer and closer, Algie’s single eye freaking out and Thack’s jittery hand going through with it anyway. And just when the tension becomes too much, Algie pulls away, suffering only a small slice on the temple thanks to Thack’s addled nervous system. “You’re No Rose” is a horror episode, but it’s not the climactic bloodbath. It’s the early suggestion that things are amiss, there’s no authority to rely on, and the problem is a lot bigger than anyone realized.
Doctor Who (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday): Those sucker-faced, shape-shifting Zygons, perhaps resentful of their perennial eighth-place finish in the annual “favorite evil alien races” BBC poll, kidnap the Doctor and that cool character everyone was sad they killed in her first appearance but is now alive again so everyone’s happy. Alasdair Wilkins (or an Alasdair Wilkins impersonator) will tell us how that goes—if his review contains phrases like, “People of Earth! Zygons rule! Bow down and be friends with all the Zygons, who are very nice and sweet-smelling!,” then we’ll know to mobilize the AV Club alien reviewer impersonator squad. Don’t worry—we’ve dealt with this before.
Guardians Of The Galaxy (Disney XD, 9:30 p.m., Saturday): Rocket, feeling under-appreciated, goes to work for obsessive collector The Collector. Things probably go okay until The Collector realizes, “A talking raccoon, you say? Hmmm….” Reviewer Kevin Johnson tried to warn the li’l guy, but you know raccoons.
The Last Kingdom (BBC America, 10 p.m., Saturday): Kyle Fowle continues to nail down just how good this historical drama is going forward. From his last review:
The 9th century setting and the continuous Viking dominance obviously drives home the point that The Last Kingdom is about shifting values and questionable motivations, but it’s the character’s actions that pack an emotional punch and add welcome gravitas and detail to the more meditative plot elements in “Episode 3.” When Uhtred and Brida are separated at the episode’s end, it’s not just emotional because it’s the end of their current journey together, but also because “Episode 3” has spent most of it runtime showing how Uhtred’s rash choices have led to this separation, and how so many others, like Beocca, Alfred, and Ubba, are relying on Uhtred to continue to make such rash decisions.
Which is all well and good, but, if Brida doesn’t come back, we’re all just gonna lose it around here. Like, lose it, lose it.
Sure, it’s Horrors Week and all, but we at the A.V. Club ain’t a-sceered. Oh, wait—we totally are. Check out this week’s AVQ&A for the things that were too scary for us to finish. Then, speaking of stuff that makes our bladders feel kinda funny, Mike D’Angelo brings us another of his Scenic Routes, this time showing how the ingenious premise of It Follows makes even scenes where nothing overtly scary is happening pretty damned scary. Then Mike’s colleague over in Film, A.A. Dowd, suggests a pre-Halloween helping of the truly disturbing horror anthology Three… Extremes. He also presents the argument that you should not eat during it—especially not (shudder) dumplings. And, since we’re talking movies and Halloween, don’t forget to check out Ignatiy Vishnevetsky’s interview with the director of the movie Halloween, the great John Carpenter.
Undateable (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): It’s live! That is the relevant fact here! Live!
The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m., Friday): The contestants scurry around Paris, rooting through French people’s stuff, which, if cultural stereotypes hold, should be greeted with chuckling bonhomie.
Last Man Standing (ABC, 8 p.m., Friday): When the guys skip out on giving out Halloween candy, their wives prank them by showing them a powerpoint presentation about the growing consensus in the medical community concerning the frequency of violent head trauma in football players a later health problems. Then they put flaming bags of dog poop on their stops, because a classic is a classic.
American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards 2015 (Hallmark, 8 p.m., Friday): Humans give inedible medals to animals who accidentally alerted their masters to danger.
The Enfield Haunting (Lifetime Movie Network, 8 p.m., Friday): Miniseries based on the book “This House Is Haunted,” which, once you know that, kind of takes the air out of the proceedings. Sorry.
Dr. Ken (ABC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): Ken tries to make up for his original, botched Halloween marriage proposal to Allison, presumably because he dressed like this for the big day:
Truth Be Told (NBC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): When Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tone Bell heard that ABC had cut their show’s episode order from 13 to 10 episodes this week, they were all, “You can’t handle the truth! The truth that’s told… that we tell! You can’t… with the truth…” [Cold wind blows, crickets chirp, dog barks in the distance.] “Truth… you can’t handle it…”
Live From Lincoln Center—Elfman: Tim Burton Film Music (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Does anyone else get the idea that, by this point, Danny Elfman dreads the annual package from Burton, just consisting of a big photo of Johnny Depp scrawled with the word “whimsy”?
Hawaii Five-O (CBS, 9 p.m., Friday): The Five-O gang hunt a serial killer inspired by Frankenstein. And a second serial killer murdering everyone who says, “I think they mean a serial killer inspired by Frankenstein’s monster…”
I Am Giant: Victor Cruz (Showtime, 9 p.m., Friday): Documentary follows the life and career of New York Giants wide receiver and Ballers baller Cruz as he attempts a comeback from a patellar tendon injury.
Shark Tank (ABC, 9 p.m., Friday): A team of Chicago sports fans have a plan for a new kind of beverage—and there’s no alcohol involved? Takes all kinds, we suppose.
Z Nation (Syfy, 10 p.m., Friday): Sort-of zombie Murphy gets captured by “an overly enthusiastic zombie fan,” which is, apparently, a thriving subculture in this particular zombie apocalypse.
Blue Bloods (CBS, 10 p.m., Friday): When a cop relative of Tom Selleck’s Frank Reagan is accused of police brutality at a protest against police brutality, rest assured that CBS will conclude that police are holy, blameless creatures.
Satisfaction (USA, 10 p.m., Friday): Troubled but sexy marrieds Neil and Grace continue to expand their sexual boundaries, as Neil enters into a shady business arrangement with male escort Simon, and Grace and madam Adriana expand Grace’s sexual horizons.
Black Jesus (Adult Swim, 11 p.m., Friday): When Charlie Murphy’s Vic falls into the depths of sin, can Black Jesus forgive him? Of course he can—he’s Black Jesus!
TripTank (Comedy Central, 11:59 p.m., Friday): If you want to see how various talented animators draw cartoon animals doing rude things, then do we have a treat for you!
Rose Red (Spike, 5:30 p.m., Saturday): Stephen King’s reportedly called his script for this original haunted house miniseries “a Moby Dick haunted house story,” which may account for the fact that it runs over four hours. A good cast (Julian Sands, Melanie Lynskey, Nancy Travis, Jimmi Simpson, Emily Deschanel) gets their mouths around that King dialogue as Spike hopes you can stick around ‘til midnight, thanks to their, no doubt, horrifying commercial interruptions.
Da Vinci’s Demons (Starz, 8 p.m., Saturday): Leonardo is credited with inventing something called the “aerial screw,” which most people think of as the prototype of the helicopter. Knowing the sexy, swashbuckling Leo of this series, however, we’ll just wait and see.
Online Abduction (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): When Tanya uses her computer, the bad man computers her—through her computer. Tanya!!
Naked And Afraid: Uncensored (Discovery, 9 p.m., Saturday): Discovery has heard your pleas, America—now you will be afforded the full glory of people getting burdocks in their perinea.
Behind The Screams (Reelz, 9 p.m., Saturday): A documentary look at the alien abduction incident that inspired the movie Fire In The Sky, although not really, because that’s been debunked and alien abductions aren’t a thing. (Brought to you by the Halloween Killjoys Association.)
Ghost Adventures—Deadwood: City Of Ghosts (travel, 9 p.m., Saturday): This ghost-hunting reality show heads to Deadwood where, sadly, the foul-mouthed specter of Al Swearengen does not make an appearance, to our knowledge. Although how scary would that be? (“Except that ghosts aren’t real and watching a ‘reality’ show about them is an exercise in folly”—the H.K.A.)
Game 3 (Fox, 7:30 p.m., Friday)
Game 4 (Fox, 7:30 p.m., Saturday)