Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Pack your bags, Constant Viewers—it’s time to head back to Castle Rock

Lizzy Caplan
Lizzy Caplan
Photo: Maura Longueil (Hulu)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Wednesday, October 23. All times are Eastern. 


Top pick

Castle Rock (Hulu, 3:01 a.m., second-season premiere) and American Horror Story: 1984 (FX, 10 p.m., 100th episode): This would be a good moment to secure any sledgehammers you might have lying around and make yourself a nice bowl of soup.

We’re excited about this second season of Castle Rock, which, like the first season, has ties that extend throughout the Stephen King multiverse. This season, the central figure seems to be Annie Wilkes of Misery—a role that won Kathy Bates an Oscar—here played by the terrific Lizzy Caplan. Joining her in the cast are Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Paul Sparks (Boardwalk Empire), and Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), among others; she’ll also be working alongside King veteran Tim Robbins. The first three episodes arrive today, then new installments will stream weekly; like Robbins, Emily L. Stephens is on familiar ground as she returns to recap duty.

If you want some more bloodshed on your screen, the 100th episode of American Horror Story lands tonight.

That looks to be appropriately over-the-top.

Regular coverage

Riverdale (The CW, 8 p.m.)
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FXX, 10 p.m.)

Wild card

Dancing With The Birds (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., premiere): Here’s something completely different. From the team behind the gorgeous, if sometimes upsetting Our Planet, the documentary Dancing With The Birds plays like a coda to that series: a bonus feature on the DVD, perhaps, or a web-exclusive gag reel. That’s not meant as a slight. This hour zooms in on one aspect of that series that got a lot of attention—the beautiful birds of Papua New Guinea doing silly dances to try to attract mates. That makes this a Stephen Fry-narrated nature documentary about birds showing off and trying to fuck.

What about that doesn’t sound appealing? As with its longer sister series, Dancing With The Birds juxtaposes the footage with narration and music in such a way that it’s easy to anthropomorphize the floofy little birdies. Even if you’re not in it for the humor and the bird sex-eyes, it’s still worth checking out for the astonishing filmmaking, which captures the lush landscape, the gleaming feathers, and especially the vibrant color in arresting fashion. A delightful, educational, and extremely colorful diversion.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!