Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, October 16, 2011. All times are Eastern.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): Sure, sure. We know. The pilot was good, but you hated the later episodes. The characters were thin, and the zombie stuff felt too much like every zombie movie cliché there was. You’re better than this show, and you don’t care who knows it. But we also know that this is still the only show on TV that features zombies (except for CSI: Miami—hey-o!), and we also know you’re going to watch it and bitch all the while. Also, the first two episodes of season two? They’re pretty good! Well, we think so. Who knows what Zack Handlen will think?
The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m.): The teams travel to Thailand, and in keeping with this season’s weirdly esoteric clues, they’ll be forced to decipher the actual identity of the Somerton Man and learn how to recite the entirety of King Lear in Thai before being allowed to proceed. Scott Von Doviak will have all the details.
The X Factor (Fox, 8 p.m.): The weather kept us from having to see Wednesday’s episode (which was pushed to Thursday), but the Detroit Tigers’ inability to force a game seven has led to Thursday’s episode being pushed to tonight, which means Simon Cowell will join the Texas Rangers in celebration. (Phil Nugent, filling in for Emily Yoshida, will not.)
Boardwalk Empire (HBO, 9 p.m.): This complicated, nation-spanning, Emmy Award-winning serialized drama series that seemingly nobody likes was just picked up for a third season, which means everybody can watch for another year and continue to complain about how it’s not awesome enough for whatever ridiculous standard they hold it to. Except for Noel Murray, who will just nod with satisfaction.
Dexter (Showtime, 9 p.m.): This season on Dexter, there will be lots and lots of unsubtle talk about religion and morality and other stuff because, hey, this thing is going to run for years and years. At least Michael C. Hall’s still fun. When are they going to retool the show so it’s just him wandering the country and killin’ folk? Joshua Alston can feel your keen sense of disappointment from here.
The Good Wife (CBS, 9 p.m.): This episode is entitled “Feeding The Rat,” which probably isn’t a euphemism for sex but is definitely what we’re going to start calling sex. So we thank the Good Wife writers, who now have that on their hands in addition to this season’s increasingly strained cases of the week. David Sims will let all of us know just how to, ahem, feed the rat.
Homeland (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Is there a more entertaining new character this TV season than Carrie’s good surveillance buddy Virgil? Every time Homeland threatens to get too contemplative or political, he drops by to crack wise and turn his surveillance game into the weirdest Bravo reality show you’ve ever seen. Todd VanDerWerff will surveil the surveillers.
Hung (HBO, 10 p.m.): In a season that centers on Ray’s fears that he’s getting too old for this shit, it makes sense that he’d eventually run into one of his former students while out plying his trade. And by “plying his trade,” we mean, “having sex for money,” because this is still a show that is primarily about penises. (And Will Harris would like to let you know there’s nothing wrong with that.)
Pan Am (ABC, 10 p.m.): ABC’s beleaguered new show, which debuted with great ratings, then promptly lost many of its viewers over the next two weeks, desperately needs to hang on to some viewers tonight. Pity, then, that this is the original second episode, shifted out of order, which is rarely a good sign. Erik Adams will let you know what he thinks.
How To Make It In America (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): We’re not entirely sure what HBO sees in this hang-out comedy, but it’s nice that it keeps getting made, if only for those opening credits. On the other hand, the show also usually features nudity, for those of you out there still really missing Entourage and hoping it could feature jean-making. Kenny Herzog is with you on that.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Doctor Who (11 a.m.): The Doctor—played here by Jon Pertwee—finally meets one of his greatest arch-nemeses in “Terror Of The Autons.” We’d say who it is, but that’d be a spoiler. Ah, hell. 1971 spoiler alert! It’s the Master. And he’s not pleased. And the Autons don’t really factor in all that much at all. Christopher Bahn hopes you weren’t saving this one to watch oh these four decades.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Visionaries: Inside The Creative Mind (OWN, 8 p.m.): Oprah Winfrey’s network decides to talk to some of the most creative people in America for this new series. That’s a good idea! But their first choice is Tyler Perry. Please insert your own “Tyler Perry seems to be the very antithesis of this show’s ideal pick!” jokes here, only pithier and snarkier.
Why Am I Still Single? (VH1, 9 p.m.): Because you’re unworthy of anyone’s love.
The Talking Dead (AMC, 12 a.m., Monday): Once you’re done watching three straight hours of The Walking Dead, consisting of the season two premiere shown twice, well, you can jump right into this brand new, Walking Dead-themed talk show. Because if you just watched the same extended episode of television twice, AMC figures you’ll watch any old crap.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (BBC America, 9 p.m.): Don’t get us wrong. This isn’t a good movie. But it’s still a strangely, endlessly watchable one, mostly because it’s a.) batshit insane and b.) pretty to look at. And if you’re not going to watch any of the other quality drama options available in the two hours it would take to watch this, may as well see Robert De Niro ham it up in prosthetic makeup.
The Verdict (Fox Movie Channel, 8 p.m.): Or you could just watch this, which features arguably Paul Newman’s best performance as an alcoholic lawyer seeking a weird kind of redemption. He was Oscar-nominated, and you’ll be AV Club-nominated for Best Ability To Follow Directions, too, if you tune in. (This is a lie. We’re not going to nominate you for anything. Suckers!)
National League Championship Series, Game 6: Cardinals at Brewers: If the Cardinals win here (please God, no), they go on to face the Rangers in the World Series. If the Brewers win, we’re going to seven on Monday night. If we somehow once again cause them to lose by writing this up for What’s On Tonight (though we’re totally not superstitious), a pox be on our heads.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Hairy Bikers (Friday): Yes, there really is a show called Hairy Bikers, but it’s, sadly, not nearly as exciting as it sounds, as Phil Nugent will tell you, having sat through a couple of episodes of it. Still, he took the time, and you might as well see what it was all about, right?