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

With Halloween on the horizon, Bob’s Burgers is ready for prime time

The Belchers (Fox)
The Belchers (Fox)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, October 18th. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 9 p.m): As Fox’s first scripted comedy on Sunday nights, Bob’s Burgers is always the most in danger of being steamrolled by an overrunning football game or baseball playoffs. This week however the Belchers are getting a promotion to the coveted Family Guy time slot, and in further good news are getting that bump in time for Halloween. The chaos, sugar high, and fantasy elements of the holiday bring out the best in the anarchic and imaginative Bob’s Burgers writers’ room, with its prior Halloween episodes “Full Bars,” “Fort Night,” and “Tina And The Real Ghost” clear standouts in their respective seasons. And with a visit to a haunted house on the agenda for this evening as the family attempts to scare the normally unflappable Louise, Alasdair Wilkins is clutching his trick-or-treat bag with the highest expectations.


Also noted

The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m): Speaking of Halloween episodes, The Simpsons’s annual Treehouse of Horror is still a week away, but Springfield is getting a head start on the holiday as Homer and Lisa find themselves under siege by a mob of haunted house employees who’ve lost their jobs thanks to Homer. Also besieging the Simpson home is Dennis Perkins, though that siege is mostly because he can’t remember the last time the writers felt like they gave a shit.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Maybe it’s the proximity to Halloween but the description of tonight’s episode makes everything about it seem terrifying. “Jake enlists Holt’s help to investigate a serial killer. Rosa and Amy are forced to comply with an old adversary’s demands. Terry finds a new obsession.” Every one of these plots feels like it could be leading to a horrifying conclusion that kills at least one detective, which (assuming it’s presented in a standalone manner) LaToya Ferguson would be on board with. Fingers crossed that the last shot of the episode is the reveal that Terry loves murder.

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): Last week’s season premiere compensated for Fear The Walking Dead’s lack of zombie mayhem by including all the zombie mayhem, and more walkers than Morgan could shake his stick at. Tonight’s focus switches back to the group at Alexandria, who now find the horde coming their way with all their best fighters out of town. Zack Handlen is hoping in the midst of the chaos we also find out what happened to that missing peanut butter energy bar.

The Leftovers (HBO, 9 p.m.): The show checks in with Laurie and Tom this week, who are licking their wounds after failing to find what they were looking for in the Guilty Remnant and Holy Wayne respectively. Joshua Alston feels their pain: he tried a two-week stint with the Movementarians back in the day, and lima bean farming just didn’t provide the fulfillment he was promised.

The Good Wife (CBS, 9:30 p.m.): Stockard Channing returns tonight as Alicia’s mother Veronica, as Eli tries to persuade the two to boost Peter’s campaign by participating in a mother/daughter cooking show. This sounds so delightful—and the Lockhart, Agos, and Lee stuff feels so pointless this year—that Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is hoping the legal plots are jettisoned this week and the entire episode is presented as just the cooking show, Queen Of Jordan-style.


The Last Man On Earth (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): It’s been a rocky road back to acceptance for Phil from the Tuscon/Malibu crew, but evidently tonight he redeems himself “in an uncharacteristically heroic way.” Vikram Murthi assumes Phil’s characteristically heroic way would be soiling himself as a defense mechanism.

The Affair (Showtime, 10 p.m.): “Alison discovers a surprising truth about how to sustain a marriage.” Hey Allison, Carrie Raisler has a surprising truth for you about sustaining your marriage: Don’t have an affair!


Regular coverage

Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.)

Homeland (Showtime, 9 p.m.)

Quantico (ABC, 10 p.m.)

Project Greenlight (HBO, 10 p.m.)

Classic coverage

The Simpsons (3 p.m.): Emily L. Stephens is ready to review “Dumbbell Indemnity,” and nothing’s going to get in the way of her analysis of Moe’s relationship with Helen Hunt’s Renee… wait, they’re showing Hail To The Chimp! Oh, she has time to see one little movie.

(Two hours past deadline.) Heh heh heh, that’s what you get for not hailing to the chimp.


How many days until Halloween?

Thirteen days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween! Thirteen days to Halloween, Silver Shamrock!

What else is on?

Madam Secretary (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): “Elizabeth is met with hostility while trying to deal with the Russian government.” Edward Snowden aside, is there any instance where the Russian government meets you with anything other than hostility? Just once, a show where all Russians are open and welcoming to outsiders would be a welcome thing to see.


Blood And Oil (ABC, 9 p.m.): “Billy turns to an unlikely ally for help in his quest for revenge against Hap.” We so hope it’s Philip Michael Thomas. It’s obvious, but have you seen the ratings Blood And Oil is getting? It’s definitely not too early for this show to resort to stunt casting.

CSI: Cyber (CBS, 10 p.m.): It’s a ripped-from-the-headlines story this week as a police officer’s body camera is hacked and a small town erupts in unrest over what comes out. We’re torn between dreading how badly this show can mishandle such a hot-button affair and anticipating their hilarious interpretation of what it’s like when a video goes viral.


Doll & Em (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): It’s the season two finale, and apparently Doll and Em can’t stop tinkering with their script even up to opening night. What do you mean, adding three musical numbers is too ambitious?

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO, 11 p.m.): Speaking of Blood And Oil: Last week on Last Week Tonight, Oliver took North Dakota (or South DaCanada) to task for its lack of oversight on the oil industry. He also found a way to compare the state to Channing Tatum, which was fairly unexpected.

Talking Dead (AMC, 10 p.m.): We forgot about this last week because we made ourselves forget about it. Look, we love the Nerdist podcast as much as anyone else, but every week that we have to transition from zombie mayhem to fawning adoration for said zombie mayhem really taxes our good will.


Comic Book Men (AMC, 12 a.m. and 12:30 a.m.): Kevin Smith and his island of misfit toys remain the one unkillable reality show on AMC’s roster as they return for a fifth season. The premiere will feature none other than Peter Mayhew of Star Wars fame judging a Wookiee call competition. Here’s a paradox for you: how do you let the Wookiee win if they’re all Wookies?

Robot Chicken (Adult Swim, 12 a.m.): It’s time for the third installment of Robot Chicken’s DC comic specials, this one called “Magical Friendship.” Sounds wholesome and is guaranteed to be anything but.


The Great British Baking Show (PBS, 7 p.m.): Not one, not two, but three different kinds of puffed pastries! It’s madness! Madness!

Home Fires (PBS, 8 p.m.): Tonight “the farmer and vicar do their duty.” So this episode should have a lot of farming and vicaring.


90 Day Fiancé (TLC, 10 p.m.): Tonight sees the first appearance of Kyle and Noon, who we really hope get branded as “KyNoon” before too long.

Guy’s Grocery Games (Food Network, 8 p.m.): Tonight, dinner incorporates both high-end and low-end ingredients. So, lobster stuffed with tacos it is then!


The World Series Of Poker (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.): Look, some times you just want to zone out and watch people in hats and sunglasses compete for absurd amounts of money while trash-talking each other. It happens.

Halloween Wars (Food Network, 9 p.m.): Actress Bex Taylor-Klaus of Arrow and Scream stops by to judge the competition. Meanwhile, we judge her for being on Scream.


Cutthroat Kitchen (Food Network, 10 p.m.): “A chef is forced to ride a bucking bronco.” Please say he’s riding it at the same time he’s cooking.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (TNT, 8 p.m.): The road goes ever on and on… and on, and on, and on, and on. We love Peter Jackson’s version of Middle-Earth but this book definitely didn’t have three movies worth of story in it, and the good stuff is hidden under a lot of bloat and strain.


The American President (Reelz, 8 p.m.): With another Aaron Sorkin-scripted movie garnering critical acclaim, let’s go back to the early days of the Sorkin canon and this delightful romantic comedy that would pave the way for The West Wing.

30 Days Of Night (IFC, 8:30 p.m.): Director David Slade, who’d go on to set the template of Hannibal’s visual feast, pulls off a similar trick here by bringing Ben Templesmith’s illustrations to unlife.


Underworld: Evolution (Syfy, 9 p.m.): Less visually arresting than 30 Days Of Night but still with lots of vampire mayhem, it’s the second installment of Kate Beckinsale wearing black leather and shooting up supernatural forces.

Sherlock Holmes (Turner Classic Movies, 9:30 p.m.): No, not that one. Or that one. Or that one. Or that one. This one is in fact a 1916 silent film starring legendary stage actor William Gillette—who popularized many of the detective’s iconic props and expressions—thought lost until a print was discovered last year. Now digitally restored, and ready to enter the discussion of what’s the best Holmes adaptation ever.


Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa (MTV, 10 p.m.): Johnny Knoxville dons makeup and latex to become the world’s most outrageous senior citizen. Fun fact, said makeup actually earned the movie an Academy Award nomination, which means you’re now legally obligated to say “Oscar-nominated series Jackass.”

Top Gun (Reelz, 10:30 p.m.): DANGER ZONE!


Sunday Night Football, Patriots at Colts (NBC, 8:20 p.m.)

MLS Soccer, Los Angeles vs. Portland (Fox Sports, 7 p.m.)

MLB Playoff, NLCS Game 2 (TBS, 8 p.m.)

In case you missed it

The Knick: Brandon Nowalk checks back into Knickerbocker Hospital for the drug-addled, high-risk surgical adventures of John Thackeray and friends.