Lost in all this week's understandable hubbub over NBC putting Community on midseason hiatus — and no, I'm not happy about it, either — was the welcome news that NBC is at least doing the right thing by its freshman sleeper comedy Up All Night and moving it to Thursdays come January, swapping time periods with Whitney. (What took them so long?) On this week's new episode (8/7c), yet another Saturday Night Live alum makes a guest appearance: the reliably side-splitting Molly Shannon as Reagan's less-than-Superstar assistant Nancy, who Reagan (Christina Applegate) can't bring herself to fire. This is followed by a repeat (8:30/7:30c) featuring SNL vet Will Forte in a very funny turn as a neighbor giving Chris (Will Arnett) ludicrous sex tips on how to put the spice back in their baby-burdened marriage. The same episode features a cameo by Jorma Taccone (of SNL's The Lonely Island troupe) as Maya's excitable ex-boyfriend.
The SNL invasion into prime time continues over on ABC's broadly satirical Suburgatory (8:30/7:30c), with Ana Gasteyer chewing the scenery as wacky neighbor Sheila Shay, who this week nurses a cowed George (Jeremy Sisto) back to health after he throws out his back. Meanwhile, Tessa (Jane Levy) watches her new suburban support system go overboard to throw her a "Super Sweet Sixteen" party when all she wanted was a little get-together.
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There's another copycat killer on the loose as BBC America's gripping crime thriller Whitechapel (10/9c) begins a new three-episode arc. And while the Kray twins (whose gangster crime spree was a '60s sensation) aren't quite as notorious on these shores as Jack the Ripper, the murders and maimings echoing the Kray mayhem are just as gut-churning a challenge for DI Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones), still smarting from his reputation as "the man who failed to find the Ripper." He is further upstaged by rising star DCI Cazenove (Peter Serafinowicz), the head of the Organized Crime unit, who tells Chandler, "You're chasing phantoms again," in an attempt to take over the case. Which makes Chandler even more committed to dig in his heels, despite his deputy's warning that "Some cases can be too interesting." As in dangerous.
There's no end to the lurid nonsense on FX's American Horror Story (10/9c), which tonight introduces us to yet another bad seed in the haunted house's unhappy family history. (Never go in the attic, or the cellar, would seem to be the smartest advice. But do they ever listen?) There's another rape-ish sex fantasy — or is it? — involving the rubber-suited ghoul, and if you can't see where one sordid subplot is headed, in which housekeeper Moira (the sexy Alexandra Breckenridge version) seduces a prospective buyer for the house, then you must have missed those last truly terrible seasons of Nip/Tuck. Which is what every single episode of this ridiculous Horror Story reminds me of. Jessica Lange, however, continues to absolutely kill it as the increasingly sinister neighbor lady Constance, who this week gets to state one of the show's apparent themes as she observes how in today's crowded cities, there is no respect for what came before, and we risk "building on top of somebody else's life." Her warning to the potential new buyer: "You should stop unearthing while you're ahead. It only brings a haunting." But do they ever listen?
A much more satisfying guilty pleasure can be had on ABC's Revenge (10/9c), promising "Treachery" in this week's episode title. Which really wouldn't be anything new for this show. The arrival on the scene of Amanda Clarke (aka the real Emily Thorne, who swapped identities with our heroine in prison) should only muddy the Hamptons waters further. But the Graysons are busy freaking over what Lydia might remember as she continues to recover from her shoulda-been-fatal fall. Good times.
So what else is on? ... A particularly timely episode of PBS' Nature (check local listings) for this Thanksgiving season is titled "My Life as a Turkey," the story of artist/naturalist Joe Hutto (portrayed by Jeff Palmer), who imprints himself on a newly hatched family of turkey chicks and is not prepared for the consequences. ... There's yet another double elimination on this addictive season of CBS' Survivor: South Pacific (8/7c), with a key alliance in danger of shredding, while on Redemption Island, one of the three alpha males battling it out makes what CBS calls "a bold threat to his former tribemates." ... My favorite character from CBS' Criminal Minds (9/8c), Kirsten Vangsness' Garcia, takes center stage in an episode involving the disappearance of a friend (Army Wives' Brigid Brannagh) from her survivor's support group, who vanishes seven years to the day that her daughter went missing. Heroes' Jack Coleman guests as another member of Garcia's group. ... Natasha Lyonne guests on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (10/9c) as a mental patient who may or may not have been raped. A witness says she was, but she denies it. Carrie Preston, so memorably amusing as a deceptively ditzy lawyer on a recent episode of The Good Wife, appears as Lyonne's aunt. ... Norm Macdonald returns to ABC's The Middle (8/7c) as sketchy Uncle Rusty, while Frankie and Sue join a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz that clearly accepts all volunteers, though with Poor Sue, you never know how long that will last. Again, good times.
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