Matt's Guide to Thursday TV: A Halloween Classic, Beavis & Butt-head Return and More!
Beavis and Butt-Head, Beavis
And the Halloween countdown continues ...
With a bona fide classic leading the way, as the patient and faithful Linus once again declares It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (ABC, 8/7c), as he's been doing ever since the Charles Schulz animated special premiered in 1966 (and yes, I was the target audience back then). As Lucy runs afoul of dog germs, Charlie Brown collects rocks in his trick-or-treat sack, and Snoopy rides the Sopwith Camel doghouse of his imagination into World War I battle, we can appreciate how some things never get old. (To fill out the hour, ABC includes the less memorable but relatively timely You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, with the indefatigable Linus running for class president.)
Also not seeming to have aged — or matured — a day since they left MTV's regular rotation 14 years ago, Mike Judge's chuckling metalhead morons Beavis & Butt-head are back (10/9c) with new exploits and fresh pop-cultural targets to mock, including MTV reality swill like Jersey Shore and teen crazes like the Twilight phenom. It's yoked to the instantly forgettable new toon Good Vibes (10:30/9:30c), a more conventionally crass buddy comedy about a Jersey whale-out-of-water (voiced by Book of Mormon star Josh Gad) who moves to the California beachfront with his buxom mom (Debi Mazar), the source of more than a few of the onslaught of boob jokes that might leave even B&B bored.
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NBC's comedies — with the exception of Whitney, which barely even qualifies anyway — go Halloween happy, with the clever highlight (as usual) being the perpetually underappreciated Community (8/7c), which perhaps wisely doesn't try to top last season's amazing zombie extravaganza (although there is a shout-out to Dean Pelton's penchant for bringing "free taco meat from the Army" on campus). This year's Halloween experiment is a more modest yet still stylized affair, with the group taking turns telling their version of a scary story, as Britta tries to intuit which of her friends may have an "extreme personality disorder." (Why stop at one?) Especially amusing are Annie's surprisingly sadistic Hammer horror parody and Shirley's warped vision of the Rapture.
Parks and Recreation (8:30/7:30c) builds its episode around a raucous Halloween party hosted by Andy and April, with uptight housemate Ben none too pleased to be the last to know. (You'd think he'd be just nerdy enough to get in the groove, but alas, no Batman suit this week.) ... The festivities are confined to The Office (9/8c) workplace as Erin tries to please both masters in planning Dunder Mifflin's party: the awkward new boss Andy and the ever-inscrutable CEO Robert California, who can't help playing mind games with everyone, even causing himself at one point to wonder, "What am I up to?" I wish I knew, and I wish it were funnier.
Not available for review, but likely to crush the competition in the ratings, CBS' The Big Bang Theory (8/7c) finds Sheldon trying to put a Halloween scare in his geek buddies. What are the odds that will backfire?
For real supernatural frights, the CW combo of The Vampire Diaries (8/7c) and The Secret Circle (9/8c) are at least to the (haunted) manor born. On Vampire, ghosts take center stage on Illumination Night, as Elena asks Jeremy to use his newfound gifts as a medium to help her reach out to the possessed Ripper-Stefan, and Damon consults Bonnie after tangling with another unhappy spirit. The derivative Circle borrows from the Diaries playbook (so what else is new) by having its witchy coven throw a Halloween party where, as you'd expect, uninvited guests bring danger.
It's finally Fashion Week finale time on Lifetime's Project Runway (9/8c), as the final four designers — no one was cut in last week's cop-out — reveal their collections for one last critique from the judges (including designer L'Wren Scott as guest judge), and fans pray the result isn't as upsetting as last season's inexplicable Gretchen-over-Mondo win. I'm rooting for Viktor. ... The confetti will still be flying as Lifetime wastes no time in launching the rather flimsy sounding spin-off Project Accessory (10:30/9:30c), which is all about the styling, as contestants transform a variety of basic outfits — in the premiere, a white T-shirt and jeans — by choosing baubles, buckles, bags and always the right shoes. In the opening challenge, the designers must fashion their accessories from materials found in a storage unit. Molly Sims hosts, with judges including designer Kenneth Cole, InStyle editor Ariel Foxman, and tonight's guest judge, Debra Messing.
So what else is on? ... Postponed by bad weather Wednesday night, the sixth (and possibly final) game of the World Series from St. Louis is scheduled on Fox (7:30/ET), with the Rangers up 3 games to the Cardinals' 2. ... Guest-star alert, as E.T.'s grown-up Henry Thomas appears on CBS' The Mentalist (10/9c) as Lisbon's younger brother, a bounty hunter. ... Another familiar TV face, Paige Turco (The Agency), is the target-du-jour on CBS' Person of Interest (9/8c), as a cunning fixer who captures Reese's fancy. Hey, if it cheers him up a bit. ... NBC wraps up its weeklong "strip" of Prime Suspect with a new episode (10/9c) in which Jane seeks the killer of a woman found murdered in the park, while finding time to mark an important anniversary with her father.
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