London's grisly past informs the bloody present in a new season of BBC America's creepy Whitechapel (Wednesdays, 10/9c), telling its ghoulish crime stories in gripping two-week increments. Gone are the obvious copycats aping the infamous exploits of such legendary fiends as Jack the Ripper and the Kray brothers. Turns out the new breed of bogeymen can be just about as mystifying and terrifying, if not as memorable.
Comedy is very hot this TV season — thank ABC's best-of-class Wednesday comedies (all in repeats tonight), CBS' Monday blockbusters, NBC's cult faves and Fox's giddy New Girl — but two lousy new sitcom arrivals buck the trend, leaving a sour aftertaste.
Normally I'd celebrate at any circumstance that shrinks The X Factor to 90 minutes, but in this case, it opens the door for Fox's unpleasant I Hate My Teenage Daughter (9:30/8:30c), which traps two gifted comedians — My Name Is Earl's Emmy-winning spitfire Jaime Pressly and two-time Tony-winning scene-stealer Katie Finneran — in no-win roles as shrill moms who used to be ugly ducklings and are now cowed by their bratty offspring (forgettably rendered by Aisha Dee and Kristi Lauren), who are turning out to be the sort of spoiled mean girls who tormented the moms back when they were in high school.
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:
Noticeably lacking in the ranks of The X Factor's contestants: budding country music stars. (Maybe they didn't want to risk another Scotty McCreery-style steamroller upstaging upstarts like "Astro.") And now, as the Top 11 square off, Fox's overblown singing contest (8/7c) faces its toughest competition to date: another musical extravaganza, ABC's three-hour broadcast of The 45th Annual CMA Awards (8/7c) from Nashville, with Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley co-hosting for the fourth year in a row. (They'll perform their hit "Remind Me" during the show.)
James Roday, Dule Hill
If you can spot the vampire reference in the line "Let the right ones in, buddy" — from tonight's enjoyably spoofy episode of USA Network's Psych (10/9c) — then you're in for a real treat, as Halloween is played for laughs (more often than not on purpose) on a variety of tonight's shows.
The cleverest might be Psych's guest star-studded comic mystery (titled "This Episode Sucks"), in which a body drained of blood leads Shawn and Gus to deduce a vampire is on the loose. Could said fiend be the new mystery lady in Lassiter's life? She's played by original-movie Buffy Kristy Swanson, so anything's possible. Also making ...