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The Week in Superlatives: Strongest Debut, Best Running Gag, and the Creepiest Callback

Here are the standout moments of the week in TV

Amanda Bell

There are a lot of reasons you might've missed some TV this week. The ongoing impeachment inquiry has resulted in an even more surreal news cycle than what we've already witnessed over the last three years; the spooky season is upon us so you might've been checking out some vintage horror movies and scary shows to get into the spirit of Halloween; and, let's face it, it's just not humanly possible to keep up with everything. So, to keep you up to speed, here's a look at some of the moments that stood out on the small screen this week -- no tricks, just treats.

Best pop culture pan:The Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror XXX" probably won't make it onto any best-of lists for the show's annual Halloween specials, but during itsStranger Thingsparody segment, the series did squeeze in one worthy jab. In a scene with Bart and his buddies, it lampooned Atari's ET: The Extra Terrestrial, a 1982 video game that's still widely regarded as the worst game ever made and deserves to be the eternal butt of jokes like this. Well played.

Strongest debut: That sound you heard late Sunday night was the rampant order-clicking of everyone who hadn't already read Alan Moore's celebrated comic before watching the first episode ofWatchmen on HBO. The ambitious companion series from Damon Lindelof is timely, and its sublime pilot resonated just fine without any knowledge of the source material. But with all the Easter eggs hidden throughout the first episode, it's clear this is going to be one series worth studying up on for maximum impact. Also ... REGINA KING.

Best timelapse: For those of us who are still not over the fact that we got a nice thing in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, Bryan Cranston decided to give us a little behind-the-scenes extra this week: a timelapse video of him getting his Walter White face on. Fun fact: this bald cap didn't quite suffice to cover his hair, so his scenes required some VFX devoted specifically to Heisenberg's head. In other news, if you're in the delivery area of a certain kitchen network in California, Nevada, and Illinois, you'll soon be able to order from Los Pollos Hermanos' menu. Enjoy all that slow-roasted chicken, fam!

Best running gag: Paul Rudd never ages, and neither do his jokes. To promote the release of Netflix's Living With Yourself, Rudd appeared on Conan Tuesday and kept his 15-year-long Mac and Me shtick right on running. For the uninitiated, this tradition started back in 2004 when he presented a clip of a kid plunging off a clip from the terrible 1988 alien movie instead of the Friendsfinale, and he's since revived it while promoting Anchorman 2 and Ant-Man. To spice things up a bit, this time, he tweaked the ending of the clip a bit so there were two hideous little aliens popping up in surprise as a nod to Living With Yourself's cloning theme. Har har.

Biggest baby meltdown: Surprise! There are not one but two bundles of joy coming toWill and Gracein its final season. Not only did Will (Eric McCormack) and McCoy (Matt Bomer) decide they're ready to start a family, but Grace (Debra Messing) is also expecting ... and it took quite a while for her to warm up to that news. In fact, for most of Thursday's premiere, she wandered around openly weeping to strangers about the news, terrified by her doctor's assessment that hers is a "geriatric pregnancy." It didn't help that Karen (Megan Mullally) accidentally piled on and insisted that none of them have parent potential, but luckily, Will was able to cheer up Grace and make her excited about the prospect that they'll soon have some BFF babies roaming their place.

Gnarliest dance-off: The Good Place's latest episode dealt with the aftermath of the Soul Squad finding out about Bad Janet's (D'Arcy Carden) efforts to sabotage their experiment, and it was great fun to see her make a mockery of everyone because Bad Janet is so good. The best moment of the episode happened, though, when Jason (Manny Jacinto) got Chidi (William Jackson Harper) to table his "No-Fun Nerd" persona by staging an impromptu dance party with his terrible EDM song, lovingly titled, "I'll Love You Forever (Make That Booty Bounce in the Bath)."

Creepiest callback: Hulu'sCastle Rockis back for its second season, offering up the Misery prequel series we didn't know we needed. Lizzy Caplan headlines Season 2 as Annie Wilkes, the hammer-happy villain whose literary obsession drove her to do hideous things in the classic Stephen King story. Caplan breathes all-new life into the character, who is now driven by her uncontrolled psychosis and a desire to protect her daughter from the ills of the world -- many of her own making. There's a lot to like about all three episodes which have been released so far, but perhaps the most gasp-worthy moment comes along when Annie's daughter has to take drastic measures to get her to calm down, and the scene almost exactly mirrors one which King fans are unlikely to forget.

The must-binge: New on Netflix this weekend is Daybreak, an apocalyptic comedy that is fast-paced, hilarious, and still so full of heart. The story centers on a group of teens who have managed to survive the end times but see that the pitfalls of high school clique culture are still alive and well, too. In entertainment math, it's basically Zombieland+ Mad Max: Fury Road+ Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's a rip-roaring good time.



Ursula Coyote/Netflix