TV column for Sunday, Nov, 1

Sports collision, NBC and Fox.

After getting big
ratings each Sunday, NBC has its most promising football game yet:
The Green Bay Packers visit the Denver Broncos at 8:30 p.m. ET. Here
are undefeated teams; each has a great quarterback (Aaron Rodgers,
Peyton Manning), but also leads its conference in fewest points

That should be
enough, but there's more: Barring a sweep, Fox has the fifth game of
the baseball's best-of-seven World Series. The Kansas City Royals
visit the New York Mets, at 8:07 p.m. ET.

“The Librarians,” 8 and 9 p.m., TNT, rerunning at 10 and 11.

Now that his other
TNT series (“Falling Skies”) has ended, Noah Wyle has more time
for this one. He's in these season-opening episodes as Flynn Carsen,
who was the centerpiece of the “Librarian” movies.

Now there's an
entire team – led by Rebecca Romijn – to find classic artifacts
and face classic villains. In tonight's first hour, an ominous storm
looms. In the second, Prospero is assembling some of fiction's great
villains, including Frankenstein's monster and Sherlock Holmes'
nemesis, Moriarty.

ALTERNATIVE: “Breakthrough” debut, 9 p.m., National Geographic.

For years,
Geographic seemed too much like other networks; now it's regained its
taste for epic documentaries. A prime example is this imposing series
– six top directors, tackling imposing subjects.

This opener -- Peter
Berg (“Friday Night Lights”) viewing pandemics -- is ponderous at
times, until reaching its riveting story: Ian Crozier is an American
doctor who contracted Ebola in western Africa. He surprised
colleagues by surviving after 40 days of isolation ... then faced an
after-effect. It's a riveting story that Crozier and others tell in
the quietly passionate style of good doctors.

ALTERNATIVE II: “Home Fires,” 8 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

All of the crises of
wartime England have been packed into this British village. The
doctor, for instance, is dying ... one of his daughters is a war
widow ... the other is having an affair ... and tonight, his wife
pushes a way-too-drastic solution for a friend with an abusive

There's much more in
this second-to-last episode, including a conscientous objector, a
secret lesbian, a surprise evacuee and a bomb-shelter crisis. In
other hands, this would be dismissed as noisy soap opera; “Home
Fires,” however, offers a gentle subtlety that makes these
characters worth rooting for.

Other choices

“Ash vs. Evil
Dead,” 1:10, 3:25, 7:30 and 11:30 p.m., Starz. If you missed the
Halloween debut of this series, here are more chances. Be prepared
for something that is alternately gory and goofy; it's skillfully
directed (Sam Raimi) and acted (Bruce Campbell), but clearly not for

“Madam Secretary,”
8 p.m., CBS. This series imagines that the Russian president has died
and the U.S. fears a shake-up. Also, the cyber-security chief tries
to find the people who hacked into Air Force One.

“Explorer,” 8
p.m., National Geographic. The return of this monthly series is
another sign that National Geographic has returned to its old
ambitions. Tonight, Bill Nye ponders climate change.

“The Good Wife,”
9 p.m., CBS. After doing little for big money, Howard Lyman (played
by Jerry Adler, 86) accuses the firm of ageism. Also, Jason (Jeffrey
Dean Morgan) gets tough as a detective.

Indian Summers,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings). This nine-week
series was at its mid-point last week, before launching its main
story. The mysterious woman in the woods said Ralph Whelan – top
aide to the viceroy – is her son's father. Tonight's overheated
hour starts as she pulls a theft and ends with tragedy. In between,
his sister Alice faces an accuser and we see Ralph's rage.

“Quantico,” 10
p.m., ABC. In the early time frame, the FBI recruits study
surveillance ... and put it to quick use. Flashing forward, Alex –
on the lam as a murder suspect – gets help hacking FBI computers.

TV column for Saturday, Oct. 31

“Supergirl,” 8 p.m., CBS.

Monday's debut was a
ratings hit, drawing 13 million same-day viewers, but you might have
missed it. Don't fret; t's a bright, fun show (except for a few
fights) that families can see after trick-or-treat time.

This is not one of
those brooding, reluctant superheroes we're used to; like Hiro in
“Heroes,” Kara (Melissa Benoist) embraces her fate gleefully. A
lowly magazine assistant, she suddenly can be like her cousin –
flying and fighting evil. She brings a joy that spreads to viewers.

II: Sports overload.

On a night when we
should focus on Halloween, we're tugged in all directions. The World
Series' fourth game (Royals at Mets) is at 8:07 p.m. ET on Fox, with
pre-game at 7:30, facing college football.

At 8 p.m. ET, ABC
has Notre Dame (ranked No. 8) at Temple (No. 21). At 7, cable kicks
off; it has Michigan (No. 15) at Minnesota on ESPN, Tulane at Memphis
(No. 16) on CBS Sports, Vanderbilt at Houston (No. 18) on ESPN2 and
Texas at Iowa State on Fox Sports1.

ALTERNATIVE: “Ash vs. Evil Dead” debut, 9 p.m., Starz, rerunning
at 9:45 and 11:30 p.m. and 12:12 a.m.; plus four times Sunday.

You really didn't
think Halloween would end with trick-or-treating, did you? The gore
will continue.

For 23 years, Ash
(Bruce Campbell) has kept his hardware job and a low profile, being
careful not to waken the dead yet again. Then – on a drunken night
with a lady -- he recited the forbidden words; now the dead are back.
The result has much gore and little story; but it's spiced by Sam
Raimi's zestful direction and Campbell's quirky comic touch, making
it a fairly entertaining show for grown-ups.

Other choices

Halloween lite,
cable. The Disney Channel reruns “Toy Story of Terror” at 9 and
9:30 a.m., then has the Haslloween episodes of its comedies. The
Cartoon Network has a movie-length Scooby-Doo (“Frankenweenie”)
at noon; ABC Family has “Hocus Pocus” (1993) at 7 and 9:15 p.m.

“The Librarians,”
10 a.m. to 8 p.m, TNT. The second season will start Sunday, with two
new hours ... and with more involvement from Noah Wyle, star of the
“Librarian” movies. First, however, here's the entire first
season, with Rebecca Romijn leading a globetrotting team preserving

“Scream Queens,”
6 p.m. to midnight, FX. With a great concept and heavy-handed
execution, this show is off to weak start in the ratings. Now here
are reruns of all the episodes so far.

“Da Vinci's
Demons,” 8 p.m., Starz, rerunning at 10:30. Last week's
season-opener found Leonardo Da Vinci trying to defend Naples with his
military inventions ... only to be overrun by Turks using his ideas
against him. Now he must concoct something new to escape. It's a
strong hour, suffering from a harsh anti-Islam scene, but boosted by
the expanded role of women in palace intrigue.

“Doctor Who,” 9
p.m., BBC America. Shapeshiftinng alients – those are always the
worst kind – have kidnapped Osgood, Now the Doctor and Clara race
to find her.

“The Returned”
season-opener, 10 p.m., Sundance. The terrific first season of this
French series (with English sub-titles) began with people casually
returning home, unaware they had died years ago. This season begins
six months after they left town; questions persist, especially for
Adele, pregnant with the baby of the returned-then-departed Simon.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. Amy Schumer hosts this rerun, with music by
The Weeknd.

TV column for Friday, Oct. 30

“Live From Lincoln Center,” 9-11 p.m., PBS (check local

The dual nature of
Halloween – scary and silly, gory and giddy – has been captured
by Danny Elfman's music. This delightful concert captures his full
range in Tim Burton films, from the whimsy of “Pee-wee's Big
Adventure” to the ominous “Beetlejuice,” “Sleepy Hollow”
and “Edward Scissorhands.”

Film clips are
beautifully blended with an orchestra, chorus and soloists. There's a
sensational violin solo by leather-clad Sandy Cameron, a song from
Ingrid Michaelson and five sung by Elfman.

II: Baseball, 8:07 p.m. ET, Fox, with preview at 7:30.

The World Series
moves to New York now, with the Mets hosting today, Saturday and
(barring a sweep) Sunday. That means the Royals face National League
rules, with pitchers trying to hit.

If needed, this
returns to Kansas City on Tuesday and Wednesday.m with designated

ALTERNATIVE: “Grimm” season-opener, 9 p.m., NBC.

Last season ended
with Nick having a really bad day. Juliette (his ex-lover) attacked
him; she was promptly killed by Trubel, who was then kidnapped. Also,
someone sent Nick's mother's head in a box.

Now he wakes up and
finds no body, no box, no head, no sign that anything happened. What
follows is a high-octane rush, as he races – a bit too frantically
– to find answers. Also, his long-time enemy is having his baby;
it's a busy hour that still leaves us with questions.

Other choices

“Gortimer Gibbon's
Life on Normal Street” new season, anytime,
Prime Video. Entering their teen years this season, Gortimer and his
friends will deal with cloning, an imaginary friend and a brain
literally reaching capacity. The fairly good opener has a simpler
problem: When he wears a suit, Gortimer suddenly gets grown-up
respect and, alas, responsibility.

“Last Man
Standing,” 8 p.m., ABC. Mike and Chuck figure they'll spend
Halloween watching football instead of passing out candy. Soon,
however, they're involved in escalating pranks.

Halloween films, 8
p.m. and later, cable. On the light side, Disney has “Invisible
Sister” (2014) at 8 p.m. and IFC has the delightful “Ghostbusters”
(1984) at 9. On the heavy side, Starz has “Evil Dead” and its
sequel (1981 and 1987) at 8 and 9:30 p.m., getting us ready for
Saturday's “Ash vs. Evil Dead.”

“Dr. Ken,” 8:30
p.m., ABC. First, we see Ken's botched proposal attempt, 20
Halloweens ago. Then he tries for a better re-proposal.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. Halloween is no fun for these guys. A serial killer
emulates Frankenstein, a gang has robbed a blood bank and Danny's
daughter lied and snuck out to a party.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Jamie – the son of the police commissioner and
grandson of a former commissioner – is caught on camera doing what
might be considered police brutality.

“Please Like Me,”
10 p.m. ET, Pivot. This thoroughly likable comedy stars young
producer-writer Josh Thomas. Tonight, he finds that Arnold's parents
are rich and (unlike his own) charming.

TV column for Thursday, Oct. 29

“Bones” and “Sleepy Hollow,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox.

Two opposite shows
have been cleverly stitched together. “Bones” is full of
just-the-facts scientists and FBI folks; “Sleepy Hollow” has
sorcery and a time-traveling Ichabod Crane.

It all fits because
of smart writing. The first hour is a murder case, with Crane and
Abbie trying to retrieve a body; no magic is required and it's fun to
see two know-it-alls (Brennan and Crane) link. The second brings
Booth and Brennan to Sleepy Hollow, but shields them from the magic.
Once they leave, we get to the main event – a spectacular,
modern-Halloween battle, complete with Redcoat soldiers.

“It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” 8 p,.m., ABC.

Some of our
strangest (and, at times, scariest) customs – Halloween and
elections – are eyed here.

The main cartoon is
“Pumpkin,” a classic that turns 50 next year; we again see Linus'
solemn wait in the pumpkin patch. Scheduled to round out the hour is
the 1972 “You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown”; Linus is running
for school president ... but, alas, has Charlie and Lucy running his

ALTERNATIVE: “Project Runway,” 9-10:30 p.m., Lifetime.

Here's the first
half of the season-finale, with the designers creating their
collections and taking them to Fashion Week in New York. There, we
see an all-female finale ... or maybe not.

Last week's episode
(rerunning in shortened form at 8 p.m.) saw three people advance –
Ashley Nell Tipton, 24; Candice Cuoco, 27; and Kelly Dempsey, 31. But
that episode never actually showed Edmond Newton, 37, being
dismissed; Tim Gunn still could use his “save,” so anything is

Other choices

“The Addams
Family” (1991) and “Addams Family Values” (1993), 7 and 9 p.m.,
ABC Family, The ABC networks keep trying to remind us that Halloween
can be no-gore family fun.

Football preview,
7:30 p,m., and game, 8:30, CBS. Tom Brady and the New England
Patriots are one of six pro teams that remain unbeaten after six
games. Now they host the 3-3 Miami Dolphins. It's the last of CBS'
Thursday games for now, with comedies and “Elementary” returning
next week.

“Heroes Reborn,”
8 p.m., NBC. As a “sweeps” ratings period begins, we see a
convergence of stars from the original “Heroes.” Noah (Jack
Coleman) gets Hiro (Masi Oka) to propel a return to the day of the
tragic attack. Mohander (Sendhill Ramamurthy) gets a dire note from
Angela (Christine Rose).

“Away From Her,”
8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. Once a child star in Disney's
“Avonlea” series, Sarah Polley has become an extraordinarily
gifted writer-director. This moving film drew Oscar nominations for
Polley's script and for Julie Christie, as a woman facing early
Alzheimer's disease.

“The Blacklist,”
9 p.m., NBC. There's a huge bounty for Liz, with potential assassins
everywhere. Red and her old FBI colleagues scramble to keep her

“Scandal,” 9
p.m., ABC. The president and Olivia hear an extreme proposal that
could solve their problems. Also, his wife faces some sharp questions
about her fractured marriage.

“How to Get Away
With Murder,” 10 p.m., ABC. Annalise takes the case of a
transgender professor, accused of killing her husband. Working the
other case, her students find a surprising suspect.

TV column for Wednesday, Oct. 28

“The Middle,” 8 p.m., ABC, and more.

Back when “Roseanne”
arrived 27 years ago, ABC comedies began offering dandy Halloween
episodes. Here's the sixth edition for “Middle,” with tales in
the “Twilight Zone” style.

That starts a busy
night. At 8:30, “The Goldbergs” learn Adam wants to spend the
holiday with his girlfriend, not his mom; his enthusiasm dims when
she loses her ring inside a scary house. At 9, the lone rerun sees
Phil insisting on cheery decorations for “Modern Family.” At
9:31, “Black-ish” has Dre's less-prosperous kin converge, because
he lives in a “good candy” neighborhood.

II: “Nature,” 8 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

When it's 3 a.m., do
you really know where your hamster is? Maybe not. Footage here shows
one cleverly slipping out of his cage at night, romping about ... and
following his scent back to the cage.

That's in the second
half of a special that uses delightful, hidden-camera footage to show
pets delicately balancing wild instincts and domestication: Dogs hide
their treasures in the yard, so that others won't get them ... but
sometimes settle for a sofa-cushion burial. In Peru, dogs are allowed
to roam free by day; they carefully follow the rules of the pack ...
but return to their homes at suppertime.

ALTERNATIVE: “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” (1949),
8:45 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies.

Even while owning
four cable channels, the Disney people don't seem to have any room to
show Disney classics. Fortunately, TCM steps in tonight with a
Halloween marathon.

That includes old
cartoon shorts starting at 8 p.m. ET, plus Tim Burton's
“Frankenweenie” (1984) at 1:15 a.m. and the terrific “Escape to
Witch Mountain” (1975) -- starring Kim Richardsm then 10 and now on
“Real Housewives” mess. But the real gem is this animated movie:
The second, based on “Sleepy Hollow,” is pretty good; the first,
from “The Wind in the Willows,” is drolly brilliant.

Other choices

(1978) and “Halloween II” (1981), 7 and 9 p.m., AMC. John
Carpenter directed the first film, produced the second, added music
for both and provided a craftsmanship that many of the copies have
lacked. And Jamie Lee Curtis is around for both films, screaming and
surviving skillfully.

“Hustle &
Flow” (2005), 7:26 p.m., BET. There's no “Empire” tonight, so
fans will have to settle for something fairly close. Like “Empire,”
this movie has Terrence Howard (as a pimp who wants to be a rapper),
Taraji Henson and music. It won an Oscar for “It's Hard Out Here
For a Pimp.”

Baseball, 7:30 p.m.
ET preview and 8:07 start, Fox. This is scheduled to be the second
World Series game, with the Mets at the Kansas City Royals. On
Friday, the third game is in New York.

“Mysteries of
Laura,” 8 p.m., NBC. When a gym-owner is killed in his own sauna,
Laura probes the world of the super-fit.

“Chicago P.D.,”
9 and 10 p.m., NBC. After an undercover job is botched, Ruzek's
future with the unit is iffy. Meanwhile, Burgess and Price find the
body of a security-company owner; Sophia moves ahead in her
relationship with Halstead.

“Nashville,” 10
p.m., ABC. Juliette's fight with a fan hits the Internet. Meanwhile,
Maddie is grounded and misses Colt, who's on tour with his dad. Also,
her mom has artistic differences with Markus.

“Code Black,” 10
p.m., CBS. The focus tonight is on Neil Hudson (Raza Jaffrey). His
mother has a myserious illness that forces the unit to be
quarantined; he and his dad, a neurosurgeon, soon clash.