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.

TV column for Tuesday, Oct. 27

World Series, 8:07 p.m. ET, Fox, with preview at 7:30.

The baseball classic
begins with the Kansas City Royals (in their second straight Series)
hosting the New York Mets, who haven't been there in 15 years.

The Royals had a
95-67 record during the season, the best in the American League; the
Mets were 90-72, gaining strength late, when young pitchers blossomed
and outfielder Yeonis Cespedes arrived.

II: “Secrets of the Dead” season-opener, 9 p.m., PBS (check local

We kind of hope the
1897 “Dracula” novel was sheer whimsy, born of Bram Stoker's odd
imagination. But researchers – including Stoker's great-grandnephew
– say it was based on ancient beliefs.

Archaeologists find
corpses that were beheaded, had their legs twisted or were covered
with rocks – all to keep them from rising anew. Most of that was in
Medieval days, when disease seemed supernatural – but some
incidents were more recent. One was in New England, around 1900; and,
in a fascinating segment, a man proudly tells of maiming a “vampire”
corpse in a Romanian village in 2004.

ALTERNATIVE: “Wicked City” debut, 10 p.m. ABC.

Over the next 10
weeks, a serial killer (Ed Westwick of “Gossip Girl”) will be
pursued by an honest cop (Jeremy Sisto of everything) in 1982 Los

This is a tough show
to like, partly because of the awful dialog between Sisto and his
colleague and partly because the targets are emotionally vulnerable
young women. But just as we're ready to hate it, “Wicked” offers
a fascinating supporting character (Erika Christensen) and visually
powerful moments.

ALTERNATIVE II: “Manhattan,” 9 p.m., WGN, rerunning at 10 p.m.
and midnight.

Like the world's
toughest physics test, this is demanding and difficult ... and
(maybe) worth it. Part of the problem involves leaping between 1939
(Frank's brilliant wife is in a mental institution and he's trying to
push an atomic-bomb project) and '45 (he's imprisoned, she's heavily
guarded in Los Alamos).

And part of the
problem is simply a thick story. Tonight has great moments for
newcomers Mamie Gummer (as a WAC recruit with her own agenda) and
Neve Campbell (as wife of project head Robert Oppenheimer). There's
also a fun romantic twist, plus rage by a physicist left off the
test-group roster.

Other choices

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. A petty officer was killed by a serial killer or a copycat.
Also, McGee and Delilah need compromises before moving in together.

“The Muppets,” 8
p.m., ABC. Good deeds don't come naturally to Miss Piggy. While
volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, her feud with Reese
Witherspoon escalates.

“Fresh Off the
Boat,” 8:30, ABC. Eddie's dad makes another stab at assimilating in
suburban Florida. This time, in an OK episode, he wants his
neighborhood to have the best Halloween decorations.

“Face Off”
season-finale, 9 p.m., Syfy. Two aspiring Hollywood make-up people –
Ben Ploughman, 34, and Evan Hedges, 29 – face Nora Hewitt, 25, a
former bartender fresh from film-makeup school. Afterward, last
week's episode and this one rerun at 10 and 11 p.m.

“Dusk Till Dawn”
season-finale, 9 p.m., El Rey. Here's the second straight episode
with Robert Rodriguez (El Rey founder) directing and Demi Lovato
playing the tough girlfriend of Carlos Madrigal (played by Wilmer
Valderrama, Lovato's boyfriend). Now Carlos tries to steal Malvado's

“Limitless,” 10
p.m., CBS. After starring in the movie version, Bradley Cooper is
producing this series and had a small role in the pilot film, as the
original character (now a senator). He returns tonight, trying to
persuade Brian to betray his FBI handler.

“Frontline,” 10
p.m., PBS (check local listings). As swarms of refugees leave Syria,
Martin Smith looks at what life is like for the people who remain in
government-held areas.

TV column for Monday, Oct. 26

“Supergirl” debut, 8:31 p.m., CBS.

TV's best night just
got better. Monday already has the superb “Fargo,” the
wonderfully original “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “Jane the
Virgin” and (for the last time tonight) “Big Bang Theory.” But
now it adds an action-adventure show that gets everything right.

Forget about the
brooding, reluctant heroes. Kara – like Hiro in “Heroes” --
savors her chance to so big things. She's a joyous hero, neatly
played by Melissa Benoist and aided by a domineering boss (Calista
Flockhart), an adoptive sister (Chyler Leigh) and a sharper version
of James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks).

“Gotham,” 8 p.m., Fox.

This is the extreme
in mismatched siblings -- dueling shows, both based on DC comics, yet
total opposites. “Supergirl” is sunny; “Gotham” is as dark as
anything this side of “American Horror Story.”

We saw that last
week, when Penguin chopped off an underling's hand, to make an
undercover scheme more believable. Tonight has one fatal strangling,
two near-fatal stranglings, four immolations, one woman in handcuffs
and many women in chains. Also, the hero cop beats up a suspect. The
visuals and music continue to be superb, but the savage sadism makes
this a tough hour to watch.

ALTERNATIVE: “Fargo,” 10 p.m., FX.

Like “Gotham,”
this has moments of sudden, stark violence. Unlike it, that's against
the backdrop of warm characters, quirky humor and a sweet, small-town

Rye Gerhardt killed
three people in a Minnesota diner, then was accidentally hit by Peggy
Blomquist (Kirsten Dunst). She drove home and made dinner, with Rye
still on the car's hood; her mild-mannered husband had to fight and
kill Rye. Now everyone searches for Rye (who's been chopped up) and
city mobsters try to take over the Gerhardts. It's an odd hour and,
as always, a brilliant one.

Other choices

“The Voice,”
8-10 p.m., NBC. The “knock-out round” begins. Coaches must decide
between two singers, after each chooses and performs a song. The
winner moves on; the loser can be “stolen.”

“Dancing With the
Stars,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. Last week, three stars – Bindi Irwin,
Andy Grammer and Tamar Braxton – had perfect scores; the
far-from-perfect Paula Deen was sent home. Now the eight surviving
stars will be split into two freestyle teams, as part of a
Halloween-themed night.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. Here's one more Monday episode, before TV's
best comedy returns next week to its Thursday spot. Tonight, a
shortage forces Sheldon and Leonard to buy helium in the black
market, for an experiment. Also, Amy's friends introduce her to
Internet dating.

“Jane the Virgin,”
9 p.m., CW. Just as she's adjusting to stay-at-home motherhood, Jane
is accepted into the graduate program. That follows a “Crazy
Ex-Girlfriend” (8 p.m.) in which Rebecca heads into turf that's
totally foreign to her – throwing a party.

“Roanoke: Search
for the Lost Colony,” 9-11 p.m., History. Settling this country was
a deadly task, it seems. Next month, PBS' “Secrets of the Dead”
views Jamestown's dark winter of 1609; first, History views the North
Carolina island colony that mysteriously disappeared around 1590.

“Scorpion,” 9:31
p.m., CBS. Expanded to 89 minutes, this episode sees things go
tragically wrong with a computer-controlled “smart” building. A
virus in Walter's computer turns it into a fiery death trap.

“Blindspot,” 10
p.m., NBC. An app lets criminals track government vehicles. Now the
team must work with the app's surprising creator.


TV column for Sunday, Oct. 25

“The Simpsons,” 8 p.m., Fox.

For 25 years, this
show has delighted us with its annual “Treehouse of Horror.”
These are tall tales at Halloween time, so they're free to be wild,
weird and (sometimes) hilarious.

Tonight starts with
a dandy song, written by John Kricfalusi (the “Ren and Stimpy”
creator), with old Hanna-Barbera characters. The first full segment
(Sideshow Bob kills Bart ... frequently) is heavy-handed and gory,
but the next two make up for it. First is a sly variation on
Godzilla, going from black-and-white to Hollywood colorful; then the
kids use radiated powers for good and (mostly) evil.

II: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” 8:30 p.m., Fox.

Fresh from
“Simpsons,” here's some more fast and funny comedy. Jake and the
captain had two previous face-offs, to see who can pull off the
perfect heist; each won one, so here's the championship.

Both sides concoct
clever schemes, but there are also some sharp outside factors.
There's even some humor about who uses the words “who” and “whom”
correctly, a rare moment of grammar-based wit.

ALTERNATIVE: “Indian Summers,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local

Alongside all of its
strong points – lush visuals, vivid characters, a strong sense of
colonial culture-clash in 1932 India – this show has been slow to
get its story rolling. Now it speeds up.

Ralph Whelan, the
viceroy's aide, is marrying his mistress Madeleine; their engagement
party becomes a pivotal point for local politics. Meanwhile, Ralph's
sister Alice faces social blackmail; Madeleine's brother Eugene
reveals a secret about their circumstances. And the mysterious woman
in the woods has promised her son, Adam, that he'll see his father.
That brings fierce aftershocks in the weeks ahead.

Other choices

Jesse Stone movies,
9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. The nine Stone
films have been quiet gems, with a brooding beauty to the stories,
director Robert Harmon's visuals and Tom Selleck's understated
performances. Here are seven of them, concluding from 9-11 p.m. with
“Lost in Paradise”; one of the best Stone films, it debuted last
Sunday on the Hallmark Channel.

“The Walking
Dead,” 6:30 to 10:02 p.m., AMC. On the final Sunday before
Halloween, it's time to catch up on creepiness. The season's first
two episodes air at 6:30 and 8 p.m., with the third at 9. After it's
pondered in “Talking Dead” (10:02 p.m.), the new episode reruns
at 11:01 p.m. and 1:01 a.m.

Halloween lite,
cable. Families can try “Monsters University” (2013), 7-9:45 p.m.
on ABC Family, “Hotel Transylvania” (2012), 8-10 p.m. on FXX or
“Toy Story of Terror,” 9-9:30 p.m. on Disney. Also, grown-ups
seeking feel-good drama can try “Good Witch Halloween,” from 9-11
p.m. on Hallmark.

Football, 8:30 p.m.
ET, NBC, with preview at 7. Who would have guessed that the Carolina
would be at the top now, one of only two NFC teams (with Green Bay)
to rbe undefeated. Now Cam Newton's Panthers host the Eagles, who
dominated the Giants last week to even their record at 3-3.

“The Good Wife,”
9 p.m., CBS. Alicia battles with a bail judge, when helping a client
fight a shoplifting charge. Also, Diane must argue against her own
beliefs about physician-assisted suicide.

“Brain Surgery
Live,” 9-11 p.m. ET, National Geographic. For a decade, Greg
Grindley has struggled with early-onset Parkinson's disease. Now –
at 49 and retired from the Navy – he's scheduled to have
deep-brain-simulation surgery, performed live (plus pre-taped
features) while he's awake.

“Quantico,” 10
p.m., ABC. The recruits have their first chance to leave the campus
and tackle an undercover mission. And flashing forward, Alex (accused
of murder) goes public with her side.