Nice variety this week: sports fans have the World Series, comedy fans have the return of a Showtime series and a new standup special on Netflix; Halloween fans have several options, with more surely on the way next week.
Monday, October 20
Independent Lens (10-11 pm, PBS)
Twin Sisters follows a pair of Chinese siblings adopted as infants, one by a family in California and one by a family in Norway.
Tuesday, October 21
World Series Game 1 (8-? pm, FOX)
It’s been only two years since the San Francisco Giants last won baseball’s championship, but 29 since the Kansas City Royals were even in the playoffs (and went on to win the Series that year). The 2014 contest begins tonight, with the first of two games in Kansas City; the first pitch is at 8:07 pm.
Also today: former Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac’s new standup special, Brooklyn, premieres on Netflix.
Wednesday, October 22
Web Therapy (11-11:30 pm, Showtime)
Dubiously qualified “therapist” Fiona Wallace (Lisa Kudrow) is back for season four; the dubiously human Gwyneth Paltrow guest stars in tonight’s episode.
Also tonight: the season two premiere of The 100 (9-10 pm, CW).
Thursday, October 23
Corpse Bride (7:30-9:30 pm, ABC Family)
Musical creepy-comedy in stop-motion animation directed by Tim Burton and Mike Johnson, featuring the voices of Johnny Depp, Emily Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Albert Finney, Tracey Ullman, and Christopher Lee.
Friday, October 24
Constantine (10-11 pm, NBC)
This new series is derived from the same source material as the 2005 movie starring Keanu Reeves, and checks the boxes in currently-hot TV trends for “based on a comic book” and “dealing with supernatural themes.” John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is a demon hunter who finds himself burdened with protecting mankind from forces of evil.
Also tonight: the season four premiere of Grimm (9-10 pm, NBC). Obviously NBC is hoping Grimm’s fan base will stick around to check out the thematically complementary Constantine.
Saturday, October 25
High School Possession (8-10 pm, Lifetime)
Lifetime and Syfy continue their ongoing battle for which channel can produce the most craptacular original movies. You can tell Halloween is near because tonight Lifetime edges into Syfy territory with the story of a high school student who believes her best friend is possessed and attempts to convince a clergyman to perform an exorcism. Or you could just rewatch The Exorcist and not feel like you’d wasted your time.
Sunday, October 26
Masterpiece Mystery (9-10:30 pm, PBS)
It’s a highbrow fanfic-gasm: Death Comes to Pemberley is an adaptation of a novel by P.D. James that’s both an imagined sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and (of course) a mystery. (Two parts, concludes next Sunday at the same time)
Also tonight: the series finale of Boardwalk Empire (9-10 pm, HBO)
And: FXX is doing a 12-hour marathon of all The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” episodes 1-24 (that’s all of them except for this season’s), today from
9 am-9 pm 12 pm-12 am (sorry, previous info was incorrect).
The X-Files (1993-2002)
Ask anyone who takes TV seriously to name some of the medium’s all-time great shows, and you’ll almost certainly find this show among the responses. I wrote about the show last year on the 20th anniversary of its premiere, and the approach of Halloween got me thinking about it again; I had the good fortune to experience the show in real time as it aired, when every week offered a dose of Halloween spookiness regardless of what time of year it was, but plenty of folks have yet to discover the many pleasures of the show. (Nine seasons, 201 episodes total; the ending, while appropriate to the show, is also frustratingly murky about some key points.)
(Note: this information is accurate as of publication time, but programming is subject to change at the discretion of channels and networks. All times listed are Eastern time.)