'Walking Dead' airs 100th episode, begins 8th season

Posted 10/20/17

By Kevin McDonough

"The Simpsons" (8 p.m. Sunday, Fox, TV-14) anticipates Halloween for the 28th year. The parody-rich "Treehouse of Horror XXVIII" sends up "The Exorcist" without managing to remind us that Fox has its own version of "The …

This item is available in full to subscribers

'Walking Dead' airs 100th episode, begins 8th season

Posted

By Kevin McDonough

"The Simpsons" (8 p.m. Sunday, Fox, TV-14) anticipates Halloween for the 28th year. The parody-rich "Treehouse of Horror XXVIII" sends up "The Exorcist" without managing to remind us that Fox has its own version of "The Exorcist" airing on Friday nights.

This half-hour gross-out makes ample use of CGI animation, emphasizing the creepiness of seeing your beloved 2-D characters transformed into toy-like plastic figurines.

A concluding segment about Homer gaining a taste for his own flesh and blood is introduced by Lisa, who promises us something so disturbing that we'll "watch 'Game of Thrones' just to calm down."

While there's no "Game of Thrones" on Sunday night, viewers can turn to the eighth season premiere of "The Walking Dead" (9 p.m., AMC, TV-MA), the popular series' 100th episode.

As fans of the series know, the action has shifted from fighting off legions of shuffling, rotting corpses to the political dynamics within the relative safety of the Alexandria compound. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group have to contend with the tyranny of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his followers. As the season commences, Rick's band has had enough and have decided to fight back.

The lead-up to this internal civil war involves an inordinate number of speeches and rallying cries. We even hear the "band of brothers" lines from the St. Crispin's Day speech in Shakespeare's "Henry V."

I'm not sure if people watch "The Walking Dead" for the oratory. I've never been a fan of the series and its relentless paranoia and gore. But I never expected it to become boring.

• The ex-president (Nick Nolte) and first lady (Sela Ward) anticipate their first grandchild as "Graves" (10 p.m. Sunday, Epix, TV-MA) enters its second season.

• Lifetime offers a reboot of "The Watcher in the Woods" (8 p.m. Saturday). Anjelica Huston and Tallulah Evans star in this tale of a family who grows obsessed with stories about a 20-year-old case of a missing girl, a story eerily similar to supernatural shenanigans in their new home.

"Watcher" is a remake of a 1980 adaptation of a novel by Florence Engel Randall. The original starred Bette Davis, Carroll Baker, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Kyle Richards and David McCallum ("The Man From U.N.C.L.E.").

That film was plagued with problems and had to be shelved for more than a year after its initial release while the producers worked on a new ending. It was produced by Disney in the years before Michael Eisner reinvented the studio with animated musicals and low-budget comedies. At the time, Disney was trying to branch out to reach a young adult audience, with limited success.

At least one young person was paying attention. Tonight's new version of "The Watcher in the Woods" is directed by Melissa Joan Hart.

• Nothing says comedy like an autopsy. The documentary "Too Funny to Fail" begins streaming Saturday on Hulu. It looks back at the short-lived "Dana Carvey Show," seen as a sure-thing when it debuted on ABC in 1996.

The series may have been a tad ahead of its time. Its writers included Louis C.K. and Charlie Kaufman ("Being John Malkovich"). In addition to Carvey and Robert Smigel from "Saturday Night Live," the show included then-unknowns Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert. "Too Funny" assesses how a particular group of talents failed to find chemistry. Or an audience. The show was canceled after seven episodes.

• The documentary "George Michael: Freedom" (9 p.m. Saturday, Showtime, TV-MA) was made with the participation of the late pop singer, who died on Christmas Day last year. It spans his entire career but concentrates on his emergence in the late 1980s, and the music video that gives this film its title.

SATURDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

"The Walking Dead: The Story So Far" (9 p.m., AMC, TV-14) allows fans a chance to catch up with the narrative in advance of Sunday's season eight premiere.

"My Big Fat Pet Makeover" (10 p.m., Animal Planet, TV-PG) reviews the cases of a chunky Chihuahua and a pot-bellied pig that lives up to its name.

SUNDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

• Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (7:30 p.m., CBS): an interview with an FBI agent who infiltrated al-Qaida; solitary confinement; and wine fraud.

• The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons meet in "Sunday Night Football" action (8:25 p.m., NBC).

• Ross' big gamble on "Poldark" on "Masterpiece" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings).

"Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" (9 p.m., CNN) visits Pittsburgh.

• Police put heat on street traffic on "The Deuce" (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).

• Jamie and Claire reunite on "Outlander" (9:16 p.m., Starz, TV-MA).

• Bird unravels Jane's lies on "Ten Days in the Valley" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).

• Larry's therapist insists on boundaries on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (10 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).

• A casting decision worries Floyd on "White Famous" (10 p.m., Showtime, TV-MA).

• Elizabeth goes out on a limb for refugees on "Madam Secretary" (10:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

• Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Katie Couric on "Startalk" (11 p.m., National Geographic).

CULT CHOICE

A social outcast befriends a rodent, who becomes his protector, in the 1971 shocker "Willard" (2 a.m. early Sunday, TCM). Its sequel, "Ben" (3:45 a.m.), follows.

SUNDAY SERIES

Halloween hijinks on "America's Funniest Home Videos" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * A politically charged murder on "Wisdom of the Crowd" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) * An amphibious threat on "Ghosted" (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Stolen weapons hit the streets on "NCIS: Los Angeles" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14) * An unlucky dollar bill on "Family Guy" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * It's curtains on "Shark Tank" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) * Carol freaks out on "The Last Man on Earth" (9:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).

© 2017, United Feature Syndicate