What’s Worth Watching: People of Earth, The Haunting, Conan and more for Monday, October 31
People of Earth (9/8c, TBS): Think of it as The X-Smiles. With a decidedly droll approach to the time-honored topic of alien invasion and/or abduction—the victims prefer to be thought of as “experiencers”—this sleeper comedy from Conan O’Brien, The Office’s Greg Daniels and creator David Jenkins introduces us to a support group of misfit “experiencers” (including Saturday Night Live/Suburgatory veteran Ana Gasteyer) from the town of Beacon in upstate New York. They consent to be interviewed by journalist Ozzie Graham (The Daily Show’s deadpan Wyatt Cenac), who dismisses them as “attention seekers and paranoid delusionals” until it begins to dawn on him that his recent car accident may have been a “cover memory” erasing his own encounter with ET’s. Like NBC’s The Good Place, this fantastical comedy ends episodes with a surprising twist. How long before Mulder and Scully come snooping? (Another supernatural comedy, IFC’s Evil Dead-like Stan Against Evil, airs a preview of its pilot episode at 11/10c, before moving into its regular time period of Wednesdays at 10/9c.)
The Haunting (6/5c, TCM): Can’t think of a better way to spend Halloween than in the company of Turner Classic Movies, which turns its schedule over to a 24-hour spook-a-thon of memorable horror classics. Highlights include Val Lewton’s Cat People (7:15 am/6:15c), the Mario Bava anthology Black Sabbath with Boris Karloff (12:45 pm/11:45c), and a personal favorite, 1963’s The Haunting, adapting Shirley Jackson’s terrifying novel The Haunting of Hill House with Julie Harris as an emotionally vulnerable psychic. Prime time belongs to Star of the Month Christopher Lee, including two from 1959: The Mummy (1959) and The Hound of the Baskervilles, opposite his renowned co-star Peter Cushing.
Conan (11/10c, TBS): For the first time in five years, Conan O’Brien brings his late-night act back to New York City for a week’s worth of shows to be taped at Harlem’s fabled Apollo Theatre. Guests during the week include Louis C.K., Ryan Reynolds and Tracy Morgan, with the Sugar Hill Gang as musical guest on Monday.
Inside Monday TV: ABC’s Dancing With the Stars (8/7c) adopts a Halloween theme, including a jazz routine set to “Little Shop of Horrors” for the hot duo of Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko. The highest scorer of the seven couples earns immunity, with the others engaging in a dance-off. … A bit of meta humor in The CW’s Jane the Virgin (9/8c), as Rogelio (Jaime Camil) pursues his dream of being an American crossover star by pitching his signature telenovela The Passions of Santos to The CW. … Not to be confused with Gotham, CBS’s Scorpion (10/9c) goes deep inside an actual bat cave, with the intent to keep the bat population from wrecking North America’s ecosystem. … As the presidential campaign enters its final (at last) full week, prime time’s most outspoken satirist interviews President Obama for TBS’s Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (10:30/9:30c).