What’s Worth Watching: ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Westworld’, ‘Saturday Night Live’ and more for Friday, Oct. 14 thru Sunday, Oct. 16
The Simpsons (8/7c, Sunday): “In Hell, they make you watch them all in a row.” So we’re warned by the ghost of a former Springfield-ian, as the undying animated hit achieves a nearly unprecedented milestone: a 600th episode. (Gunsmoke made 635 over its 20 years, but The Simpsons’ 28-season longevity dwarfs the classic Western.) The occasion for this landmark episode is another long-standing TV tradition: the 27th annual “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween special, which this year takes on The Hunger Games and its sequel-itis, set in a world beset by a “drought of Chicago Cubs proportions” (reminding us of the long lead time of animated series). It’s an episode to savor from beginning—a “Planet of the Couches” couch gag that can be enjoyed with special VR goggles from Google—to end, with a special Bond-style theme that conjures the memories of so many Fox flops that came and went during The Simpsons’ historic tenure.
The Walking Dead: Journey So Far (Sunday, 9/8c, AMC): With the return of The Walking Dead, and the resolution of someone’s bloody fate at the mercy of Lucille (the bat, not a person), just a week away, AMC offers fans a morsel of remembrance, in a two-hour retrospective of the horror juggernaut’s most searing moments, with anecdotes from series stars and producers.
Westworld (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): The storylines are in disarray in the theme park and the “hosts” are acting erratically, which sends Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) in search of a rogue robot, with harrowing results. Meanwhile, the narrative of Westworld itself continues to draw us ever deeper into this fascinating creation myth, as Ford (Anthony Hopkins) gives poor Teddy (James Marsden) a new backstory, while Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) continues to wonder, “Who in the world am I?”
Inside Weekend TV: Even those sick of this year’s never-ending political circus might be tempted to watch the showdown likely to ensue when Ann Coulter appears as an interview guest on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher (Friday, 10/9c) at the top of the show. Bernie Sanders is the mid-show guest. … Hip-hop star Michel’le narrates her own Lifetime bio-pic, Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Me (Saturday, 8/7c). … Tell me you didn’t picture Alec Baldwin stalking the debate stage as TV’s best faux Trump during last Sunday’s debate. The actual parody of the parody awaits on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (11:30/10:30c), with Emily Blunt as first-time guest host and Bruno Mars making his fourth visit as musical guest. … Dressed down at work and let down by life, Issa (Issa Rae) comes down to Earth in the second episode of HBO’s superb Insecure (Sunday, 10:30/9:30c), which includes this exchange with her estranged boyfriend, Lawrence (Jay Ellis): “We are not about to be the black couple fighting in Rite-Aid.” Oh yes, they are.