‘Evil’ and More Finales (‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Marriage’), ‘Simpsons’ 32nd Halloween, ‘Diana’ on CNN, CBS’ Sunday Lineup
This weekend’s TV is a dizzying array of premieres and finales. Ready your shock absorbers for the cliffhangers of Evil and The Walking Dead, while HBO’s acclaimed Scenes from a Marriage, Starz’ Heels and Showtime’s Work in Progress also sign off. An October tradition, The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween anthology, returns for a 32nd gag-filled edition. CNN launches a six-part biographical docuseries on the life of Princess Diana. CBS’s Sunday shows are all new, with 60 Minutes followed by the season premieres of The Equalizer, NCIS: Los Angeles and (for a while) SEAL Team.
SUNDAY: Like an early Halloween treat, the second season’s finale of TV’s boldest supernatural thriller delivers a smorgasbord of shocks—starting with the title card (“C Is for Cannibal”). Yes, cannibalism is on the docket, mere days before David’s (Mike Colter) ordination as priest, as the case of a med student with a macabre craving leads to some of the team’s most unnerving encounters with (what else) pure evil. Sister Andrea (the great Andrea Martin) counsels David, “The closer you are to God, the more good and evil has corporeal presence.” Not what he wants to hear, even as his prayers are interrupted by memories of his sex-addict past. But it’s Kristen (Katja Herbers) who’s hurtling toward the most shattering emotional breakthrough, after she clashes memorably with the diabolical Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson), who’s somehow convinced the church to welcome him as a consultant.
The Walking Dead
SUNDAY: Mother Nature adds another layer of peril to the the zombie melodrama’s fall midseason cliffhanger. (The show returns with eight more episodes in February 2020.) While the Reapers keep busy protecting Meridian from a herd of walkers, our Alexandrian heroes hunker down during a violent storm that threatens to make them even more vulnerable than usual to the zombie invasion.
SUNDAY: Leading off a full night of Halloween-themed animation, one of our favorite Simpsons traditions—the 32nd edition of the annual “Treehouse of Horror” anthology—expands to five instead of the usual three spooky parody vignettes. (Or as Homer puts it, “Lousy treehouse. Every year three scary stories: two of them good and a lame one in the middle.”) The best bits come early: a send-up of Disney animation, as if Itchy & Scratchy and Bambi had a love/hate child; and an elaborate spoof of the Oscar-winning Parasite, with the downtrodden Simpsons living it up in their employers’ posh home, until all hell breaks loose.
SUNDAY: The subject of many retrospectives (and even a Broadway musical) during what would have been her 60th year, Princess Diana is the subject of a six-part docuseries that aims to portray her in all of her complexity, from glamorous icon to liberated activist role model. The opening installment explores Diana Spencer’s childhood and the path that led her to Prince Charles and the royal family.
SUNDAY: Just when she thought she was out…Robyn McCall, aka The Equalizer (Queen Latifah), abandons her notion of hanging up her vigilante persona when the second season opens with Det. Dante (Tory Kittles) hiring her to track down an elusive gang of bank robbers. The rest of CBS’ Sunday lineup is all new, with the 13th-season premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles (9/8c) finding Callen (Chris O’Donnell) suspecting Hetty (Linda Hunt) of keeping more secrets about his past, and SEAL Team (10/9c), launching its fifth season by sending Bravo Team on a training exercise that’s actually cover for a covert mission to rescue a weapons expert from the world’s most fortified country. It’s the first of four episodes on CBS before the series transitions to streaming on Paramount+.
- Scenes from a Marriage (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): The union of Jonathan (Oscar Isaac) and Mira (Jessica Chastain) may be history, but that doesn’t stop them reconnecting in the limited series’ finale, which feels like a bittersweet epilogue—mostly set in their former home, now a B&B.
- Heels (Sunday, 9/8c, Starz): The first season of the compelling wrestling drama ends with Jack (Stephen Amell) finally realizing his dream to put the Duffy Wrestling League on the big stage at the South Georgia State Fair. Once again, the chaos outside the ring could upstage the main event.
- Work in Progress (Sunday, 11/10c): Abby (Abby McEnany) is down to her last almond—which means another round of self-reflection—as the second season of this unusually personal and offbeat seriocomedy ends. While the family throws a party, Abby ends one relationship and starts a new one. Sounds complicated, just like Abby.
The CW All Weekend:
- The network expands to a seventh night, with the Saturday lineup featuring an 18th season of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Saturday, 8/7c) airing back-to-back episodes, leading into a new season of World’s Funniest Animals (9/8c). On Sunday, The CW revives the ’90s Nickelodeon game show Legends of the Hidden Temple (8/7c), this time with adult contestants navigating the Mayan-themed course, and an Americanized version of the British reality “murder” game Killer Camp (9/8c).
Inside Weekend TV:
- Dying to Belong (Saturday, 8/7c, Lifetime): Some déjà vu as Lifetime remakes its 1997 potboiler, which originally starred future Oscar winner Hilary Swank, about sorority pranks that turn deadly. 90210’s Shannen Doherty stars as a victim’s mom who joins with a journalism student (Favour Onwuka) to expose the campus cover-up.
- List of a Lifetime (Sunday, 8/7c, Lifetime): Doherty also appears in this emotional drama as the adoptive mom of Talia (Sylvia Kwan), whose birth mother (Kelly Hu) seeks her out after she’s diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet (Saturday, 9/8c and 10/9c, Nat Geo WILD): Dr. Michelle Oakley has her hands full in Season 10’s first episodes, including taming a clashing herd of bison and dealing with a goat that goes into labor while she’s repairing a piglet hernia. All in a day’s work.
- Saturday Night Live (11:30/10:30c, 8:30/PT, NBC): Famous for being famous, can Kim Kardashian West be purposefully funny when the socialite reality star makes her debut as a guest host? Halsey is the fourth-time musical guest.
- 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7/6c, CBS): In an arresting segment, Bill Whitaker reports on deepfake special-effects technology, or “synthetic media,” consenting to let a computer program reveal what he’d look like 30 years younger. (Where can I get one of these?).
- Buried (Sunday, 9/8c, Showtime): A four-part true crime documentary explores the controversial subject of repressed memory as a tool in courtrooms. Case study: Eileen Franklin, who was playing with her young daughter when she suddenly flashed on a memory of her childhood friend’s murder 20 years earlier, naming her own father as the killer. Can her subconscious be believed?
- This Is Life with Lisa Ling (Sunday, 10/9c, CNN): The investigative journalist is back with a new season of provocative reports. In the opener, “The Legacy of Vincent Chin,” Ling uses the account of a Chinese-American’s death in 1980s Detroit as a way to explore the current wave of anti-Asian hate crimes in America.