Being Corny at ‘Abbott,’ New ‘Vampire’ in Town, ‘Love Boat’ Gets Real, Prince Andrew’s Downfall

The spotlight in this week’s excellent Abbott Elementary falls on nerdy Jacob when a performing troupe comes to Philly. Syfy’s whimsical Reginald the Vampire joins a new season of Chucky for a supernatural twofer. CBS turns The Love Boat into the latest dating reality show. The documentary Banished explores the scandalous downfall of Britain’s Prince Andrew.

Chris Perfetti, Abbott Elementary
ABC

Abbott Elementary

This wonderful Emmy-winning comedy has a way of making you laugh till you cry, then you may find yourself tearing up all over again because of its emotional generosity. This week’s episode focuses on Jacob (Chris Perfetti), the token Caucasian in the inner-city public school whose proud nerdiness is further exposed when a traveling troupe of performers (The Story Samurai) arrives, rekindling his memories of time spent with the group. Everyone else sees them, and him, as hopelessly corny, but only Janine (Quinta Brunson) is willing to level with Jacob that people may be laughing more at him than with him. Meanwhile, Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) is overwhelmed with her combined second/third grade class, but she won’t admit it: “I’m so tough brass knuckles wear me to a fight.” Has she met her match?

Jacob Batalon as Reginald in Reginald the Vampire
James Dittiger/SYFY

Reginald the Vampire

Series Premiere

Vampires are all the rage, with the steamy bloodsuckers of AMC’s Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire about to be joined on Sundays by the ageless teenage vampire in Showtime’s adaptation of Let the Right One In (Oct. 9). For a change of pace and more comical tone, meet Reginald Andres (Jacob Batalon from the Spider Man franchise), a born loser in a dead-end job at a Slushy Shack in Akron, Ohio who gets taken under the wing of dashing vampire Maurice (Mandela Van Peebles). A moment of spellbinding confidence-boosting goes awry when Reginald is turned immortal with a new appetite for blood. “I’m like this forever?” he gripes, only to be wryly informed by his maker, “Being a fat vampire, that’s gonna cause some problems within the vampire community.” Based on Johnny B. Truant’s Fat Vampire book series. The pilot follows the Season 2 premiere of Chucky (9/8c, also on USA), in which the demon doll from Child’s Play is out for revenge on the trio of teens who ruined his murderous plot against America’s kids last season.

Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romijn of The Real Love Boat
Sara Mally/CBS

The Real Love Boat

Series Premiere

From the “is nothing sacred” TV files comes a new dating show inspired by the iconic guilty pleasure from the 1970s-’80s. Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell are the hosts, sailing stunning sites along the Mediterranean with singles in a competition where unlucky suitors will be told to “Shove Off” at each sail away. The action begins in magical Barcelona with a talent-show challenge. Original Love Boat bartender Ted Lange (Isaac) guests in the pilot, turning over his shaker to Ezra Freeman, one of the crew members who will be fixtures along the way, including Cruise Director Matt Mitcham and Captain Paolo Arrigo.

Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew: Banished

Documentary Premiere

Any time we glimpsed Prince Andrew amid the mourning for his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, it felt like we were witnessing a walk of shame. This gossipy documentary unpacks the myriad scandals, including allegations of sex trafficking and association with the notorious Jeffrey Epstein, that led the royal son to resign from his public roles and to be stripped of his honorary patronages.

Inside Wednesday TV:

  • Survivor (8/7c, CBS): The Beware Advantage is back, which means players who accept it will be risking their vote. And one tribe is rattled after learning someone’s snooping through everyone’s bags.
  • Kung Fu (9/8c, The CW): The action series’ third season begins with Bay Area protector Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang) tangling with a mysterious vigilante and a Chinatown crime wave that engulfs the family’s Harmony Dumplings restaurant on the eve of a grand reopening.
  • Ending HIV in America (9/8c, PBS): A Nova special tracks the progress made by science in the treatment of HIV while addressing the challenges of getting this aid to those who need it most.
  • Ricochet: An American Trauma (10/9c, PBS): A NewsHour documentary, hosted by correspondent William Brangham, explores the crisis of gun violence in the U.S. with personal stories of victims and survivors, and interviews with community leaders, gun owners and frontline health workers.
  • Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News (11:45/10:45c, Comedy Central): In a reversal of the current trend, a streaming series finds a new home on cable when the animated news satire sets up weekly shop behind The Daily Show with (for now) Trevor Noah.
  • Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (streaming on Netflix): Based on the novella by Stephen King from his If It Bleeds collection, the supernatural coming-of-age story stars It‘s Jaeden Martell as Craig, a youth who bonds with an elderly billionaire (Donald Sutherland) over a love of reading. When old man Harrigan passes away, an iPhone becomes their link from beyond the grave. Also new to Netflix: a Halloween-themed seventh season of the hilarious baking competition Nailed It! and a third season of the self-absorbed reality show Bling Empire.