HBO’s ‘Dinner with Hervé,’ ‘Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror, PBS’s ‘Woman in White’
A critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
My Dinner With Hervé (Saturday, 8/7c, HBO): Surely one of the more peculiar TV-movies in a while, this tragicomic portrait of the diminutive Fantasy Island star Hervé Villechaize features another powerhouse performance by Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage in the title role of the ego-driven, insecure and deeply needy celebrity dwarf. He’s seen through the eyes of a down-and-out and newly sober British journalist (Fifty Shades of Gray’s Jamie Dornan) who’s blown his big interview — with a frosty Gore Vidal — and settles for hearing Hervé’s colorful, turbulent life story during a wild night on the town. This is based on writer/director Sacha Gervasi’s own encounter with the actor shortly before his death in 1993, and his affection for the mercurial little diva poignantly shines through.
'My Dinner With Hervé': Peter Dinklage, Jamie Dornan & Sacha Gervasi on Telling the 'Fantasy Island' Star's Story
The Simpsons (Sunday, 8/7c, Fox): What’s Lovecraft (as in H.P.) got to do with it? Plenty, as the iconic Cthulhu chows down with Homer in an eating contest during the opening gag of the 29th’s “Treehouse of Horror” episode, a favorite Halloween tradition. Other spoofs include parodies of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Jurassic Park (with Grandpa Simpson and other golden-agers as actual dinosaurs), and keep an eye out for a great Futurama sight gag.
The Woman in White (Sunday, 10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Wilkie Collins’ Victorian page-turner, with its combination of Gothic melodrama and romantic mystery, gets a lush and atmospheric treatment in a new five-part British series. Olivia Vinall is luminous in the dual role of unhappily betrothed heiress Laura Fairlie and her mysterious doppelganger, the titular white-garbed damsel in distress, with Dougray Scott (the series’ most recognizable name) perfectly smarmy as the swarthy baronet with less than honorable intentions. Ben Hardy is dashingly Byronic as the art tutor who teams with Laura’s spunky half-sister Marian (Jessie Buckley) to save the day.
Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Halloween Bash (Saturday, 8:15/7:15c, Freeform): We all have our Halloween favorites, and if this campy 1993 cult fantasy-comedy is yours, prepare to wallow in a two-hour celebration filmed, suitably enough, at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Bette Midler joins co-stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimi for interviews, with musical performances and a costume contest. Before and after the special, Freeform screens a “Pop’n Knowledge” version of the movie (at 6:15/5:15 and 10:15/9:15c) with trivia and other commentary.
Inside Weekend TV: You don’t have to live in New York to know the city’s subways are a mess. On CBS’s 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7:30/6:30c, 7 pm/PT), Bill Whitaker ventures into the bowels of the system with new transit chief Andy Byford for a preview of his estimated $40 billion modernization plan: “There’s no gain without a bit of pain,” he says. “This will be worth it.”… Game Show Network’s Cover Story documentary series profiles “Game Show Super Contestants” (Sunday, 7/6c) including Jeopardy! whiz Ken Jennings and lesser-known Wheel of Fortune maven Caitlyn Burke, who solved a 27-letter puzzle with just one letter exposed… TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé (Sunday, 8/7c) is back for a sixth-season of long-distance international romances facing a ticking clock to make it legal… BBC America’s Doctor Who (Sunday, 8/7c) takes a page out of Quantum Leap as the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her mates land in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, meeting a then-unknown seamstress named Rosa Parks… Just in time for the newest remake of Halloween on the big screen, AMC Visionaries: Eli Roth’s History of Horror (Sunday, 12:14 am/11:14c) begins a two-part survey of slasher films, concluding Monday at 10/9c.