Halloween on ABC, Super Cats on ‘Nature,’ Hero Dogs on Hallmark, Deadly Beasts on Smithsonian


A critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:

An ABC Halloween: The network’s night of popular family comedies marks Halloween a week early, with Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger) haunting Beverly’s (Wendi McLendon-Covey) dreams on The Goldbergs (8/7c). But the centerpiece, as usual, is Modern Family (9/8c) with another epic holiday celebration of costumes (Cam as Duchess Meghan Markle), tricks and treats. This year, though, the Halloween revelry will be disrupted by a game-changing event of “huge, unexpected news” — which could be why the episode is titled “Good Grief.”

Super Cats: A Nature Miniseries (8/7c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): The 37th season of Nature gets off to a grrrrrr-eat start with a three-part study of big cats all over the globe. New camera technology affords glimpses of behaviors never seen on TV. In the first episode, “Extreme Cats,” crews travel to the Himalayas to follow a male snow leopard on his search for a mater, and to Africa, where a leopard mother fends for her cub amid a drought.

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2018 American Hero Dog Awards (8/7c, Hallmark Channel): Humanity’s best friend takes a bow in a moving tribute to canine heroism and emotional support, the guaranteed feel-good ceremony of the week. Author Beth Stern and actor James Denton (Hallmark’s Good Witch) host the ceremony, featuring the stories of seven finalists from categories including Law Enforcement/Arson, Guide/Hearing, Military, Search and Rescue, Service and Therapy. One will be named top Hero Dog of 2018, but all deserve a treat.

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Top Ten Deadliest Beasts (8/7c, Smithsonian Channel): Or you could take the opposite tack and marvel, perhaps cringe, at some of nature’s deadliest creatures in a two-hour special that journeys from the Australian outback to the Montana badlands. Computer-generated footage illustrates such iconic monsters as the T-Rex and Smilodon (aka the saber-toothed tiger) as well as eccentric beasts including the eight-foor Terror Bird, a giant lizard known as Megalania and a human-sized scorpion. (Many sound like the stuff of cheesy Syfy movies.)

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A Million Little Things (10/9c, ABC): Someone actually utters the words “This isn’t us” in this week’s episode — as if to distance it from NBC’s hit tearjerker. And while it looked as if everyone had mostly kissed and/or hugged and made up after the bombshell reveal of the Eddie-Delilah affair, more twists await in another pivotal episode of grand gestures that don’t always have the intended effect. That’s true for Eddie (David Giuntoli), who goes the extra mile to make sure estranged wife Katherine (Grace Park) gets to see their son’s school play, and for Gary (James Roday), who plans a special day for Maggie (Allison Miller) in hopes of getting her to open up about her new round of cancer treatments — or lack thereof.

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Inside Wednesday TV: Streaming highlight: Netflix’s gripping six-part political thriller Bodyguard, a huge hit in the U.K. when it aired last summer. Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden stars as a troubled ex-soldier assigned to protect a controversial Home Secretary (Keeley Hawes). Even when the plot goes over the top, it’s never less than gripping. (See full review.)… Cinema’s most famous Dracula, Bela Lugosi, is Turner Classic Movies’ “Horror Star of the Week,” with a prime-time lineup of cult creepers including 1932’s White Zombie (8/7c), in which he plays a voodoo master who threatens newlyweds in Haiti, and Tod Browning’s 1935 Mark of the Vampire (9:30/8:30), a campy horror homage with a great twist ending… Is this the rainiest season ever on CBS’s Survivor (8/7c)? In the wake of last week’s blindside, another downpour puts a sudden halt to the game… After last week’s tragedy, Jason (David Boreanaz) works to reconnect with his kids on CBS’s SEAL Team (9/8c)… Audience Network’s Mr. Mercedes (10/9c), based on Stephen King’s Bill Hodges trilogy, closes its second season with the surviving heroes coming to grips with Brady’s (Harry Treadaway) latest horrors… CMT Crossroads (10/9c, CMT) pairs Shawn Mendes and Zac Brown Band for an eclectic concert of each other’s hits, and they team for a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.”