Friday, Oct. 26 (NBC)
Halloween Special: Bryan Fuller’s fantastical Munsters makeover was meant to be a series, but NBC decided to move forward with surer fall-season winners like, oh, pick one (as long as it’s not Animal Practice—more on that later). A little pilot-episode repackaging and boo!: Instant Halloween special. Mockingbird Lane probably wouldn’t have had the same legs as Fuller’s late, great Pushing Daisies, which somehow eked out two seasons on ABC, but it works nicely as a stand-alone hour, thanks mostly to Eddie Izzard (as Grandpa Munster) and Portia de Rossi (Lily), and despite Jerry O’Connell (Herman). Since this took two years to make and cost NBC $10 million(!), the least you can do is pretend he’s not there.
Rise of the Zombies
Saturday, Oct. 27 (Syfy)
Movie: Another Halloween, another action-sufficient Syfy zombie flick—shot for a quarter of the budget of Mockingbird Lane, of course. In Rise of the Zombies (which was called Dead Walking before the producers flinched), Mariel Hemingway, LeVar Burton, Danny Trejo and a handful of pretty, expendable chew-toys are holed up in Alcatraz prison waiting out a zombie apocalypse—until the island is suddenly overrun with the dead who happen to walk. Will they be able to escape and find a scientist back on land rumored—uh, by whom?—to have a cure for zombie-ism? If it’s the same guy who previously created the Dinocrocs and the Sharktopuses, probably not.
The Venture Bros: A Very Venture Halloween
Sunday, Oct. 28 (Adult Swim)
Halloween Special: When Season 5 finally premieres in February 2013, The Venture Bros. will be a decade old … tearing … up … must … maintain … composure. Anyway, until then, The Greatest Animated Series in TV History is presenting A Very Venture Halloween, a new 30-minute chunk of hysterical goodness featuring, among many other masterstrokes, Pete White’s sweet Ziggy Stardust costume, a new cocktail called “The Hunchback” (bourbon and ketchup) and, like every Halloween, some douchebag dressed up as The Crow. Is it wrong that The Only TV Column That Matters™ is willing to sacrificing an indeterminate number of animals—and, if need be, humans—to see The Venture Bros. continue forever? ’Cause I’ll do it.
Tuesday, Oct. 30 (Fox)
Halloween Episode: Unemployed Jess (Zooey Deschanel) lands a job as a zombie in a haunted house—an adorably quirky zombie with perfect bangs, but a zombie nonetheless. Meanwhile, ex-couple Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Cece (Hannah Simone) have eerily sad matching costumes, and Nick (Jake Johnson) gets a stalker-y visit from his college crush (Eagleheart’s Maria Thayer). Fox’s Raising Hope, Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project are also doing Halloween episodes tonight, but none of those presented an opportunity for an Eagleheart reference, so …
Wednesdays, for now (NBC)
Dead Show Walking: Joining Made in Jersey (a Friday-night CBS legal fluffer) and Next Caller (Dane Cook’s “shock jock” sitcom that never even aired) in Dirtnap Central for the 2012-13 TV season is Animal Practice, a comedy known more for its monkey than its star (Weeds’ Justin Kirk). It’s canceled, but will continue taking up space alongside the far-worse Guys With Kids on Wednesdays until the delayed Whitney is called off the bench Nov. 14. Putting down Animal Practice so soon is somewhat significant, because it was the first of the new “broader” comedies NBC bragged would be making up for the viewer bleed of “narrower” shows like Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock and the still-in-limbo Community. A “narrow” audience is still better than “no” audience, ain’t it?