What’s new tonight:
American Horror Story (FX) Series Debut: Two conclusions after watching the pilot of American Horror Story: 1. Showrunner Ryan Murphy has some seriously dark weirdness to work out after three seasons of Glee, and 2. The Walking Dead won’t be the scariest show on TV this fall. Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton headline a killer cast (which also includes Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy) as a couple who moves across the country with some heavy marital baggage and a teenage daughter (Taissa Farmiga) to Los Angeles into—what else?—a haunted Victorian. The setup is familiar, but the execution, from the deliciously Grindhouse-style opening and closing credits to the slowly stacking creepiness and tension in between, makes for the best horror movie no one’s made in years. At least, for the first episode, which is all FX has provided so far—let’s see if American Horror Story can sustain the intensity until Christmas. [Update: Episode 2 airing Oct. 12 falls on the “meh” side, so maybe not.]
South Park (Comedy Central) Midseason Premiere: If you recall, the first half of this season left off on a major bummer, what with Stan having an existential crisis on his 10th birthday and all. There’s more of that tonight, as well as Cartman dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome—when did South Park turn into The Big C?
Penn & Teller Tell a Lie (Discovery) Series Debut: Done with Bullshit!, Penn & Teller move onto bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, truth! in Tell a Lie, a shell game of a TV show wherein you have to pick which wacko scientific theory is actually real. Great, more homework …
Raising Hope (Fox) Special Night: Apparently, The X Factor could only fill 90 minutes tonight, so we get an extra ep of Raising Hope. Enjoy!
Also new tonight:
The Middle, Suburgatory, Modern Family, Happy Endings, Revenge (ABC); Survivor: South Pacific, Criminal Minds, CSI (CBS); The X Factor (Fox); Up All Night, Free Agents, Harry’s Law, Law & Order: SVU (NBC); H8R, America’s Next Top Model (The CW); Ghost Hunters, Paranormal Witness (Syfy); The Ultimate Fighter, Blue Mountain State (Spike); Luther (BBC America); Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time (Comedy Central); Top Chef: Just Desserts (Bravo); Dance Moms (Lifetime); I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, Extreme Couponing (TLC); The Real World (MTV)
American Horror Story brings that Ryan Murphy freak-magic back to FX: