October 31, 2003

Stay Tuned


There's a reason that nothing good is on on Fridays: that's the TV's way of telling you to go out. Sure, once in a while a good show gets dumped into the barren wasteland of Friday night nonsense (Homicide: Life on the Street back in the day), but in general, you're looking at a whole lot of nothing (Life With Bonnie, Dateline NBC). Tonight is something of an exception, but considering it's Halloween, you should probably still get your party on.

In honor of said holiday, several channels are busting out their monster fare. FX is pregaming it old skool style with the classic Halloween before insulting your intelligence with Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Jen from Dawson's Creek gets all freaked out at boarding school, Janet Leigh makes a lame cameo, and Jamie Lee Curtis flushes her career down the crapper in this not particularly scary installment of the Halloween franchise. Shame on you, Jamie Lee. Shame.

FX, starting at 5 p.m.

If you're into the Michael Myers action, AMC is your new best friend. They couldn't get their hands on the first one, but they're showing Halloween II, III, 4, and 5. Let's hope they explain why the Halloween folks switched from Roman to Arabic numerals, too.

AMC, starting at 11:05 a.m.

E! gets into ghost mode by rerunning The E! True Hollywood Story: Curse of the Poltergeist. As far as E!THSs go, this one's a classic. It turns out that after filming Poltergeist, all kinds of shit got all fucked up—Dominique Dunne died, Steven Spielberg got lamer, etc. Let E! do what it does best: dish the dirt on celebrities by interviewing their distant relatives.

E!, 7 p.m.


Bud Greenspan is something of a golden god in my house; the Lyons family takes the Olympics very seriously. Best known for his 16 Days of Glory documentaries that profile Olympians, Greenspan also dabbles in some shorter fare. EPSN Classic makes you glad you stole cable from your neighbors—just kidding, Comcast!—by showing three episodes of Bud Greenspan's Reflections, followed by some 16 Days action. Bud reflects on sprinters in general, and then profiles famed hurdler Edwin Moses and sprinter Mal Whitfield. If that's not enough to make you wonder what time Ratner opens, you can learn all about the drama of the 1984 Olympics. Mary Lou Retton ruled so hard.

ESPN Classic, starting at 2:30 p.m.


Did you know that Melissa Joan Hart collects shot glasses? Well, what classy gal doesn't? Sabrina the 28-year-old witch got married to some "musician" (Mark Wilkerson? Ever heard of him?), and ABC Family was there to get you the "exclusive" scoop. If yesterday's Olympians made you a little self-conscious about your muscle tone, today's celebrity worshipping will make you feel a little less like a productive member of society. Follow Melissa and Mark from their engagement party in romantic Alabama to their all-out money fest of a wedding in Italy. Those Clarissa Explains It All checks must still be rolling in. Everyone gets a little snippy about—gasp—the bitchy wedding planner. I know this is a "reality" show, but it's all starting to feel a little trite.

Family Channel, starting at 3:30 p.m.


Two-time Tony Award winner James Earl Jones stretches his acting muscles on the WB tonight. This very special episode of Everwood also features Beau Bridges kissing his credibility goodbye, and the woman who played Mrs. Landingham in flashbacks on The West Wing earning her SAG card. The unlikely threesome play trapped and injured coal miners (what's up with the coal mines, dudes? Carnivalé so did that two weeks ago) that the usual cast of the show has to save. James Earl Jones must really be hurting. Oh, I kid. Everwood keeps up the WB tradition of not sucking as hard as you might expect (Gilmore Girls) while still cranking out the angsty teen drama. Though formulaic—a pasty adolescent, an annoying little sister, and a dad with ill-conceived facial hair move to a small town, where quirkiness and heartbreak ensue—Everwood is at the top of its game. The writing is decent, the acting acceptable, and you can't beat those guest stars.

WB, 8 p.m.


If you can't scrape up the cash for the Family Guy DVDs, at least do yourself the service of catching it on Adult Swim. The brilliant but short-lived cartoon included a few too many nerdy asides—references included The Indian in the Cupboard and Sports Night—but ranks up there with Office Space as one of the more quotable works of our time. Family Guy is at its best when it bitingly satirizes pop culture, and "Wasted Talent" provides an absolute highlight: Peter and Brian win a tour of a local brewery, á la Willy Wonka. Not since Mr. Show's "Jeepers Creepers: Semi-Star" episode has a spoof been so fabulous.

Cartoon Network, 10:30 p.m.


Watching TV is like eating dining hall food—there are a few staples on which you know you can always rely. Conan O'Brien is the cereal wall of television. You can always watch Late Night, and even if you were hoping for something a little more exciting, you can still leave feeling relatively satisfied and not at all nauseated. Late Night is the backbone of our nighttime TV diet, friends.

I went to a Polyphonic Spree concert a few weeks ago, and it rocked me into oblivion. If you weren't lucky enough to see them live, catch their performance on Conan tonight. Even if 26-member rock bands aren't your thing, at least you'll have had your daily intake of calcium and fiber.

NBC, 11:35 p.m.


Once upon a time, there was a highly acclaimed hospital drama filled with creative camera work, outstanding writing, and award-winning acting. Ten years later, that show is gasping for life, sucking ass, and disgracing its once-loyal fanbase. ER, what the shit happened to you? "The Greater Good" plods through some pretty well worn territory with premature babies, pharmaceutical reps, abused kids, and the high cost of health care. Tune in tonight to watch a formerly great show flounder, now with more racial diversity.

NBC, 9 p.m.