Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, June 22. All times are Eastern.
The Mist (Spike, 10 p.m.): Last summer, a series with a heavy Stephen King influence turned the whole world upside down. This summer, Spike hopes it can do the same with the man himself, with an adaptation of King’s novella about a small town in Maine that’s enveloped in a mysterious, and deadly, vapor. Vinnie Mancuso would like to remind you that it’s just a TV show, so there’s nothing to be afraid of—except that fog that turns people inside out.
The Gong Show (ABC, 10 p.m.): The late Chuck Barris was a true showbiz original: He wrote a best-selling song about an amusement park, brought one of the most hilariously un-euphemistic euphemisms for “fucking” back into the popular lexicon (on daytime TV, no less), and played host to an unending stream of unorthodox talent-show acts whose performances could be stopped dead in their tracks by the sound of a giant gong. He was one-of-a-kind, as anyone who’s tried to fill in for Barris in his most prominent onscreen role—emcee-cum-ringmaster on The Gong Show—can attest. The latest version of The Gong Show didn’t even bother to find a real person to fill Barris’ shoes: The guy corralling the talent and interacting with the celebrity judges tonight looks an awful lot like Mike Myers in facial prosthetics. No one will confirm or deny that Tommy Maitland is actually Myers in disguise, and, really, that type of coyness is the perfect tribute to Barris, who spent a brief portion of his career pretending that he whacked CIA targets between tapings of The Dating Game.