Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, October 28. All times are Eastern.
NBA Tip-Off/Mavericks at Spurs/Rockets at Lakers/Inside The NBA (TNT, 7 p.m.): TNT invites you to spend a solid seven hours watching the start of the latest NBA season. At least one of these games figures to be a really good clash of potential Western Conference contenders, as the Spurs kick off their title defense against the always frisky Mavericks. Meanwhile, the other game matches the league’s most zealously new-school outfit with its most hilariously old-school outfit. Plus, televised sports’ most fun, least self-serious studio crew—Inside The NBA’s Charles Barkley, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and the saintly Ernie Johnson—will be live in Times Square to get it all started.
Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 6 p.m.): Apparently too scared of Halloween to air a show a mere day beforehand, Adventure Time moves to a special Tuesday time for its spooky special. Oliver Sava is on the case.
The Flash (The CW, 8 p.m.): Fans of DC Comics lore are in for a treat tonight, as the episode centers on a diamond from Kahndaq, DC’s all-purpose Middle Eastern stand-in country. Scott Von Doviak is an expert on DC Comics geography, as long as an acceptable answer to the question “Where is Central City located?” is “Right next to Keystone City! Well, in certain continuities, at least.”
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 9 p.m.): Because it just wouldn’t be a proper Hydra plan without making it look like S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were responsible for their latest nefarious misdeeds, tonight’s Hydra attack on the United Nations involves framing our … is heroes too strong a word? Framing our protagonists, at the very least. Oliver Sava will take a quick break from being on the run for a crime he didn’t commit to file his review.
30 For 30 (ESPN, 9 p.m.): Tonight’s feature looks at the father-son relationship between Oklahoma Sooners coach Barry Switzer and star linebacker Brian Bosworth. If you know anything about either Switzer or Bosworth, you probably have some idea of how awesomely demented said father-son relationship was. Noel Murray will be on hand to explain things to the unititiated.
Sons Of Anarchy (FX, 10 p.m.): Shock of shocks, tonight’s episode is 90 minutes long, meaning it’s overrunning by 30 minutes.
30 Rock (3 p.m.): Erik Adams returns with “The Source Awards” and “The Fighting Irish,” two excellent episodes with some memorable guest stars—Wayne Brady as Steven Black, Nathan Lane and Molly Shannon as Jack’s siblings—who feel oddly specific to the first season’s particular brand of craziness. Of course, that’s probably just because the extended Donaghy family got the Chuck Cunningham treatment after this episode.
Alexa Planje takes a look at USA’s new comedy, the Eliza Coupe-starring Benched, and she has high praise for its mix of legal show and scripted comedy:
Benched, created by Michaela Watkins and Damon Jones (and executive produced by Party Down’s John Enbom), is an impressive addition to both categories, offering a smart, fresh combination of several different genres that any network would be proud to call its own. Benched blends some of the most attractive, practical characteristics of lawyer shows, fish-out-of-water narratives, and workplace comedies, breathing new life into all three modes of storytelling.
The Great Halloween Fright Fight (ABC, 8 p.m.): With Manhattan Love Story canceled and Selfie probably doomed to only a marginally slower death, ABC turns over this hour to “families compete for the greatest haunted Halloween displays and a prize of $50,000.” Honestly, this sounds like it’s got a real shot to be the lead-in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been waiting for all along, and I see no reason at all why this show couldn’t run year-round. No reason at all!
NCIS (CBS, 8 p.m.): Let’s have a look at what NCIS has in store for us this Halloween week: “A Navy commander’s wife is murdered and NCIS must determine whether her death is linked to her profession as a therapist or an act of terrorism after finding her husband’s name on a jihadist target list. Meanwhile, the team discuss Halloween costumes and Tony’s recent dating habits.” I appreciate the possibility that solving a murder and discussing Halloween costumes—fine, fine, and Tony’s dating habits—are given roughly equal weight. Half the episode will be like a costume-obsessed 12 Angry Men!
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, 9 p.m.): And how about the latest, Scott Bakula-starring member of the franchise? “A Naval staff judge advocate is murdered on Halloween and found in a cemetery dressed in a Victorian costume with vampiric puncture wounds on her neck. Meanwhile, the team members discuss what Halloween activity and costumes would be best.” Say what you will about the NCIS franchise: It’s going to make damn sure its audiences are fully informed about all the costume options out there. Also, note that the team aren’t actually mentioned at all in the first half of that synopsis, setting up the very real possibility that Bakula and company will spend the entire episode discussing the perfect Halloween costume, with occasional cutaways to people being horribly murdered.
How To Be A Grown Up (truTV, 8:30 p.m.): “Advice on marriage proposals, getting in shape, mini-van ownership and talking sex with kids.” Well, I’m no expert, but that all sounds like it more or less covers it.
Thor (FX, 7:30 p.m.): If we were ranking the funniest Marvel movies, this one might have some serious underdog potential. No, it hasn’t got the wisecracks and one-liners that define all of the Tony Stark-starring entries, but this one does feature Chris Hemsworth confidently striding into a pet shop and demanding a horse, which remains one of my favorite things ever.
Blackball (Flix, 10 p.m.): “A rambunctious Englishman tries out for the national lawn-bowling team in a bid to beat rival Australia.” I mean, can you even imagine how rambunctious this Englishman would have to be to take on the Australians? Why, I bet he doesn’t even properly knot his cravat! (You knot cravats, right? Man, sometimes it’s like I’m not even English at all.)
World Series: Game 6: Giants at Royals (Fox, 8 p.m.): The last time the Kansas City Royals returned home facing a do-or-die Game 6 in World Series, all that happened was one of the most controversial calls in baseball history. So yeah, if history is any guide, this one ought to be memorable, hopefully for slightly better reasons.
Gravity Falls: Yes, another episode escaped from the Disney vaults. And this one had some pretty huge implications for the show’s mythology! Alasdair Wilkins will have the review up shortly, so just hold the line until then.