‘Freak Show’ and ‘Walking Dead’ Kick off Spooky TV Season

The season of pumpkin spice (formerly known as autumn) is upon us, and with it comes some favorite shows to scare your pants off.

(L) American Horror Story: Freak Show (R) The Walking Dead
(L) American Horror Story: Freak Show (R) The Walking Dead

The season of pumpkin spice (formerly known as autumn) is upon us, and with it comes some favorite shows to scare your pants off. First up this week is American Horror Story: Freak Show (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. Wednesday, FX). This season of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s creepy anthology series takes place in 1952 Jupiter, Fla., at one of the last running sideshows in the country. Returning from previous seasons are Sarah Paulson, playing conjoined twins Bette and Dot; Kathy Bates as a bearded lady; Angela Bassett as woman with three breasts; Evan Peters as a man with ectrodactyly (giving him lobster claw-like hands); plus many more returning actors and newbies, all led by Jessica Lange in her final AHS performance. Fittingly, Lange’s Elsa Mars, a former German cabaret performer, runs the joint. Freak Show marks the first crossover character from another AHS season: Naomi Grossman’s Pepper was apparently a freak performer before her unfortunate time at the Asylum in the ’60s.

Then we’ve got the return of The Walking Dead (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. Sunday, AMC). Season Five promises immediate action and drama, perhaps a final attempt to hush complaints of the series being “too slow.” Our main crew deals with troubles at Terminus, while Beth is held captive by an unknown group at a hospital. Prepare for ever-decaying zombies, a mysterious priest and the group’s journey for a cure in Washington, D.C. Chris Hardwick’s Talking Dead after-show is back at 10 p.m.

As AMC’s cash cow returns, a Walking Dead spinoff is in the works, following a different group of survivors in another part of the country, possibly earlier on in the outbreak. Expect plenty of casting rumors and innocuous plot speculations leading up to its anticipated 2015 premiere.


Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – Phil finishes editing Mitch and Cam’s wedding video for a family screening when he discovers recorded proof that he is the cause of a nasty cold that’s spread around the fam. Jay, Gloria and Coach Cameron struggle with Manny’s football woes. Mitchell competes with a child.

The League (10 p.m., FXX) – The NFL observes Breast Cancer Awareness Month with an injection of pink, and Andre follows suit with his wardrobe.


Donut Showdown (9 p.m., Cooking Channel) – Local breakfast hero Holtman’s Donuts takes on two other dough pros for a shot at $10,000.

Inside Homicide (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery) – Cameras follow Cincinnati detectives Jenny Luke and Jennifer Mitsch, plus another from Atlanta, as they work the homicide unit: interrogating suspects, questioning witnesses and investigating crimes.

Parenthood (10 p.m., NBC) – Zeek moves forward with surgery plans; Amber tells Ryan the baby news.


Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (10 p.m., Food Network) – So many locals on the TV this week! This much-anticipated OTR episode is the show’s first to focus on just one city. Watch as Guy Fieri dines at Senate, Bakersfield and Taste of Belgium — and as the Gateway District loses some street-cred.

The Knick (10 p.m., Cinemax) – The hospital finds itself in a bad PR situation, and Robertson must pay to keep things quiet. Lucy gets pulled deeper into Thackery’s addiction while Mrs. Gallinger’s condition worsens.


Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Bill Hader returns to his old digs to host for the first time, leaving fans hoping for a Stefon appearance. Irish musician Hozier performs.


Boardwalk Empire (9 p.m., HBO) – With only three episodes left in the series, Chalky sets out to rescue Daughter Maitland; Eli and Van Alden are forced into the takedown of Capone; Nucky drowns his sorrows and recalls more from his young adulthood.


Marry Me (Series Premiere, 9 p.m., NBC) – The pairing of Ken Marino and Casey Wilson alone makes this offering from Happy Endings’ David Caspe a must-see. A series of botched proposals and heated fights prevents a longtime couple from making the next big step.

Sons of Anarchy (10 p.m., FX) – The guest stars this season certainly haven’t disappointed — Marilyn Manson as an incarcerated member of the Aryan Brotherhood, Courtney Love as a preschool teacher, Jenna Jameson as … a porn star — and this week brings Glee’s Lea Michele as a trashy waitress! Elsewhere, Jax exacts revenge as the club’s loyalties shift.

CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected] or @jackern

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