A problem with Fox's coverage of the World Series (aside from the wrong teams always seeming to play in it) is that since the Fall Classic now routinely extends into November, the network is forced to put off many of its Halloween episodes until the time when all of us have mentally moved on to Thanksgiving and Christmas. But even a bit late, the annual "Treehouse of Horror" from The Simpsons is one of those perennials on the TV calendar we wouldn't dream of missing. Where did these last 21 years go? And how come I look so much older and Bart never does?
This season's frightful entry (Fox, Sunday 8 p.m.) makes good use of a pair of guest voices. Daniel Radcliffe is cast against supernatural type as a vampire who charms the unlucky-at-love Lisa; while Hugh Laurie plays a castaway who creates complications as Homer and Marge are away on a second honeymoon cruise (seems kind of pricey for Homer). Also, Bart and Millhouse find that board games can raise as much havoc as videogames. In all truth, this probably won't be as scary as The Walking Dead, but at least you'll be able to safely eat while watching it.
Also this week:
Monday: Chuck (NBC, 8 p.m.): Does Timothy Dalton count as stunt casting, considering how few people even remember that he was briefly James Bond? I suppose Chuck will take whatever boost it can get. Chuck's decision to go off on his own puts him in the path of the bumbling bureaucrat (Dalton) who handles Mama Bartowski.
Tuesday: Running Russell Simmons (Oxygen, 10 p.m.): Both his ex-wife and his brother have had reality shows; now it's the turn of the Def Jam founder and all-around entrepreneur, who shares the spotlight here with a band of harried assistants. The premiere finds Simmons dividing his attention between a fashion shoot for his label and a charity event.
Wednesday: Hellcats (CW, 9 p.m.): The Hellcats commemorate their anniversary by throwing an '80s party, which I guess means everyone will be costumed like either Madonna or Crockett & Tubbs -- just like all of us actually dressed in the '80s! Also, Savannah (Ashley Tisdale) might go all the way with Dan. OK, that part does remind me of the '80s.
Thursday: Private Practice (ABC, 10 p.m.): This series hasn't done much in its four seasons that's memorable, so it's worth mentioning when Private Practice gives one of its stars, in this case KaDee Strickland (Charlotte), a true showcase. Charlotte is raped and beaten after a lunatic shows up in the ER, leaving her traumatized and her colleagues at a loss.
Friday: CSI: NY (CBS, 9 p.m.): A sniper is using New York rooftops to conduct his business -- wow, good luck narrowing this one down -- and Mac (Gary Sinise) believes that this new case may be related to trauma relating to an abduction he dealt with in the past. John Larroquette guest stars as Mac's departmental antagonist.
Saturday: Outlaw (NBC, 8 p.m.): NBC has pushed the final few episodes of this ridiculous-on-its-face series (Supreme Court justice quits the bench to become a crusading attorney) to Saturday nights. Is closure really important when so few viewers were ever aware that you opened? This week, Garza (Jimmy Smits) becomes agitated when a gang shooting occurs at a school named after him.