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TV: Five Shows Worth Watching Tonight: Oct. 31

A Select Viewing Guide for Wednesday October 31

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REALITY: Toddlers & Tiaras (TLC, 7 p.m.) Looking for something really scary this All Hallow’s Eve? Now in its fifth season, this bizarre series about very young kids competing in beauty pageants is famous all over again courtesy of six-year-old pageant contestant Alana Thompson, aka “Honey Boo Boo.” Since spinning off into her own TLC reality series, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, the cherubic tot and her redneck clan have become the biggest stars on U.S. cable and don’t be surprised to see a good number of trick-or-treaters dressed up like her this Halloween. The kid works her stuff in this rebroadcast T&T episode filmed last winter at the Precious Moments Pageant in Atlanta, where her stiffest competition comes from pageant veteran Heaven, also six, whose specialty is chewing gum and blowing bubbles on stage.

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CARTOON: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (ABC, 8 p.m.) Originally broadcast way back in 1966, this special has become a Halloween viewing tradition for many people. The simplistic story finds the entire Peanuts gang gearing up for the annual candy handout, with the exception of Linus, who is penning his annual letter to The Great Pumpkin, a creature he believes flies all over the world to deliver presents to good little boys and girls. When the big night arrives, Charlie Brown receives rocks in his treat bag and is rudely insulted at the kids’ Halloween party, while Linus waits out in the local pumpkin patch accompanied by Charlie’s naïve sister Sally. The lesson here: Hell hath no fury like a woman cheated out of Halloween candy.

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DRAMA: Criminal Minds (CBS, CTV, 9 p.m.) TV’s grisliest crime procedural is on the road again in tonight’s new episode. FBI stalwart David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) and his Behavioural Analysis Unit roll on down to rural Oregon to investigate the disappearance of four people. How could four men with no connection whatsoever between them suddenly vanish into thin air? Meanwhile, BAU team member JJ (A.J. Cook) is concerned when her young son announces he doesn’t want to celebrate Halloween this year. Watch for former House regular Anne Dudek as a local farmer drawn into the investigation.

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DRAMA: Nashville (ABC, CTV Two, 10 p.m.) Looks like ABC may have overestimated the appeal of country music among the American viewing public. Although Nashville was far and away the best-reviewed drama of the new TV season and drew impressive ratings of nearly 10-million U.S. viewers for its debut, the program had lost nearly 30 per cent of its audience by the second episode, which does not bode well for full-season renewal. For those following the show, the story moves into a bizarre direction in tonight’s show when the fading country star Rayna (Connie Britton) performs at a fundraiser with her ex-lover Deacon (Charles Esten) in support of the mayoral campaign for her husband Teddy (Eric Close). Elsewhere, Rayna’s country music heir apparent Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) tries to solidify her wholesome image with an interview on Good Morning America.

ABC

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MOVIE: The Wolf Man (TCM, 11:15 p.m. ET; 8:15 p.m. PT) The late Lon Chaney Jr. couldn’t possibly measure up to his father’s silent-film cinema legacy, but he did make one memorable movie appearance. In this solid 1941 thriller, Chaney the younger assumes the role of Larry Talbot, a decent chap who returns to his ancestral home in Wales to reconcile with his father Sir John (Claude Rains). While rescuing a girl from a wolf attack, Larry is bitten on the chest and is informed by the gypsy fortuneteller Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya) that he will become a werewolf by the next full moon. Larry scoffs, but when the moon comes out he’s transformed into a hairy man-beast and begins running around tearing villagers to shreds. The werewolf transformation by makeup legend Jack Pierce (who also created Frankenstein and The Mummy) remakes frightful as ever.

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