TV tonight: 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'

8:26 PM, Oct 31, 2013   |    comments
Charlie Brown and Snoopy await the annual appearance of the Great Pumpkin, due Thursday at 8 ET/PT on ABC. (Photo: United Features Syndicate)
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Saturday Night Live Halloween | NBC, 8 ET/PT

Tonight might be the last night of October on your calendar, but on the TV calendar, it's the first night of the November sweeps - and NBC is celebrating with this Halloween-themed clip show from Saturday Night Live. Maybe someone will at least dress up like an African-American woman.

GALLERY: November sweeps preview

CRITIC'S CORNER CHAT: Read the latest transcript, tweet early questions to @BiancoRobert using hashtag #AskBianco

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown | ABC, 8 ET/PT

Out of the many Peanuts specials, two are most deserving of that "special" title: The first, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and the third, this Halloween outing from 1966. As you might expect given the differences in the holidays, Pumpkin is not as outwardly religious as Christmas, but in its own way, it is almost equally (if much more subtly) spiritual. As Linus takes his usual Halloween place in the pumpkin patch, certain he will finally be visited by the Great Pumpkin, the show offers a kid-sized meditation on faith -- its strength and, maybe, its limits. But don't let the theme scare your children off. Like the best Peanuts cartoons, Pumpkin is also the epitome of sweet, gentle, funny family entertainment.

The Returned | Sundance, 9 ET/PT

Adults looking for a more mature way to mark the holiday should consider this eight-part import (shown with subtitles) from France, which is a rarity in itself. Based on the film Les Revenants, this French twist on the current zombie craze is set in a quiet mountain town that is suddenly visited by a few formerly dead residents.


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