Worth Watching: Halloween on ABC Sitcoms, ‘Sherman’s Showcase’ Returns, ‘Tree of Life’ Documentary

A candy thief at Abbott Elementary is part of the Halloween fun on ABC’s seasonal night of Wednesday night’s sitcom lineup. IFC’s rollicking Soul Train homage Sherman’s Showcase returns with a new season of pop-culture parody. An HBO documentary profiles the Pittsburgh community rocked by the 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. New animated Star Wars shorts tell more tales of the Jedi.

'Abbott Elementary' Cast in Season 2

Abbott Elementary


As the Emmy-winning centerpiece of ABC’s Wednesday night comedy lineup, Abbott marks its first Halloween on air with the caper of a student candy thief who’s distributing his ill-gotten goods during school hours. Off-campus, Janine (Quinta Brunson) attends a friend’s Halloween party, where she reassesses where she is in life. More Halloween shenanigans on The Conners (8/7c), where Dan (John Goodman) encourages the family to decorate the house like in the good old days. The Goldbergs (8:30/7:30c) salutes 1980s Halloween movies with a jump-scare treatment of Geoff’s (Sam Lerner) fear of Beverly’s (Wendi McLendon-Covey) helicopter-grandma potential. Shades of Misery on Home Economics (9:30/8:30c), when author Tom (Topher Grace) dreads meeting his #1 fan.

Bashir Salahuddin in 'Sherman's Showcase'

Sherman’s Showcase

Season Premiere10:30/9:30c

Relive the highs and lows of a fictional Soul Train-style music-variety show in the second season of the inspired satire. Insecure’s Issa Rae guest stars as Iman as the season opener takes aim at high fashion in Glendale on the set of Sherman McDaniels’ (Bashir Salahuddin) purportedly iconic series. Other highlights include an Ocean’s Eleven spoof featuring send-ups of Mary J. Blige, Lil Kim, and others, and a quirky parody of Wes Anderson films.

A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Documentary Premiere

Pittsburgh natives Michael Keaton, Billy Porter, and Mark Cuban are among the executive producers of a documentary that profiles the Pittsburgh community shattered by the 2018 murder of 11 people inside the local Tree of Life Synagogue by a gunman in a horrific act of anti-Semitic hatred. The film shows how the community came together to heal, rebuild, and decide how best to move forward and seek justice.

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

Tales Of The Jedi

Series Premiere

For those Star Wars fans who are always eager to dive back into the franchise’s mythology, a six-episode anthology of animated shorts from the prequel era focus on two very different Jedi. The episodes are split into alternate paths: that of Ahsoka Tano (voiced by Ashley Eckstein), apprentice to Anakin Skywalker, and the more sinister journey of Count Dooku (Corey Burton), before he inevitably succumbs to the Force’s dark side.

Cate Blanchett and Harriet Walter in 'Documentary Now!'

Documentary Now!


Even if you’ve never heard of the 1994 fly-on-the-wall documentary Three Salons at the Seaside, chances are you’ll delight in this meticulously filmed homage, written by Seth Meyers, that captures the mundane happenings within a British village hair salon. Harriet Walter is Edwina, the prickly proprietor, and an almost unrecognizable Cate Blanchett is her awkward assistant, who hopes to make a good impression by putting together this year’s stylebook. (That subplot is a warped variation on 2009’s Vogue documentary The September Issue.)

Inside Wednesday TV:

  • The Masked Singer (8/7c, Fox): Miss Piggy shakes up the judging panel on Muppets Night, with special appearances by Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Animal and other felt friends.
  • Property Brothers: Forever Home (9/8c, HGTV): In the Season 7 premiere, Drew and Jonathan Scott help turn a home that hasn’t been updated since the 1980s into a modern space to celebrate a family’s Hispanic heritage.
  • Kung Fu (9/8c, The CW): On the eve of reopening Harmony Dumplings, an ominous threat puts a pall over the Shens’ celebration.
  • Jay Leno’s Garage (10/9c, CNBC): President Joe Biden guests on the season finale, inviting Jay to the secret service training ground to discuss electric cars.
  • Reginald the Vampire (10/9c, Syfy): A 1972 flashback replays the fateful meeting when Angela (Savannah Basley) sired Maurice (Mandela Van Peebles).
  • The Good Nurse (streaming on Netflix): Jessica Chastain is Amy, a hard-working nurse and single mom with a heart condition who finds friendship and support with Charlie (Eddie Redmayne), a fellow nurse who seems too good to be true. When patients start dying mysteriously, an investigation reveals that Charlie may be responsible for killing hundreds of patients during a string of hospital jobs. Good grief!
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society (streaming on Disney+): The whimsical mystery-adventure series returns, with the orphaned heroes seeking the kidnapped Mr. Benedict (Tony Hale) and Number Two (Kristen Schaal), following clues he left them in a perilous scavenger hunt in hopes of foiling the latest scheme of Benedict’s nefarious twin brother, Dr. L.D. Curtain (Hale again).