This Week's TV: Proof that We Live in a Golden Age of Television Weirdness

American Horror Story is back, and quite possibly twice as insane as last season. Plus Walking Dead ups the ante, proving that basic cable horror is a flourishing genre at last. We get an intense look inside the making of Hitchcock's The Birds. And it turns out that if you write to Dracula instead of Santa, you get a brand new friend. Also back this week: Tron: Uprising and Nikita.

Check out tons of details and clips from this week's brand new TV shows, right here.

Top image: American Horror Story: Asylum.

Today:

Adventure Time (7:30 PM, Cartoon Network):
This might be the funniest Marceline clip yet, and that's saying something. Seriously, I almost injured myself when she says they're working on a song together. Apparently this is an episode where "Ice King and Marceline bond over memories." Followed by Regular Show and Annoying Orange.

Alphas (8 PM, Syfy):
As you might have seen in our exclusive clip this morning, Summer Glau is back. And it seems like Rosen's quest for vengeance is still ramping up:

An Alpha prisoner is kidnapped and interrogated by Rosen, who is still reeling from the death of his daughter; and Harken and Gary track down Skylar, but freeing her from Parish's clutches proves tricky.

Crash & Bernstein (8:30 PM, Disney XD):
More crazy puppet-come-to-life action, in this kid-friendly version of Ted. Check out a somewhat groan-inducing clip at left, and here are the details:

Crash tries to help Wyatt overcome his fear of bugs. Meanwhile, Amanda plans to see a horror movie.

Revolution (10 PM, NBC):
Since this show seems to be alternating one great episode and one not-so-great episode, we're due for a terrific hour of television! Luckily, the promo already shows Miles interacting with Captain Neville, which means two great actors on screen together. Fingers crossed...

MILES, CHARLIE AND COMPANY ARE ON THE VERGE OF REACHING DANNY - KIM RAVER ('GREY'S ANATOMY') AND JEFF FAHEY ('LOST') GUEST STAR - As the gang nears Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) and his men, their hopes of finding Danny (Graham Rogers) grow until a shocking discovery threatens to impede their efforts. Meanwhile, orders from Monroe (David Lyons) have upped the value of Danny's life and Nora (Daniella Alonso) connects with a fellow Rebel.

Also on TV tonight: A brand new Castle, on ABC at 10.


Tuesday:

Dear Dracula (7 PM, The CW):
Can this be a show about Dracula becoming an advice columnist? Please? That would be so great. Here's what it's actually about, which sounds almost as good:

Image Comics announced that Cartoon Network will be airing a one-hour animated adaptation of the graphic novel Dear Dracula. This OGN was originally published in 2008 under Image's Shadowline imprint. It was written by Josh Williamson and drawn by Vicente "Vinny" Navarrete. The story follows a boy named Sam with an unusual obsession with vampires. This peculiar interest leads Sam to write a Christmas letter to Dracula rather than Santa Claus. And naturally, Dracula arrives at Sam's house to whisk him away and turn him into a vampire.

Also on TV tonight: There's a new Looney Tunes Show on Cartoon Network at 8 PM.


Wednesday:

Arrow (8 PM, The CW):
How will this show build on the Batmania of the pilot? With its first full-fledged supervillain:

KELLY HU GUEST STARS AS DC COMICS VILLAIN CHINA WHITE - Oliver (Stephen Amell) heads to the courthouse to get his death certificate repealed and is pleasantly surprised to run into Laurel (Katie Cassidy), who is there prosecuting Martin Somers (guest star Ty Olsson), a criminal with ties to the Chinese Triad. Oliver recognizes Martin's name from his father's book and sets his sights on taking him down. Martin orders the Triad to "take care of" Laurel so they send their top mercenary – China White (Hu) – after her, an act that culminates in a battle between Arrow and China White. Meanwhile, Moira (Susanna Thompson) and Walter (guest star Colin Salmon) ask Oliver to take over the company.

Dragons: Riders of Berk (8 PM, Cartoon Network):
In this episode, the dragons all become mysteriously ill. In possibly related news, there's a new villain named Mildew.

The Neighbors (8:30 PM, ABC):
Apparently this show is still doing quite well in the ratings, although people are predicting a similar trajectory to last year's ABC show No Ordinary Family. Here's what's up this week:

"Bathroom Etiquette" - Marty and Debbie prepare the Bird-Kersees for their kids' first day of human school. They're especially worried that little Dick Butkus will get picked on, but their anti-bullying advice backfires in ways they never anticipated. Meanwhile, Larry and Jackie are getting tired of the Weavers' endless parenting tips.

Supernatural (9 PM, The CW):
Usually when Jensen Ackles directs, that actually means it's one of the better episodes. They don't tend to throw him the weakest scripts. Fingers crossed! For now, check out a clip.

JENSEN ACKLES DIRECTS - Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) investigate a string of unusual murders where the victims were all recipients of organs from the same donor. The killer is captured, but things become even more complicated when the brothers find their killer in a trance mumbling an ancient prayer.

Nova (9 PM, PBS):
In "Forensics on Trial," Nova looks at how modern forensics can screw up and send innocent people to prison or even to death row. Then in Nova ScienceNow at 10 PM, we ask "Can science stop crime?"

American Horror Story (10 PM, FX):
I really think one day your grandkids are going to ask you what it was like to be alive when we had so much crazy audacious television coming on all the time — especially shit like American Horror Story. And hopefully, you're going to answer, "It was amazing. I had no life." Because this moment demands our full attention. As you probably know, AHS is coming back as a completely different show, with a lot of the same cast. This season opener is written by Tim Minear, who wrote Firefly's "Out of Gas," and here's what's up:

Welcome to Briarcliff Manor, a notorious insane asylum home to the deranged serial killer, Bloody Face. Lurking in the shadows of this "sanctuary of healing" are terrifying evils that blur the boundaries between reality and insanity.

Also on TV tonight: A new Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu on Cartoon Network at 7:30 PM. And an all-new South Park on Comedy Central at 10 PM.


Thursday:

The Vampire Diaries (8 PM, The CW):
I really loved the season premiere, even though I haven't had time to recap it yet. But I'm wondering if there'll be any follow up about everybody who exploded? I guess we'll see. For now, here's a clip, and here's the synopsis:

A NEW DANGER COMES TO TOWN - Elena (Nina Dobrev) tries to cope with the extreme highs and lows that are part of becoming a vampire, and Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) almost come to blows while arguing about what is best for her. Damon decides to help Elena in his own way and asks her not to tell Stefan. A stranger, Connor Jordan (guest star Todd Williams, "Chicago Code"), arrives in town and begins questioning Sheriff Forbes and Mayor Lockwood. Connor's actions quickly convince Stefan that they are dealing with a dangerous vampire hunter. Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) and Matt (Zach Roerig) are surprised to see a girl they used to know, April, (guest star Grace Phipps, "The Nine Lives of Chloe King"), has returned to town and is enrolling at Mystic Falls High. At a town gathering, Elena comes close to losing control until Caroline steps in to help her. Finally, Damon confides his feelings to an unexpected friend.

Last Resort (8 PM, ABC):
Kind of surprised it took this long for Marcus to be charged officially with treason:

"Voluntold" - Even as Marcus and Sam learn that they have been charged with treason against the United States, a greater threat within their own crew is brewing. Meanwhile, an old friend of Sam's, Paul Wells (guest star Jay Hernandez, "Hostel"), pays Christine a visit and tries to ease her fears about her husband.

Big Bang Theory (8 PM, CBS):
Wow that was a short space voyage:

"The Re-Entry Minimization" - When Wolowitz returns from space, he doesn't get the hero's welcome he expected. Meanwhile, Game Night turns into a battle of the sexes.

Person of Interest (9 PM, CBS):
We're back to "number of the week" episodes, except that we now know a ton more about the machine and its weird relationship with Finch. This week:

"Masquerade" - With Finch back in the Library, Reese returns to field work, only to face his toughest case yet - protecting the privileged daughter of a Brazilian diplomat.

Beauty and the Beast (9 PM, The CW):
They should just reshow the pilot every week, because there's no way this show could top that Sexpocalypse. But instead, they're going to try... with ballerina murder!

CAT INVESTIGATES THE MURDER OF A BALLERINA - When a rising young ballerina mysteriously falls to her death, Vincent (Jay Ryan) senses that the understudy, Victoria (Elizabeth Blackmore), is hiding information about the dancer's murder. Cat (Kristin Kreuk) and Tess (Nina Lisandrello) discover that the victim tried to file a police report for an assault. Meanwhile, Cat seeks out Vincent's help to decipher a medical paper found in her mother's belongings, and J.T. (Austin Basis) worries that Cat's visits to the warehouse loft leave Vincent vulnerable to discovery by Muirfield's agents. Catherine encourages Vincent to help her investigate deeper into the Muirfield project, but when Vincent refuses, Cat investigates on her own, until her computer is wiped clean by a malicious virus. Tess tries her hand at dating again, but soon discovers that she's unknowingly involved with a married man. Heather (Nicole Gale Anderson) moves out of Cat's apartment after growing uncomfortable with her sister's quest for more answers about their mother's death.

Misfits (10 PM, Logo):
This is the "fame whore" episode, where our heroes all become hugely famous, and they encounter their first supervillain: the Magneto of Milk.

Also on TV tonight: A new episode of Mad on Cartoon Network at 8, and a new Elementary on CBS at 10.


Friday:

Transformers Prime (7 PM, The Hub):
This week:

Starscream proposes a truce with Megatron, but Dreadwing threatens to stand in the way, and Megatron does not trust Starscream as well, going so far as to look into his mind to find out his true intentions.

Tron Uprising (7:30 PM, Disney XD):
Note new timeslot! This time around, "Occupation arrests an innocent program falsely accused of being The Renegade. Beck tries to rescue Zed and Mara in a new roadster when they get involved in a dispute." And that's followed by a brand new Motorcity at 8:30 PM.

Grimm (9 PM, NBC):
We continue to spend a lot of time with Sasha Roiz, which is always good news.

Nick (David Giuntoli) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) are called to the scene of a murdered high school academic decathlete and learn just how competitive some extracurricular activities can be, and the extremes some coaches and parents will go to give students the best chance for success. In other police matters, Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) deals with an unwanted infatuation while we learn an old accomplice of his has been spending time with his family in Europe. Elsewhere, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) continues to manage the spice shop and gets a visit from an unlikely customer.

Nikita (9 PM, The CW):
This show is back! Every time I watch Nikita, I'm amazed at how "spy-fi" it actually is, with the mind control and the crazy devices and so on. And it's usually crazy fun. This time around, we're dealing with the "dirty 30," which just sounds, well, dirty.

NEW DIVISION. NEW LEADERSHIP - Ryan (Noah Bean) takes charge of Division with Nikita (Maggie Q) by his side. Their first mission under the new regime is to bring in "The Dirty Thirty," the rogue agents who failed to respond to the Division recall after Percy was killed. Unfortunately, their first mission doesn't go as planned and Michael (Shane West) is arrested, forcing Nikita to change gears and hatch an escape plan for him. Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) reprises her alter ego, the spoiled Russian princess Alexandra Udinov, in a very unique way as part of the plan to spring Michael. Meanwhile, Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) struggles to maintain a working relationship with Sonya (guest star Lyndie Greenwood), despite his growing attraction to her.

Haven (10 PM, Syfy):
It's "Double Jeopardy":

A female vigilante comes to Haven and starts attacking criminals—including Duke.

Also on TV tonight: At 10 PM, Nicktoons has a brand new Monsuno, followed by a new Dragon Ball GT at 10:30.


Saturday:

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (9:30 AM, Cartoon Network):
Check out a clip, in which Steela and Saw Gerrera fight to free Onderon from the Separatists. In this episode, "A surprising ally comes forward to help the rebels prevent the execution of Onderon's true king."

DC Nation (10 AM, Cartoon Network):
Whoops. Didn't realize that DC Nation had been yanked until January 2013, for reasons that are unclear. Thanks to everybody who chimed in in comments!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (11 AM, Nickelodeon):
We're going to meet this show's version of Baxter Stockman:

When the Turtles sneak out against Splinter's wishes to see a movie with April, they instead battle Baxter Stockman, a deranged inventor in mechanical battle armor. But is this man all that he appears to be?

Bedlam (9 PM, BBC America):
This time around:

Ellie foresees a hitch that could ruin Reeta's wedding day. Dan works his magic on the bride-to-be and has already proved himself indispensable to Warren, who further fears for his sanity after images of Kate plaster his walls.

Also on TV today: A new Ben 10: Omniverse on Cartoon Network at 9 AM. New episodes of Robot and Monster and Power Rangers on Nickelodeon starting at 12:30 PM. A brand new Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters at 2 PM on The Hub. Also, a new R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series on The Hub at 6 PM.


Sunday:

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (11:30 AM, Disney XD):
This show is almost over, since Marvel is getting ready to replace it with a new version that's closer to their hit movie franchise. For now:

The Avengers try to save the sun from being torn in half by aliens who are attempting to link the Earth's solar system to their own.

Once Upon a Time (8 PM, ABC):
I love that this show can support synopses that include things like "the dwarves try to find fairy dust in the Storybrooke mine":

"The Crocodile" - Belle's disgust over Mr. Gold's continuing thirst for power comes to a head, and she threatens to leave him if he can't change his evil ways; the dwarves pick up their axes and try to find fairy dust in the Storybrooke mine; and a reunion with an old acquaintance could prove to be Belle's undoing. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin attempts to save his wife, Milah, from being kidnapped by a band of cutthroat pirates.

The Girl (9 PM, HBO):
This docudrama is worth mentioning because it sounds like it's going to feature a lot of stuff about the making of The Birds, as you can see in the clip at left. Here's the skinny:

THE GIRL: Starring Toby Jones and Sienna Miller, this film tells the story of Alfred Hitchcock's obsessive relationship with his leading lady, Tippi Hedren, during the making of the "The Birds" and "Marnie." A complex tale of power, obsession and the price exacted for stardom, the drama is directed by Julian Jarrold from a script by Gwyneth Hughes.

The Walking Dead (9 PM, AMC):
Can this show build off its strong season opener? Check out a clip from next week's episode, in which "Carol attempts to aid a wounded Hershel." And here's what to expect: "Traumatic events leave a life hanging in the balance, while the survivors deal with a new threat."

666 Park Ave. (10 PM, ABC):
Good thing you can always scrub your mind from the horrors of Walking Dead with this relatively cozy show about a cursed luxury apartment building where everybody is tempted to make naughty deals. This week: "Hero Complex" -

Henry learns that Gavin is under investigation for questionable real estate transactions, and must choose between loyalty to his boss or his friendship with Gavin. Jane, unaware of Henry's dilemma, has her own decision to make after she discovers the identity of the thief at The Drake. Meanwhile, the eerie apparition of the little girl reappears with a warning about the contents of the suitcase Jane retrieved, and Nona is troubled by alarming visions of Henry's future. Finally, Annie begs for Gavin's help when her "creation" of Kandinsky goes awry, and he offers her a dangerous quid pro quo as a solution.

Questionable real estate deals! Well, I never.

Adult Swim (Midnight, Cartoon Network):
There's a new Robot Chicken ("Disemboweled by an Orphan"), followed at 12:15 by a brand new Superjail!, "Stickydischarge."

Also on TV today: The usual round of animated shows on Fox from 7:30 to 10, including The Simpsons. Also, a brand new Mythbusters on Discovery at 8 PM.

Sources: Futon Critic, MSN TV, TV Guide, and various TV studio press releases.