1) The ratings success of “Once Upon a Time” instantly makes it one of the most intriguing stories of the fall season. The show could be another godsend for ABC, which has already been blessed with ratings success Tuesdays with “Last Man Standing” and Wednesdays with “Suburgatory” and “Revenge.” The questions: As Brian Lowry of Variety wonders, can the show continue to make a go of it creatively? And, will it matter, or are viewers on board for the ride no matter what?
2) Fox World Series announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver did an interesting thing last night: They made fun of Fox stars Zooey Deschanel (who earlier sang the national anthem, right), Matthew Morrison and other cast members from”New Girl” and “Glee” for leaving Sunday’s Game 4 before the seventh inning. Not sure why they picked this moment to mock Fox’s ongoing practice of flying in stars for promotional appearances, but for all the integrity it might have showed, it seemed pretty low class. Meanwhile, Deschanel and friends had to fly from Texas to Los Angeles to, you know, work.
3) Any scene with Richard (Jack Huston) is truly mesmerizing and makes the episode worth watching, but “Boardwalk Empire” went over the top with its violence Sunday. Scalping, I’m sure, seems like a good idea on paper, but onscreen it’s just horrific. And that wasn’t even the most brutal scene of the night. What’s next — drawing and quartering?
4) Showtime’s “Homeland” was strong in its fourth episode, with a key scene involving Brody (Damien Lewis) and Carrie (Claire Danes) joyfully electric and at the same time surprising.
5) As the co-author of a screenplay a decade ago that was a modern-day adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing,” former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” showrunner Joss Whedon has at once thrilled me and broken my heart with the reveal of his own “Much Ado” project, starring Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof. Combined with Disney Channel’s Cyrano adaptation, the upcoming “Let It Shine,” it’s a great time for some of my favorite classics.
7) The strange little bird that is “How To Make It in America” (left) continues to act more and more like the blue-collar “Entourage,” except that the show is as entertaining as “Entourage” aspired to be while usually falling short. There’s probably little HBO can do at this point to build the show’s same-night audience, but I wouldn’t be surprised if “HTMIiA” gets a second-life appreciation, the way Starz’ “Party Down” has.
8) Sunday’s episode had Joey Pants wrestling in full mat regalia. Like I said, the show’s a strange little bird.
9) Saturday night was a channel-flipping paradise between Albert Pujols’ three-homer World Series game and a great night of college football. To think “Rules of Engagement” would have been fighting that frenzy if “How To Be a Gentleman” had been even half-decent.