A famous local legend is incorporated into tonight’s Halloween-themed episode of “Bless the Harts,” an animated sitcom set in the Triad that airs at 8:30 p.m. Sundays on Fox.
In the episode, “Cremains of the Day,” snarky teen Violet uses the legend of Lydia the phantom hitchhiker to help her mom’s boyfriend Wayne conquer his fear of ghosts. Meanwhile, the legacy of Lydia is threatened by planned demolition of the bridge where she is seen, which is “smack dab in the middle of the site for the new Highway 311 extension.” A farewell Halloween party at the bridge proves to be a dud until Brenda, a hard-partying character voiced by Charlotte native Fortune Feimster, steps in.
The series is set in a fictional town of “Greenpoint, North Carolina,” based on a combination of Greensboro and High Point; in the series, that is where Lydia’s ghost is supposedly seen, rather than Jamestown. And while Lydia’s story as depicted on the show doesn’t exactly match, there’s no question that series creator Emily Spivey was inspired by the “real” story. “There are so many nods to this area,” she said in a recent interview about the show.
Last week’s episode involved the controversy over a downtown statue, with some people wanting it taken down and others protesting that it was part of the town’s heritage, and also showed that the town was built on the tobacco industry and the local news was on “TV 12.”
Another recent episode even made reference to Violet’s desire to the attend “the high school of the arts in Winston” nearby and established that Greenpoint is in Guilford County.
The episode is part of Fox’s annual “Animation Domination” Halloween festivities airing tonight. The 30th installment of “Treehouse of Horror” on “The Simpsons,” at 8 p.m. includes Maggie as a demon; the rescue of Milhouse from another dimension; Homer dying and trying to come back in new bodies; and Selma falling in love with an alien. And in the latest Halloween episode of “Bob’s Burgers” (9 p.m.), lovelorn 13-year-old Tina schemes to kiss her crush, Jimmy Jr., during a haunted hayride.
HBO’s latest ambitious sci-fi series, “Watchmen,” debuts at 9 p.m. tonight. The series is inspired by the acclaimed 1980s comic book series of the same name, set in an alternate reality where the presence of superheroes has caused dramatic changes in society. “Watchmen” was previously turned into a big-budget 2009 theatrical film by Zack Snyder, but the series follows the continuity of the original comics instead of the film version.
Set on an alternate Earth in 2019, the series is largely based in Tulsa, Okla., where a white supremacist group inspired by Rorschach, an unhinged masked vigilante from the original story, has declared war on the police, forcing members of law enforcement to disguise their true identities. Some simply wear face-covering yellow masks (yellow being the iconic color of “Watchmen”) but others take on elaborate superhero-like alter-egos such as Sister Night, Red Scare, Pirate Jenny and Looking Glass, whose reflective mask means that people looking at him see their own reflection.
The series, created by Damon Lindelof, takes inspiration from “Watchmen” but tells its own story, with an impressive cast including Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Louis Gossett Jr., Tim Blake Nelson, Don Johnson and Jean Smart.
Plot threads from the original “Watchmen” are intertwined with new ones, and the series takes an intriguing look at what the repercussions of the events of the original would be.
If you’ve never read the original comic — which made Time Magazine’s Top 100 novels from 1923 to 2010 — some elements of the story may not make much sense at first. But it’s still a fascinating deep dive into an altered history where Robert Redford is president, superheroes are outlawed, technology is drastically different (there’s no internet but there are holograms), and the world is still recuperating from what it believes was an alien invasion 30 years earlier.
That “invasion” was in truth a faked attack on Earth meant to draw humankind together against a common foe and avoid World War III, and the cover-up of the truth is beginning to unravel. The series also incorporates real-world events such as the 1921 Tulsa race riot, in which an African American community was attacked by white mobs, and the series is more heavily involved in the subject of race relations than the original comic was.
Alan Moore, the writer of the original “Watchmen” comics, famously refuses to cooperate with any attempts to adapt his stories and is not involved in the HBO series, but original illustrator Dave Gibbons is a consulting producer.
The first season of “NOS4A2,” a twist on the vampire mythos based on a novel by Joe Hill, comes to DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday. Zachary Quinto (“Heroes,” “Star Trek”) stars as a mysterious figure who drains life force from children and exiles them into a strange dimension, with Ashleigh Cummings as a young woman with mystic abilities who tries to thwart his schemes. Bonus features include behind-the-scenes shorts, a look at the work that went into adapting the book, the rules of the fictional universe, and more.