PopWatch Planner: 'The Walking Dead' and other things that go bump in the night

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Halloween is creeping up, and this week could inflict the season’s first real frights.

Cue the return of the undead on AMC, a trip to Jessica Lange’s latest house of demented evil, and a fourth paranormal encounter captured on videotape. Throw in another Bristol Palin dance performance, and you might be having real nightmares on multiple nights. The horror… the horror.

SUNDAY, Oct. 14

The Walking Dead, AMC, 9 p.m.

There will be blood when season 3 kicks off — lots and lots of it. Rick’s had enough of playing diplomat and he’s led the survivors to a prison fortress. It might be the answer to their prayers. Or it might be a prison fortress.

MONDAY, Oct. 15

Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars, ABC, 8 p.m.

I love the redundancy of the title: Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars. These are the All-Star stars, people! Have no doubt! On Monday night, Kirstie and Maks will dance the Charleston, and Bristol and Mark have to Rock ‘n’ Roll. I also love the irony that Emmitt Smith can’t watch Monday Night Football¬†because he has to dance a Bolero.

TUESDAY, Oct. 16

The second presidential debate, major networks, 9 p.m.

Since the first debate, in which President Obama seemed uncharacteristically listless, the polls have shifted. Obama’s decided lead is gone in many states, and Mitt Romney’s campaign has been energized. Joe Biden did his best last week to bring some fire to the Democrats, but folks will be tuning in to see if Obama is more focused in the town-hall style debate.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17

American Horror Story: Asylum, FX, 10 p.m.

Jessica Lange is back… in 1964. The spooky neighbor from last year’s first season has been transplanted to a church-sponsored hospital for the criminally insane. She plays Sister Jude, the head nurse in charge. Zachary Quinto will pop up again, but many of the characters are new, including those played by James Cromwell, Sarah Paulson, Adam Levine, Chloe Sevigny, and Joseph Fiennes.

THURSDAY, Oct. 18

MLB League Championship Series, TBS and FOX, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Yankees at the Tigers. Giants at the Cardinals. There’s also an NFL game tonight — Seahawks at 49ers — but a ticket to the World Series could be on the line as the American League contenders play Game 5, and the National Leaguers square off for Game 4. St. Louis, San Francisco, and New York have won the last three Series, so I’m pulling for Detroit, who hasn’t won since 1984.

FRIDAY, Oct. 19

Paranormal Activity 4 premieres in theaters

The last Paranormal opened on this weekend last year and banked a cool $52.6 million in three days. Not bad for a film that cost only $5 million to make. There’s no arguing with the formula: this time, cameras catch a spooky little boy who moves in with the Skype-happy neighbors after his mother heads to the hospital.

SATURDAY, Oct. 20

The Girl, HBO, 9 p.m.

Back in 2006, Toby Jones had the misfortune of playing Truman Capote in a movie just weeks after Philip Seymour Hoffman wowed audiences in Capote. Now he’s playing Alfred Hitchcock just as another Oscar winner — Anthony Hopkins — is poised to play the same iconic role in theaters. But at least this time, he gets to present first. Sienna Miller co-stars as The Birds‘ blonde, Tippi Hedren.

SUNDAY, Oct. 21

Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs, Comedy Central, 8 p.m

Jon Stewart and friends reunite to fight autism with this New York benefit, taped on Oct. 13. Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Katy Perry, and Seth Rogen are just a few of the big names taking part. The TV show is free, so why not make a donation to a great cause? If you call in during the show, you might even chat with Jimmy Kimmel or Jerry Seinfeld, two of the too many celebs who will be manning the phone bank.

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