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The Globe and Mail

TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: Oct. 18

A select viewing guide for Thursday, Oct. 18

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COMEDY Parks & Recreation Citytv, 8:30 p.m.; NBC, 9:30 p.m. Nobody can ever say Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) doesn’t care about her constituents. The newly-elected member of Pawnee city council shifts into crisis mode in tonight’s new episode when she learns of an STD outbreak among the town’s senior citizens. Her solution: A sex-education class complete with a scary slide show. Elsewhere, the annoying bureaucrat Tom (Aziz Ansari) is forced to adapt to life without technology and Ben (Adam Scott) and April (Aubrey Plaza) finally meet the mysterious Congressman Murray. Still the funniest show on Thursday nights.

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DRAMA Elementary CBS, Global, 10 p.m. Sometimes the stars align for a new series based on an old idea. A new spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, this show has been pulling in impressive ratings since its debut last month. And the literary sleuth never had to deal with cases this unpleasant. Tonight, Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu) are called in by New York police to consult on the search for a serial killer who preys on children. Why is the killer known as “The Balloon Man?” Because he leaves a signature batch of balloons at the scene of each murder.

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MOVIE What’s Eating Gilbert Grape APTN, 9 p.m. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom, this 1993 drama was an early testing ground for now-superstars Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio. Depp plays the moody young man Gilbert Grape, who resides in a sleepy small town with his morbidly-obese mother (Darlene Cates) and his mentally-challenged brother Arnie (DiCaprio). Gilbert is having a bland affair with the married woman Betty (Mary Steenburgen) but is smitten with the newcomer Becky (Juliette Lewis). But life gets even more complicated when Betty’s husband is found dead and some of the townsfolk think Gilbert is responsible. A moving story beautifully photographed.

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DRAMA Person of Interest CBS, Citytv, 9 p.m. One of the few breakout hit network series from last season, this moody crime drama continues to draw a huge audience each Thursday night, likely because the show’s writers are changing up the storylines. In tonight’s new episode, the enigmatic computer genius Finch (Michael Emerson) is back home safe and sound following his recent abduction, which leaves his hired gun Reese (Jim Caviezel) free to pursue other work. His first freelance job: protecting the privileged daughter of a billionaire Brazilian diplomat. Nice work if you can get it.

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SCIENCE The Nature of Things CBC, 8 p.m. Talk about your Canadian TV staples. This earnest documentary series covering the science and nature worlds debuted in 1960 and still ranks among CBC’s most-watched programs. Tonight’s season-opener travels to Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Canada, where wolves have survived for thousands of years by feeding on the local buffalo herds. Renowned wildlife filmmaker Jeff Turner focuses primarily on one pack of wolves, the Delta Pack, over the four seasons and shows how burgeoning industrial energy developments in the region could impact on the wolves for generations to come. Watch and learn.

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