Happiness is a Warm TV

What to Watch on Wednesday: ‘American Gothic’ debuts on CBS

Megan Ketch (Tessa Ross, left) and Justin Chatwin (Cam Hawthorne) in “American Gothic” on CBS.
Megan Ketch (Tessa Ross, left) and Justin Chatwin (Cam Hawthorne) in “American Gothic” on CBS. CBS

American Gothic (10 p.m., CBS) – In this new thriller series, a prominent Boston family discovers that one of its own may be behind a series of infamous grisly killings as the case of “The Silver Bells Killer” is reopened. Having watched the first two episodes, I’m conflicted. The story is certainly intriguing and it has enough twists to keep me eager to see more. Virginia Madsen, as the family’s matriarch, is particularly interesting. My two biggest complaints are the distraction of Justin Chatwin’s absolutely bizarre hair (he plays Cam, one of the adult sons in the Hawthorne family) and the overuse of Cam’s young son, a psychopathic/sociopathic serial-killer-in-training. SPOILER ALERT FOR THOSE SENSITIVE TO ANIMAL TORTURE, WHICH SHOULD BE EVERYONE: Not only is this child obsessed with death and clearly lacking in the capacity to show empathy for other living creatures, he’s also seen mutilating a neighbor’s cat (or just after the mutilation, gleefully holding a body part in his hand) and later, drawing a plan for the complete dismemberment of the same cat (who survived the first attack). And the concerned owner of the cat is portrayed as a nuisance when she complains. I can’t imagine the kid has any bearing on the main plot of the show – which person in the family might be the Silver Bells Killer from years and years ago – so I’m not sure why this is such a big part of the program. We get it, CBS. The family is weird and twisted through three generations (at least). Let’s just chill on the animal torture.

Also on tonight . . .

Big Brother (8 p.m., CBS) – Season 18 begins.

Wayward Pines (9 p.m., Fox) – Rebecca shares a shocking secret with Theo.

Greenleaf (9 p.m., OWN) – Two episodes tonight. Grace, motivated by vengeance for her sister’s death, moves back to Memphis, and later, Sen. Banks looks into the church’s finances.

Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons (10 p.m., HBO) – The debut of a new weekly talk show spanning pop culture and sports, hosted by Bill Simmons. Tonight’s guests include Ben Affleck and Charles Barkley.

Lopez (10 p.m., TV Land) – In the Season 1 finale, George fires everyone and pushes one last time for his Vegas residency show. Renewed.

The Soul Man (10:30 p.m., TV Land) – In the series finale, election day reveals the overwhelming effect of Boyce’s campaign on his family.