Don't dare miss "The Re turned" (9 p.m., Sundance, TV-MA). A smart, suspenseful, deeply creepy

supernatural thriller that avoids obvious gore and morbid cliches, it is nothing less than a television event.

While "The Walking Dead" has scored

ratings gold with rotting corpses and stumbling zombies, "The Returned" asks viewers to ponder the personal, emotional and spiritual aspects of a profound mystery.

Four years after a horrific school bus accident claims the lives of scores of students, one of them, 15-year-old Camille (Yara Pilartz), simply walks home and greets her mother as if she had never left. Her twin sister, Lena (Jenna Thiam), now 19, recoils in horror at her sister's presence and her parents' attempt to act "normal." The dead aren't supposed to come back. Here, even the dead know that.

And Camille is not alone.

Over the course of eight epi-

sodes, airing Thursdays at 9 p.m., we learn the back story of other "returned" characters. A handsome young man killed on his wedding day. A small, seemingly mute boy who literally haunts an emotionally fragile nurse. We also discover that one or more of the returned may be linked to a series of gruesome attacks that stopped some seven years before.

And why is the water behind the town's dam suddenly receding, revealing more long-drowned secrets?

Featuring a haunting soundtrack, credible, matter-of-fact dialogue and frequent moments of powerful silence, "The Re turned" makes the most of its setting, an Alpine village that's picturesque and vaguely eerie. Not unlike the Stephen King mystery "Under the Dome," the insular town itself becomes a major character. But "The Returned" is much more understated than any King tale. It's nearly stripped of any overtly gothic affectations. It's the realism and icy modernity that get under your skin.

Presented in French with English subtitles, "The Re turned" is already an acclaimed international hit -- and with much justification. A&E plans to turn it into an American series. But there's no reason to wait for that.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

---"Saturday Night Live" presents "SNL Halloween" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

---Linus preaches his peculiar, alternative beliefs in the 1966 holiday special "It's the Great Pump kin, Charlie Brown" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-G).

---Even patients get into the costumed spirit on "Grey's Anatomy" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).

---Contestants take inspiration from a museum's insect and spider collection on "Project Runway All Stars" (9 p.m., Lifetime, TV-PG).

---Holmes and Watson seek Gregson's home invader on "Ele- mentary" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

---Adam and Kristina need family backing on "Parenthood" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).

---Rep. Marcus comes under scrutiny on "Scandal" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).

---Henry needs Calder's help on "Covert Affairs" (10 p.m., USA, TV-14).

CULT CHOICE

Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon and Meat Loaf camp it up in the 1975 horror spoof musical "The Rocky Horror Pic ture Show" (6 p.m. and 8 p.m., Ovation).

SERIES NOTES

---The guys attend a comic book convention on "The Big Bang Theory" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG).

---A gala recalls the old days on "The Vampire Diaries" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).

---Tricks and treats on "The Millers" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).

---Sydney's old flame becomes a rival on "The Crazy Ones" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

---Sean feigns injury on "Sean Saves the World" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).

---Scotland's borders are besieged on "Reign" (9 p.m., CW, TV-PG).

---Tenure struggles on "The Big Bang Theory" (9:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

---Inn-keeping on "The Michael J. Fox Show" (9:30 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).

LATE NIGHT

---Mark Fainaru-Wada is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).

---Rachel McAdams and Norman Reedus appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).

---Kat Dennings, Dan Levy, Fortune Feimster and Loni Love are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).

---Sheng Wang is booked on "Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell" (11 p.m., FXX).

---Bill Bryson sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).

---Halloween is the theme of "The Arsenio Hall Show" (WPMT, WPHL).

---Harrison Ford, Halloween costumes and Holy Ghost! appear on "Late Show With David Letter man" (11:35 p.m., CBS).

---Jay Leno welcomes Matthew McConaughey, Eli Roth and the Fray on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).

---Mindy Kaling and Rob Zombie appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC).

---Kerry Washington, Flynn McGarry and Amel Larrieux visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).

---Craig Ferguson hosts Ben Kingsley and Anne Rice on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).

Kevin McDonough can be reached at kevin.tvguy@gmail.com.