It's getting increasingly difficult to mine comedy from cable series when so many already seem like parodies. The new series "Ghost Mine" (10 p.m., Syfy) is a perfect example.
Set in the old gold-mining community of Sumpter, Ore., "Ghost Mine" follows the
efforts to revive the Crescent Mine, abandoned more than 80 years ago. Folks didn't give up on it because its
precious ore was
exhausted. Its reputation for supernatural activ-
ity made it too frightening to
The first 20 minutes of "Ghost Mine" unfold like any number of gold-mining shows already on cable. We meet a gaggle of hardscrabble guys seemingly allergic to bathing and shaving. They sport nicknames like Papa Smurf, Fast Eddie, Greybeard, Dingus and Greenhorn. While you'd think a task as arduous as mining would be a young man's game, this crew has the median age of an AARP convention. They also look like they were taken from central casting for an ancient TV Western. And as such, they're not without some entertainment value. There's even a colorful camp cook like the one who used to be on "Wagon Train."
As if scripted, one of the grizzled guys describes a long-held superstition against women, particularly redheaded women, entering a mine. Enter Kristen Luman, professional paranormal detective, and her partner, Patrick Doyle. Both are what the British might call "ginger."
Suddenly, the thrill of ex-
ploration and quick riches gives way to the dreary mechanics of ghost hunting. Luman and Doyle unpack their expensive equipment and spew nonsensical jargon. They wear night vision goggles and appear in ghostly, green-tinged black and white. They shout, "Did you hear that?" quite often, followed by expressions of terror and sudden flight. That noise they heard was probably the sound of intelligent viewers reaching for their remotes.
---Cable parodies are the whole point of "Kroll Show" (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central, TV-14). And they arrive at a
Nick Kroll, best known for his role on "The League," dons an impressive number of identities in ridiculous send-ups, including "PubLIZity," a Bravo-type show about two high-strung women named Liz who put on an elaborate benefit for canine cancer and get sidetracked by a plastic surgeon for dogs (also played by Kroll), who later gets his own reality show (produced by Liz and Liz).
Kroll also stars in "Wheels Ontario," a very funny spoof of the Canadian teen show "De grassi," where Kroll plays Legs, the only able-bodied student in a school for disabled teens. Look for guest stars, including Fred Armisen and Ed Helms.
Anything this rapid-fire is going to have some hit and miss moments, but "Kroll" is very much worth checking out.
---New judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban join Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson on a new season of "American Idol" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---The kids each get a day to themselves on "The Middle" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Oliver takes a sabbatical on "Arrow" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---A surprise party for Manny on "Modern Family" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Juliette and Rayna share an arena stage on "Nashville" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---A new inmate upsets everyone on "American Horror Story: Asylum" (10 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
Fresh from "NYPD Blue," David Caruso starred in the 1995 mystery "Kiss of Death" (8 p.m., Reelz), co-starring Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson and Helen Hunt.
---A grim discovery on "NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG).
---A common cold threatens "The Neighbors" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Reid hunts for his girlfriend on "Criminal Minds" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Prep school predators on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
---An angel in need on "Super natural" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---An extra mouth to feed on "Suburgatory" (9:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---A news anchor expires during a broadcast on "CSI" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---A fallen comrade on "Chica- go Fire" (10 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
---Jessica Chastain is on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Marion Cotillard, Jim Jefferies and Trampled By Turtles appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Tom Brokaw sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Buddy Guy appear on "Late Show With David Let terman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Mark Wahlberg, Ali Wentworth and JJAMZ on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Ray Romano, Amy Brenneman and Phillip Phillips appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC).
---Jeremy Renner, Hoda Kotb and Jessie Ware visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Don Cheadle and DJ Qualls on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.