Cristela (Friday, Oct. 10, ABC), series debut: Says here that Cristela Alonzo is a “breakout star.” If that means she’s breaking out of the TV screen, grabbing you by the neck and screeching, “Laugh at my plight of being a modern Latina dealing with racism, sexism and following Tim Allen on a Friday night!!!” then, yeah. That’s the entire show. The laugh track isn’t the worst part of Cristela (it’s a close second); the by-the-numbers, My Wacky Mexi-Family one-liners weren’t fresh when George Lopez did ’em in this same network timeslot a decade ago. ABC should cancel this floater ASAP so Alonzo can go “break out” on something worth her and our time.
The Walking Dead (Sunday, Oct. 12, AMC), season premiere: Walking Dead fanatic: “Why do we have to wait so long between seasons? Whhhyyy?!” Me: “By splitting the seasons in half every year, AMC is actually minimizing the wait time—you only had to wait six months for Season 5, as opposed to 12.” WDF: “But the first half will be over in November, and then we’ll have to wait all the way until February for the second! Whhhyyy?!” Me: “December is a dead zone for TV, and January isn’t much better. If The Walking Dead ran all 16 episodes of Season 5 through the holidays, the live-viewing ratings would drop off; the season would be over in January; and, due to production schedules, you’d have to wait until 2016 for Season 6. It takes time to make a quality series—this isn’t some Z Nation bullshit.” WDF: “But …” Me: (Slap).
The Affair (Sunday, Oct. 12, Showtime), series debut: At first, The Affair looks like a throwback to Showtime’s pre-Weeds/Dexter-success era, a time when the network produced many sexy-if-forgettable “adult” dramas just because they could get away with nudity. But The Affair has a narrative hook (and, yes, nudity) that hints at a more complicated story than just infidelity involving happily married Noah (Dominic West—The Wire’s McNulty) and not-so-happily married Alison (Ruth Wilson), and the affect it has on their relationships with their unknowing spouses (Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson): It’s told from both Noah and Alison’s perspectives, and they rarely match up. It’s the least sensational drama from Showtime in years, but it’s no less—Critic Terminology Alert—intriguing.
Jane the Virgin (Monday, Oct. 13, The CW), series debut: Accidental artificial insemination? Let’s say it’s a thing. During a routine checkup, engaged 23-year-old virgin Jane (Gina Rodriguez) is inadvertently inseminated with a sample meant for another patient. Making matters even worse, the sample is from her handsome, crush-worthy boss at the hotel where she works! How will she explain this to her family? Her fiancé? The idiotic Christian groups who think Jane the Virgin is a show about abortion? If you loved Ugly Betty, but thought it never went telenovela hard enough, Jane is for you. Spoiler: No abortion.
Marry Me (Tuesday, Oct. 14, NBC), series debut: Fans of Happy Endings, Burning Love, Wet Hot American Summer, Childrens Hospital and all the other comedies Casey Wilson and Ken Marino have starred in are really, really, really going to want to like Marry Me. Unfortunately, the collective manic energy of Wilson and Marino initially overpowers what’s supposed to be a sweet li’l rom-com about a couple seemingly doomed to never propose at the right time. Then again, Happy Endings (which was helmed by the same guy behind Marry Me) didn’t click right away, so this could still work out … if it weren’t up against the killing-it-in-Season-4 New Girl on Fox, that is.
DVD ROUNDUP FOR OCT. 14!
2 Broke Girls: Season 3
Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) open their cupcake shop in the back of the diner and go to baking school while still waitressing, and yet somehow find the time to drop 6.5 vagina jokes per minute. God bless ’Merica. (Warner Bros.)
After the daughter of a couple (Ben Barnes, Sarah Roemer) winds up in a coma, things get worse when the wife finds out the husband has been sleeping with a co-worker (Eliza Dushku), and the kid begins talking to him telepathically. But locked in what? (Lionsgate)
Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Renowned scientist/dog Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) and his boy sidekick Sherman (Max Charles) travel through time via the WABAC machine to fix the history they inadvertently screwed up by traveling through time. Wha? (20th Century Fox)
Penny Dreadful: Season 1
Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton and Billie Piper lead this Victorian London horror series that strings together classic literary monster tales into a slick, steampunk (and, as per premium cable, adult) X-Files. Creepy/sexy as hell. (Paramount)
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman … still) time-travels to 1973 to stop the creation of the mutant-hunting Sentinels, and maybe teach the younger X-Men a thing or two about kicking ass, proper sideburns and Broadway musicals. (Fox)
More New DVD Releases (Oct. 14)
Dracula: Season 1, The Honorable Woman, Knight Rusty, The Last Supper, Nothing Bad Can Happen, Persecuted, Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise, Throwdown, Venus in Fur, Violette, Werewolf Rising, Witching and Bitching.