Divorce (Sunday, Oct. 9, HBO), series debut: Hopeless romantic Carrie Bradshaw is dead; meet Frances (Sarah Jessica Parker), a far-less-perky shadow of her former Sex and the City self. HBO’s new dark comedy Divorce delivers exactly what the title implies: 10 episodes of Frances and husband Robert (Thomas Haden Church) doing their damnedest to separate, or reconcile, or just figure out why and how they should do either. Like another of creator Sharon Horgan’s series, cult British import Catastrophe, it’s as messy as it is funny, and Parker and Church are fantastically nimble at darting between emotional states and situations. Unlike similarly black-to-absurd-and-back comedy You’re the Worst, however, Divorce doesn’t always work when the focus is off the central pair: Molly Shannon and Tracy Letts don’t add much as Frances and Robert’s married friends. (Hell, Church’s mustache is a more fully developed character than either of them.) Still, Divorce is unique, and potentially addictive—and as weirdly compatible with Westworld as anyone could imagine.
Supergirl (Monday, Oct. 10, The CW), season premiere: Moving to a smaller network and filming cheaper in Vancouver means we’ll see a lot less of Calista Flockhart’s charmingly abrasive media boss Cat Grant in the second season of CBS outcast Supergirl, but so what? They’ve got a Superman! Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) finally pays a visit to National City cousin Kara/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) in the season opener, and fortunately, his Superman isn’t the broody bummer of the Zack Snyder movies; he’s more like Kara in terms of sunny temperament, if not faux eyewear. Really, other than moving the governmental DEO from its cave headquarters to a more Canadian above-ground space (no, not a hockey arena—enough with the stereotypes, eh?) and less Cat (and the CatCo offices), this is still the same Supergirl. Bring on the crossovers!
American Housewife (Tuesday, Oct. 11, ABC), series debut: Enough with just defaulting to “American ______” every time a network is stuck for a title (though Kiefer Sutherland’s clunkily-named Designated Survivor probably would have worked better as American Political Hack Who Didn’t Get Blow’d Up). American Housewife was originally called The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport, but … yeah. Anyway: Katy Mixon (Mike and Molly, Eastbound and Down) stars as an average wife and mom dealing with the upper-crusters of Connecticut suburbia—which means American Housewife is yet another sunny-snarky ABC family sitcom with a killer cast (which also includes Diedrich Bader and Ali Wong), but there is little else to distinguish it from the pack. Except for maybe the burning question, “So who’s the first fattest housewife in Westport?”
Frequency (Wednesdays, The CW), new series: This is a remake of the 2000 movie, this time with a female cop (Peyton List) connecting with her dead-cop dad in the past through a ham radio. (Thanks for not updating it to a haunted Snapchat app, CW.) As with NBC’s new Timeless—and, the most cautionary continuum-chaos tale of them all, Hot Tub Time Machine—screwing with the past can create serious consequences in the present, but the daughter can’t stop herself from saving her father from an undercover sting operation gone bad back in 1996—hence, drama. Frequency seemingly has plenty of material to work with within its police procedural + overarching conspiracy framework. (iZombie has pulled it off well for a couple of seasons now.) But there are no superheroes here, so …
Criminal Minds (Wednesdays, CBS), new season: Thomas Gibson was booted from Criminal Minds, a series he’s starred in since 2005, over the summer, reportedly for being a dick—something I’d not previously considered a fire-able offense in the creative field. This news has me very concerned. Tonight’s episode is the first filmed without his FBI team leader “Hotch,” but since CM has one of the best ensemble casts on TV, surviving more player departures and arrivals than Lynyrd Skynyrd and Donald Trump’s campaign combined, they’ll be fine. Plus, Gibson’s 86ing (as well as the cancellation of Fox’s Grandfathered) has cleared the way for the full-time return of fan-favorite Prentiss (Paget Brewster) to the Behavior Analysis Unit, so all is right in the world. Except for those missing and likely now-dismembered women the BAU is tracking, of course.