Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, October 9. All times are Eastern.
Divorce (HBO, 10 p.m.): With the seasons changing and Ballers and Vice Principals off to their respective hiatuses, HBO decided the time is right to launch a new Sunday night comedy block. Said block kicks off with a blast of nostalgia as Sex And The City’s Sarah Jessica Parker returns to her home network after almost a decade out of Carrie Bradshaw’s stylish heels. (We’re choosing to pretend Sex And The City 2: Abu Dhabi Boogaloo never happened.) Bradshaw plays Frances, a woman dealing with the realization that her decade-long marriage to Robert (Thomas Haden Church, sporting a glorious mustache) is falling apart. The series comes from Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan, so we’re optimistic that it’ll bring over some of the same cruel yet romantic elements. (Esther Zuckerman doesn’t share our optimism in the early going: “Why do we care about these relatively well-off people, their limited world, and their marital challenges? Divorce struggles to answer that question.”) Gwen Ihnat is ready to serve as couples therapist and weekly reviewer.
Insecure (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): After appreciating the angst of white people in New York, HBO flips the coin to appreciate the angst of black people in Los Angeles with Issa Rae’s Insecure. Inspired by Rae’s webseries The Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl and executive produced by Larry Wilmore, Insecure follows a fictionalized version of Rae as she navigates her life. Danette Chavez called the first few episodes a “joyous and confident debut” thanks to Rae’s performance and a scope that’s both “narrow and expansive” in showing how the characters live their lives:
The key is in the storytelling, which rarely ever spells things out, unless it’s for comedic effect—say, to keep up a profane conversation with a neighbor with your toddler by your side. In more appropriate company, Insecure gets filthy quick, though—just look at the episode titles, which are all punctuated with “as fuck.” But an eloquence is achieved with these obscenities. It’s not just “bugging out” over “zero dick” or indulging in some “bootleg and chill.”
The Second Presidential Debate (ABC/CBS/Fox, 9 p.m.): One month till Election Day, and our nation is bloodied and reeling from the most interminable election cycle in history. Only one month until America chooses between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who, depending on you talk to are either the last salvation of this great country or the harbinger of the end times. No pressure or anything! (But seriously, go vote, because it’s important.) There’s a few important events left in the clusterfuck to the White House, such as tonight’s second debate, a town-meeting-style affair at Washington University in St. Louis, moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Join us in being simultaneously jaded by it all and yet unable to look away.
Premieres and finales
Unwrapped 2.0 (Cooking Channel, 9 p.m.): “Ever wonder where some of your favorite foods come from? Over 13 episodes, Alfonso Ribeiro highlights everything from classic childhood treats to the latest candy crazes. Whether you like your snacks sweet or savory, crispy or gooey, Unwrapped 2.0 offers behind-the-scenes access to get you a front row seat to see them made.” As must always happen when we mention Alfonso Ribeiro, we bring you the Carlton Dance:
Chesapeake Shores (Hallmark, 9 p.m.): Gwen Ihnat was well-disposed toward’s Hallmark’s latest original series when it premiered, calling it “an hour of light but still effective escapism.” Let’s see if the season one finale meets that qualification: “Abby and Trace inch forward with their relationship. Meanwhile, a complex love triangle begins to untangle; and an emergency phone call lands Trace in hot water with the law.” Seems escapist enough to us!
Marvel’s Luke Cage (Netflix)
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 7:30 p.m.)
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.)
Ash Vs. Evil Dead (Starz, 8 p.m.)
Westworld (HBO, 9 p.m.)
Shameless (Showtime, 9 p.m.)
Frisky Dingo, “The Debate, Part 1” and “The Debate, Part 2” (Hulu Plus): If you haven’t had enough of a psychotic billionaire/wannabe supervillain running for president in real life—or if you have a vicious hangover like your What’s On Tonight correspondent did after watching the first debate and want to follow the advice of our own William Hughes—Adam Reed and Matt Thompson have you covered with the spiritual predecessor to Archer. Now you can watch a psychotic billionaire and a wannabe supervillain run for president! Commence Operation: Meth Nazi!