Friday, Oct. 19 (The CW)
Season Premiere: I know, right? The Only TV Column That Matters™ didn’t think we’d be here talking about a third season of Nikita, either. Seasons 1 and 2 were all about 98-pound superspy Nikita’s (Maggie Q) personal vendetta to destroy Division, the Ikea-furnished agency that dared to give her a home off the streets, clean her up from heroin, train her in a viable career (albeit assassinating mostly innocents—minor quibble) and brush out those idiotic dreadlocks. Now, she, boytoy Michael (Shane West) and ex-CIA model Ryan (Sean Bean) are running Division—what could go wrong? Everything, which is for the best because Nikita only works in balls-out action mode; attempts to introduce concepts like “emotions,” “relationships” and “dialogue” have failed hysterically. Just put on the catsuit and keep it moving, Nikita.
Friday, Oct. 19 (Cinemax)
Series Debut: Speaking of lady-spy shows that could use more action and less yakkin’, here’s Cinemax’s next original drama series, Hunted. Melissa George stars as Sam Hunter—get it?—an operative for a private espionage organization (damn, these popping up like Wingers franchises) who lays low after a near-successful attempt on her life, then “returns from the dead” and goes back to work—but only to find out who in the agency set her up, while avoiding getting taken out for real. Nice premise from former X-Files producer/writer Frank Spotnitz, and George is a convincing ass-kicker, but Hunted spends too much time on brooding interludes and lush European scenery with nary enough fighting, shooting, exploding or, god forbid, acting. So, how long until the next Strike Back season, Cinemax?
Monday, Oct. 22 (Most Channels)
Season Finale: The longest Key & Peele sketch ever draws to a close and … this is for real? And so was that Vice Presidential debate between Chevy Chase and Eddie Munster? This is when it pays to live in a state where your presidential vote doesn’t matter in the least—just imagine having to choose between these clowns.
Tuesday, Oct. 23 (ABC)
Season Premiere: Sure, Tuesday nights between Dancing With the Stars and Private Practice seems like a cushy new timeslot, but this means Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23 are going up against like-minded Fox comedies New Girl and The Mindy Project—glass half-full, they’ll collectively crush Go On and The New Normal (or My Family Recipe Rocks!, locally) on NBC. Glass another quarter-full, this moves ABC’s raunchiest/funniest sitcoms away from the staid likes of The Middle and Modern Family on Wednesdays. As Season 3 opens, exes Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) are doing it again but keeping it—new catchphrase alert—“cazsh,” and Penny (Casey Wilson) is in a full-body cast, because how else is Max (Adam Pally) going to reenact Misery on her? Good times.
Tuesday, Oct. 23 (ABC)
Season Premiere: The surprise hit of last spring only had a six-episode first season—will Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23 hold up for 13 to, dare to dream, 22, this time around? It will once we get this out of the way: Against Chloe’s (Kristen Ritter) advice, June (Dreama Walker) convinces pal James Van Der Beek (James Van Der Beek) to stage a … Dawson’s Creek reunion! No sign of Katie Holmes, but at least Busy Phillips shows up, as do non-Creekers Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell) and Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle). The ’90s are just a blur to me, anyway, so this makes complete sense.