Welcome back to Tune In: our new weekly newsletter, offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV.
Each week, Variety’s TV team will be combing through the week’s TV schedule, selecting our picks. We’ll tell readers what to watch and when/how to watch it. This week, more new series are making their fall debuts.
Presidential Debate, Monday, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face off in the first of three presidential election debates, and if the entire campaign cycle has been any indication, the conversation will undoubtedly become heated in no time. But while the night is focused on the two candidates, all eyes will be on moderator Lester Holt, given two highly criticized presidential conversations earlier this month — Matt Lauer’s awkward Commander-in-Chief forum, and Jimmy Fallon’s hair-tousling Trump sit-down.
“Code Black,” CBS, Wednesday, 10 p.m.
CBS hoped the medical drama would score with viewers last season, and the network is showing its support in its second season with some cast changes — most notably the addition of a new series regular and TV favorite: Rob Lowe.
“Younger,” TV Land, Wednesday, 10 p.m.
Darren Star’s underrated rom-com returns for its third season, and the premiere will pick up after the sophomore finale that out-of-nowhere killed off Thad (Dan Amboyer) — who, turns out, has an identical twin brother (also played by Amboyer). The new episodes will also explore Liza (Sutton Foster) and Charles’ (Peter Hermann) relationship, now that the boss/assistant relationship took a turn with a kiss last season.
“Marvel’s Luke Cage,” Netflix, Friday (CRITICS PICK)
The timing of this long-awaited show gives it political significance, given the protests of the last few weeks (and years), but outside of its very real social relevance, the good news is that “Luke Cage,” the story of a bulletproof black man, has made the transition to TV successfully. Fortunately for those who have been anxiously anticipating this drama since it was announced by Marvel a few years ago, it was worth the wait, says Variety‘s Maureen Ryan. A wildly charismatic performance by star Mike Colter and solid work from the rest of the show’s cast are usually enough to power this addition to the Marvel TV universe through its rough spots.
“Crisis in Six Scenes,” Amazon, Friday
Woody Allen has been actively downplaying expectations for his first TV series, but there’s little he can do to stop us from wanting to see what he’s delivered for Amazon. Allen stars alongside pop star Miley Cyrus — as well as Elaine May and Rachel Brosnahan, among others — in the streamer’s ’60s-set six-part series.
“Saturday Night Live,” NBC, Saturday, 11:30 p.m.
Hollywood “it” girl Margot Robbie is the first host of Season 42, along with musical guest The Weeknd, but we’re also excited to see if newbies Mikey Day, Alex Moffat, and Melissa Villaseñor can bring new life to “SNL,” after the departures of Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah and Jon Rudnitsky.
“Westworld,” HBO, Sunday, 9 p.m.
Perhaps the most anticipated new series of the season, “Westworld,” based on the original movie, boasts an A-list cast — Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris — but can the western sci-fi live up to all the hype? The buzz has been deafening, but Variety critic Maureen Ryan says, “‘Westworld’ looks terrific; its directors have shot its Western locations to stunning effect. But its warmly saturated outdoor scenes and its surface slickness aren’t enough to mask the indecision, condescension and hollowness at its core.”