Something about fall makes people want to scare one another and be scared — it’s an aspect of childhood many of us never outgrow, like how Halloween transforms from a candy-’n-kids holiday to a booze-drenched fashion show for adults.
Blending violence and gore with drama and heart, The Walking Dead (9 p.m. Sundays, AMC) is the perfect seasonal scare-fest for grown-ups. Returning for its third season, TWD picks up a few months after the finale left off, with Rick and the crew attempting to take over a nearby prison. Elsewhere Andrea, left behind by the group, searches for safety with the caped katana handler that rescued her (whom we now know is Michonne, celebrated character from the comic).
Those who felt last season crawled along wasting valuable screen time on lackluster storylines will enjoy a jolt in this season’s pace, akin to the epic season two finale, thanks to new showrunner Glen Mazzara. Scenes alternating between the prison and Woodbury, a secure restored community led by The Governor, will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. While we’ve gotten a taste of the idea in the past, this season embodies how the living can continue to be just as destructive and dangerous as the hoards of mobilized corpses.
WEDNESDAY OCT. 10
Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – In this double feature, Lily embarks on her first day of kindergarten, Haley goes to college, Gloria starts to “show” and Phil decides to get a vasectomy.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (9 p.m., NBC) – A high-profile S&M romance novelist gets sexually assaulted by a TV show host, and when SVU investigates the author’s past they discover a secret that could ruin the case and her career. Sounds like fifty shades of meta-fan fiction.
South Park (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – When Kyle suspects his mother is having an affair with the neighborhood UPS man, Cartman sets up home security to protect his family from the brown-suited threat.
Couples Therapy (10 p.m., VH1) – Those lamenting the end of Celebrity Rehab with Dr.
Drew (this season focuses on measly non-famous addicts) may enjoy this similar program that brings five D-list couples together in a relationship counseling retreat. Selling point: The Green Mile’s Doug Hutchinson and his “child bride” (who doesn’t look a day shy of 37), Courtney Stodden, steal the show.
Nashville (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., ABC) – Connie Britton portrays a Country music legend striving to maintain the spotlight as a beautiful young starlet (Hayden Panettiere) rises through the ranks.
THURSDAY OCT. 11
30 Rock (8 p.m., NBC) – A TGS political sketch causes Liz and Jack to butt heads. Meanwhile, Jenna is crushed by the poor response to her summer Pop single and Liz and Criss ignite a new spark in their relationship.
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – Tim visits Melissa, Dmitry, Fabio and Chris as they work on their collections for Fashion Week. Typically, only three go on to the finale but if last season was any indication, all four designers may have one last chance on the runway.
The Vice Presidential Debate (9 p.m., ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) – Yawn.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., FX) – Dennis and Dee have to make a crucial decision for their dying grandfather who Charlie, Frank and Mac learn used to be a Nazi.
The League (Season Premiere, 10:30 p.m., FX) – Jenny pops out another kid while Taco gets invited to the Dallas Cowboys training camp.
SATURDAY OCT. 13
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Passion Pit performs; Christina Applegate hosts — hopefully she’ll reprise her epic role as Cher from the SNL episode she last hosted 20 years ago.
SUNDAY OCT. 14
Dexter (9 p.m., Showtime) – The Ukrainian mob sets out to find their member Dexter managed to kill in Miami International Airport’s unclaimed baggage room; LaGuerta attempts to reopen the Bay Harbor Butcher case.
Boardwalk Empire (9 p.m., HBO) – Rothstein is angry about Nucky’s misfortune; Rosetti tries to swoop in and make a deal. The feds begin catching up with Van Alden while Gillian and Margaret struggle with their respective ventures.
Homeland (10 p.m., Showtime) – Carrie is disappointed when she is not invited back to the C.I.A. Brody must return to Gettysburg to protect the bomb-vest maker who’s on a terrorist watch list.
TUESDAY OCT. 16
Sons of Anarchy (10 p.m., FX) – Jax proposes a club move that bears dangerous consequences.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org