Best TV Shows to See in Oct.: ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Doctor Who,’ New Lena Dunham
It’s October — what better time for the return of The Walking Dead, which will be getting some fresh blood this season. Also: It’s the beginning of the end for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Doctor Who switches up the cast and breaks new ground; CBS lures former Castle star Nathan Fillion back to the crime-procedural game; and Lena Dunham brings her talent for supreme discomfort back to HBO for a new show. And did we mention the Flight of the Conchords are back? Here’s what you’ll be tuning into over the next month. (Our best-stuff-to-stream list can be found here.)
Camping (HBO, Oct. 14th)
Girls ladies Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner executive produced this Americanized adaptation of a British comedy series, in which Type-A Kathryn (Jennifer Garner) organizes a trip to the great outdoors as a 45th birthday gift for her husband Walt (David Tennant). The arrival of their friends and loved ones (including Brett Gelman, Janicza Bravo, Juliette Lewis, Ione Skye) puts a strain on everyone’s relationships. Don’t forget to pack your bug spray and your bourgeois sensibilities!
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Season 4 (The CW, Oct. 12th)
Aline Brosh McKenna and Rachel Bloom, the co-creators of the this inspired musical comedy about mental illness and self-destructive behavior, have said that they designed the narrative arc with a four-season run in mind. Now begins the endgame for Rebecca Bunch (Bloom), a brilliant but unstable lawyer who we last saw pleading guilty to attempted murder charges. The final stretch of episodes will track her through court-ordered rehabilitation and the less clear-cut work of forging a way to get from day to day. Bring on the zippy show tunes and constant menstruation gags.
Doctor Who, Season 11 (BBC America, Oct. 7th)
The Time Lords, they are a-changin’: Jodie Whittaker makes history for this long-running series as the first female actor to assume the mantle of the sci-fi hero. A new Doctor needs new companions, and she finds some suitable recruits in the dimension-hopping Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yasmin (Mandip Gill), and Graham (Bradley Walsh). Together, they’ll bounce around the space-time continuum battling aliens, androids, and all manner of supernatural foe on their cerebral, sentimental adventures.
Flight of the Conchords: Live at the London Apollo (HBO, Oct. 6th)
New Zealand’s self-proclaimed “fourth-most-popular folk duo” has returned! Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie amassed a cult following for their short-lived, well-loved HBO comedy series during the late 2000s; they’re now back with a new batch of songs, including a slow jam about rote weekday sex and a club banger bemoaning a preponderance of dicks on the dance floor. The Simon and Garfunkel of parody-rock are taking a victory lap.
Happy Together (CBS, Oct. 1st)
Sorry, Damon Wayans Jr. fans: This is not the Happy Endings spin-off you’d hoped it might be. But the star does lead this fish-out-of-water comedy as one half of a happy yet stagnant couple (Amber Stevens West plays the other) whose sleepy lives get shaken up in hedonistic fashion when a rock star (Cooper James) looking for a place to lay low comes to live with them. It’s a full season’s order of wacky hijinks! We hope!
I Feel Bad (NBC, Oct. 4th)
Emet Kamala-Sweetzer (Sarayu Blue) has a lot on her mind. Her hyper-critical parents can’t give her a moment’s peace; her daughter (Lily Rose Silver) is growing up a little too fast for comfort; and she faces constant opposition in her job at a video-game design firm. This introspective comedy follows our heroine as she develops strategies to cope with stress and navigate healthy relationships. Imagine one of those self-betterment books, only exponentially better-written and filled with punch lines.
My Dinner With Hervé (HBO, Oct. 20th)
A recurring role on Fantasy Island brought diminutive actor Hervé Villechaize fame and fortune, though his larger-than-life behavior masked a deeper, existential agony. Journalist Sacha Gervasi caught a glimpse of it during their interview sessions mere days before the star’s suicide, and now the reporter-turned-filmmaker dramatizes that experience as part of a dual character study. Peter Dinklage plays the hard-partying Villechaize opposite Jamie Dornan as a writer who recognizes his own struggle with addiction in his subject’s demons. The pain! The pain!
The Neighborhood (CBS, Oct. 1st)
Gentrification has come to streets of Los Angeles — and Calvin Butler (Cedric the Entertainer), who cherishes the black solidarity he feels at the area block parties, isn’t having it. His new neighbor Dave (Max Greenfield) is friendly, squaresville, and white as can be; his small-town Michigan family immediately draw ire from the Butlers. But a little bit of crowd-pleading sitcom magic in the tradition of Norman Lear might just be enough to bring them together. Right?
The Rookie (ABC, Oct. 16th)
One-time Castle star Nathan Fillion returns to the small screen, now stopping crimes in progress instead of investigating colder cases. He’s John Nolan, a 40-year-old who has a crisis of conscience after witnessing a bank robbery and decides to join the LAPD. His squad sergeant (Richard T. Jones) and fellow officers don’t appreciate this middle-aged dabbler endangering true-blue police, but that just means Nolan will have to work twice as hard to keep up with the young guns. Also the dude does look good in a police uniform.
The Walking Dead, Season 9 (AMC, Oct. 7th)
Negan, the salty-mouthed psychopath that fans loved to hate, is sitting in a cell; the “All Out War” arc that took up the bulk of last season is ready to move into greener narrative pastures; and all is not well for Rick Grimes’ leadership or his fellow Alexandrians transition to peacetime. Oh, and remember there are still fleash-craving zombies ready to turn them all into human snacks?!? Cast member Andrew Lincoln has announced his intention to retire his TWD badge after this run of episodes, so we know his days are numbered — and viewers can be fairly certain that his won’t be the only number called in this new round.