By Kevin McDonough
Fans of murky character studies and whodunits with more suspects than characters are in luck. So are fans of Kyra Sedgwick. She stars in "Ten Days in the Valley" (10 p.m. Sunday, ABC, TV-14) as Jane Sadler, a workaholic writer / producer of TV dramas that too often closely resemble true stories about dangerous people who don't what their secrets shared. Divorced, she reluctantly shares custody of her daughter with her ex, Pete (Kick Gurry), a music producer and former addict.
"Ten" begins when her daughter goes missing. At first it seems she was taken by Pete in a custody spat. But it also could have been the dealers who deliver the drugs that keep Jane awake during her hectic hours. Or people connected to an overworked domestic. Or any number of contacts she's made or colleagues she's burned writing a hit TV show exposing bad guys and dirty cops.
"Ten" features the making of a show within a show, and that may be its undoing. The drama is always more compelling when the focus is on the no-nonsense detective John Bird (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). People love police shows. But will they sympathize with a difficult Hollywood heavy who writes police shows? We'll just have to wait.
• Two other network debuts also offer curious variations on detective dramas.
Craig Robinson ("The Office") and Adam Scott ("Parks and Recreation") star in "Ghosted" (8:30 p.m. Sunday, Fox, TV-PG), a silly paranormal buddy cop comedy. Think "Ghostbusters" meets "Lethal Weapon."
They've been kidnapped and recruited by a super-secret agency to track down aliens and creatures from other dimensions. Leroy (Robinson) brings an ex-cop's savvy and Max (Scott) the smarts of an ex-astrophysics professor fired for being too "out there." Special effects-driven action and silliness give way to awkward guy patter between men with nothing in common except their dire situation. Nothing groundbreaking here, but cartoony enough to watch between episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy."
• "Wisdom of the Crowd" (8:30 p.m. Sunday, CBS, TV-14) is not the worst new show of the season. But it could be the most unlikable.
Jeremy Piven (let's start right there) stars as a Silicon Valley genius (ditto) who creates a crowd-sourcing application to compile an infinite number of leads to track down his daughter's killer.
This is the kind of show where cops are the ones arguing for a suspect's constitutional rights and tech types laugh them off, saying that people abandoned their personal privacy in order to watch cat videos. The pilot includes at least two social media-driven near-lynchings.
"Wisdom" also includes every cliche in the book, from a British-accented computer mastermind to a semi-autistic keyboard-clicker good for an awkward phrase every few scenes. It follows in the pattern of two series from last season, "Pure Genius" and "APB," which featured tech innovators out to reinvent hospitals and police precincts, respectively. Nobody liked them, either.
• Less than a week after "60 Minutes" entered its 50th season, the CBS newsmagazine "48 Hours" (9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, CBS) celebrates its 30th birthday. Often the most popular non-sports broadcast on Saturday nights, "48 Hours" will enter a new season with yet another glance back at the notorious O.J. Simpson (9 p.m.) and a tale of a widow whose husbands died mysteriously (10 p.m.).
• Another venerable television institution, "Saturday Night Live" (11:30 p.m., NBC, TV-14), enters its 43rd season with host Ryan Gosling and musical guest Jay-Z.
Back in its early heyday, when "SNL" and much of popular culture was aimed at viewers under 25, some critics quibbled that the show had a deadening effect on its intended audience. "How hip could a show be," they wondered, "if you had to be home on a Saturday night to watch it?"
The question of what people are watching at home on a Saturday night has long fascinated me.
• "My Big Fat Pet Makeover" (10 p.m. Saturday, Animal Planet, TV-PG) profiles obese cats and dogs and the lengths their owners will go to help them shed their avoirdupois. Travis Brorsen hosts, extolling the virtues of diet, exercise and willpower. First up, the tale of a porky papillon. Watch this with some furry friends.
• College football action includes Mississippi State at Auburn (6 p.m., ESPN), Clemson at Virginia Tech (8 p.m., ABC), Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (8 p.m., Fox) and Mississippi at Alabama (9 p.m., ESPN).
• Comet faces uncertainty on "Halt and Catch Fire" (9 p.m., AMC, TV-14).
• The new series "Released" (10 p.m., OWN, r) follows the formerly incarcerated.
• A comic discusses his upbringing on "Felipe Esparza: Translate This" (10 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).
• The explicit costume drama "Versailles" (10 p.m., Ovation, TV-MA) enters a second season.
SUNDAY'S NETWORK SEASON PREMIERES
• Lisa dabbles in dark magic on "The Simpsons" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).
• Human flight is considered as "Shark Tank" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) moves to Sundays.
• Peter emulates Emmy winners on "Family Guy" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• "Poldark" returns to "Masterpiece" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings).
• Hetty vanishes on "NCIS: Los Angeles" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
• Even the fallout has fallout on "The Last Man on Earth" (9:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (7:30 p.m., CBS): An interview with Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).
• The Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks meet in "Sunday Night Football" (8:20 p.m., NBC).
• Stuck in the 1960s on "Outlander" (8 p.m., Starz, TV-MA).
• "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" (9 p.m., CNN) visits Singapore.
• Vellek's plans revealed on "The Last Ship" (9 p.m., TNT, TV-14).
• Aliens revive a band of survivors 400 years after the end of the human race in the new series "Extinct" (9 p.m., BYU-TV).
• Vincent mulls a tempting offer on "The Deuce" (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).
• "This Is Life With Lisa Ling" (10 p.m., CNN) examines Tantric traditions.
• After a long hiatus, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (10 p.m., HBO, TV-MA) returns for a ninth season.
• Matt wants creative control while Carol ponders a Michigan move on "Episodes" (10 p.m., Showtime, TV-MA).
• On the road on "Survivor's Remorse" (10 p.m., Starz, TV-MA).
Director David Lynch made quite an impression with his 1977 midnight movie "Eraserhead" (2 a.m. Sunday, TCM).
A petty officer is toe-tagged on "NCIS" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) * Karen has political connections on "Will & Grace" (8 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14) * Grand reopening on "Superstore" (8:30 p.m., NBC, r, TV-PG) * "Dateline" (9 p.m., NBC) * A vintage helping of "Saturday Night Live" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
Crises galore on "Code Black" (10:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
© 2017, United Feature Syndicate