‘Saturday Night Live’ Returns, ‘Interview with the Vampire’ and Final Leg of ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘East New York,’ ‘Dragon’ Doings

The 48th season of Saturday Night Live returns with a considerably smaller cast. AMC doubles down on horror with the premiere of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and the beginning of the final leg of The Walking Dead. CBS adds the gritty drama East New York to its Sunday lineup. Family conflict intensifies on HBO’s House of the Dragon. A curated critical checklist of notable weekend TV:

Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow, Marcello Hernandez, Devon Walker of Saturday Night Live
Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Saturday Night Live

Season Premiere

SATURDAY: Live from New York, it’s … no longer the home for Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Melissa Villeseñor, Chris Redd and Aristotle Athari, who’ve all departed the famed ensemble. A transitional 48th season opens with first-time guest host Miles Teller (Top Gun: Maverick) and musical guest Kendrick Lamar (his third visit) joining a smaller, but still robust, cast of regulars. Hoping to make an impression this year are four new featured players: Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker.

Sam Reid as Lestat De Lioncourt and Jacob Anderson as Louis De Point Du Lac in Interview with the Vampire
Alfonso Bresciani/AMC

Interview with the Vampire

Series Premiere

SUNDAY: Atmospheric and erotically charged, Anne Rice’s masterpiece of lust and bloodlust is adapted into a contemporary series presented as a do-over interview between Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) and a jaded journalist (Eric Bogosian) he’s spirited to Dubai to shed more light on his immortal condition. The story then travels back to early 1900s New Orleans, where Black and closeted Louis operates a brothel in Storyville, where he captures the attention of ancient vampire Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid). The rest is supernatural literary history. AMC has already renewed the series for a second season, with a series version of Rice’s “Mayfair Witches” novels coming in 2023. (See the full review.)

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee in The Walking Dead
Jace Downs/AMC

The Walking Dead

SUNDAY: Remember when they used to mostly fight zombies? The hit horror franchise enters the third and last leg of its extended 24-episode final season with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the gang rising up against the Commonwealth’s murderously craven Director of Operations, Lance Hornsby (Josh Hamilton). While our heroes try to keep this creep from retaliating against their families, back in the Commonwealth there’s a people’s rebellion forming in reaction to the newly exposed crimes of governor’s son Sebastian Milton (Teo Rapp-Olsson), such a villain he makes Lance look like Lancelot.

Amanda Warren as Regina Haywood and Richard Kind as Captain Stan Yenko in East New York
Peter Kramer/CBS

East New York

Series Premiere

SUNDAY: One of the fall season’s stronger new dramas, from former producers of NYPD Blue, stars Amanda Warren as reform-minded Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood, newly installed commanding officer of the 74th Precinct on the mean streets of East New York. Just how mean becomes clear in the action-packed opening sequence, when she gives chase to a shooter who’s just taken down a tourist and security guard. Settling into her new job, Regina juggles city politics with her own revolutionary policies on community policing. The unusually strong supporting cast includes NYPD Blue alum Jimmy Smits as her Chief, Richard Kind lightening the tone as her executive officer, Orange Is the New Black’s Elizabeth Rodriguez and Kevin Rankin as the squad’s top detectives and Ruben Santiago-Hudson as a veteran training officer who knows how the neighborhood operates. While at times sanctimonious, this rises above the procedural tide with its issue-oriented take on a city besieged by violence.

Harvey Sadler, Emma D'Arcy, Leo Hart in House of the Dragon
Ollie Upton / HBO

House of the Dragon

SUNDAY: Mourning has broken over Westeros, and as the royal family gathers to put poor Laena to rest after her immolation, it doesn’t take long for resentments and rivalries to surface. “Each of us is capable of depravity … more than you would believe,” muses Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) to her not-exactly-grieving uncle Daemon (Matt Smith). Believe me, we believe. And by the end of this episode, the depravity these Targaryens exhibit would make a dragon blush. Speaking of which, an illicit dragon ride provides the hour’s exhilarating high point.

Inside Weekend TV:

  • George to the Rescue (Saturday, syndicated to NBC stations, check local listings): The home makeover show’s milestone 150th episode features George Oliphant’s renovation of a home in Montclair, N.J. to make room for a family’s Ukrainian relatives who’ve fled the war-torn country.
  • Fixing Us (Saturday, syndicated to NBC-owned stations, check local listings; Sunday, 4 pm/3c on Cozi TV): The health-and-wellness docuseries ends its season with the moving story of a Puerto Rican grandmother in the Bronx suffering from hypothyroidism, whose son helps her lose weight and joins her in dance classes, with the goal of salsa-ing her way back to health.
  • Trilogy of Terror (Saturday, 7 pm/6c, MEtv): Kicking off horror host Svengoolie’s month-long “Halloween BOOnanza” celebration is a showing of Dan Curtis’ 1975 horror classic, peaking with Karen Black going to war against a demonic Zuni fetish doll. Followed by Svengoolie Uncrypted (9/8c), a celebration of the host’s four-decade career, and the hourlong Season 2 premiere of the companion series Sventoonie (10/9c).
  • The Gabby Petito Story (Saturday, 8/7c, Lifetime): Literally ripped from the headlines, the docudrama relives the ill-fated cross-country journey of would-be travel influencer Gabby Petito (Skyler Samuels) and fiancé-turned-murderer Brian Laundrie (Evan Arthur Hall). Directed by Thora Birch, who also plays Gabby’s mother, Nichole Schmidt. Followed by a Beyond the Headlines documentary at 10/9c.
  • Metropolis (Saturday, 8/7c, Turner Classic Movies): Robots are the “star of the month,” with mechanical scene-stealers the focus every Saturday night. The salute begins with Fritz Lang’s 1927 dystopian classic, featuring the iconic robot Maria, followed by Forbidden Planet (10:45/9:45c) from 1956 with beloved Robby the Robot (a precursor to Lost in Space’s Robot) aiding 23rd-century astronauts on far-off Altair IV.
  • Yvonne Orji: A Whole Me (Saturday, 10/9c, HBO): The Emmy-nominated Insecure star returns to the stand-up stage in a special with scripted vignettes, using therapy as a springboard for her riffs on friendship, dating and adulthood.
  • 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7:30/6:30c, 7 pm/PT, CBS): Scott Pelley interviews Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska. Jon Wertheim profiles Siya Kolisi, South Africa’s first Black rugby captain. Bill Whitaker visits California’s Grizzly Flats a year after the devastating Caldor fire.
  • America’s Funniest Home Videos (Sunday, 7/6c, ABC): A live audience returns after two years to welcome the 33rd season of ABC’s longest-running prime-time entertainment show, doubling the weekly prize money for winning videos. Followed by the second quarter-final of Celebrity Jeopardy! (9/8c), featuring comedians Reggie Watts and Iliza Shlesinger and chef Eddie Huang.
  • ESPN Sunday Night Baseball (Sunday, 7 pm/ET): The Mets battle the Braves for the National League East title on the franchise’s season finale.
  • Supreme Power: Inside the Highest Court in the Land (Sunday, 8/7c, CNN): On the eve of the new term of the polarizing Supreme Court, Fareed Zakaria reports on the explosive decision to overturn Roe v. Wade among other radical moves by the conservative court.
  • The Equalizer (Sunday, 8:30/7:30c, 8 pm/PT, CBS): This time, Robyn McCall (Queen Latifah) is the one needing help after being abducted, and in the Season 3 opener, her colleagues and family—including teen daughter Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes)—rally to rescue the Equalizer.
  • Family Law (Sunday, 8/7c, The CW): Firefly’s Jewel Staite stars in a generic Canadian legal drama as a disgraced but annoyingly smug hot mess of an alcoholic lawyer serving her probation at her disapproving dad’s (Victor Garber) family-law firm, working alongside her unwelcoming half-siblings. Will she follow the rules? Have you ever watched TV? Followed by the Season 4 premiere of Canadian crime drama Coroner (9/8c), where Jenny Cooper (Serinda Swan) is on sabbatical to recover from tragedy, when a young boy’s body washes up on a beach and she’s back in business.
  • Court TV Presents: Rampage Killers (Sunday, 9 pm/8c, Court TV): On the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, a documentary produced by anchor Ted Rowlands explores the psyche and motivations of a rampage killer, featuring police bodycam footage from the tragic massacre.
  • Nothing Compares (Sunday, 10/9c, Showtime): A new interview with controversial singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor brings perspective to this documentary profile of the trailblazing Irish activist.