What's Worth Watching: Saturday Night Live, Westworld, Quarry, The Ranch and more for Friday, October 7 thru Sunday, October 9
Saturday Night Live (Saturday, 11:30/10:30c, NBC): Alec Baldwin’s hilariously growling cartoon of a Donald Trump impersonation helped spike SNL’s season-premiere ratings. (Might we see the faux Trump in a wee-hours tweetstorm this week?) More cause for celebration: Hamilton’s genius creator-star Lin-Manuel Miranda guest-hosts, and if he turns his brilliant hip-hop free-styling loose on the presidential campaign, we’re all in for a treat. Twenty One Pilots is the musical guest—though we’re really hoping for a taste of Hamilton, because it’s impossible to get enough.
(In the real world, possibly giving more fodder to late-night comedians, the second presidential debate airs Sunday, 9/8c, on all major broadcast and cable news channels, with a town hall format from Washington University in St. Louis, moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz.)
Quarry (Friday, 10/9c, Cinemax): After last week’s harrowing and soul-baring interlude in an Arkansas motel, Mac (Logan Marshall-Green) and wife Joni (Jodi Balfour) are back in Memphis, just in time for racial unrest to explode, with his late buddy Arthur’s son witnessing an especially savage incident.
Westworld (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO): In the second episode of this fascinating sci-fi drama, the focus shifts for a while from the robots and their makers to two new guests: the empathetic novice William (Jimmi Simpson), who’s appalled by the hedonism of his companion, Logan (Ben Barnes), a longtime fan of Westworld’s dark pleasures. Another regular customer, The Man in Black (Ed Harris), befriends condemned criminal Lawrence (Clifton Collins, Jr.), who he thinks will help him navigate the park’s maze of secrets. Followed by the premieres of the pitch-black dramedy Divorce (10/9), marking the return of one of HBO’s biggest stars, Sarah Jessica Parker; and the much funnier Insecure (10:30/9:30c), heralding a star-is-born performance by Issa Rae (YouTube’s Awkward Black Girl) in an urban comedy that feels like the next step in the revolution started with Sex and the City and Girls.
Inside Weekend TV: Netflix’s The Ranch resumes its first season with 10 new episodes (available for streaming on Friday), an unusually meaty family sitcom starring That ’70s Show veterans Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson as brothers trying to prove their worth to their gruff rancher father (a formidable Sam Elliott). … Fox’s reworking of The Exorcist (Friday, 9/8c) may be the creepiest show of the fall. This week, the good Fathers Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) and Marcus (Ben Daniels) approach papal emissaries with scary footage from the Rance home, hoping to get permission to conduct an exorcism. Given the show’s title, it’s going to happen one way or another. … Straight from Broadway, Comedy Central’s Lewis Black: Black to the Future (Friday, 10/9c) finds the irascible comedian center stage at the Marquis Theatre, ranting against the current political climate and other aggravations.