TV column for Sunday, Oct. 15


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Masterpiece: The Durrells in Corfu” season-opener, 8 p.m. PBS.

Now we have
triple-“Masterpiece” Sundays, but the shows differ sharply.
“Poldark” (9 p.m.) is epic and heroic ... “The Collection”
(10) is dark and dreary ... and “Durrells” is simply fun,

In 1935, the
widowed Louisa (the superb Keeley Hawes) moved her British brood to a
Greek island. She has no money, no prospects and – due to a rent
dispute – no furniture. Still, there's a warmth and a humor to
this. Based on Gerald Durrell's boyhood memories, this sees people as
warm and wierd, kind and quirky and just plain interesting.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Good Behavior” season-opener, 10 p.m., TNT.

Somewhere in Letty's
mind, there's a chance to have an ordinary life. Her criminal record
has been scrubbed, she has custody of her son and she's using a new
name, living in suburbia.

Still ... Letty is
an alcoholic and a master thief; her lover is a hit man, pursued by a
relentless FBI agent. Now come surprises -- some pleasaant for her (a
cheery neighbor, played by Laura Bell Bundy), some not (an unexpected
body in the trunk). For Michelle Dockery – who used to spend
Sundays locked into the unflinching role of Lady Mary in “Downton
Abbey” -- it's a great character, well-played.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Ten Days in the Valley,” 10 p.m., ABC.

This is a good
mystery ... and, in the good-mystery tradition, a demanding and
frustrating one.

We root for Jane
(brilliantly played by Kyra Sedgwick), whose daughter has been
kidnapped; still, we're appalled by the way she hindered the
investigation to cover up her drug habit. Tonight, we race to a
fascinating dead-end ... then are handed some shocking information.
It's tough and tangled ... and too well-made to turn away from.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Make It Out Alive” debut, 9 p.m., Smithsonian;
reruns at midnight.

With rich detail –
from old films, re-enactments and first-person accounts – we see
real-life crises. Late in each hour, we learn which people survived
... and what the wisest steps would have been.

This opener catches
Mount St. Helens in 1980 – the only significant volcanic eruption
in the U.S. mainland in the past century. We see the old man who
refused to leave, the young workers who were unaware, the scientists
who stuck to their duties and more. The result is fascinating

Other choices
include:

“Fear the Walking
Dead,” 6:20 a.m., AMC. Here's the entire season in one burst, with
the season-finale from 9-11 p.m. That finale reruns at midnight and 3
a.m., sandwiched around “Talking Dead” hours.

“Spy” and
“Trainwreck,” 5:30-8 p.m. and 8-11 p.m., FX. Remember when movies
gave all the best comedy roles to men? These films – box office
hits from 2015 – provide some neat counterpoint. Melissa McCarthy
plays a desk worker drawn into spy duty; it's quite funny ... then
“Trainwreck” is even better. Amy Schumer wrote it and stars as a
young woman whose life is ... well, kind of a wreck.

“Ghosted,” 7 and
8:30 p.m., Fox. First is a rerun of the terrific opener, with
mismatched strangers (Craig Robinson and Adam Scott) working for an
agency that pursues the paranormal. Then a new episode sees Leroy
(Robinson) try to romance a cop while they investigate multiple
murders.

“Masterpiece:
Poldark,” 9 p.m., PBS. How low can life get? A famine has people
starving ... The doctor is a prisoner of war ... And there's been no
justice, since Ross Poldark foolishly rejected the magistrate job.
This hour does sprinkle in small dabs of hope, just enough to nudge
us through the darkness.

“White Famous”
debut, 10 p.m., Showtime. Jay Pharoah plays a stand-up comic,
suddenly thrust into the movie world. The result is very adult (in
language and in nudity) and moderately funny.

“Madam Secretary,”
10:30 p.m., CBS. In the midst of a Libyan civil war, Elizabeth is
desperate to get medical help for a gravely wounded girl.