TV column for Thursday, Oct. 12

“Will & Grace,” 9 p.m., NBC.

By all logic,
Grace's emergency contact should be Will. They've been friends for 20
years; they finish each other's sentences. But now she's hospitalized
and the contact is ... her ex-husband Leo.

That lets the show
bring back Harry Connick, while pondering a failed marriage of good
people. Meanwhile, Karen and Jack – who aren't really into helping
others – are at an inner-city program for kids. The result can't
match the hilarity of the first two episodes, but it is well above

“Gotham,” 8 p.m., Fox.

In most areas –
its style, its sound, its settings – this show is beautifully
crafted. Then it sometimes wounds itself with a surplus of nastiness
or a shortage of logic.

Ask yourself this:
If you had just spent $2 million on an artifact that others seem to
covet, would you promptly leave it overnight with a portly scientist
and his grandson? Moments like that cloud a strong hour that, among
other things, uses a library and a museum as great backdrops for
whiz-bang action.

ALTERNATIVE: “Better Things,” 10 p.m., FX, repeating at 11:04.

This amazing show
can leap in and out of dead-serious turf, while we still think we're
watching a comedy. Now the focus is on Sam's mom (Celia Imrie), an
exasperating soul who even tries to get a second mortgage on a house
she doesn't own. And then ... she slides downhill.

Soon, Sam (Pamela
Adlon) is calling her brother (Kevin Pollak) and considering “a
dying-lady lonely place where mean young women put their mothers.”
Written by Louis CK and directed by Adlon, it's a unique mixture of
fun and despair.

Other choices

season-opener, 8 p.m., CW. As the 13th season starts, Sam
and Dean are regrouping. Their mother died; so did Crowley, who
sacrificed himself to seal Lucifer. And Castiel died yet again. Now
the brothers disagree on how to deal with a Nephilim; also, Mary
tries to survive Lucifer.

“Superstore,” 8
p.m., NBC. Amy's life gets complicated when her teen daughter works
at the store.

“Scandal,” 9
p.m., ABC. At a state dinner, Mellie hopes to charm her way toward
Middle East peace. If that doesn't work, Olivia has a back-up plan.
Also, Quinn's team wants to lure clients at the dinner.

season-opener, 9 p.m., CW. The fifth season ended with an epic
battle. Now Oliver must deal with the aftermath of an explosion on
the island.

“Project Runway,”
9-10:32 p.m., Lifetime. Last week's episode (rerunning at 8 p.m.)
brought extremes for the Buitendorp twins. They were in an
elimination duel, but Shawn dropped out to give new life to Claire
... who promptly won the $25,000 prize in the next challenge. Then
two contestants accused her of copying Margarita Alvarez's previous
design ... and of copying two thing she had in her own room. Tonight,
Tim Gunn investigates and the judges ponder a punishment. Then its
time for kid designs.

“Great News,”
9:30 p.m., NBC. The boss (Tina Fey) is ready to move on to a bigger
job. First, however, she's embroiled in a sexual-harassment scandal.

“Chicago Fire,”
10 p.m., NBC. Casey manages to collide with the temporary chief.
Also, Brett gets news from her home town, providing insight into the
sexy friend (Eloise Mumford) who's visiting.