Watching: Two Great Dramas Return

Welcome back, «Riverdale» and «Gomorrah.»

Hi, Watchers,

Hasbro fans rejoice. Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”) will develop the board game Risk as a TV series. The jokes come easy, but I would absolutely watch an ensemble comedy about competitive Scrabble. So let’s hope for great, world-historical things.

Wishing you an uneventful week.


I would welcome some perspective

Oliver Stark in season premiere of “9-1-1.”Fox


When to Watch: Monday at 8 p.m., on Fox.

Not everything is actually an emergency. Or maybe everything is! Who even decides? But when something ineluctably bad happens on this procedural drama, the least Murphyesque of Ryan Murphy shows, an unusually attractive corps of emergency medical workers are primed to assist. Fictional catastrophe makes for big catharsis, which explains a lot of the show’s appeal. (Well, that and Angela Bassett and her perfect, perfect brows.) The season premiere has several. Who knew Hollywood even had a breachable reservoir? “9-1-1” also reminds us that as bad as things are, they are still probably preferable to being literally thrown under a bus. The show’s spinoff, “9-1-1: Lone Star,” now starring Gina Torres and a tank, returns right after.


Hey, what are the teens up to?

Camila Mendes in a scene from the Season 5 premiere of “Riverdale.”The CW


When to watch: Wednesday at 8 p.m., on the CW.

Pandemics come and go, regimes fall and rise, but somewhere in the mists of the Pacific Northwest, the murder stuff goes on and on. Returning for its fifth season after a truncated fourth, “Riverdale” kicks off with a prom episode that makes time for fisticuffs, snuff films, romantic betrayal and age-inappropriate couture. (Also, why are Zoomers dancing to Mazzy Star and “Kiss Me”?) After the first three episodes, which would have concluded Season 4 had Covid-19 not crashed the party, the season flashes forward, neatly sidestepping the college and M.F.A. years, which must have come as a profound relief to the mid-20s cast. Here’s betting that murder doesn’t end when puberty does.


I like my shows like my espresso, dark

Salvatore Esposito in Season 2 of “Gomorrah.”Emanuela Scarpa/Sundance TV


When to Watch: Thursday, on HBO Max.

When the moon hits your eye like a high-caliber round, that’s “Gomorrah.” This Italian drama (with English subtitles or dubbed), based on the book by the journalist Roberto Saviano, grimly surveys the violent power struggles among several Neapolitan crime families. Its third season addresses the repercussions of the second. (HBO Max, taking over from SundanceTV, makes all three available.) Imagine “The Wire,” with a glug of amaro. Or “The Sopranos,” spiked with nihilism. “Here, people die and that’s it,” the foot soldier Patrizia (Cristiana Dell’Anna) says. If you enjoy head wounds, rococo interiors and not getting too attached to main characters, benvenuto. The show, Mike Hale wrote, in a review for The New York Times, “carries you along like one of the sleek Italian motorcycles preferred by its wealthier characters.”

Also this week

Kennedy McMann in the Season 2 premiere of “Nancy Drew.”The CW
  • The Night Caller,” a four-part documentary series about a murderer who terrorized Western Australia from 1958 to 1969, begins on Sundance Now on Tuesday.
  • Intrigue and seafood await as “Nancy Drew” begins its sophomore season Wednesday at 9 p.m. on the CW.
  • Jared Padalecki steps into Chuck Norris’s boots, figuratively, when “Walker,” a reboot of “Walker, Texas Ranger” comes to the CW at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
  • Do you like yelling? With subtitles? Season 4 of “Call My Agent!” the French comedy about fictional talent agents and semi-real celebrities, arrives on Netflix Thursday.

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