Your guide to Friday TV this fall

Matt Ryan in Constantine

Matt Ryan in Constantine

Let's be real here for a moment. Friday nights, they're not really stay at home and watch TV nights. And yet, they're still evening that channels are expected program, and, some are actually doing and okay job of trying to fill the gaping void that is the evening when when most people go out and actually leave their TV behind.

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MUST-SEES

Constantine (9pm on NBC, premieres October 24)
Despite being a very extreme fan of the Vertigo comic label, I did not have very high hopes for this show and yet, I found the pilot extremely entertaining. It reminded me of the Buffy spin-off Angel in all the right ways. It combines the the supernatural elements with an irreverence that makes it extremely accessible, which is more than I can say for it's lead-in, Grimm, which never succeeded in winning me over.

The Knick (9pm on Cinemax, currently airing)
Have you been watching this? Because, OMG, I have never seeing something so simultaneously disgusting and engrossing. Full disclosure: body horror is weakness of mine and, boy howdy, does The Knick have it in spades. Yet, even if I'm watching through fingers over the rims of my severely prescriptions glasses, I can't help but admit that I'm hopelessly addicted to this show. Maybe it's Steven Soderbergh's direction, maybe it's Clive Owen's performance or maybe it's Cliff Martinez's brilliantly anachronistic score (which I'm hopelessly addicted to), but despite the elements of this series that completely put me off, I keep tuning in week after week, because it's utterly fascinating and unexpected.

CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC

Cristela (7:30pm on ABC, premieres October 3)
I'm gonna level with you here: this isn't a good show, at least not based on the pilot, which is the only episode I've seen. It's derivative and reeks of an old template for multi-cam sitcoms that is long past it's prime. And yet, I laughed, more than once. Never at the supporting characters or the flimsy excuse for a plot, but always at the woman at the center of it all. The framing might be hopelessly weak and the set-up might be painfully canned, but one thing is for certain, Cristela Alonzo is the type of comic talent that deserves to have her own show. Sadly, she deserves a show far better than this one and I hope, for her sake, that it eventually rises to her level of immense talent.