1) “NeXt” debut, 9 p.m. Tuesday, Fox. For decades, science-fiction has fretted about robots taking over. In this solidly made series, that’s imminent. A driverless car refuses to take suggestions; an Alexa-type device whispers schemes to a little boy. What’s happening? A genius (John Slattery, shown here) knows: He wrote a code that lets computers educate themselves; it was too much, he realized – but he’s been fired and the program is unfettered. It’s a strong start to a 10-week tale that was set for spring/summer, then delayed.
2) “Soulmates” debut, 10 p.m. today, AMC. Technology is at it again – this time with a device that can peer into our soul and find a perfect match. That sounds promising, with one catch: What about people who are married, with kids and OK lives? Will they be tempted to try for more? That comes up in this opener, with Sarah Snook (Shiv in “Succession”) as someone who’s both appalled and intrigued by her brother’s soulmate journey. The result, launching a six-week anthology series, is subtle and bittersweet.
3) Vice-presidential debate, 9 p.m. ET Wednesday, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and news channels. There’s a splendid chance this debate will be more civil and informative than the presidential opener. Both candidates (Mike Pence and Kamala Harris) have worked within the rules of order in courtrooms and Congress; neither of them is Donald Trump. Susan Page of USA Today will moderate. Leading the other presidential debates: Steve Scully of C-SPAN (Oct. 15) and Kristen Weller of NBC (Oct. 22).
4) Football, 8:15 p.m. ET Thursday, Fox and NFL Network. Now Fox’s fall line-up will be complete. The final pieces are “NeXt” on Tuesday and the Thursday games. NBC had the first Thursday and the NFL Network had the next three alone; now two networks share them, starting with the Chicago Bears hosting the Tampa Bay Bucs. That’s in a busy week, with baseball play-offs, college football and ABC’s basketball finals – 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, then (if needed) 9 p.m. Friday, 7:30 Sunday, 9 p.m. Oct. 13.
5) “Connecting” and “Closer Look Thursday” debuts, 8 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday, NBC. First is a new try to do a show about social-distancing, done in a socially distant way. It’s a fairly enjoyable comedy-drama, with friends meeting on Zoom-type calls. They range from the immensely likable Annie to an exaggerated doofus named Rufus. That’s followed by Seth Meyers. His newscasts – on “Saturday Night Live” and his late-late show – have been sharply topical. Now he gets an election-time half-hour.
6) “Supernatural” return, 8 p.m. Thursday, CW. For 15 seasons, these brothers have fought Satan, Hitler and assorted monsters. Only COVID slowed them down; in the midst of this final season, the show halted production. Now, after a six-month gap, it finally returns for its last seven episodes. This one is remarkably clever … and contained, with only four actors. Meagan Fay, an amiable TV veteran, plays a wood nymph who combines the persona of Mary Poppins and the power of Merlin. It’s a fun return.
7) “Kingdom of Silence\,” 9 p.m. today, Showtime. Many people have heard about the end of Jamal Khashoggi’s life. A reporter and Washington Post columnist, he was slain in the Saudi consulate in Tehran, where he went for marriage documents; eight people were convicted, but top officials denied involvement. Now comes a deeper profile of someone who praised Osama bin Laden’s war leadership, became a government spokesman, then became disenchanted as the ideals of “Arab Spring” faded.
8) “Latino Votes: Dispatches From the Battleground,” 9 p.m. Tuesday, PBS. There’s a nostalgic feeling to the start of this documentary: The Nevada primary brings swarms of people, politics and enthusiasm; then the COVID shutdown changes the tone. Still, the basic idea comes through: Latinos – from Las Vegas’ powerful unions to Miami’s strident Cuban community – are key. That follows the “Hispanic Heritage Awards,” (8 p.m.), honoring Selena Gomez, Linda Ronstadt, the late John Lewis and more.
9) New shows, all week, CW. Its main shows will wait until January, but CW has an interesting batch of alternatives from elsewhere. Some (“Pandora,” for instance) are duds, but others are solid. “Swamp Thing” (8 p.m.Tuesday) is from the DC Universe streaming service; “Devils” (8 p.m. Wednesday) is a European financial thriller, with Patrick Dempsey. Both have slick, cinematic looks. The Canadian “Coroner” (9 p.m. Wednesday) starts its second season with an OK mystery and deep personal pain.
10) “Fear the Walking Dead” season-opener, 9 p.m. Sunday AMC. First, the entire fifth season – which ended a year ago – reruns, starting at 3:47 a.m. Then we see the wounded Morgan, hesitating to help a desperate stranger. At 10:15 p.m. is the second episode of “Walking Dead: World Beyond.” Flashing forward a generation, the opener was an intriguing start, with life in a town that’s walled off from the zombies. Then came an odd detour: Two teen sisters began a 1,100-mile walk, searching for their dad.