Blue Bloods (Friday, 10/9c, CBS)
Looks like CBS has a new hit on its hands, with this well-cast and smartly conceived family/police drama. In the second episode, the Reagans debate a weighty issue — the modern urban vigilante (think Bernhard Goetz) — when a good Samaritan takes matters into his own hands in going after a criminal terrorizing people on the subway.
Saturday Night Live (Saturday, 11:30/10:30c, NBC)
After three consecutive wins as best dramatic actor for Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston is about to remind us how funny he can be — who can forgot wacky Hal, the dad on Malcolm in the Middle? He hosts for the first time, and let's hope he gets material worthy of him. Musical guest: Kanye West.
Wallander (Sunday, 9/8c, PBS, check local schedules)
Kenneth Branagh returns to Masterpiece Mystery! in the title role of brooding Swedish detective Kurt Wallander for the first of three mesmerizing new movies. In the first, Faceless Killers, his investigation of the grisly murders of an elderly farm couple quickly goes awry, leading to a media-fueled witch hunt targeting a caravan of migrant workers. Wallander takes every setback quite personally, resulting in another thrilling psychological drama.
Law & Order: U.K. (Sunday, 10:30/9:30c, BBC America)
While NBC transplants the classic Law & Order formula to Los Angeles this season, here's a chance to see how the format translates to another culture. Where the British version of Law & Order is concerned, quite brilliantly. The cast is terrific: Battlestar Galactica's Jamie Bamber as a detective teamed with an older partner (Bradley Walsh, who conveys a necessary weary authority), with Harriet Walter as their boss; and on the prosecution side, Ben Daniels and Doctor Who's Freema Agyeman, supervised by Bill Paterson. Quite a cast. Recycling and adapting scripts from early seasons of the original Law & Order, this series begins with a disturbing case involving a dead infant found in a bag outside a hospital. Finding who's responsible and making them pay is easier said than won in court (where, yes, wigs are worn). Reminds us why the original series became such an institution. (Future episodes will air Fridays at 9/8c.)