Devious Maids Sundays, 10 p.m., Lifetime.
Someone at ABC made a serious mistake when they picked up bland summer soap Mistresses but passed on Devious Maids, from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry. Maids, which has ended up on Lifetime, is everything that Mistresses should have been: a campy, clever and well-acted soap with a range of interesting characters and juicy plotlines. Like Housewives, Maids begins with a shocking death, the investigation of which forms the main plot thread of the season. But also like Housewives, Maids has plenty of engaging peripheral elements and is full of snarky one-liners and witty banter. Based on a Mexican telenovela, Maids is sort of a modern-day Downton Abbey, with its focus on both the ultra-rich (a number of Beverly Hills households, mostly white) and their hired help (mostly Latinas). Housewives lost steam in its first season, but at this point Maids is matching the entertainment value and narrative potential of that previous show’s top-notch early episodes.