Your TV GPS, Globe critic Matthew Gilbert’s guide to what’s on television, appears at the beginning of each week at BostonGlobe.com. Today’s column covers Nov. 4-10.
TAKING IN ‘THE VIEW’
Last week, Donald Trump Jr. — the vice president of the Trump Organization — was ridiculed in various corners of the Internet for telling Sean Hannity, “I wish my name was Hunter Biden. I could go abroad, make millions off of my father’s presidency, I’d be a really rich guy!”
This week, Jr. — who has never, ever known the benefits of nepotism — is facing more possible eye rolling, as he and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, pay a visit to “The View.” It will be, among other things, a next-generation face-off, as Jr. sits with a panel that includes Meghan McCain, daughter of one of President Trump’s enemies. As you may recall, Trump mocked Senator John McCain even after his death. McCain and Abby Huntsman, both Fox News alums and the conservative members of “The View” panel, are not Trump fans.
When the panel announced the upcoming guest on Friday, the audience groaned. “Everyone looks so shocked,” co-host Sunny Hostin said. “Why? We have everyone here.” Joy Behar was wearing a shirt embroidered with “quid pro quo.”
What’s going on here?
Promotion, of course. Jr. has a book coming out, which he absolutely definitely wrote all by himself, and he wants to create a stir about it. What better way to do that than going into hostile territory to whip up a few viral soundbites? These days, conflict = attention. He must know — he’s probably hoping — that he will face big questions from “triggered” liberals, that word being the title of his tome.
Why is “The View” giving Jr. the honor of appearing on the 5,000th episode of the show on Thursday? Are they setting themselves up to be “triggered,” thus giving him ammo to take back to his cohort?
The ladies best be on their game.
WHAT I’M WATCHING THIS WEEK
1. Showtime is premiering a small but wonderful new BBC-produced series on Sunday at 10 p.m., called “Back to Life.” Co-creator Daisy Haggard stars as a woman in her 30s who returns to her parents’ house after 18 years in prison. Haggard is heartbreaking and likable, and we learn about her crime gradually, as the intimate story unfolds. Geraldine James is a force as her messed-up mum in this lighter, quicker take on “Rectify.”
2. HBO continues to up its output, this week with “His Dark Materials.” Based on Philip Pullman’s trilogy, it follows Lyra, who is from another world, and her search for a kidnapped friend. The cast is promising: Andrew Scott (forever to be known as the Hot Priest), Clarke Peters, David Suchet, James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ruth Wilson, and Anne-Marie Duff. The eight-episode season premieres on Monday at 9 p.m.
3. I’m a little concerned about “Shameless,” which has been one of my favorites since it premiered in the States in 2011. How will it fare in its 10th season without its anchor character, Emmy Rossum’s Fiona? I have faith in the acting abilities of the rest of the cast, most notably Jeremy Allen White as Lip and, of course, William H. Macy as Frank, but are there still enough good stories to tell about the Gallaghers? I’ll be watching either way, since I’m committed to riding this one out. The Showtime series returns Sunday at 9.
4. On Monday, Netflix is releasing what could be a fascinating five-part series about John Demjanjuk, the retired Ford employee who was charged by the Justice Department with being a former Nazi concentration camp guard known — because of his affection for torture — as Ivan the Terrible. “The Devil Next Door” investigates the facts around Demjanjuk’s 35-year legal saga, questioning whether he was wrongfully prosecuted or actually being held accountable for war crimes.
5. The doctor has arrived, so we’re no longer deprived. A 13-episode animated series spun out of Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” lands Friday on Netflix, feature an appealing voice cast including Adam DeVine (as Sam I Am), Daveed Diggs, Diane Keaton, Eddie Izzard, Ilana Glazer, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Michael Douglas, Keegan-Michael Key, and Tracy Morgan.
6. The eight-episode first season of “The End of the [Expletive] World” was a dark treat, as a pair of troubled teens ran away together. At first you were repulsed by them, but that changed as the season progressed. I’m not sure how a second season will work, since the end of season 1 was just a tad apocalyptic. We’ll find out on Tuesday on Netflix.
7. This ought to be strange. ABC’s “The Little Mermaid Live!” on Tuesday at 8 p.m., is a mixture of live action, animation, and puppetry. In front of a live audience on the Disney lot, the film will be projected on a giant screen and interwoven with live musical performances. The cast includes Queen Latifah, Shaggy, John Stamos, Graham Phillips, and Auli’i Cravalho.
8. Eighty years from now, we’ll have tons of vivid footage of all kinds of historical events. But looking back at World War II is more difficult. The compelling documentary series “Greatest Events of WWII in Colour” revisits key events such as D-Day and Pearl Harbor with colorized, and previously unseen, footage. The 10 episodes, narrated by Derek Jacobi, will be available on Friday on Netflix.
“Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration”
Joseph Gordon-Leavitt hosts a star-studded salute. HBO, Saturday, 7 p.m.
“Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby”
The late-night host in a stand-up special filmed earlier this year. Netflix, Tuesday
A documentary look at the legendary Harlem theater. HBO, Wednesday, 9 p.m.
“Let It Snow”
A teen rom-com starring Shameik Moore and Kiernan Shipka. Friday, Netflix
A thriller series about two seemingly unrelated murders. Starz, Sunday, 8 p.m.
FOR NATURE-PORN ADDICTS
If it’s Saturday, it’s not BBC America.
The cable channel is now known as Wonderstruck on Saturdays every week, and the programming is entirely made up of natural history shows. It’s a similar “micro-net” approach to the one Cartoon Network took when it becomes Adult Swim at nights.
Wonderstruck, which runs from 6 a.m. on Saturdays to 6 a.m. on Sundays, will be the exclusive U.S. home of the “Planet Earth” franchise. It will also feature its own premieres and specials year-round. This Saturday, for example, you can watch back-to-back episodes of “Planet Earth: Blue Planet” and “Planet Earth: Blue Planet II.”
Sometimes, especially when it rains, or when it’s particularly rancorous in the country, all I want to watch is pretty and awesome images from the natural world. They can provide a nice sense of perspective. As network exec Sarah Barnett put it to CNN, the goal is "counter-programming the world with the world."
“The Morning Show” on Apple TV+
“See,” “For All Mankind,” and “Dickinson” on Apple TV+