The week in watching: At home with ‘The Irishman,’ a new Shyamalan series, holiday marathons

Joe Pesci, left, and Robert De Niro in "The Irishman."
Joe Pesci, left, and Robert De Niro in "The Irishman."Niko Tavernise / NETFLIX

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. 25-Dec. 1


There is nothing like seeing a movie at a theater. The darkness, the isolation from your world, the anonymity, the image size, especially if it’s a nice big screen. Going out to a movie can be like a storytelling drug, where you get carried away, where you open up to the pure size of the vision before you. I’ve had especially magical experiences at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with its big screen filling all my peripheral sight.


Sometimes, if I do an afternoon movie, I feel like I’ve been in an altered state for a few hours, only to emerge into the real world shaken and/or stirred. Assuming I don’t have to deal with any noise, extra-loud chewing, or cell phone activity from neighbors in the rows near me, it’s a prime experience.

But yeah, I’m gonna end up seeing “The Irishman” streaming on Netflix some day in the near future. The Martin Scorsese film, released in theaters only earlier this month, will be available on Netflix on Wednesday, just as the Thanksgiving holiday arrives and family members are sitting around trying to find ways not to talk to one another. I will clear out time for the 209-minute film, which has a 94 on Metacritic and the Globe’s Ty Burr has called a “masterpiece.” There will be non-loud food in the room, and visits to the bathroom will not be traumatic thanks to the handy pause button.

I’ll also wind up seeing “The Report,” which Amazon opened in theaters two weeks ago, when it becomes available via streaming on Thanksgiving day. The cast is cuckoo good, with Adam Driver, Jon Hamm, Annette Bening, Matthew Rhys, Michael C. Hall, Maura Tierney, and Corey Stoll, and it has a 66 on Metacritic.


And so it goes as “On Demand” culture creeps into the world of new movie releases. More and more, we get what we want when we want it; movies, it turns out, are not immune to that trend, much to the chagrin of theater owners. Scorsese found a company, Netflix, that was willing to spend a ton of money on the film — but that also likes to keep its 158 million global streaming subscribers happy. The good news is that more viewers will see “The Irishman” sooner, and that many people have gigantic TV screens with killer sound systems, which can approximate — but, alas, never re-create — the theatrical experience.


1. A new Apple TV+ series arrives on Thursday, just in time to trip up your tryptophan buzz. It’s called “Servant,” and its executive producers include M. Night Shyamalan, so you know it’s either going to be creepy or try to be creepy. The show, which has already been renewed for a second season, stars Lauren Ambrose and Toby Kebbell as a couple who, after the death of their baby son, pretend he’s still alive. There’s a baby doll and there is a nanny. Rupert Grint is also in the cast.

2. ‘Tis the season to be Dolly. Yet more Dolly TV arrives on Tuesday at 9 p.m., as NBC airs “Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Opry.” Parton will perform in the two-hour special, along with Hank Williams Jr., Emmylou Harris, and Dierks Bentley.


ABC airs "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" Wednesday.
ABC airs "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" Wednesday. SEE CREDIT/(c)1973 United Feature Syndicate Inc.

3. Here’s one for the Woodstock generation, ha. This isn’t the best of the original Peanuts TV specials, but I’ll take it. In “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” Charlie makes the holiday dinner, a disaster of popcorn and toast. Somehow, though, love and truth prevail, if not complete trust. It’s on Wednesday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

4. The proper way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to think ahead to Christmas, right? Netflix is delivering a new series on Wednesday that sounds like a basic-cable holiday movie stretched out to eight episodes. It’s called “Merry Happy Whatever,” and it’s about a strong-willed dad dealing with his daughter’s new boyfriend at Christmas. Dennis Quaid stars, with Ashley Tisdale, Brent Morin, and Garcelle Beauvais.

5. Amazon wants in on the holiday stuff. On Friday, it’s releasing “The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show,” a “heartwarming and cleverly absurd” special with music, comedy, and guests including Fred Armisen, Leon Bridges, Camila Cabello, James Corden, Lana Del Rey, Zooey Deschanel, Kendall Jenner, Troye Sivan, and the Radio City Rockettes. There will be classic and original holiday songs, and Dan Levy from “Schitt’s Creek” is the narrator.6. NBC is airing “The 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” on Thursday at 9 a.m. with a list of performers including Celine Dion, Black Eyed Peas, Miranda Lambert, Natasha Bedingfield, Chicago, Ciara, Jimmy Fallon and the Roots, Idina Menzel, Billy Porter, and Debbie Gibson, and a float dedicated to “Sesame Street,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.


Netflix premieres "Mike Birbiglia: The New One" Tuesday.
Netflix premieres "Mike Birbiglia: The New One" Tuesday.Eric Liebowitz/Netflix


“Mike Birbiglia: The New One”

Netflix wants Broadway, too. The stand-up comic’s stage show was filmed live in L.A. Netflix, Tuesday

“The Movies That Made Us”

Four episodes, four analyses — of “Dirty Dancing,” “Die Hard,” “Home Alone,” and “Ghostbusters.” Netflix, Friday

“Merry Liddle Christmas”

Did the president name this one? Kelly Rowland plays a single tech entrepreneur whose messy family challenges her holiday fantasies. Lifetime, Saturday, 8 p.m.


Here are a bunch of binges, formerly known as marathons, to keep you distracted during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.


“The Real Housewives of New Jersey” (6 a.m.-9 :30 p.m., Bravo)

“These Woods Are Haunted” (Noon-7 p.m., Travel Channel)

“Alaskan Bush People” (3 p.m.-4 a.m. Thursday, Discovery)

“The Karate Kid” movies (5 p.m.-10:30 p.m., BBCAmerica)

“Mom” (8 p.m.-11:30 p.m., CMT)


12 Christmas movies (12:06 a.m.-10:03 p.m., Hallmark Channel)

“Forensic Files” (1 a.m.-11:30 p.m., HLN)

“The Andy Griffith Show” (6 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundance)

8 Christmas movies (8 a.m.-10:03 p.m., Lifetime)

Harry Potter movies (9 a.m.-7 p.m., USA)

“Below Deck” (11 a.m.-6 p.m., Bravo)

“Friends” (1 p.m.-5:30 p.m., TBS)

“Law & Order” (2 p.m.-11 p.m., Sundance)

“The Great Christmas Light Fight” (7 p.m.-11 p.m., AMC)


“The Andy Griffith Show” (5 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Sundance)

“M*A*S*H” (5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.- 9:30 a.m., AMC)


“Friends” (10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., TBS)

Harry Potter movies (10:11 a.m.-7:35 p.m., USA)

“Shark Tank” (3 p.m.-10 p.m., CNBC)


“Roseanne” (1 a.m.-noon, TVLand)

“NCIS: New Orleans” (4 a.m.-9 a.m., TNT)

“The Office” (5 a.m.-8:30 a.m., Comedy Central)

“Twilight” movies (8 a.m.-7 p.m., E!)

“Family Feud” (2:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., GSN)


“Ridiculousness” (Midnight-10:31 p.m., MTV)

“Law & Order: SVU” (Noon-9 p.m., USA)

“The Simpsons” (Noon-4:30 p.m., FXX)

“SpongeBob SquarePants” (Noon-7:30 p.m., Nick)

“NCIS: New Orleans” (2 p.m.-11 p.m., Pop)

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.