This week on TV: In the room with Tom Brady, ‘Maisel’ is back, and a ‘Black Mitzvah’

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, shown after a recent practice, sits down for a half-hour interview in the premiere episode of E!'s "In the Room."
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, shown after a recent practice, sits down for a half-hour interview in the premiere episode of E!'s "In the Room."Steven Senne/Associated Press

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 Dec. 2-8


I love it when a mainstream interview series promises an “unfiltered in-depth look into celebrities’ lives,” as does the new E! series “In the Room,” which is airing an advance-preview episode this week even though the full series won’t begin until early next year. Unfiltered and in-depth, mmhmm.

At this point, the TV celebrity interview has become a pretty stale genre, a promotional necessity and little more, and the best ones own the fact that it’s all prepackaged playful fluff, that, at least in America, stars really don’t let down their guards onscreen. If you are motivated to hear famous people share honestly about their lives and/or their art, podcasts are probably the best place for you to go.

So forgive me if I raised an eyebrow at the thought that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is going to go deep as the first “In the Room” guest, on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The show’s host, Jason Kennedy, will likely ask a series of questions that Brady can answer from memory.


For example, in the clip to promote the episode, Kennedy asks Brady the “secret” to maintaining a successful marriage with Gisele Bundchen.

“I think we just have to make sure we take time for one another,” Brady says, sitting with Kennedy at his new TB12 fitness facility, which, I imagine, will get plenty of name checks in the course of the half-hour interview. “And I think if you want it to get better and improve, you’ve gotta communicate. I want to support her and her dreams. She wants to support me and mine.”



1. On Friday, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” returns for season 3 on Amazon, as Midge takes her show on the road. She tours with a singer, played by Leroy McClain, while Joel invests in a nightclub in Chinatown. Meanwhile, Jane Lynch returns as Sophie Lennon — as a full regular — and Sterling K. Brown from “This Is Us” joins the cast in an as-yet unknown role. This show is beloved by many, and an awards favorite, although I do regularly hear from the naysayers. The artifice of it all is impressive — the fast dialogue, the choreographed scenes, the soundtrack — but too Broadway for some.

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver star in Netflix's "Marriage Story."
Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver star in Netflix's "Marriage Story." Wilson Webb/Associated Press

2. I’ve been a fan of filmmaker Noah Baumbach since “Kicking and Screaming” in 1995, and deeply admire “Greenberg,” “While We’re Young,” “The Squid and the Whale,” and “Frances Ha.” On Friday, his latest, “Marriage Story,” arrives on Netflix after a few weeks in the theaters, and I’m eager to see it. About a marriage in trouble, it stars Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, and — sweet — Merritt Wever.

3. Here comes more reboot action. Showtime is bringing back “The L Word” with a sequel series featuring some of the original cast members along with a bunch of newcomers. Called “The L Word: Generation Q,” it continues to follow the intermingled lives in L.A. of Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals), Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey), and Shane McCutcheon (Katherine Moennig), along with younger characters played by Arienne Mandi, Leo Sheng, Jacqueline Toboni, and others. Bette wants to be the first lesbian mayor of Los Angeles, Alice is hosting a daytime talk show, and Shane is a self-made millionaire, so we know there will be glamour. The eight-episode season premieres on Sunday at 10 p.m.


4. “Reprisal,” Friday on Hulu, is a noir series about a woman who, after being left for dead, sets out to take revenge on her brother and his friends. Abigail Spencer stars, along with Bethany Anne Lind, Lea DeLaria, Rory Cochrane, and Shane Callahan.

5. Remember Apple TV+, which launched only a few weeks ago, before Disney+, with “The Morning Show” and a few other shows? On Friday, it’s premiering a new series called “Truth Be Told,” starring Octavia Spencer as a podcaster in San Francisco who reopens the murder case that made her famous. Aaron Paul, from “Breaking Bad,” stars as the man she may have wrongfully put behind bars. Also on board: Annabella Sciorra, Elizabeth Perkins, Lizzy Caplan, Mekhi Phifer, and Ron Cephas Jones.

6. Tiffany Haddish recently connected with her father, and she learned that she has some Jewish roots. Thus, her new stand-up special, “Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah.” Coincidentally, she spent years working as an “energy producer” — i.e. a performer — at bar and bat mitzvahs early in her career. “Hava Nagila,” y’all. It premieres Tuesday on Netflix.

7. I’m not sad that “Vikings” is leaving the air after the sixth season, which premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. on History. The show, which I admired a lot in its early years, has lost some focus since the death of Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), and it’s past the time to wrap up. The season, which will be broken in two, contains a whopping 20 episodes, so don’t start grieving yet.


8. This week, Jennifer Lopez is hosting “Saturday Night Live.” DaBaby is the musical guest.


“How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming” A new animated special with the voices of Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler, and Craig Ferguson. NBC, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.

“Christmas in Rockefeller Center” Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin, and Al Roker host the live lighting of the tree, with music from Chicago, John Legend, Idina Menzel, Lea Michele, Ne-Yo, and Gwen Stefani. NBC, Wednesday, 8 p.m.

Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins in the six-episode, holiday-themed Fox comedy "The Moodys."
Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins in the six-episode, holiday-themed Fox comedy "The Moodys."

“The Moodys” A dysfunctional family led by Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins tries to have a picture-perfect Christmas in this new six-episode series. Fox, Wednesday, 9 p.m.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” It’s all about the tree. ABC, Thursday, 8 p.m.

“Virgin River” A new romance series, based on the novels by Robyn Carr and starring Alexandra Breckenridge. Netflix, Friday

“Madam Secretary” The series finale, with guests including Tyne Daly, Cicely Tyson, and, yup, Peter Frampton. CBS, Sunday, 10:30 p.m.

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