This week on TV: LGBTQ visibility, a new twist on ‘High Fidelity,’ and the bond between Ali and Cavett

Zoë Kravitz stars as Rob, a record store owner in Hulu's series adaptation of Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity."
Zoë Kravitz stars as Rob, a record store owner in Hulu's series adaptation of Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity."Phillip Caruso/Hulu

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 Feb. 10-16.


Back in the 1990s, you could easily name all of the openly gay actors on TV and in movies; now, fortunately, it’s far more difficult. There are too many to count.

Every once in a while, I see a performance that I love, and, looking into the actor or actress online, I discover that he or she is LGBTQ. That has happened twice recently, with Charlie Barnett, the time-looped guy on “Russian Doll,” and with Andrew Scott, the hot priest on “Fleabag.” They are both openly gay, and yet that isn’t a major part of their professional identities, as it once was for, say, Rupert Everett.


It feels great to no longer have that short list of all the out gay actors and actresses in my head, as I did 20 years ago, when LGBTQ people in Hollywood were afraid coming out would ruin their careers. At this point, it seems as though there’s always another performer who has just come out without much notice — it was DJ Qualls, from “The Man in the High Castle” and “Legit,” two weeks ago.

And it’s amazing how much gay visibility on TV has changed in recent decades, along with gay visibility and equal rights in the real world. Perhaps, as Joe Biden once suggested about the mind-altering impact of “Will & Grace,” LGBTQ characters on screen helped lead to social and legal changes for LGBTQ people, including marriage.

A new five-part documentary series will be available this Friday, called “Visible: Out on Television,” on Apple TV+. From filmmakers Ryan White and Jessica Hargrave (both from “The Keepers”) and executive producers Wanda Sykes and Wilson Cruz, it looks at the relationship between the LGBTQ movement and TV, with archival footage and interviews with, among others, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Billy Porter, Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, Sara Ramirez, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. The series is narrated by Janet Mock, Margaret Cho, Asia Kate Dillon, Neil Patrick Harris, and Lena Waithe.



1. First there was a book. Then a movie. Now let there be TV. “High Fidelity,” the 1995 Nick Hornby novel that became a 2000 John Cusack movie, is a series, this time with Zoë Kravitz starring as the record store owner trying to get over her one true love. It’s set in Brooklyn, of course. All 10 episodes drop on Hulu Friday.

2. OWN is premiering a new anthology drama called “Cherish the Day,” created by Ava DuVernay of “Queen Sugar” and “When They See Us.” The first season of eight episodes will chronicle one relationship in LA, with each episode spanning a single, pivotal day. Xosha Roquemore and Alano Miller star, along with someone named Cicely Tyson. It premieres with two episodes this week, the first on Tuesday at 10 p.m. and the second on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Amy Poehler, Ty Burrell, and Riki Lindhome are among the actors who voice the characters of Fox's "Duncanville," a family comedy centered on a 15-year-old boy.
Amy Poehler, Ty Burrell, and Riki Lindhome are among the actors who voice the characters of Fox's "Duncanville," a family comedy centered on a 15-year-old boy.Fox

3. I’m going to need to get some of this show’s merchandise, because the title “Duncanville” also happens to be the name of my home, since it is presided over by a dog named Duncan. But I digress: Fox is premiering this new animated family comedy on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. It’s from Amy Poehler, Mike Scully, and Julie Scully, and it’s about the life of a 15-year-old boy, who is voiced by Poehler (she voices Duncan’s mother, too). Other voice actors include Ty Burrell, Riki Lindhome, Rashida Jones, and Wiz Khalifa.


4. On Tuesday at 9 p.m., HBO is premiering “Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes,” a documentary that views Muhammad Ali through the lens of his 14 appearances on Dick Cavett’s talk show. The odd-couple friends talked about race, boxing, and the Vietnam War. “He would say things to Cavett about whites that you’d hear on the street corners of Harlem,” says the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of many interviewed in the film. “They seemed to go to the edge of the racial debate in the country.”

5. Time to go deep on George Washington for Presidents’ Day, it seems. On Sunday at 8 p.m., History is premiering a six-episode, three-night miniseries about our first president. Narrated by Jeff Daniels and executive produced by Doris Kearns Goodwin, “Washington” will, as History puts it, “explore the full arc of his journey,” including live action re-creations, excerpts from Washington’s letters, and interviews with experts.

6. In the new legal drama “For Life,” loosely inspired by the story of Isaac Wright Jr., a wrongfully imprisoned man gets his law degree, then tries to overturn his own wrongful conviction as well as those of other inmates. Nicholas Pinnock, Indira Varma, and Mary Stuart Masterson star, Tuesday at 10 p.m. on ABC.


"Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" returns to HBO Feb. 16.
"Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" returns to HBO Feb. 16. Lloyd Bishop/HBO


“Survivor: Winners at War” The two-hour 40th-season premiere, as 20 former champs, including Jeremy Collins, Ethan Zohn, Boston Rob Mariano, and Amber Mariano, play the game. CBS, Wednesday, 8 p.m.

“Love Is Blind” Nick and Vanessa Lachey host, as singles get engaged before meeting in person. Netflix, Thursday.

“Utopia Falls” A teen sci-fi series with music and dance, set in the future amid the ruins of Earth. Hulu, Friday

“American Idol” The 18th-season premiere, with host Ryan Seacrest and judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie. ABC, Sunday, 8 p.m.

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” The dose of weekly sanity returns. HBO, Sunday, 11:10 p.m.


“Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” An amusing ensemble comedy about the folks who run a video game.

“Tommy” Edie Falco returns in a mediocre CBS procedural about the LAPD.

“Indebted” Fran Drescher’s latest is an uninspired, tossed-off network sitcom.

“Little America” A powerful anthology series about the immigrant experience in this country.

“Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens” The comic-actress brings her own fearless twists to the slacker genre.

“Sex Education” Season two proves the high school comedy is among the best teen TV series.