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 March 23-29.
A number of movie studios are redoing their release schedules in order to make their features available in homes sooner than expected. During the coronavirus crisis, the Netflix model that theater owners hate — only a week or two in theaters, then streaming — may become a new normal.
One movie that had a planned theatrical release for April 3 will go directly to Netflix, a shift that may become another new normal, much, I’m sure, to the chagrin of the filmmakers (and particularly the cinematographers). The comedy “The Lovebirds” starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, will go directly to video, although it has not been given a home release day yet.
Oh, of course those movies won’t be available at home for free! While Showtime and a few other TV outlets are offering extended free-trial periods, these studios will put the movies on iTunes, Amazon, and other services at a price. Over the weekend, I rented “Emma” — which is worthwhile — and it cost $20.
Here are some of the affected titles, currently available or soon to be ready for home rental:
“The Hunt”: The horror satire — blue state Americans killing red staters for sport — is available now.
“The Invisible Man”: The horror thriller starring Elisabeth Moss is available now.
“Frozen 2”: The blockbuster sequel is available now on Disney+, three months earlier than planned.
“Emma”: The Jane Austen adaptation starring Anya Taylor-Joy as the deeply flawed heroine is available now.
“Onward”: The animated movie about two elf brothers is available now, and it will stream for Disney+ subscribers on April 3.
“Birds of Prey”: This Harley Quinn movie starring Margot Robbie opened last month, and it will be available Tuesday.
“Bloodshot”: The Vin Diesel sci-fi action movie will be available Tuesday.
“Just Mercy”: Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan star in this drama about a criminal justice lawyer who specializes in death-penalty appeals, and it will be available Tuesday.
WHAT I’M WATCHING THIS WEEK
1. I’ve written about “This Is Us” many times, teasing the writers for their addiction to making viewers well up and weep. They strain to make almost every scene an emotional hammer. But I have deep admiration for them, too. The structure of “This Is Us” is remarkable, as it leaps among time frames, ultimately adding up to the story of the life of an entire family. The continuity and emotional logic is extraordinary. The season finale is Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC.
2. I’ve had mixed feelings about Netflix’s “Ozark,” the story of the Byrd family’s descent into crime. I like it enough to watch, but I keep hoping it will get better — which it promised to, at the end of last season, as Laura Linney’s role became more important. Season three, which picks up six months after the season two finale, will be available on Friday, and I’ll be watching with fingers crossed.
3. I’m not one of the many passionate fans of “One Day at a Time.” Much as I like the idea of it, and much as I love Rita Moreno, the old-timey format is a turn-off for me. But the show’s loyal followers ultimately helped rescue the show, after Netflix dropped it, by inspiring Pop to give it a 13-episode fourth season. The Latinx-themed reboot returns on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m.
4. After the “This Is Us” finale, NBC is premiering a new drama that, it appears, is going to pluck at your heartstrings until you beg it to stop (or turn the channel). It’s called “Council of Dads,” and it’s about a father with cancer who recruits friends to serve as father figures to his children if he dies. Are you crying yet? After the premiere, on Tuesday at 10 p.m., NBC won’t be airing subsequent episodes of the show — which is based on Bruce Feiler’s book — until the end of April. Tom Everett Scott and Sarah Wayne Callies star.
5. We’re consumed with the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean other major issues, including election interference and the disruption of democracy, have also been put on hold. As the presidential election approaches, “Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Election” looks into past hacks and the possibility of future hacks, Thursday at 9 p.m. on HBO.
6. PBS’s “Frontline” takes on one of America’s most powerful lobbying groups — the National Rifle Association — in an installment called “NRA Under Fire.” The hour will look into “the organization’s history and evolution, how it aligned with President Trump and his base, and why it is under attack ahead of the 2020 election,” on Tuesday at 10 p.m. on WGBH-2.
“Eating History” Vintage-food explorers look into some of the foods from our human past. History, Wednesday, 10 p.m.
“Year of the Rabbit” The season finale of this kooky Victorian-set cop comedy starring Matt Berry. IFC, Wednesday, 10:30 p.m.
“Earth’s Sacred Wonders” PBS’s three-episode look at notable places of faith around the world. WGBH-2, Wednesday, 10 p.m.
“Making the Cut” The “Project Runway” team of Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn reunite for a 10-episode fashion competition. Amazon, Friday
“Baghdad Central” A British drama about an Iraqi ex-cop in November 2003, while Iraq is occupied by the US Army. Hulu, Friday
“Call the Midwife” It’s the season-nine premiere of the PBS series. WGBH-2, Sunday, 8 p.m.
Here are some of the lists I’ve composed in recent years, in case you’re looking for suggestions:
“17 shows to binge-watch while hiding out from coronavirus”
“Best new shows of 2020, so far”
“The most underappreciated TV shows of the decade”
“I know what you should binge during this storm”
“Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert’s top 10 shows of 2019”
Critic Matthew Gilbert’s top 10 TV shows of 2018”
“Matthew Gilbert’s favorite TV shows of 2017”
“The Plot Against America” A powerful miniseries adaptation of Philip Roth’s alternate history in which the 1940 election of Charles Lindbergh as president ushers in fascism and anti-Semitism. HBO
“The Stranger” A bingeable mystery series based on the Harlan Coben novel about a man whose life is upended when a stranger tells him secrets about his wife. Netflix
“Year of the Rabbit” A kooky comedy about cops in Victorian England — think “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” with Charles Dickens as the showrunner. IFC
“Breeders” An intimate, honest, darkly comic look at the strains of parenting, with Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard. FX
“Devs” A brainy drama series from Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”) about a woman searching for her boyfriend, who works at a top-secret tech project. FX on Hulu