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This week’s TV: Recent series worth remembering, an HBO sexual-consent drama, and a new ‘Dirty John’

Amit Rahav and Shira Haas in the four-part Netflix drama "Unorthodox," about a young woman who leaves her Hasidic community in Brooklyn.
Amit Rahav and Shira Haas in the four-part Netflix drama "Unorthodox," about a young woman who leaves her Hasidic community in Brooklyn.Anika Molnar/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 June 1-7.


The next couple of weeks are relatively quiet on TV in terms of premieres. So here’s my chance to mention a few recent series I’ve enjoyed, in case you’re on the prowl. These days, with the popularity of binge releases, TV series don’t stay in the public eye for as long as they once did. For a week or two before the release of a season, and then for a week or two after, the buzz sounds — and then nothing for a year.


I enjoyed the cheeky and charming “The Great,” a 10-episode period satire that premiered on Hulu on May 15. About the rise of Catherine the Great, it’s written by the co-writer of “The Favourite,” Tony McNamara, and it shares that movie’s bawdy and profane humor. As Catherine and Peter, her bratty, foolish husband, Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult make the most of every bit of dialogue, every divine insult.

The new Netflix series from Greg Daniels of “The Office” — called “Space Force” and co-created with Steve Carell — is a big disappointment. But Daniels created another recent comedy called “Upload,” which premiered on Amazon on May 1, and it’s a light pleasure. It’s set in 2033, when humans nearing death can have their consciousness uploaded to an online afterlife. Along with sci-fi humor, there is a romantic story line between an uploaded man and one of the afterlife company’s programmers.

Released on April 29, “Normal People,” the Hulu adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel, is a melancholy treat set in Ireland. It’s about the ebbs and flows of an intense romantic attraction that doesn’t always work in the real world. At 12 half-hour episodes, it’s a tad overextended, but its two stars — Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal — are consistently compelling.


Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever,” which was released on April 27, is a very sweet coming-of-age story about an Indian American teen dealing with the high school social hierarchy – and not dealing with the recent death of her father. Created by Mindy Kaling, it features a likable cast led by newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan.

Two other Netflix series impressed me. “Unorthodox,” which was released on March 26, is a stunning four-parter about a woman fleeing her Hasidic Brooklyn home for a new life. And “Feel Good,” from March 19, is a deeply humane six-part comedy-drama about a lesbian who — whoops — keeps falling for women who identify as straight.

Edgar Ramirez in Netflix's heist drama "The Last Days of American Crime."
Edgar Ramirez in Netflix's heist drama "The Last Days of American Crime."Marcos Cruz/Netflix


1. “I May Destroy You” sounds intense. It’s a half-hour series from Michaela Coel, who wrote and starred in the British series “Chewing Gum,” and it’s about sexual consent. She plays a Londoner who is fed a date-rape drug, assaulted, and struggles to remember what happened. The 12-episode show premieres Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.

2. The first season of “Dirty John,” a scripted anthology series based on true stories of love gone criminally wrong, starred Connie Britton as a woman taken in by a con man and predator played by Eric Bana. It wasn’t psychologically incisive, but it was compelling nonetheless. Now the series returns, having moved from Bravo to USA, with “Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story.” Premiering Tuesday at 10 p.m., the eight-episode season stars Amanda Peet and Christian Slater as the couple whose relationship ends in murder.


3. Uplift anyone? Apple TV+ has a new series called “Dear . . .” that offers biographies of famous people through letters written by those whose lives have been changed by that person’s work. Among those celebrated: Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, Spike Lee, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Yara Shahidi, Stevie Wonder, Aly Raisman, Jane Goodall, Misty Copeland, and Big Bird. It premieres Friday.

4. The new action thriller “The Last Days of American Crime” is based on Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini’s 2009 graphic novel of the same name. The idea is that in a week, the U.S. government is going to broadcast a signal that will stop people from doing anything illegal, so a few criminals try to fit in one last heist. Édgar Ramírez, Anna Brewster, Michael Pitt, and Sharlto Copley star in the film, available Friday on Netflix.


“Spelling the Dream” A new documentary that explores Indian Americans’ decades-long success at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Netflix, Wednesday

“Yvonne Orji: Momma, I Made It!” A stand-up set from the costar of “Insecure.” HBO, Saturday, 10 p.m.

“13 Reasons Why” The fourth and final season. Netflix, Friday

“Gina Brillon: The Floor Is Lava” The comic’s third stand-up special. Amazon, Friday

Michael Sheen, as "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" host Chris Tarrant, and Judith Keppel in AMC's "Quiz."
Michael Sheen, as "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" host Chris Tarrant, and Judith Keppel in AMC's "Quiz."Matt Frost/AMC/ITV Matt_Frost/Matt Frost/AMC/ITV


“Space Force” Steve Carell’s latest comedy series never gets off the ground. Netflix


‘Quiz’ About a real-life “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” scandal, Stephen Frears’s three-part miniseries doesn’t try to supply all the answers. AMC

“What We Do in the Shadows” The vampire comedy is still goofy fun in season 2. FX

“The Lovebirds” The romantic comedy starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae is easy to watch and easier to forget. Netflix

“Dead to Me” Like season 1, season 2 of the dark comedy is built to breeze through, letting all of its many major twists roll by despite their (often intentional) absurdity. Netflix

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