This week’s TV: Beyoncé’s ‘Black is King,’ Olympic stress, and Emmy viewership

Beyoncé's visual album “Black Is King,” a companion to last year’s “The Lion King: The Gift,” premieres Friday on Disney+.
Beyoncé's visual album “Black Is King,” a companion to last year’s “The Lion King: The Gift,” premieres Friday on Disney+.Ben Margot/Associated Press

Your TV GPS, Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert’s look at the week ahead in television, appears every Monday morning on BostonGlobe.com. Today’s column covers July 27-Aug. 2.


A number of studies have noted a rise in TV viewership since the pandemic. And I’ve noticed that my email requests for shows to binge have more than doubled since March. Weekday and weekend TV habits have blurred together, as we look for distraction from . . . everything . . . all the time.

Does that mean more people will be interested in the Emmy Awards this year? The ratings for the annual telecast have been dropping steadily, hitting a record low last year of 6.9 million viewers. Despite the respect and popularity of TV in recent years, the awards have drifted toward irrelevance.


Maybe TV is too fractured to bring in Emmy viewers, since we’re all watching different shows on different channels and streaming services. There are very few mass hits like “Game of Thrones” out there, and now, of course, there is no “Game of Thrones” out there either.

Nonetheless, the Emmys are proceeding. The nominations will be announced on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. in a virtual event streamed at Emmys.com. Leslie Jones is going to host the announcement, along with Laverne Cox, Josh Gad, and Tatiana Maslany. (Here’s my wish list.) The Emmys will be handed out on Sept. 20 in a live ABC event of some sort, and Jimmy Kimmel is hosting.


1. On Friday, Beyoncé is releasing a visual album called “Black Is King,” which is a companion to last year’s Beyoncé-curated album “The Lion King: The Gift.” According to a release, the film will reimagine “The Lion King” for “today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns,” and it will be set in places around the world including South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, London, and Belgium. Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Naomi Campbell, Kelly Rowland, and other artists from “The Gift” will appear. It’s on Disney+.


2. Hulu has licensed a few British series, and it is making them available this week under the header “The British Binge-cation.” 2A. The only one I’ve seen so far is “Maxxx,” due Tuesday, which is a broadly amusing comedy about a former boy-band star trying to make a comeback and getting in his own way. It was written by and stars O-T Fagbenle, who is best known here for playing June’s husband on “The Handmaid’s Tale.” 2B. On, Wednesday, the release is the coming-of-age comedy “Ladhood” from comic Liam Williams. 2C. On Thursday, it’s “In My Skin,” another coming-of-age story, this time about a 16-year-old girl whose home life is darker than she lets on. 2D. And Friday brings “Brassic,” about a bipolar boy and his his best friend — I mean best mate.

3. The HBO documentary “The Weight of Gold,” which premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m., explores the mental health challenges that Olympic athletes face — challenges that the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games has only exacerbated. The film features accounts from Olympic athletes including Michael Phelps (who is an executive producer), Jeremy Bloom, Lolo Jones, Gracie Gold, Bode Miller, Shaun White, Sasha Cohen, David Boudia, and Katie Uhlaender.


Jane Wiedlin (left) and Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Gos.
Jane Wiedlin (left) and Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Gos.Melanie Nissen/Melanie Nissen/Courtesy of SHOWTIME

4. “The Go-Go’s” looks back at their ascension from bar band to the big time in 1978. With interviews with original members Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, and Jane Wiedlin, the documentary also chronicles the band’s internal issues. “We didn’t communicate,” Carlisle says in the trailer. “And when we did communicate, we didn’t do it in a respectful way.” Directed by Alison Ellwood, who also directed Starz’s “Laurel Canyon,” it premieres Friday at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

5. On the day Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, Michael Tubbs, 26, became the first Black mayor of his hometown of Stockton, Calif., as well as the youngest mayor of a major American city. Take that, Mayor Pete. “Stockton on My Mind,” on HBO Tuesday at 9 p.m., follows Tubbs’s personal and political journey, exploring how growing up amid poverty and violence shaped his bold social and economic policies.


“Canada’s Drag Race” It’s the newest international version of the franchise, eh? Logo, Monday, 8 p.m.

“Frayed” A wealthy London housewife is forced to return to her Australian hometown in this imported series starring Sarah Kendall and Matt Passmore. HBO Max, Thursday

Martha Stewart hosts the new HGTV series, "Martha Knows Best," from her home.
Martha Stewart hosts the new HGTV series, "Martha Knows Best," from her home.HGTV

“Martha Knows Best” Stewart, of course, with a new series about home design filmed at her own home. HGTV, Friday, 10 p.m.

“The Last Narc” A four-part docu-series about the 1985 kidnapping and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. Amazon, Friday

“The Umbrella Academy” The second season of the dysfunctional super-family drama. Netflix, Friday



“Maxxx” A broad British comedy series about a washed-up boy-band star. Hulu

“I May Destroy You” An intense, intricate series about sexual trauma. HBO

“Father Soldier Son” A complex documentary portrait of a wounded warrior and his young boys. Netflix

“P-Valley” A compelling drama series about the workers at a Mississippi Delta strip club. Starz

“Little Voice” A musical rom-com series featuring songs by Sara Bareilles. Apple TV+

“Stateless” A six-part drama about life in the dirty, bureaucratically impacted limbo of an Australian refugee camp, featuring Cate Blanchett. Netflix

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” A docu-series about true-crime author Michelle McNamara and her search for the Golden State Killer. HBO

“Perry Mason” The legendary attorney, played by Matthew Rhys, gets a backstory in this series, to mixed effect. HBO

“Love, Victor” A sweet, somewhat simplistic coming-out series aimed at young adults. Hulu

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