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This week’s TV: Sarah Cooper’s special, ‘This Is Us’ returns, and a tribute to Latino heroes

Sarah Cooper in her Netflix comedy special, “Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine.”
Sarah Cooper in her Netflix comedy special, “Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine.”Lacey Terrell/Netflix © 2020

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 Oct. 26-Nov. 1.


One of the redeeming things in this cursed year has been Sarah Cooper, the Trump lip-sync comic who has gone viral, with millions of views, many times since the spring. With her shorts, she amplified some of the latent anger in the president’s wording, mocked some of his overstatement, and added comic facial flourishes and production details.

She took lemons and made some fine lemonade.


But she was a stand-up comic and author before Trump, and she will be after him, too. So she has a few different things in the works, beginning with a new Netflix comedy special due Tuesday called “Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine.” It’s a variety-show type thing, with sketches, interviews, and, as Netflix puts it, “more shenanigans.” It’s directed by Natasha Lyonne and executive produced by, among others, Maya Rudolph.

Oh, and there will be a ton of guest stars, including Rudolph, Megan Thee Stallion, Helen Mirren, Jon Hamm, Ben Stiller, Tommy Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Aubrey Plaza, Jonathan Van Ness, Jane Lynch, Fred Armisen, Connie Chung, Danielle Brooks, Eddie Pepitone, Winona Ryder, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Cooper also has been developing a CBS comedy, with Cindy Chupack of “Sex and the City,” based on her book “How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings,” which will follow three women at different stages in their careers at the same company.


1. NBC’s “This Is Us,” one of network TV’s only Emmy-nominated dramas, returns for its fifth season Tuesday at 9 p.m. with a pair of episodes. (Here’s a preview.) It’s the first broadcast drama to deliver new episodes this fall, due to the impact of the pandemic, and the scripts will include both virus and Black Lives Matter themes. At the end of last season, Kevin and Randall had a fight, and that break will continue to play out this season. By the way, show creator Dan Fogelman is still planning to wrap up the series in six seasons.


Hugh Laurie is a British politician beset by scandal in the four-episode series "Roadkill," premiering on "Masterpiece."
Hugh Laurie is a British politician beset by scandal in the four-episode series "Roadkill," premiering on "Masterpiece."Associated Press

2. “Roadkill,” a new four-part “Masterpiece” political thriller written by David Hare, stars Hugh Laurie as a scheming conservative politician whose public and private lives appear to be falling apart. Oh, you need more? Helen McCrory (“Peaky Blinders”) and Sidse Babett Knudsen (“Borgen”) costar. It premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on GBH 2.

3. In case you haven’t heard, a week from Tuesday is Election Day. CBS’s “Every Vote Counts: A Celebration of Democracy” plans to reiterate the fact, which can never be reiterated too much since, you know, only about 58 percent of the voting-eligible population voted in 2016. The variety show, which runs Thursday at 9 p.m., will be hosted by Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, and Kerry Washington, and it will feature Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Cobie Smulders, Coldplay, Condoleezza Rice, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, John Kasich, Kelly Clarkson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Natalie Portman, Shaquille O’Neal, Alicia Keys, Dan + Shay, Offset, and Shawn Mendes.

4. Amazon has a new comedy from a bunch of Brits called “Truth Seekers.” Premiering on Friday, the eight-episode show is about a team of paranormal investigators who stake out haunted houses and abandoned hospitals — and begin to uncover a conspiracy that could END THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE. It stars Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Malcolm McDowell, Emma D’Arcy, and Samson Kayo as a character named Elton John.


5. Eva Longoria, Gloria Estefan, and Ricky Martin host a CBS special celebrating the Latino community and their contributions to the fight against COVID-19 in the United States. Called “Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event,” it will include performances by Gloria Estefan and Pitbull and appearances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Wilmer Valderrama, John Leguizamo, George Lopez, and Rita Moreno. It airs Monday at 9 p.m.

From left: Gina Carano, Pedro Pascal, and Carl Weathers in the Disney+ series "The Mandalorian," which returns for its second season.
From left: Gina Carano, Pedro Pascal, and Carl Weathers in the Disney+ series "The Mandalorian," which returns for its second season.Disney+


“The 2020 Hip Hop Awards” DaBaby is the top nominee for the 15th annual event. BET, Tuesday, 9 p.m.

“The Mandalorian” From the “Star Wars” universe to you, here’s season 2. Disney+, Friday

“Burning Ojai: Our Fire Story” Ventura County residents cope with devastation and repair after one of the largest wildfires in California history. HBO, Wednesday, 7 p.m.


“The Undoing” A murder-mystery miniseries starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant is entertaining and manipulative. HBO

“David Byrne’s American Utopia” Byrne’s rousing stage musical is adapted for the screen by director Spike Lee. HBO

“The Right Stuff” The series adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s book shows the Mercury astronauts struggling with the happy front NASA needs them to put on. Disney+

“The Boys in the Band” Performed by the same cast as the Broadway revival, including Jim Parsons and Matt Bomer, the movie is more than a filmed stage production. Netflix


“Flesh and Blood” A four-parter from PBS “Masterpiece” starring Francesca Annis, Stephen Rea, and Imelda Staunton. GBH 2

“The Good Lord Bird” Ethan Hawke’s turn as abolitionist John Brown is at the center of this comic-tragic seven-part series. Showtime

“Emily in Paris” A comedy about a plucky American from creator Darren Star of “Sex and the City.” Netflix

“Fargo” The extraordinary anthology series returns with a strong season led by Chris Rock. FX, Hulu

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