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 Feb. 1-7.
It’s nacho average football game, the Super Bowl. Fans have been taco ‘bout it for months now, having a field day making guesses about who’ll play and who’ll win. Their viewership will not be a snap decision. Hey, they just get a kick out of it, and the snacks that go with it, like it has stolen a pizza their heart.
So here we are: The Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (starring Tom Brady) at Sunday’s Super Bowl LV, which kicks off on CBS at 6:30 p.m. The whole nine yards — the game, the halftime show, etc. — will take place in Tampa, with limited attendance. According to the NFL, the game plan is to have only 22,000 fans in the stadium, including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers. Hey, they’re not going to pass on the opportunity. The lead-up to the Bowl sounds like a ball, with Amanda Gorman (from President Biden’s inauguration) reading a poem and “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung by Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan. The athletes will hand off for the halftime show to The Weeknd, who may be running back to Canada afterward, you never know.
But that’s not all on Sunday. Get out the pupcorn, and let’s hope the pup-arazzi don’t behave re-pug-nantly. I’m mutts about the annual Puppy Bowl, which kicks off Sunday at 2 p.m. on Animal Planet. And jack-pot: Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg will be our sup-herb cohosts. I really ruff this essential event, watching the fetching little pooches ruff-house and raise the woof as if they’re at a paw-ty. It gives me a new leash on life, a paws-ative perspective — a reminder that when a problem comes along, we must whippet. I guarantee you, it’s not a mastiff waste of time, and it’s not dane-gerous or fur-ocious. Go ahead, rover-dose on the event.
Oh, and be sure to pick up the Purr-secco and don’t furget to get out the comfortable day paw-jamas. All the players are claw-fully purr-ty on the Kitten Bowl, which is Sunday at 2 p.m. on Hallmark. Really, I’m not kitten.
WHAT I’M WATCHING THIS WEEK
1. Two former TV doctors team up for a series that sounds a little like “Beaches.” Katherine Heigl (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Sarah Chalke (“Scrubs”) star as best friends in “Firefly Lane,” a 10-episode Netflix series based on Kristin Hannah’s novel. They’re childhood pals whose close connection becomes more fraught in adulthood, when men and careers come into play. It’s available on Wednesday.
2. The idea behind this documentary is brilliant. HBO’s “Fake Famous,” which premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m., follows three L.A.-based people who buy fake followers and bots in order to become influencers. First-time director and journalist Nick Bilton selects the young trio at a casting call, and then follows them behind the scenes of influencer fame. Wait, you mean parts of the online world are fabricated? Can it be? Here’s the preview.
3. After the Super Bowl postgame show on Sunday, CBS will premiere the latest iteration of “The Equalizer” (after a 1980s CBS series and a two films starring Denzel Washington). This time, Queen Latifah is the titular vigilante, a divorced single mother named Robyn McCall, and she is surround by a supporting cast including Chris Noth, Adam Goldberg, and Lorraine Toussaint. Basically, she’s an anonymous guardian angel who helps people find justice when the system fails them.
4. Good grief! Apple TV+ has a partnership with “Peanuts” that has resulted in “The Snoopy Show,” which is available on Friday. The episodes — each with three seven-minute cartoons — will follow Snoopy (a.k.a. Joe Cool and World War I Flying Ace) and Woodstock on new adventures. Peanuts characters set to appear include Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Franklin, Schroeder, and Peppermint Patty.
5. PBS’s “Frontline” has a documentary called “China’s COVID Secrets” that looks back to the beginning of the pandemic, how China responded, and the valuable time lost due to that government’s claim that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. It airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. on GBH 2.
6. Dan Levy, the co-creator and star of “Schitt’s Creek,” is hosting “Saturday Night Live” this week, the second of five consecutive new episodes. He’ll be joined by Phoebe Bridgers.
“Fast Foodies” Chefs reimagine a celebrity guest’s favorite fast food dish, staring with Joel McHale. TruTV, Thursday, 10:30 p.m.
“The Head” A six-episode Spanish thriller set at an Antarctic research station in the winter. HBO Max, Thursday
“The Investigation” A six-part Scandinavian limited drama series from Tobias Lindholm based on the real-life investigation surrounding the 2017 murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall. HBO, Monday, 10 p.m.
“The Long Song” A “Masterpiece” three-parter that looks straight at the violence, sadism, and moral depravity of British plantation owners in 1830s Jamaica. PBS, GBH 2
“All Creatures Great and Small” A sunny series that does a good job of taking you far away from the present tense. PBS, GBH 2
“The Sister” A four-part British thriller from “Luther” creator Neil Cross. Hulu
“Miss Scarlet & The Duke” A six-part “Masterpiece” series about a woman solving crimes in Victorian England is a light procedural. PBS, GBH 2
“Mr. Mayor” The new comedy from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock starring Ted Danson and Holly Hunter is still finding its legs. NBC
“Masterpiece: Elizabeth Is Missing” Glenda Jackson is stunning as a woman struggling with dementia and with the disappearance of a friend. PBS, GBH 2
“Bridgerton” Jane Austen-styled melodrama, through the lens of producer Shonda Rhimes. Netflix
“Your Honor” Bryan Cranston’s uneven return to TV as a judge covering up his son’s guilt in a hit-and-run fatality. Showtime