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 May 24-30.
One of the things I like most about “The Kominsky Method” is that, like “Grace and Frankie,” it’s a kind of kiss-off to our youth-obsessed culture. The show returns to Netflix on Friday for a six-episode third and final season.
So many of the series that premiere are aimed at the demographic that still spends a lot of money in the marketplace, that’s still open to new products. But streaming services don’t depend on ads, so they don’t need to pander shamelessly to the young buying public. They just want to pull in subscriptions.
“The Kominsky Method” has been a treat, charting long-term friendship, aging, grief, and over-65 romance with a wry eye. It’s from producer Chuck Lorre, but it’s not as sitcom-y and one-liner driven as his network comedies, which have included “The Big Bang Theory” and “Dharma & Greg.” It can even get pretty dramatic, involving medical crises and loneliness, but then the dark humor is always close by — as it always should be, on TV and in life.
Michael Douglas is remarkable as the flawed, wise acting coach Sandy Kominsky. It’s the perfect role for him; Sandy has been around Hollywood his whole life, like Douglas, and he has learned the hard way. This season, Alan Arkin is not back as his best friend, Norman, a twist that the writers handle in unsurprising but fruitful ways. Kathleen Turner returns for a significant story line as Sandy’s ex-wife, and she and Douglas, who’ve costarred together in a few movies, continue to have strong chemistry. Regulars Sarah Baker and Paul Reiser are back, too, each funny and poignant in their own eccentric ways.
WHAT I’M WATCHING THIS WEEK
1. They’re there for you, whether you want them or not. The pandemic-postponed “Friends: The Reunion” premieres this week, Thursday on HBO Max, a year after it was originally meant to arrive. The goal is to promote HBO Max’s exclusive acquisition of all 10 seasons of the sitcom for $425 million. All six cast members will return to the original soundstage for what the streaming service is calling a “real-life unscripted celebration,” and guests will include superfans and some actors who appeared on the show. On the list: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Tom Selleck, Reese Witherspoon, and, for those students of randomness, Malala Yousafzai.
2. Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott costar in “Alice and the Sexy Priest.” Just kidding. The pair lead the cast of the HBO movie “Oslo,” which is based on the Tony-winning play by J.T. Rogers, who also wrote the screenplay. It’s about the back channel negotiations among a group of Israelis, Palestinians, and Norwegians leading up to the 1993 Oslo peace accords. By the way, the cast includes the excellent Dov Glickman, who plays Shulem on Netflix’s “Shtisel.”
3. This sounds too much like a “Saturday Night Live” sketch called “CSI: Food.” “Crime Scene Kitchen” is a cooking/game show in which bakers must decode what type of dessert was made by examining crumbs, flour trails, and other small clues. Then they must recreate the recipe for celebrity judges Curtis Stone and Yolanda Gampp. Joel McHale is the host, Wednesday at 9 p.m. on Fox.
4. There is a “Rugrats” reboot, naturally. It has nostalgia value for its first audiences, who can now turn their own kids onto it. Much of the original voice cast from the 1991-2005 kiddie show returns, but with the addition of a trifecta of “Veep” actors: Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, and Timothy Simons. It’s available Thursday on Paramount+.
“Mr Inbetween” The third and final season premieres. FX, Tuesday, 10 p.m.
“High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” A docuseries that traces food throughlines from Africa to Texas. Netflix, Wednesday
“Panic” Lauren Oliver adapts her own YA novel into a series, about a high-stakes game played by Texas high school seniors. Amazon, Friday
“This Is Us” The season finale, this week at a different time. NBC, Tuesday, 10 p.m.
“In Treatment” A decent revival of the classic therapy series, this time starring Uzo Aduba. HBO
“Hacks” Jean Smart shines plays as a legendary comic mentoring a young comedy writer. HBO Max
“Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” The second season is a giddy take on power in the workplace. Apple TV+
“Girls5eva” A lively, goofy comedy in which a late-1990s girl group considers a comeback. Peacock
“Mosquito Coast” A series adaptation of Paul Theroux’s 1981 novel that’s more action-adventure tale than character study. Apple TV+
“Rutherford Falls” Ed Helms stars in this warm comedy about the erased Native American history of a small Northeast town. Peacock
“Mare of Easttown” Kate Winslet stars as a weary survivor in a compelling seven-part murder mystery. HBO