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 19-25.
Many of you already know that Tony Soprano will be back, but he’ll be a young man this time, and he’ll be played by a different actor — in fact the late James Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini.
“The Many Saints of Newark” (here’s the preview clip) is a movie prequel to “The Sopranos,” and it will arrive in theaters on Oct. 1 (with a one-month simultaneous release on HBO Max). The large cast also includes Vera Farmiga as Livia Soprano, Billy Magnussen as Paulie Walnuts, John Magaro as Silvio Dante, and Corey Stoll as Junior Soprano.
I’m thinking about the movie because I just read a great little story about James Gandolfini, who died at age 51 in 2013. In a recent episode of the podcast “Talking Sopranos,” which is co-hosted by “Sopranos” stars Michael Imperioli (Christopher) and Steve Schirripa (Bobby), the topic of “The Office” came up in conversation with guest Ricky Gervais, who created and starred in the British version of the series. (In this clip, go to 44:44.)
The hosts explain to Gervais that after Steve Carell left the series, NBC offered the lead spot to Gandolfini. The actor was going to do it, because he hadn’t worked for a while, but HBO didn’t want him to take the job. According to the pair, NBC offered Gandolfini $4 million for one season, so HBO paid him $3 million not to do it.
“They paid him that to keep the legacy of ‘The Sopranos’ pure?” Gervais asks, which may have been part of the reason. At the time, Gandolfini also had a deal with HBO for “The Night Of.”
WHAT I’M WATCHING THIS WEEK
1. Last year, “Ted Lasso” became a sensation because it was so positive and light. In the middle of a pandemic, a nurturing coach (played by Jason Sudeikis) who doesn’t care about winning or losing was just the thing. Plus, all the supporting characters were memorable, not least of all Brett Goldstein’s Roy Kent and Hannah Waddingham’s Rebecca Welton. (BTW, Waddingham was in “Game of Thrones” as Septa Unella, who famously led Cersei on her walk of shame and later gets tortured as punishment.) “Ted Lasso,” which was nominated for 20 Emmys last week, is returning to Apple TV+ on Friday for a 12-episode season two (with season three already commissioned). Now, all together: “Jamie Tartt doo doo doo doo doo doo.”
2. Let’s just say that they were not stardust, and they were not golden, even though they got themselves back to the garden. On Friday at 9 p.m., HBO is premiering what looks like a juicy take on Woodstock ’99, the concert held on the 30th anniversary of the original event. The three-day festival was meant to echo the counterculture idealism of 1969, but instead it devolved into riots, arson, and sexual assaults. Yup, it was “the day the nineties died.” Called “Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage,” and directed by Garrett Price, the movie includes interviews with bands like The Offspring and event promoters Michael Lang and John Scher.
3. Furries finally getting some respect. “Sexy Beasts” is a new dating show where single people go on blind dates dressed up as strange creatures thanks to some sophisticated prosthetics. At the end of the date, they unmask and see if they still feel the same. The six-episode series premieres Wednesday on Netflix, with Rob Delaney narrating.
4. From the folks who brought you “Sesame Street,” here is a four-part docuseries that explores the perspectives of children as they go through some of the most challenging issues facing families today. “Through Our Eyes” looks at homelessness, parental incarceration, military caregiving, and climate displacement in four 30-minute films (designed for adults and as a co-viewing experience for kids ages 9 and older). It’s on HBO Max on Thursday.
5. “Tig Notaro: Drawn” is a fully animated stand-up comedy special. The cartoon version of Notaro tells funny stories — illustrated in different animation styles — about a hospital–bed proposal, a high school talent show gone wrong, a road trip with Dolly Parton, and more. It’s on Saturday at 10 p.m. on HBO.
“Frontline” A two-parter, tracking President Biden’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and a wave of rape cases in India. GBH, Tuesday, 10 p.m.
“Turner & Hooch” A US marshal inherits a big unruly dog in this reboot series. Disney+, Wednesday
“Eden: Untamed Planet” Looking at Earth’s remaining untouched land, narrated by Helena Bonham Carter. BBC America and AMC, Saturday, 8 p.m.
“Schmigadoon!” Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key star in an affectionate goof on old Broadway musicals. Apple TV+
“The White Lotus” Mike White’s six-episode comedy-drama follows guests at an exclusive Hawaiian resort. HBO
“Gossip Girl” Spotted: A reboot that didn’t need to be made. HBO Max
“The Beast Must Die” Cush Jumbo and Jared Harris star in this six-part British thriller about a mother avenging the death of her son. AMC, AMC+
“Physical” Rose Byrne’s dark and compelling series is set during the aerobics craze of the 1980s. Apple TV+
“Kevin Can F**k Himself” A inventive satire about sitcoms and sexism starring a charming Annie Murphy. AMC, AMC+