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. 4-10.
There’s the entertainment that comes with watching “Ted Lasso.” And then there’s the entertainment that comes with watching writers (like me) take on “Ted Lasso,” the Apple TV+ series that makes its season two finale available this Friday. Because the show became such a hit in its first season, it naturally triggered a backlash, which triggered a lash, which triggered a second backlash, and so on and so forth, a Ping-Pong game of opinions.
Big analyses and fresh takes about the True Meaning of Ted have emerged weekly, to explain just exactly why the same country that embraced Tony Soprano and Walter White and Tiger King would fall for such a sincere, corny dude with a mustache. It’s a good thing that we’ve got a soft side, or it’s a bad thing that we prefer fantasy and positivity to reality, or it’s a good thing that we have something with a unifying message in these divisive times, or it’s a bad thing that we’re only able to join hands over a TV show and not something more important.
It’s a lot of weight to put on a simple sitcom, but that’s how we critics roll. The show did strike a national nerve, as a balm of sorts during lockdown, and that means something. So here we all are, with the final episode of a season that I found enjoyable, with, perhaps, a bum episode or two in the mix, as there are in most series (I’m not referring to Beard’s “After Hours” episode, which I admired). The characters are all lovable, without being cloyingly so, and the story lines, as in most comedies, resolve to self-realizations and happiness. The series is a little bit of uplift, which is always welcome.
WHAT I’M WATCHING THIS WEEK
1. Yes, NBC just announced that it is bringing back the original “Law & Order,” which is the Mother of All Spinoffs. But CBS was there first, with a reboot of the original “CSI,” which has been restyled a little bit into “CSI: Vegas.” The new show, premiering Wednesday at 10 p.m., will feature the return of Gil Grissom (William Petersen), Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox), Jim Bass (Paul Guilfoyle), and David Hodges (Wallace Langham), who will work with new investigators played by Matt Lauria, Paula Newsome, Mandeep Dhillon, and Mel Rodriguez.
2. “Buried” is a four-part documentary series about a remarkable case. In 1989, a woman named Eileen Franklin suddenly had a memory of witnessing the rape and murder of her childhood best friend, an 8-year-old girl. That led to a reopening of the unsolved case. Even more unusual, Eileen told the police that in her recovered memory, the murderer was her own father, George Franklin. The case ignited a national debate about the use of such repressed memories in the courtroom. “Buried” premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime.
3. A couple inherit a haunted country house in “Ghosts,” a CBS sitcom from former “New Girl” writers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman that premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. It sounds “The Ghost & Mrs. Muir”-ish, but the single-camera comedy, starring Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar, features ghosts from many different eras, including Prohibition and the 1960s. It’s based on a British comedy, and it will premiere with two episodes.
4. Peacock is premiering a young-adult murder mystery called “One of Us Is Lying,” adapted from the novel by Karen M. McManus. The plot of the eight-episode show, which premieres on Thursday: Five high school kids go to detention, but only four come out alive. Mark McKenna from “Sing Street” plays the one who doesn’t make it.
5. It’s always a bit strange when a new laugh-track multi-cam sitcom winds up on a streaming service. On Friday, Netflix is premiering one called “Pretty Smart” that, in the preview, looks excruciatingly simplistic. Circumstances force a book-smart woman to move in with her flighty sister and her three roommates. Big laughs and life lessons ensue, starring Emily Osment and Olivia Macklin.
“2021 Hip-hop Awards” This year’s big nominees are Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, and Lil Durk. BET and VH1, Tuesday, 9 p.m.
“Diana” A six part documentary about “the people’s princess.” CNN, Sunday, 9 p.m.
“Baker’s Dozen” Amateur bakers go head-to-head with seasoned professionals, with hosts Tamera Mowry-Housley and Bill Yosses. Hulu, Thursday
“Maid” Margaret Qualley stars as a financially struggling single mother. Netflix
“Sex Education” The excellent third season brings more wisdom about teen self-awareness, honesty, and self-acceptance. Netflix
“The Big Leap” A dramedy about amateur dancers looking for a second chance in a reality dance show. Fox
“The Morning Show” Season two goes off the rails, entertainingly. Apple TV+
“The Premise” B.J. Novak’s anthology comedy-drama explores modern moral questions. FX on Hulu
“American Rust” Jeff Daniels and Maura Tierney star in an eight-part murder-mystery miniseries. Showtime
“Impeachment: American Crime Story” A 10-part miniseries about the scandal involving Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp, and Bill Clinton. FX
“Guilt” A PBS “Masterpiece” miniseries about the fallout from a hit-and-run accident. GBH 2
“Clickbait” An eight-episode thriller that twists itself into silliness. Netflix
“Only Murders in the Building” A warm comedy starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez as amateur sleuths in New York. Hulu
“The Other Two” The second season of the comedy about jealous siblings is even better than the first. HBO Max