fb-pixel Skip to main content
MATTHEW GILBERT | YOUR TV GPS

This week’s TV: The end of ‘This Is Us,’ the return of ‘Stranger Things,’ the arrival of ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’

From left: Justin Hartley as Kevin, Chrissy Metz as Kate, and Sterling K. Brown as Randall in "This Is Us."Ron Batzdorff/NBC

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 23-29.

This week, NBC’s “This Is Us” is coming to an end, and I give the show — one of the last outstanding network dramas — a lot of credit. After six years, the story has widened out, and then widened out some more, without losing its mind. The narrative map of the series, as it jumps back and forth in time and among all the various members of the Pearson family and their families, has been most impressive. No matter how broad the saga gets, no matter how non-linear it is, the writers always keep a firm grasp on story and continuity.

Advertisement



The official wrap-up is Tuesday at 9 p.m. But really, the show has been wrapping up since its early flash-forwards, when we began to understand that Rebecca was going to die and that Kate and Toby were not going to stay together. I’m wondering if, after last week’s events, the writers are now going to take us even further into the future, in a “Six Feet Under” kind of way. I’m eager to see the finale, although I know I’ll miss the show.

Over the years, the dialogue has sometimes left me cold, as I feel the writers pushing me to have big emotions. But over the years, I’ve also gained a great respect for the show, for the structural reasons I mentioned above. I’ve also come to appreciate Mandy Moore. Her performance has grown on me, as she has inhabited so many different iterations of her character. Justin Hartley has also grown on me as Kevin, as his character has belatedly come of age. And Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson have been inspiring and inspired since the beginning.

Advertisement



Here’s hoping the networks can come up with something as original as “This Is Us” sooner rather than later.

WHAT I’M WATCHING THIS WEEK

1. Yet another chapter in the “Star Wars” franchise arrives, this time with Ewan McGregor returning to the title role of “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” The six-episode series is set on Tatooine a decade after “Revenge of the Sith,” and Kenobi is looking after a young Luke Skywalker. Returning actors include Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader, and Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse as Owen and Beru, along with newcomers Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, and Maya Erskine (from “PEN15″). It’s on Disney + beginning Friday, and here’s the trailer, which has had more than 10 million views.

From left: Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, Gaten Matarazzo, and Priah Ferguson in "Stranger Things."Netflix

2. “Stranger Things,” the 1980s-set hit from Matt and Ross Duffer, returns to Netflix. The season, the show’s fourth, will be split in two, with the first seven episodes arriving on Friday, and then the last two episodes on July 1. Also, the episodes are going to be longer than usual, with most clocking in at about 75 minutes. By the way, Netflix has already released the first eight minutes of the season in this sneak peek.

3. They’re all winners, of course, but some will go home with prizes. Cuteness prevails on “The American Rescue Dog Show,” Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ABC, which will feature rescued dogs competing for kooky titles. (Here’s a trailer.) The two-hour special includes categories such as Best In Underbite, Best In Snoring, Best In Belly Rubs, and more. Rob Riggle and Joe Tessitore host, with ESPN’s Monica McNutt on hand as a sideline correspondent. Paula Abdul, Leslie Jordan, and Yvette Nicole Brown are the celebrity judges.

Advertisement



4. Monday, Apple TV+ is premiering “Prehistoric Planet,” a five-part series about Earth’s wildlife during the age of dinosaurs. Hmm. Who could possibly be narrating this nature docuseries, which will include plenty of computer-generated imagery? Why it’s Sir David Attenborough.

CHANNEL SURFING

“Keeper of the Ashes: The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders” A docuseries about the 1997 murders of three girls at Girl Scout camp in Oklahoma. Hulu, Tuesday

“Ricky Gervais: Supernature” A stand-up special. Netflix, Tuesday

“Shoresy” The “Letterkenny” character gets a six-episode series. Hulu, Friday

RECENTLY REVIEWED

“Then and Now” A pulpy whodunit with lots of twists. Apple TV+

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” An unsatisfying adaptation of the novel. HBO

“Ten Percent” The British adaptation of “Call My Agent!” stays close to the original. AMC

“Conversations With Friends” A melodrama from the makers of “Normal People.” Hulu

“I Love That for You” Vanessa Bayer stars in this sendup of home shopping networks. Showtime

“The Staircase” Colin Firth stars in a stellar adaptation of the Michael Peterson case. HBO Max

“Gentleman Jack” Suranne Jones continues to shine in season two. HBO

“Ozark” The drama ended with some bad choices. Netflix

Advertisement



“We Own This City” A potent miniseries about crooked cops in Baltimore. HBO

“A Very British Scandal” Claire Foy and Paul Bettany in a portrait of an ugly divorce. Amazon

“Ridley Road” A PBS “Masterpiece” drama set among neo-Nazis in 1960s London. GBH 2

“Julia” Sarah Lancashire is just right in this comedy about Julia Child. HBO Max

“Slow Horses” A taut, entertaining spy drama starring Gary Oldman. Apple TV+


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