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 March 13-19.
On Wednesday, “Ted Lasso” returns for its third, and possibly last, season. In his recent promotional appearances for the Apple TV+ show, star and co-creator Jason Sudeikis is cagily saying that the upcoming season is “the end of the story that [they] wanted to tell.” Perhaps Ted’s arc will end, but the show will spin off into “Roy Kent” or “Jamie Tartt” and stick with AFC Richmond and its feelgood battles.
In only two seasons, “Ted Lasso” has become a phenomenon, and not just because of the popularity, the critical embrace, and the Emmy love (which has brought it 11 statues, including two for best comedy). The show has helped to usher a tone into TV comedy that resists irony and satire, two qualities that have dominated the genre, instead focusing on the better parts of human nature. “Shrinking,” whose creators include Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence of “Ted Lasso,” projects the same kind of positivity, of moving through adversity to come out the other side. Ultimately, both shows are about triumph and making peace with demons.
Which brings me to Nate, who has become the new demon in “Ted Lasso,” as he turned on Ted and Richmond last season and took a coaching job with the team’s nemesis, Rupert Mannion. He’s the classic bad guy whose aggressions are rooted in insecurity, and actor Nick Mohammed has tracked Nate’s changes beautifully. This season (I’ve seen four episodes), even as he fights to beat his former friends, Nate is more of a sad, lost fellow than a full-on villain; we know that he just needs healing, that he is a good man underneath it all.
Season three opens with Richmond at the very bottom of the heap, as experts predict that the team will finish in last place. Ted, with his usual optimism, turns that into motivation for the players. Meanwhile, Rebecca (the always enjoyable Hannah Waddingham) has her own motivation: to beat her ex-husband. You want her to prevail, but you also want her to free herself of the hatred. Keeley, too, is positioned as an underdog, as she struggles to run her PR company her own way.
As usual, the highlight of “Ted Lasso” is the friendship among the characters, the rituals and banter they create together, and the caring they lavish on one another when the chips are down. That warmth remains fully intact into season three, whose new episodes will arrive every Wednesday.
WHAT I’M WATCHING THIS WEEK
1. AMC is staying in business with Bob Odenkirk. Now that “Better Call Saul” is over, Odenkirk is quickly returning to series TV with “Lucky Hank,” a prestige dramedy adapted by Paul Lieberstein (“The Office”) and Aaron Zelman (“Damages”) from the Richard Russo novel “Straight Man.” Bearded, Odenkirk plays an anarchic English professor and department head at an underfunded fictional university in Pennsylvania; midlife crises ensue. Also in the cast of the eight-episode first season: Mireille Enos, Diedrich Bader, Kyle MacLachlan, Oscar Nunez, and Suzanne Cryer. (Here’s the trailer.) The premiere, Sunday at 9 p.m., will be on IFC, AMC, AMC+, Sundance, and BBCA.
2. The concept is alright-alright-alright in a strange-strange-strange enough way to work. Matthew McConaughey voices Elvis Presley in the new “Archer”-esque animated series “Agent Elvis,” which finds the superstar moonlighting with a secret spy program created to battle dark forces in America. (Not making it up; trailer here.) The show, which premieres Friday on Netflix, also features the voices of Johnny Knoxville, Kaitlin Olson, Don Cheadle, and Niecy Nash, along with guests Ed Helms, Chris Elliot, Fred Armisen, Ego Nwodim, Simon Pegg, Christina Hendricks, Jason Mantzoukas, Craig Robinson, Kieran Culkin, and Priscilla Presley, who voices herself.
3. “Extrapolations,” a new series on Apple TV+, features eight interconnected tales revolving around the fate of our planet. From writer-director Scott Z. Burns, it’s set in a near future when the effects of climate change have altered our everyday lives. Each of the stories is loaded up with star power, including appearances by Meryl Streep, Murray Bartlett, Edward Norton, Kit Harington, Forest Whitaker, Sienna Miller, Marion Cotillard, Tobey Maguire, Diane Lane, David Schwimmer, Daveed Diggs, Judd Hirsch, Keri Russell, and Matthew Rhys. It premieres Friday, and the trailer is here.
4. As the threat of recession looms, PBS’s “Frontline” will premiere an episode called “Age of Easy Money” that looks at the past decade in the American economy. From the team behind “The Facebook Dilemma” and “Amazon Empire,” the two-hour documentary will look at the role of the Federal Reserve and interest rates, Tuesday night at 9 on GBH 2 (trailer here).
5. “Swarm” is a horror thriller series from Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, due Friday on Amazon. It’s about a woman, Dominique Fishback’s Dre, who becomes much too obsessed with a pop star named Ni’Jah (who, apparently, is Beyoncé-esque). Chloe Bailey, Damson Idris, and Paris Jackson are also in the cast. The creepy trailer is here. By the way, the writers room for the show includes Malia Obama, daughter of Barack and Michelle.
6. PBS is importing the eight-episode series “Marie Antoinette,” beginning Sunday at 10 p.m. on BGH 2. The historical drama, based on the life of the last queen of France before the French Revolution, was created and written by Deborah Davis, co-writer of the Olivia Colman movie “The Favourite.” German actress Emilia Schüle stars, with James Purefoy, Marthe Keller, and Louis Cunningham. Expect lots of costumes, wigs, and secret scheming (the trailer is here).
“Queen’s Court” Yup, another dating series. Peacock, Thursday
“Sanditon” The third and final season of the “Masterpiece” series. GBH 2, Sunday, 9 p.m.
“Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman” You too can watch this interview set in Dublin. Disney+, Friday
“Rain Dogs” A dark comedy about a mother and daughter fighting homelessness. HBO
“Perry Mason” More courtroom drama in the second season. HBO
“Daisy Jones & the Six” A look at the career of a fictional rock band from the 1970s. Amazon
“Liaison” An international thriller starring Vincent Cassel and Eva Green. Apple TV+
“Hello Tomorrow!” Billy Crudup is a salesman in this stylish retro-futurist tale. Apple TV+
“Cunk on Earth” A mockumentary starring Diane Morgan as an absurd host. Netflix
“Dear Edward” Taylor Schilling and Connie Britton in an affecting group portrait of grief. Apple TV+
“Shrinking” An earnest comedy starring Jason Segel and Harrison Ford. Apple TV+
“Poker Face” A murder-of-the-week throwback series featuring Natasha Lyonne. Peacock