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This week’s TV: The final season of ‘The Crown,’ an Iceland thriller, and ‘Julia’ is back for seconds

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in the final season of "The Crown," premiering Thursday on Netflix.Netflix

Your TV GPS, Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert’s look at the week ahead in television, appears every Monday morning on Today’s column covers Nov. 13-19.

As “The Crown” launches its sixth and final season, it feels like the end of a stage — the prestige stage — in Netflix’s development across the past decade. These days, Netflix seems to be going for quantity over quality more than ever, and for addictiveness over critical admiration.

The streamer got into original programming in earnest 10 years ago, in 2013, with “House of Cards,” which was showered with Emmy nominations. And it continued to release series and miniseries that aimed for the awards circuit, including “Bloodline,” “Ozark,” “Master of None,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Russian Doll,” “When They See Us,” and “The Kominsky Method.” The jewel in its crown, in some ways, “The Crown” was Netflix’s biggest quality swing, with 10 wins so far in major Emmy categories including best drama and best actress.

But “The Crown” seems like one of the last Netflix series to try for something beyond just being decent and diverting. Once it’s gone — four episodes premiere on Thursday, the final six arrive on Dec. 16 — original Netflix programming will be dominated by entertaining but more formulaic series such as “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Emily in Paris,” “The Night Agent,” “Virgin River,” “Bridgerton,” and “Ginny & Georgia.” The unusual rise of the old, average light drama “Suits” to record-breaking heights on Netflix is a good symbol of Netflix’s shift of focus.


While Apple TV+, Max, Amazon, and Hulu continue to reach for premium content, Netflix may have stopped going for the gold. It’s not a bad thing, necessarily, as Netflix provides so very many viewing options for its subscribers. It’s a bottomless pit of content. But it will be interesting to see if its days as a prestige player are winding down.



1. “A Murder at the End of the World” is a seven-episode thriller from the folks behind “The OA” (trailer here). It stars Emma Corrin, so excellent as Princess Diana in “The Crown” and in “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” as an amateur detective invited with eight guests to a billionaire’s retreat in Iceland. Wait, what? One of the guests is found dead, and our heroine must kick into sleuthing mode? Didn’t see that coming. Clive Owen costars as the reclusive rich guy in what sounds like “Glass Onion,” except that it’s straight-up drama. I’ve seen the show, which premieres Tuesday on Hulu — here’s my review — and I liked a lot about it.

2. The sixth and final season of Netflix’s “The Crown” will arrive in two parts, four episodes on Thursday and the final six on Dec. 14. Netflix is looking to define the holiday season with one of its last prestige series (trailer here). This time, the drama takes place from 1997 through 2005, with Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, and Dominic West as Prince Charles. Sadly, in this time frame we track Diana from her divorce to her fatal car crash with Dodi Fayed. Past Elizabeths Olivia Colman and Claire Foy will cameo via flashbacks, while Meg Bellamy and Ed McVey join the cast as Kate Middleton and Prince William.


3. Father and son Kurt and Wyatt Russell star in the “Monsterverse” spinoff “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” as the same character, Army officer Lee Shaw, in two separate timelines. The younger Lee establishes a government organization in the 1950s called Monarch that investigates monster activity. Fifty years later, after a battle between Godzilla and the Titans destroys San Francisco, the older Lee is suspicious of the organization he started. The 10-episode series (trailer here) premieres Friday on Apple TV+.

Jay Baruchel in "BlackBerry."Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC F

4. The movie “BlackBerry,” about the rise and fall of the titular gadget, came out last spring and got mostly positive reviews. Now, the movie has been expanded with 16 minutes of new, unseen footage and it’s coming to TV as a three-part series (trailer here). There’s a nice trick. The miniseries, which features Cary Elwes, Glenn Howerton, Jay Baruchel, Martin Donovan, and Rich Sommer, premieres Monday at 10 p.m. on AMC. All three episodes will be available Monday on AMC+.

5. Sarah Lancashire is Julia Child once again in Max’s “Julia,” with her Dame Edna voice and her buoyant sense of humor. The second season, premiering Thursday, continues to track Child’s rise on TV and her work on the second volume of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” The first episodes are largely set in France, as Julia and her husband, Paul (David Hyde Pierce), live with her coauthor, Isabella Rossellini’s Simca Beck, to flesh out recipes (trailer here). The season will also follow Child’s friend Avis DeVoto (Bebe Neuwirth), her editor Judith Jones (Fiona Glascott), and her producer Alice (Brittany Bradford), as well as a new producer played by Rachel Bloom.



“Brawn: The Impossible Formula One Story” A four-part docuseries hosted by Keanu Reeves. Hulu, Wednesday

“Drive with Swizz Beatz” The avid car collector looks into the car cultures of different regions. Hulu, Thursday

“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” An animated series with the voices of Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza, Kieran Culkin, and Chris Evans. Netflix, Friday

“Kennedy” An eight-part docuseries on JFK. across three consecutive nights. History, Saturday, 8 p.m.


“A Murder at the End of the World” Emma Corrin stars as a hacker-sleuth in Iceland. Hulu

“All the Light We Cannot See” A four-part adaptation of Anthony Doerr’s novel. Netflix

“The Gilded Age” Julian Fellowes’s period piece returns for season two. HBO

“Fellow Travelers” An epic gay romance that starts in the McCarthy era. Showtime, Paramount+

Upload” Back to the real world in season three. Amazon

“Lessons in Chemistry” Brie Larson stars in the adaptation of Bonnie Garmus’s novel. Apple TV+

“Frasier” Kelsey Grammer returns as the fussy shrink, this time in Boston. Paramount+

“Sex Education” The coming-of-age series goes out on a high. Netflix

“The Morning Show” Season three of the glossy soap. Apple TV+

“Wilderness” A marriage on the rocks in this revenge thriller. Amazon


“Dreaming Whilst Black” Trying to make it as a filmmaker in London. Showtime

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him @MatthewGilbert.