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This week’s TV: Eddie Murphy makes a deal with an elf, ‘Bookie’ debuts, and the return of Blue Sky shows

The must-watch holiday specials of 2023
WATCH: It's the most wonderful time of the year for holiday specials. TV critic Matthew Gilbert breaks down what’s worth watching.

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 Nov. 27-Dec. 3.

“Suits” has become a smash hit now that it’s on Netflix. And that’s not the only recent reminder of the USA Network’s “Blue Sky” programs, those comedic dramas from the aughts including “Psych,” “Royal Pains,” and “Burn Notice.”

First of all, “Suits” series creator Aaron Korsh is developing an offshoot of the legal drama — an obvious move as the show breaks Netflix records. Reportedly, the new series will not be a reboot or a revival so much as a franchise extension, in the manner of “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “CSI: Miami.” The next iteration of “Suits” will feature new characters in a new location, possibly Los Angeles.


Next up: A movie spun out of USA’s highly successful “Monk” series, which left TV in 2009 after eight seasons. Called “Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie,” and written by creator Andy Breckman, it premieres Dec. 8 on Peacock. Tony Shalhoub — who won three Emmys for his work as Monk — is back, along with regulars Ted Levine, Melora Hardin, Traylor Howard, and Hector Elizondo. New faces will include James Purefoy as Monk’s new billionaire foe and Caitlin McGee, who plays Monk’s late wife’s daughter, Molly.

And then last week, Matt Bomer — who is extraordinary right now in Showtime’s “Fellow Travelers” — told TVLine that there has been “very legitimate talk” about reviving his Blue Sky series, “White Collar.” “A lot of things need to fall into place,” he said, “but there is a plan in effect, at least, so we’ll see what happens.” On the series, Bomer played a charming con man who was teamed up with Tim DeKay’s FBI agent.


Matt Bomer says there's been "very legitimate talk" about reviving his Blue Sky series, “White Collar.”Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for GQ

It may be that, while there are plenty of gritty, dark crime series out there, some of them quite good, many viewers still crave the brighter alternatives. The Blue Sky shows deliver crime-solving, but with a hint of uplift and quirk.


1. Consider yourself . . . ready for a new corner of the Dickens-verse. Set in the 1850s, “The Artful Dodger” is an eight-episode Australian spinoff of “Oliver Twist” that finds a transformed Dodger (Thomas Brodie-Sangster from “The Queen’s Gambit”) now using his agile pickpocketing fingers in a more respectable way, as a surgeon. (Trailer here.) But who’s that grimy visitor waiting to corrupt him? Why it’s Fagin, played by the great David Thewlis. The series premieres Wednesday on both Hulu and Disney+.

2. Chuck Lorre has had pretty good fortune when it comes to TV comedies. He’s the guy behind “Dharma & Greg,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Mom,” “Young Sheldon,” and “The Kominsky Method.” His latest series is called “Bookie,” and it stars Sebastian Maniscalco as an L.A. bookie whose livelihood is threatened by the possible legalization of sports betting. (Trailer here.) The cast of the eight-episode show includes Jorge Garcia (Hurley from “Lost”), Andrea Anders, and Charlie Sheen, Lorre’s one-time nemesis. It premieres Thursday on Max.

3. On Friday, Eddie Murphy stars in Amazon’s holiday comedy “Candy Cane Lane,” which is directed by Reginald Hudlin (who directed Murphy in “Boomerang” in 1992). Murphy plays a man who’s so driven to win his neighborhood’s home decoration contest that he makes a deal with a mischievous elf to better his chances. Things go awry, naturally (trailer). Tracee Ellis Ross, Jillian Bell, Ken Marino, Nick Offerman, Chris Redd, and Timothy Simons costar.


4. Am I having a 1980s-style flashback hallucination? My shoulder pads and hair just expanded a few inches. Loni Anderson, Morgan Fairchild, Linda Gray, Donna Mills, and Nicollette Sheridan are all together in a meta movie called “Ladies of the ‘80s: A Divas Christmas.” They play former soap stars who reunite for a special episode of their old show. Rivalries re-emerge, of course, as the divas fall back into some toxic habits. Sounds “Real Housewives”-esque. Need more ‘80s? The theme song is performed by pop singer Tiffany. The Lifetime movie (trailer here) premieres Saturday at 8 p.m.

Gary Oldman in "Slow Horses," which returns for a third season Wednesday on Apple TV+.APPLE TV+

5. On Apple TV+’s “Slow Horses,” Gary Oldman is outstanding as the hard-drinking, sour-tempered, slovenly, and brilliant leader of a group of demoted, sidelined MI5 agents. I’m not sure why the awards shows have ignored him; he’s a wry delight. Adapted from the books by Mick Herron, the show is taut and takes its spy thriller cues from John le Carré, but it can also be quite funny. Watching Oldman go up against Kristin Scott Thomas as an MI5 boss is the kind of treat that more than compensates for some of the little tangles in the plotting. The show (trailer here) returns for season three — which is based on Herron’s “Real Tigers” — on Wednesday.



“Selena + Chef: Home for the Holidays” A four-parter about cooking seasonal food with Selena Gomez. Food Network, Thursday, 8 p.m.

“The World According to Football” A five-part docuseries about the sport in different countries, with Trevor Noah. Showtime, Friday, 8 p.m.

“King Charles” Gayle King and Charles Barkley talk about the big new stories on this weekly show. CNN, Wednesday, 10 p.m.


“The Artful Dodger” The Dickens character is a doctor down under. Hulu, Disney+

“The Crown” The first part of the final season gives us the death of Diana. Netflix

“Fargo” The fifth season is a return to form, with Jon Hamm as a bad guy. FX and Hulu

“The Buccaneers” The unfinished Wharton novel is adapted with contemporary touches. Apple TV+

“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+

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