The week in watching: State of disunion, the Grammys, and the kids of Parkland

President Trump delivers last year’s State of the Union address at the Capitol.
President Trump delivers last year’s State of the Union address at the Capitol.(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Your TV GPS, Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert’s look at the week ahead in television, appears every Monday morning on


Social media, get ready.

The optics are going to be cuckoo for Tuesday night’s rescheduled State of the Union address, with President Trump’s arch nemesis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sitting behind the president and next to the vice president.

I’m visualizing the GIFs already — Jane Kaczmarek’s fierce mom from “Malcolm in the Middle,” perhaps, or Daenerys Targaryen doing something with fire. Born out of frustration, anger, and gallows humor, the online fallout will be sharp and cutting.


I’m glad Pelosi can’t wear sunglasses on the SOTU stage — you know, the pair she wore for her triumphant departure from the December Oval Office meeting, the meeting during which she and Senator Chuck Schumer goaded Trump into taking responsibility for a shutdown. Because she’ll be throwing shade all over the place as she listens to Trump speak to great applause.

This is only the second SOTU address to be postponed since the speech became an annual event in 1913. The first was in 1986, when Ronald Reagan postponed the speech for a week after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

Also destined for the meme-o-sphere: The rebuttal, delivered by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, a rising star in the Democratic Party since her narrow defeat by Brian Kemp. Every year, the person who does the rebuttal faces scrutiny and ridicule — Bobby Jindal (sing-songy), Marco Rubio (water), Joe Kennedy (lips), they’ve all been mocked in recent years.

The address is Tuesday at 9 p.m., and you can watch it almost anywhere on TV or online.

But that will only be part of the night: CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” at 11:35 p.m. will broadcast live, in order to address the address. NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” at 12:35 a.m. will also go live, and NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” will include some material taped after the address.


Melvin Gregg (left) and Andre Holland in “High Flying Bird,” directed by Steven Soderbergh.
Melvin Gregg (left) and Andre Holland in “High Flying Bird,” directed by Steven Soderbergh.(Peter Andrews/Netflix)


1. Halsey — she was in 30 seconds of “A Star Is Born” — is the host and the musical guest on “S&L,” er, I mean “Saturday Night Live.” The musician-actress has been on the show twice already, first as a musical guest last season and then, in November, performing with Lil Wayne.

2. The Grammy Awards, hosted by Alicia Keys, are Sunday night at 8 on CBS. Performers will include Diana Ross, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Diana Ross, Post Malone, Diana Ross, Shawn Mendes, Diana Ross, Kacey Musgraves, Diana Ross, and Diana Ross. Kendrick Lamar leads with eight nominations, and Drake follows with seven.

3. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the celebrated and high-grossing documentary about Mister Rogers, was snubbed by the Oscars. Don’t you snub it: HBO is airing it on Saturday at 8 p.m., and, to honor Fred Rogers’s commitment to public television, the pay channel is letting PBS (WGBH-2) air the movie at the same time.

4. Netflix drops another high-profile movie this week, on Friday, so that you won’t have to get dressed and go to the theater. Called “High Flying Bird,” it’s directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who wrote the play “Moonlight” was based on. The drama is about race and power in the world of basketball and contract negotiations, and it got some positive reviews after its premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival last month. The cast is led by Andre Holland, who also starred in Soderbergh’s “The Knick,” and it includes Kyle MacLachlan, Zachary Quinto, Bill Duke, Zazie Beetz, and Sonja Sohn.


5. Did you get instantly hooked on “The World’s Best” during its premiere after the Super Bowl? CBS is betting-slash-hoping-slash-praying-hard that you did, and that you will watch two more episodes this week, Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m.

6. BET is premiering a new 1970s-set drama series, “American Soul,” about the rise of “Soul Train” and its creator, Don Cornelius, who is played by Sinqua Walls. Look who’s in the cast: Kelly Rowland as Gladys Knight, K. Michelle as Martha Reeves, Michelle Williams as Diana Ross, Bobby Brown as Rufus Thomas, and McKinley Freeman and Gabrielle Dennis as Ike and Tina Turner. It’s Tuesday at 9 p.m.

7. “Song of Parkland” is a short documentary — it’s a half-hour — about how the Florida school dealt with last year’s massacre of 17 students and school staff. On HBO Thursday at 7, it focuses on the theater teacher and her students as they resolve to finish the musical production they were rehearsing when the shooter struck. “This is the most important show you’re going to do, ever,” she tells them.


8. The streamers keep importing thrillers, such as this one that drops Friday on Amazon. Called “White Dragon” here (it went by “Strangers” when it aired in the UK last fall), its about a professor (played by John Simm) who gets drawn into intrigue as he investigates his wife’s sudden death.


“Ray Romano: Right Here, Around the Corner”

For his first stand-up special in 23 years, Romano returns to the place where he cut his teeth: the Comedy Cellar. Netflix, Tuesday

“One Day at a Time”

The third season of the reboot starring Rita Moreno drops. Netflix, Friday

“Dr. Pimple Popper”

A woman has a horn growing out of the back of her head, a man has a Popeye-shaped bump on his arm, and I just can’t with it. TLC, Thursday, 9 p.m.


Executive produced by Alicia Keys, this new series finds the other John Henry, a Dominican-American business wunderkind, helping diverse, young NY-based entrepreneurs.Viceland, Sunday, 9 p.m.

“Elvis Goes There”

A four-episode series that has critic Elvis Mitchell traveling with filmmakers and actors — including Paul Feig, Sofia Coppola, and Guillermo del Toro — to places of inspiration around the world. Epix, Monday, 10 p.m.

Maya Erskine (left) and Anna Konkle in “PEN15.”
Maya Erskine (left) and Anna Konkle in “PEN15.”(Alex Lombardi/Hulu)


Recently, we’ve seen a number of fine teen series, including “The End of the [Expletive] World,” “Everything Sucks,” and the wise and wonderful “Sex Education” with Gillian Anderson.


Friday, yet another good one drops, this time on Hulu. Called “PEN15,” it is produced by Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island comrades. The comic look back at the horrors of adolescence is cringey but also touching. Series creators Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine play middle-school versions of themselves, dealing with bullies and crushing on boys. It’s a worthy companion series to “Sex Education” and maybe even Bo Burnham’s movie “Eighth Grade.”

Here are some of my favorite teen series, comedies, dramas, and hybrids from the past:

“Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003) — The sensitive soap got teased for its excesses, but it was an addictive story with a group of precocious, soul-searching characters.

“Freaks and Geeks” (1999-2000) — A one-season wonder about a high school in Michigan right before MTV changed everything. The cast, including James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel, is irresistible as they form the school’s fringe factions.

“Friday Night Lights” (2006-11) — It wasn’t only about the teens; it was about the entire community in a small Texas town, and the way people try to make their own meaning. But the teen material was remarkable, even as the cast changed over the years.

“My So-Called Life” (1994-95) — Another one-season wonder that reminded us of the quiet traumas of kids. It introduced the world to Claire Danes and Jared Leto.

“Everybody Hates Chris” (2005-09) — Based on the teen years of Chris Rock, this poignant 1980s-set comedy followed young Chris as he navigated a primarily white school and his parents (played by Terry Crews and Tichina Arnold).

“Gossip Girl” (2007-12) — This trashy soap was tons of fun. It portrayed the miseries of rich New York teens — who behaved like adults — in the early days of social media.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) — High school was hell in Joss Whedon’s classic, which opened the door for the likes of “The Vampire Diaries.” Vampirism and other supernatural things became metaphors for growing up.


“Russian Doll”

In this refreshing eight-episode comedy-drama on Netflix, Natasha Lyonne is stuck in a “Groundhog Day”-like loop on her 36th birthday.

“The Other Two”

A witty look at the struggling siblings of a Justin Bieber-like teen idol, from former “Saturday Night Live” writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.