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. 20-26.
There has been some chatter about the ghosts in the fourth episode of the new season of Netflix’s “The Crown.” After the fatal car accident, Diana appears to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles and Dodi appears to his father. In all three cases, the conversations are peaceful farewells, with some degree of forgiveness and resolution.
It’s not my favorite trope, but it’s pretty common, and I’m surprised it’s triggering so much negativity. Some of my favorite non-supernatural shows have characters who see dead people, who have conversations with those they’ve lost. Sometimes it comes off as forced, or hokey, or schmaltzy, but it doesn’t ruin the story for me.
“Six Feet Under” (now available on Netflix, by the way) thrived on giving us convos with the dead. The most frequent visitor from the other side must have been the family patriarch, Nathaniel Fisher Sr. Of course the show was set in a funeral home, and proximity to dead people was on point. “Dexter” was rooted in Dexter Morgan’s relationship with his late adoptive father, Harry, who appeared to him frequently to give advice. On “Rescue Me,” firefighter Tommy Gavin regularly talked to those people he failed to save as well as his cousin Jimmy Keefe, a firefighter who died on 9/11. In “Mad Men,” Don Draper chatted with his late boss, Bert Cooper; in “Angels in America” the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg appears to Roy Cohn; and famously, early on in “Grey’s Anatomy,” Izzie had sex with Dead Denny.
If there had been more ghost-chat in “The Crown,” I might have been irked by it. But those scenes are short and sweet. Now if the final six episodes, due on Dec. 14, are filled with dialogue with Diana and Dodi, I reserve the right to change my opinion.
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
1. I had high hopes for the fifth season of the anthology series “Fargo,” which returns to FX on Tuesday at 10 p.m. (and Hulu the next day). And, as you can see in my review, they were not dashed. This season is set in 2019, and it features Jon Hamm, Juno Temple, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Dave Foley. (The trailer is here.) Hamm plays an amoral sheriff-preacher who does whatever he wants, and he wants to find the wife who deserted him years before at any cost.
2. Hannah Waddingham broke through in America thanks to her Emmy-winning work as Rebecca on “Ted Lasso.” But she has a background in musical theater, and she can sing. Now Waddingham has a holiday special — “Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas” — recorded live at the London Coliseum, on which she performs seasonal classics with a big band (and, in this clip, with Phil Dunster, a.k.a. Jamie Tartt). She sang “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on “Ted Lasso,” so I’m betting it’ll be on her setlist. The Christmas special premieres on Apple TV+ on Wednesday, just in time for . . . Thanksgiving. (Missing “Ted Lasso”? Here’s Waddingham and Jason Sudeikis singing “Shallow” live a few weeks ago. You’re welcome.)
3. Apple TV+’s “The Velveteen Rabbit,” due Wednesday, is an adaptation of the 1922 children’s book by Margery Williams that winds up in every college student’s bookshelf thanks to its deep thoughts about self. As a Christmas gift, a 7-year-old boy receives an old-fashioned stuffed rabbit. Can the rabbit become “real”? The new 40-minute special is a live-action animated hybrid, and it features the voices of Helena Bonham Carter, Alex Lawther, Paterson Joseph, and Nicola Coughlan (“Bridgerton”). (Preview here.)
4. I’m afraid I’ll need some “Clockwork Orange” eye-openers to make it through “Faraway Downs,” an expanded, six-episode version of Baz Luhrmann’s 2008 movie “Australia.” Maybe I’m wrong. All the stuff that was trimmed out to come up with the bloated 165-minute epic has been put back in. Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Ben Mendelsohn, and Brandon Walters star in the story of Australia on the brink of World War II, and all six episodes will premiere on Hulu on Sunday. (Here’s the trailer.)
5. On Tuesday on GBH 2 at 10 p.m., PBS’s “Frontline” is premiering what looks like a devastating documentary about the Russia-Ukraine war. Called “20 Days in Mariupol,” it follows Ukrainian AP video journalist and filmmaker Mstyslav Chernov, as he delivers daily news dispatches and personal footage of his own country in a violent conflict. Here’s Chernov discussing the documentary on NPR’s “Fresh Air” on Nov. 13, and here is the jolting trailer.
6. The Thanksgiving Day TV rituals continue intact. Beginning at 8:30 a.m. (through noon), NBC and Peacock will run “The 97th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” featuring 25 of the big balloons (including the Pillsbury Dough Boy). At noon, NBC and Peacock will run “The National Dog Show,” with hosts John O’Hurley and dog expert David Frei. At 9 a.m., CBS will run its own take with “The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS,” which will also be available on Paramount+.
“Soul Train Awards 2023″ The annual event, hosted by Keke Palmer. BET, LOGO, VH1, Sunday, 8 p.m.
“Obituary” A writer is paid per obituary, so she drums up business “Dexter”-style in this Irish series. Hulu, Tuesday
“Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man and the Pool” A stand-up special from the Shrewsbury native. Netflix, Tuesday
“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+
“Frasier” Kelsey Grammer returns as the fussy shrink, this time in Boston. Paramount+