Your TV GPS, Globe critic Matthew Gilbert’s guide to what’s on television, appears at the beginning of each week at BostonGlobe.com. Today’s column covers Jan. 20-26.
A pair of shows are leaving fans in a state of longing and frustration, even though neither one has been officially canceled.
Netflix’s “Mindhunter” is in worse than limbo, as the stars have been set free to pursue other projects while producer-director David Fincher is busy with a movie and another show. And HBO’s “Watchmen” is over as far as creator Damon Lindelof is concerned; he’s saying that he has told the story he wanted to tell and has no interest in a second season. He has given his blessing to HBO, though, if it chooses to make more “Watchmen” with a different writer-producer.
In the case of “Mindhunter,” it’s just a lazy way to run a series. If you are telling a story that intentionally spans seasons, which was (or is) the case here, and you’re not canceled, well, then you need to be respectful of your viewers. You need to honor the commitment they’ve made to your serialized product. Often, when TV viewers resist new serialized shows, they cite this kind of irresponsibility as one of the reasons. They’re afraid to get hooked and then let down. I imagine the readers of George R.R. Martin feel some of the same frustration, waiting for the two final tomes in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series.
In the case of “Watchmen,” I feel far less animosity. In a way, I respect Lindelof — at least for now — for refusing to gin up a story line simply to satisfy HBO’s wish for more of what was a ratings success. He may be playing hard to get — but I suspect his commitment to leaving well enough alone is sincere at this point. He may also still be undergoing what he has called the “finale trauma” of his controversial ending to “Lost,” and therefore proceeding carefully with “Watchmen” — as he should.
WHAT I’M WATCHING THIS WEEK
1. Awkwafina, the actress and comic from “Crazy Rich Asians” and “The Farewell,” gets her own scripted series, “Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens,” this Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central. She plays a 27-year-old unemployed woman still living at home with her father (B.D. Wong) and grandmother (Lori Tan Chinn). Bowen Yang, a newbie on “Saturday Night Live,” plays her cousin. The failure-to-launch comedy has already been renewed for a second season.
2. The silly season continues, this time with the Grammy Awards. The ceremony is on Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS, with Alicia Keys hosting. Performers include Ariana Grande, Aerosmith, Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Blake Shelton, and Gwen Stefani. To advance the Emmy telecast, CBS is airing “The Gayle King Grammy Special” on Thursday at 10 p.m., featuring King’s interviews will nominees Lizzo, Eilish, Jonas Brothers, and Lil Nas X.
3. I think Aidy Bryant’s “Shrill” may qualify as an overlooked gem, although these days, with so many good shows and so many TV outlets, “overlooked” has kind of sort of become the norm. Bryant stars as a woman who’s fine with her body but has to deal with the harsh weight judgments of her friends, family, and acquaintances. It’s funny and poignant, and well worth checking out. Season 2 is available on Hulu on Friday.
4. Novelist Michael Chabon is among the writers and serves as showrunner of the first 10-episode season of “Star Trek: Picard,” the eighth series in the franchise. Patrick Stewart returns as Jean-Luc Picard, with costars including Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, and Harry Treadaway. By the way, the show, already renewed for a second season, will also bring back familiar faces including Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, and Jeri Ryan. Here’s the catch, Trekkies: You’ll have to subscribe to CBS All Access to watch the show, which premieres on Thursday.
5. The first season of “The Goop Lab With Gwyneth Paltrow” is available on Netflix on Friday for those of you who still think that applying the correct oils will help you win the battle against depression. Paltrow has established herself as some kind of wellness guru, and now she’s bringing her Oscar-winning acting skills to what sounds like six episodes of infomercials.
“The Bold Type” The fourth-season premiere. Freeform, Thursday, 9 p.m.
“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” The second season is here. Netflix, Friday
“Our Cartoon President” The third season begins, with an episode called “Impeachment.” Showtime, Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
“Outmatched” A new sitcom about a couple (Jason Biggs, Maggie Lawson) raising four kids, three of whom are “certified geniuses.” Fox, Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
“Avenue 5” A space comedy starring Hugh Laurie, from the creator of “Veep."
“Sanditon” Screenwriter Andrew Davies’s take on Jane Austen’s unfinished manuscript.
“The Outsider" An adaptation of Stephen King’s novel by Richard Price.