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Stay Tuned column: ‘The Crown’ takes the drama into the 1980s for a tense fourth season

Melissa Crawley
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Emma Corrin plays Princess Diana in the latest installment of "The Crown."

This week, it’s some early Christmas cheer from Netflix, a new series from David E. Kelley and two ways to watch British royalty.

Dispatches: Weekly TV news

CBS announced that it plans to diversify its unscripted shows by setting a target to make the casts of all such programs at least 50% Black, Indigenous and People of Color. The goal is to initiate the change starting with the 2021-2022 season.

Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar

Netflix releases “Jingle Jangle” (Nov. 13), a musical about a toymaker named Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) whose most treasured creation is stolen by a trusted apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key). Jangle’s granddaughter (Madalen Mills) has to fix things using a forgotten invention. Music from Usher, John Legend and others, is featured.

“The Blacklist” (Nov. 13, NBC, 8 p.m. ET) returns for a new season as Liz (Megan Boone) and her mother Katarina (Laila Robins) bond over a plan to bring down Reddington (James Spader).

Remember travel? Many of us aren’t packing our bags right now, but we can virtually experience how royalty does it. “Secrets of Royal Travel” (Nov. 15 and 22, PBS, 10 p.m. ET) goes behind the scenes of the most well-traveled monarchy in history with the inside story of the British royal family’s plane and train. The two-part series takes a look at Great Britain’s most exclusive locomotive and the jet that takes the Windsor family around the globe, revealing the traditions and protocols that come along with travel fit for a queen.

In “The Reagans” (Nov.15, Showtime, 8 p.m. ET), director Matt Tyrnauer explores the Ronald Reagan White House and Nancy Reagan’s power throughout her husband’s presidency. The four-part documentary series features previously unseen material, as well as interviews with the couple’s family and friends. It’s an examination of the mark they left on the nation, the world and today’s conservative movement.

“The Crown” (Nov. 15, Netflix) returns and takes Queen Elizabeth II’s story into the 1980s, with Gillian Anderson as Margert Thatcher and Emma Corrin as Lady Diana Spencer. It’s the last installment with Olivia Colman in the Queen Elizabeth role, before Imelda Staunton takes over.

In a deeply personal true crime investigation, first-time filmmaker Madison Hamburg investigates his mother Barbara’s brutal 2010 murder. “Murder on Middle Beach” (Nov. 15, HBO) follows Madison as he spends eight years gathering evidence, uncovering family secrets and dealing with troubling revelations in the hope of solving the crime.

“Big Sky” (Nov. 17, ABC, 10 p.m. ET) focuses on the search for two sisters who are kidnapped on a remote highway in Montana. Investigators soon discover they are not the only women who have been taken. The thriller is from David E. Kelley.

“Lego Star Wars Holiday Special” (Nov. 17, Disney+) picks up after the events of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” as a Lego version of Rey goes on a new adventure with BB-8.

British psychological thriller “Cold Call” makes its U.S. debut (Nov. 19, Sundance Now). The miniseries follows a single mother (Sally Lindsay) who gets tangled up in a cold call scam and decides to track down those responsible.

Report Card: Ratings winners and losers

Winners: ABC’s tribute special, “Alex Trebek, Remembered,” drew 3.5 million total viewers.

Losers: “Supermarket Sweep” has fallen in the ratings for three weeks in a row.

Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at staytuned@outlook.com or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.

Woodford Times