This Week in TV: 'His Dark Materials,' 'Rick and Morty,' 'Little Mermaid Live'

His Dark Materials Still 1 - HBO Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of HBO

A heavily anticipated adaptation of a best-selling fantasy novel series premieres the week of Nov. 4. The week also sees the return of Adult Swim's most popular series, a big premium cable show and a live musical performance of a beloved Disney movie.

Here is The Hollywood Reporter's rundown of some of the coming week's highlights. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options each week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.

The Big Show

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials novels build a complex world and have a lot on their mind, delving into religion and philosophy as the story spans multiple locations. Plus, there are armored polar bears.

The 2007 movie The Golden Compass, based on the first book in Pullman's trilogy, wasn't well received. HBO takes another crack at the series with His Dark Materials (9 p.m. Monday), which stars Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among many others. The Hollywood Reporter's chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg says the show is "vastly better than the movie," but there are still some wobbles in getting the story going.

Also on cable …

Returning: It's been two years since Rick and Morty last aired, and about 18 months since Adult Swim gave the show a massive 70-epsode order. The first of those episodes finally airs at 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10.

Also returning: The biggest shows on History (The Curse of Oak Island, 9 p.m. Tuesday) and Showtime (Shameless, 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10); plus Running Wild With Bear Grylls (10 p.m. Tuesday, National Geographic); The Real Housewives of New Jersey (9 p.m. Wednesday, Bravo).

New: Dublin Murders (8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, Starz) is based on a best-selling series of novels by Tana French; the first season covers the first two books in the series, In the Woods and The Likeness. Back to Life (9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, Showtime) follows a woman (co-creator Daisy Haggard) attempting to resume her life after serving a prison sentence.

Awards: The People's Choice Awards air at 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, on E!, with Jennifer Aniston, Pink and Gwen Stefani set to receive special honors.

On broadcast …

Special: The Little Mermaid Live (8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC) won't exactly be like other live TV musicals. Rather than staging the story on its own, live musical performances by the likes of Auli'i Cravalho (Moana) as Ariel and Queen Latifah as Ursula will be woven into a broadcast of the animated film, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Preview: ABC (and cable siblings Freeform and Disney Channel) will try to whet viewers' appetite for Disney+ (which debuts Nov. 12) with a preview of one of the streaming platform's shows, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

On streaming …

Returning: More than a few people who watched The End of the F***ing World's first season thought it could have easily ended where it did. But: Season two begins streaming Monday on Netflix. Also back for more is Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj (Sunday, Nov. 10, Netflix).

New: Seth Meyers debuts his first stand-up special for Netflix, Lobby Baby (Tuesday); animated series Green Eggs and Ham (Friday, Netflix) greatly expands on the classic Dr. Seuss story.

In case you missed it …

Vice Media's new documentary series, Vice Investigates, will dive deep into a single issue with each hourlong installment. The first three episodes — about fires in the Amazon, Russia's war on hip-hop and the shifting political landscape of the Middle East, are streaming on Hulu. Subsequent episodes will be released monthly.