Did you read the story about how Emmy candidacy is driving TV scheduling? Welcome to April!
Let’s bitch it out…
Top Pick: New
The Handmaid’s Tale was speculative fiction when author Margaret Atwood wrote it, but in 2017 it’s more relevant than ever (unfortunately). This dystopian-tinged tale looks ridiculously well cast and crafted and early reviews are wildly enthusiastic, so it is definitely one to keep your eyes on (particularly when awards nominations come out later this year).
- Runners Up: Hannibal mastermind Bryan Fuller returns to TV with a gorgeously opulent take on Neil Gaiman’s famous text, American Gods (April 30). Also: provocative indie flick Dear White People gets the Netflix series treatment (April 28).
Top Pick: Returning
The third and final season of the Leftovers arrives after more than a year off the air. The love it / hate it series about the tortured souls left behind in the wake of a “departure” of millions of people was far and away my favourite series of 2015 and the third season looks just as beautiful, epic and tragic as S2. Will this be the year that the show finally gets its critical due? Who knows, but I’m first in line to gobble up these last few episodes.
- Runners Up: Also returning after a year off is Noah Hawley’s wildly successful Fargo (S3 drops April 19). Plus: a pair of criminally underrated series, iZombie and Catastrophe, both kick off their third seasons (April 4 and 28 respectively). Plus S2 of outrageously offensive Brit comedy Chewing Gum drops on Netflix (April 4).
Top Pick: Wildcard
On April 4, Prison Break returns for S5 whether you want it or not. FOX’s surprise sensation (at least in its first season) returns as a limited series, but the formula looks more or less exactly the same, rounding up the usual suspects for yet another titular prison break. Can the latest incarnation recapture the magic the same way The X-Files revival did last year? My guess is no, but you never know…
- Runners Up: Doctor Who recruits a new companion for Peter Capaldi and show runner Steven Moffat’s final season (April 15). The White Princess has some work to do reminding fans of its relevancy when it premieres on April 16, four years after original series The White Queen first aired.
Full List of New and Returning Series – April 2017
Sunday, April 2
- Call the Midwife S6 (PBS – 8pm EST): The midwives return to a fractious Nonnatus House following their South African adventure. In their absence, Sister Ursula has been running a very tight ship and it is quickly announced that she will remain in charge, above Sister Julienne.
- The Kennedys – After Camelot (Reelz – 9pm EST): Based on the book After Camelot: A Personal History of the Kennedy Family 1968 to the Present by J. Randy Taraborrelli, this 4 episode miniseries is a follow-up to the 2011 miniseries The Kennedys.
Tuesday, April 4
- Chewing Gum S2* (Netflix – 3am EST): Tracey (rising superstar Michaela Coel) runs into her ex-boyfriend Connor at work where she tells him that not only is she over him, she’s now dating grime MC Stormzy.
- iZombie S3* (The CW – 9pm EST): Liv has discovered there are more zombies living in Seattle than she previously believed. In fact, there is a private military contractor employing a small zombie army, and that army is preparing for the day humans learn of their existence.
- Prison Break S5 (FOX – 9pm EST): Clues surface that suggest a previously thought-to-be-dead Michael (Wentworth Miller) may be alive. Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) and Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies), Michael’s former wife reunite to engineer the series’ biggest escape ever, as three of Fox River State Penitentiary’s most notorious escapees, Sucre (Amaury Nolasco), T-Bag (Robert Knepper) and C-Note (Rockmond Dunbar), are pulled back into the action. 9 episodes
Wednesday, April 5
- Archer S8 (FXX – 10pm EST): This season features Sterling Archer’s quest to find his partner’s killer in 1947 Los Angeles. However, the case turns into a deadly game of tug of war between Los Angeles’ most powerful crime bosses with every clue leading Archer deeper into a mystery involving kidnapping, prostitution and drug addiction.
- Brockmire S1 (IFC – 10pm EST): The series follows Jim Brockmire (Hank Azaria), a famed major league baseball announcer who suffered an embarrassing public meltdown live on the air a decade ago after discovering his wife’s infidelity. Now, looking to reclaim his career, reputation, and love life, Brockmire takes a job in a small American rust belt town, calling minor league baseball games for the Morristown Frackers. Amanda Peet co-stars as Jules, the strong-willed and hard-drinking proud owner of the team.
Saturday, April 8
- The Son S1 (AMC – 9pm EST): A multi-generational epic telling of the story of America’s birth as a superpower through the bloody rise and fall of one Texas oil empire.
Monday, April 10
- Better Call Saul S3 (AMC – 10pm EST): A familiar face joins the Breaking Bad spin-off/prequel.
- Angie Tribeca S3 (TBS – 10:30pm EST): Silly cop series Angie Tribeca returns for a third season, which finds the inept crew investigating a serial killer (played by Chris Pine).
Tuesday, April 11
- Brooklyn 99 S4B* (FOX – 8pm EST): After an eternity sitting on the sidelines, the fourth season finally resumes.
Friday, April 14
- Fortitude S2 (Amazon): Follows Sheriff Dan Anderssen of Fortitude, a small isolated Arctic community with a captive population in an environment that is undergoing change and upheaval due to parasite and pathogen activity.
Saturday, April 15
- Doctor Who S10 (BBC America – 9pm EST): Final season for Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, who will be joined by Pearl Mackie as the new companion.
- Class (BBC America – 10pm EST): The first and only season of the Doctor Who spinoff begins airing in the States.
Sunday, April 16
- The White Princess (STARZ – 8pm EST): Drawn from the novel of the same name by Philippa Gregory, “The White Princess” is a tale of power, family, love and betrayal, charting one of the most tumultuous times in British history uniquely from the point of view of the women. The tempestuous marriage between Elizabeth of York and King Henry VII, officially marks the conclusion of The War of the Roses, but the real battle for the throne is far from over. Sequel to The White Queen.
- Guerrilla S1* (Showtime – 9pm EST): A British co-production, this six-part limited series from John Ridley (ABC’s American Crime, 12 Years a Slave) follows a black activist movement during 1970s London. Idris Elba and Freida Pinto head the cast.
- The Leftovers S3* (HBO – 9pm EST): Our pick for Best Series of 2015 returns for a brief, final third season.
- Veep S6 (HBO – 10:30pm EST): Multiple award winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus returns as Selina Meyer, who tries to craft a legacy out of her short tenure as President.
Tuesday, April 18
- Famous in Love S1 (Freeform – 9pm EST): Bella Thorne stars in this new series adaptation of Rebecca Serle’s novel about a college student who gets her big break when she is cast in a major Hollywood blockbuster. All episodes available on Hulu
- Pretty Little Liars S7B (Freeform – 10pm EST): The end is near. The series will end after this latest crop of episodes. Hopefully they’re up to A’s standards!
Wednesday, April 19
- Fargo S3 (FX – 10pm EST): The new installment of Fargo (our second best series of 2014) is an all-new “true crime” tale starring Ewan McGregor in dual roles as Emmit Stussy and his slightly younger brother Ray. Their sibling rivalry leads to a twisted path that begins with petty theft, but soon leads to murder, mobsters and cut-throat competitive bridge.
Friday, April 21
- Bosch S3 (Amazon): Angered by the truths behind his mother’s murder, LAPD detective Harry Bosch struggles to find integrity in an imperfect justice system. The killing of a homeless veteran, the suicide of a serial killing suspect, and the high-profile murder trial of a Hollywood director pits Bosch against ruthless opponents who all threaten to destroy him.
- Girlboss S1 (Netflix – 3am EST): Girlboss is inspired by the New York Times best-selling book #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. The series centers on Sophia (Britt Robertson), who began selling vintage clothes on eBay and, by the age of 28, has built a multi-million dollar fashion empire, Nasty Gal.
Saturday, April 22
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (HBO – 8pm EST): Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne star in an adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s acclaimed nonfiction book about a woman whose cancerous cells were harvested by scientists in the 1950s and used for medical research ever since. TV movie.
Sunday, April 23
- Mary Kills People (Lifetime – 10pm EST): Canadian series (woot woot!) follows Dr. Mary Harris – an overworked single mother and ER doctor who also moonlights as an underground angel of death – working outside the law assisting patients who want to die on their own terms. So far Mary has managed to stay under the radar but business is booming, and her double life is getting complicated. 8 episode miniseries
- Silicon Valley S4 (HBO – 10pm EST): Veep‘s regular comedy companion returns for more wacky hijinks.
Monday, April 24
- Gotham S3B (FOX – 8pm EST): The pre-Batman series returns with all-new episodes
Tuesday, April 25
- Genius S1 (National Geographic – 9pm EST): Nat Geo jumps into scripted television with an anthology on Albert Einstein. Geoffrey Rush plays Albert Einstein in an eight-episode adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s book Einstein: His Life and Universe.
- Great News S1 (NBC – 9pm EST): The series follows Katie (Briga Heelan), an up-and-coming news producer, who finds out her overbearing mom (Andrea Martin) has rejoined the workforce as an intern at Katie’s TV station. Produced by Tina Fey.
Wednesday, April 26
- The Handmaid’s Tale S1* (Hulu): Adapted from the classic novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalism in its militarized ‘return to traditional values’. As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate the world. In this terrifying society, Offred must navigate between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – all with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her.
- Gomorrah S2 (Sundance – 10pm EST): The era of the Savastano clan, who once undisputedly reigned over Naples, seems to be hopelessly over. What lies ahead now is the largest ever power vacuum in the history of the Camorra. The king, Don Pietro Savastano, abdicated, at least momentarily. All the forces involved will suddenly have the chance to have their say and will no longer have to submit to the orders of such a tyrannical boss as Don Pietro. But the latter, although physically and mentally tried by hard prison regime, does not seem willing to lose his empire.
Friday, April 28
- Cable Girls S1 (Netflix – 3am EST): Netflix’s first Spanish original series is set in Madrid during the late 1920s and follows four women working for the national telephone company. Eight episodes stream today, with another eight following later in the year.
- Dear White People S1* (Netflix – 3am EST): Justin Simien adapts his own 2014 movie of the same name about racial tensions at a mostly white Ivy League college.
- Catastrophe S3* (Amazon): Last year’s #5 Best Returning Series opens in the wake of (what else) marital conflict for our favourite bickering couple. S3 opens with an unexplained receipt for the morning after pill, and a lot of questions.
Sunday, April 30
- American Gods S1* (STARZ – 9pm EST): When Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) is released from prison, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) and a storm begins to brew. Left adrift by the recent, tragic death of his wife (Emily Browning), and suddenly hired as Mr. Wednesday’s bodyguard, Shadow finds himself in the center of a world that he struggles to understand. It’s a world where magic is real, where the Old Gods fear both irrelevance and the growing power of the New Gods, like Technology and Media. Mr. Wednesday seeks to build a coalition of Old Gods to defend their existence in this new America, and reclaim some of the influence that they’ve lost. As Shadow travels across the country with Mr. Wednesday, he struggles to accept this new reality, and his place in it.
That’s it for the awards-log jam month of April. There’s still a lot to come in May, including major streaming series Sense8, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master of None, House of Cards, Casual and the 21 years in the making return of a little show called Twin Peaks. Pace yourselves!
What will you watch? What will you skip? Sound off below.