And just like that, spring has arrived in full force. We mentioned last month how March, in many ways, feels like the calm before the TV storm. Now, the annual onslaught of the season is firmly A Thing.
Usually when the volume of TV premieres hits critical mass, it’s on the strength of trend-chasing or riding a wave of similar adaptations. Like pretty much any month from the last half-decade, there’s a little bit of that this April. But there’s also a heartening amount of original series, too. We’ve got romantic multiverses and bureaucratic showdowns and turbo-charged road rage and trial-sized social experiments. Even the shows based on preexisting projects have plenty of promise. Secret spy organizations! Wine battles! Kathryn Hahn giving people advice! Film lovers also have some intriguing titles to keep an eye out for, as a pair of 1980s classics get the chance to live again with a fresh 2023 perspective.
Only a small number of these will break through to make noise in a more-crowded-than-ever Emmys field. Any of these shows would probably gladly settle for just being able to get some attention during a month dominated by the buzz from a trio of returning favorites: “Yellowjackets,” “Succession,” and “Barry.” (One of them has Michael Shannon. Having Michael Shannon in your show usually helps.)
As per normal, the shows in these roundups (like the ones we did for January, February, and March) traverse network and cable and streaming and all those confusing areas in the middle. If somehow, none of these pique your interest, there’s also our broader list of Anticipated 2023 TV, which includes shows that will come a tad bit later in the year.
“Royal Crackers” (April 2, Adult Swim)
As one of the biggest dramas on TV comes to close, here’s another story of people scrambling to replace the head of a massive company. Here, that show is an animated comedy and its company is a Bakersfield-area cracker empire. Andrew Santino, Jessica St. Clair, David Gborie, and series creator Jason Ruiz star as the individuals caught up in the resulting power struggle.
“The Crossover” (April 4, Disney+)
A pair of teenage basketball superstars in the making (Jalyn Hall and Amir O’Neil) learn to handle the expectations of their talent and their father (Derek Luke) in this adaptation of Kwame Alexander’s novel. Daveed Diggs also stars as an adult version of one of the brothers, narrating the story in flashback. Alexander is a co-showrunner alongside Damani Johnson and Kimberly A. Harrison, while LeBron James is also an executive producer.
“Beef” (April 6, Netflix)
Steven Yeun and Ali Wong star as two people who unwittingly become locked in an escalating feud. What starts out as a dangerous dueling road rage incident gradually becomes a battle of wits that draws in family members, business partners, and an increasing number of innocent bystanders. The A24-produced series comes from “Tuca & Bertie” and “Dave” vet Lee Sung Jin and co-stars Joseph Lee, Young Mazino, David Choe, Patti Yasutake, Maria Bello, Ashley Park, and Justin H. Min.
“Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” (April 6, Paramount+)
If you’ve ever experienced any form of “Grease” (movie, regional theater production, competition show to cast the Broadway revival) and wondered what happened before everything that made those stories memorable, here’s a ten-episode season that may just answer a few questions. Set in 1954, when Sandy and Danny still could only dream of freshman year of high school, a renegade group of teenagers at Rydell High started to push back against authority and pave the way for the Pink Ladies yet to come. Series creator Annabel Oakes also serves as showrunner, while this is the first of two new shows this month to have Alethea Jones as a director.
“Boom! Boom! The World vs. Boris Becker” (April 7, Apple TV+)
Prolific doc director Alex Gibney heads up this two-part look at the life and career of Boris Becker, ’80s world tennis champion and iconoclast. In charting Becker’s meteoric rise and sustained success on the international sports stage, Gibney and the team behind this documentary conducted years of interviews with Becker himself as well as associates and former rivals. “Boom! Boom!” looks to address Becker’s on-court career, off-court missteps, and the path that eventually led to his recent legal trouble.
“Jury Duty” (April 7, Freevee)
The latest in a growing list of doc-comedy hybrids, this new show follows the day-to-day workings of an LA-area trial. The one catch? Everyone except for one juror is an actor. An elaborate experiment, including fake judges, fake witnesses, fake bailiffs, and an as-himself James Marsden, the eight-episode season goes through every stage of the trial process, beginning with a memorable jury selection. “The Office” vets Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky are creators on the series, with Cody Heller and Jake Szymanski fulfilling showrunning and directing duties, respectively.
“Tiny Beautiful Things” (April 7, Hulu)
Based on the writings of bestselling author Cheryl Strayed, this limited series tracks the life of an advice columnist who has to overcome significant problems in her life while offering written help to others. Kathryn Hahn stars as Clare, who’s dealing with a crumbling marriage and a fraught relationship with her daughter when a professional opportunity comes along that might just help everyone. Creator and showrunner Liz Tigelaar is staying in the Hulu family, after serving in the same roles on “Little Fires Everywhere” and being a “Casual” alum. The eight-episode season also has an impressive directing trio in Rachel Goldenberg, Desiree Akhavan, and Stacie Passon.
“Transatlantic” (April 7, Netflix)
After exploring the present day in “Unorthodox” and digging into the Cold War in the “Deutschland 83” series, co-creator Anna Winger, along with Daniel Hendler, explores a vital part of World War II history. In the early months of the 1940s, a dedicated group of expats and local activists set up a clandestine system to help Jewish refugees escape the dangers of Nazi aggression. Emergency Rescue Committee members Mary Jayne Gold (Gillian Jacobs), Varian Fry (Cory Michael Smith), and Albert Hirschman (Lucas Englander) are just a handful of real-life figures chronicled in Julie Orringer’s book “The Flight Portfolio” that form the foundation of the series.
“Am I Being Unreasonable?” (April 11, Hulu)
Daisy May Cooper’s busy spring stateside continues after the premiere of “Rain Dogs” last month. Here, she stars alongside fellow co-creator/co-writer Selin Hizli as two women who find solace in each other after one of them experiences a devastating personal loss. The series picked up a handful of BAFTA TV nominations including ones for the series and for performances from Cooper and Lenny Rush. The rest of the show’s ensemble includes Jessica Hynes, Dustin Demri-Burns, Amanda Wilkin, David Fynn, Juliet Cowan, Ruben Catt, and Karla Crome.
“Yonder” (April 11, Paramount+)
Shin Ha-kyun and Han Ji-min star in this drama about a husband and wife reunited in a dreamworld after her untimely death. It marks the first major Korean co-production for the streaming service, and comes as part of a launch of a bigger collection: five additional seasons of Korean TV across the series “Signal,” “Voice” and “Save Me.” “Bargain,” an additional series from this partnership with Korean company CJ ENM will debut on Paramount+ sometime over the summer.
“Rennervations” (April 12, Disney+)
Filmed before the devastating accident he suffered a few months ago, this series is Jeremy Renner’s take on the inspirational renovation show. Instead of souping up homes for unsuspecting families, this four-part show finds Renner and assorted famous friends and coworkers (Anthony Mackie, Anil Kapoor, Vanessa Hudgens) fixing up vehicles for brand new uses, ranging from water treatment facilities to traveling arts centers.
“Florida Man” (April 13, Netflix)
Don’t you just hate it when you’re an ex-cop and you get hired to go back to Florida (where you’re from) and track down the girlfriend of a dangerous Philadelphia-area gangster but then things just get out of control? Perhaps this Édgar Ramírez-led show is for you. Showrunner Donald Todd also created the seven-episode series and wrote the Miguel Arteta-directed pilot.
“The Last Thing He Told Me” (April 14, Apple TV+)
In this limited series based on Laura Dave’s book, an unlikely pair go looking for answers after a man disappears suddenly and mysteriously. His new wife (Jennifer Garner) and daughter (Angourie Rice) must put aside their differences to help figure out the truth behind what led to his departure. Dave adapts the series along with her husband/”Spotlight” screenwriter Josh Singer, who team up to write three of the series’ seven episodes.
“Waco: The Aftermath” (April 16, Showtime)
It’s not exactly “OJ: Made in America” vs. “American Crime Story” but just weeks after a new Waco-focused doc series landed on the Netflix Top 10, here’s this dramatization of the aftermath. It also serves as a five-years-later sequel to “Waco,” the limited series that starred Taylor Kitsch as Branch Davidians leader David Koresh. Michael Shannon again takes center stage as FBI agent Gary Noesner in this series which focuses on both the resulting trial and the radicalization of domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh. Among those also making the return trip to the screen after also appearing in the original “Waco” series are Shea Whigham, John Leguizamo, and Annika Marks.
“The Diplomat” (April 20, Netflix)
Keri Russell makes a return to playing a government employee, only this time for a much different purpose. Here, she’s playing a London-based ambassador wrestling with her past experiences in a war zone and her contentious relationship with her fellow diplomat husband (Rufus Sewell). “Homeland” and “The West Wing” alum Debora Cahn is the creator/showrunner, heading up a series that also co-stars David Gyasi, Ali Ahn, Rory Kinnear, Ato Essandoh, Michael McKean, and T’Nia Miller.
“Mrs. Davis” (April 20, Peacock)
Imagine, if you will, a reality where pretty much everything is driven by AI. Into this world steps a rebellious nun (Betty Gilpin) who’s determined to do everything she can to return society to an analog, person-to-person world. It’s a faith vs. science showdown that will take both sides to….unexpected places. (This is one where the less you know about the show going in, the better.) “The Big Bang Theory” vet Tara Hernandez is the showrunner on the series, with Damon Lindelof as a co-writer and co-creator.
“Dead Ringers” (April 21, Prime Video)
Get in, weirdos. We’re updating Cronenberg classics. The 1988 favorite gets a more modern interpretation, this time starring Rachel Weisz as twin sisters connected by more than just their genetics. With their personal and professional lives intertwined, they look to push the limits of their medical practice and what they do in their off hours. Recent breakouts Poppy Liu and Michael Chernus join Jennifer Ehle in the show’s cast, Sean Durkin and Karyn Kusama are among the series’ directors, while Alice Birch and “Succession” vet Susan Soon He Stanton are among the show’s writers.
“Drops of God” (April 21, Apple TV+)
Tadashi Agi’s hit manga forms the basis for this high-stakes drama in the world of wine. After the death of one of the world’s foremost oeneologists, control of his empire is left to a showdown between his estranged daughter (Fleur Geffrier) and the young man (Tomohisa Yamashita) who was the late expert’s closest pupil. Ready your palettes. Showrunner Quoc Dong Tran has been a writer on some of the best French series of the past few years, including the comedy hit “Call My Agent!” and the artfully eerie horror series “Marianne.”
“Slip” (April 21, The Roku Channel)
Zoe Lister-Jones brings her multihyphenate approach to TV by writing, directing, and starring in this seven-episode comedy series. Another addition to the ever-growing list of multiverse-adjacent stories, this features Lister-Jones as a woman who escapes her frustratingly functional marriage by escaping into other versions of herself. Emily Hampshire, Whitmer Thomas, Tymika Tafari, and Amar Chadha-Patel co-star in the show, which premiered at SXSW last month.
“Saint X” (April 26, Hulu)
Praise for Alexis Schaitkin’s novel of the same name highlighted an ability to subvert reductive true crime expectations. This eight-episode screen version will look to do the same thing, showing the aftermath of a young girl’s disappearance while on a trip to the Caribbean. Through multiple perspectives, the show looks at how that mystery affects both her family and the fabric of the local community. Alycia Debnam-Carey, Josh Bonzie, West Duchovny, Jayden Elijah, Bre Francis, Kenlee Anaya Townsend, Betsy Brandt and Michael Park star in the series, with Leila Gerstein leading the adaptation efforts.
“Love & Death” (April 27, HBO Max)
Roughly a year after the Hulu series “Candy” dramatized the same small Texas town saga, Elizabeth Olsen and Lily Rabe step into the roles of an unassuming Wylie housewife and the friend accused of brutally murdering her. It’s a story of faith and betrayal and tragedy that also happens to be written this time by David E. Kelley. Veteran director Lesli Linka Glatter steps in for five of the seven episodes, which feature an ensemble with Jesse Plemons, Patrick Fugit, Elizabeth Marvel, Krysten Ritter, Keir Gilchrist, Brian d’Arcy James, Tom Pelphrey, and Bruce McGill.
“Citadel” (April 28, Prime Video)
Maybe the biggest Prime Video series in years that doesn’t involve Tolkien (that we know of) is this Russo Brothers-produced international action spy thriller. It centers around the aftermath of the crumbling of a covert, independent intelligence agency. Years after their cover was blown and their mind wiped, a pair of agents (Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas) are forced to help each other recover their memories and keep their former enemies from doing even more damage. “Hunters” and “Invasion” creator David Weil serves as showrunner here, overseeing a cast that also includes Stanley Tucci and Lesley Manville.
“Fatal Attraction” (April 30, Paramount+)
The late-‘80s thriller gets an update in this new show from “Dirty John” creator and showrunner Alexandra Cunningham. It borrows the film’s same setup: High-powered lawyer Dan Gallagher (Joshua Jackson) blows up his seemingly perfect home life when his workplace flirtation with Alex Forrest (Lizzy Caplan) spirals out of control and eventually becomes something far more dangerous. As Cunningham has stated, this newer “Fatal Attraction” will consider more of Alex’s point of view than the film did. Silver Tree, who’s directed some of the best of “You,” will serve in the same role on the three episodes that will be available on premiere day.
“Tom Jones” (April 30, PBS)
Solly McLeod steps into the shoes of Henry Fielding’s 18th title character for this four-part romance. Sophie Wilde co-stars as Sophia, the well-to-do heiress and object of his affection despite his own social status. Pearl Mackie, James Fleet, Shirley Henderson, and Alun Armstrong are just a few more of the main folks in the massive, costumed ensemble, capped off by “Ted Lasso” star Hannah Waddingham as the memorable Lady Bellaston. This adaptation comes from Gwyneth Hughes, who last tackled a mammoth literary work for the 2018 Prime Video version of “Vanity Fair.”
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