What’s in store for TV in April, you ask? NBC will see if they still remember how to successfully launch a half-hour comedy. HBO unveils a one-two punch (one doc, one based-on-a-true-story drama) about women’s-health issues. FX brings back one of its MVP anthology shows. AMC tries their hand (again) at a Western, and Fox launches millions of utterances of “Oh yeah, I remember Prison Break … wasn’t that the one where they break out of the prison?” Here’s what you’ll be watching this month; check out our Best Movies and TV Shows to Stream in April list to supplement your bleary-eyed viewing schedule.
Abortion: Stories Women Tell (HBO, Apr. 3rd)
Documentarian Tracy Droz Tragos was sick of watching the right to a legal abortion debated among dusty old men. So she put a human face on the hot-button issue with this collection of interviews with women who have gone through with the procedure, giving them an opportunity to share their perspectives. Women of all ages, races and backgrounds cut through the rhetoric in their own words; though the film first premiered in 2016, it now doubles an urgent rejoinder to Trump’s slash-and-burn healthcare policies.
American Gods (Starz, Apr. 30th)
Those of us who have not yet stopped wearing our “R.I.P. HANNIBAL” t-shirts can now warmly welcome creator Bryan Fuller back to TV, as he adapts another beloved work of cult geek-lit. Neil Gaiman’s densely allusive novel chronicled the ultimate clash between the Old Gods of Norse mythology and the New Gods of media and technology. Yes, there will be blood, guts and barroom brawls involving leprechauns, thanks for asking. All this, and a dream ensemble cast including [deep breath] Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Cloris Leachman, Dane Cook, Gillian Anderson and Kristen Chenoweth. Our prayers, it seems, have been answered.
Brockmire (IFC, Apr. 5th)
One of The Simpsons‘ most valuable utility players, Hank Azaria gets some face-time as Jim Brockmire, the MLB’s most esteemed announcer until an on-air meltdown destroyed his reputation. Now, one decade later, the hard-drinking, foulmouthed hellraiser gets back in the game as the play-by-play man for the minor league Morristown Frackers. There’s also an intern sidekick (Tyrel Jackson Williams), a team-owner love interest (the mighty Amanda Peet) and the chance for another character study of an unruly antihero clawing his way back to redemption, one foul-mouthed tirade at a time.
Class (BBC America, Apr. 15th)
The Doctor is… well, not in, actually. Britain’s most famous Time Lord fleetingly stops by this Doctor Who spinoff, ceding the focus to the students and faculty of the oft-mentioned Coal Hill Academy. The eclectic crew of extraordinary students (which includes a soccer all-star, a Nigerian child prodigy and a gay alien) balance hormonal stirrings and testing anxiety with an unending battle against monsters. During its run across the Atlantic, critics and Whovians alike praised the show’s willingness to venture into darker territory – even those stateside fans who hold up the long-running, ever-morphing series as scripture can let themselves feel optimistic about this offshoot.
Great News (NBC, Apr. 25th)
Moms: You can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em and can’t have them fired when they somehow procure an internship at the TV news program you’re producing. Good old fashioned zany sitcom hijinks ensue when Carol (Broadway fixture Andrea Martin) joins the news team that her daughter Katie (Briga Heelan) oveersees, with plenty of maternal embarrassment to go around. The supporting cast is a who’s who from executive producer Tina Fey’s past: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt bit player Adam Campbell plays Katie’s arrogant coproducer, SNL alumnus Horatio Sanz works the editing booth and improv veteran/character actor John Michael Higgins steps in as the pompous newscaster. The wild card in the mix is Nicole Richie, backing him up as his bubbleheaded co-anchor.
Guerrilla (Showtime, Apr. 16th)
During the Seventies, London was a powder keg of racial tensions and radicalism – and this handsomely-produced period piece follows one couple’s efforts to form an underground cell of subversives. The goal: free a political prisoner and launch a counteroffensive against the Black Power Desk, a real-life intelligence unit dedicated to dismantling black militant factions. The blurry line between activism and needless violence fuels this morally ambiguous series from American Crime creator John Ridley, with the deal considerably sweetened by a supporting performance from Idris Elba as one of the rabblerousers. Good thing that everything is fine and stable and racially harmonious over there nowadays.
Fargo, Season 3 (FX, Apr. 19th)
Golden boy Noah Hawley hits the reset button on this anthology series once more for a new homespun yarn of jealousy, crime and darkly comic irony. This installment fast-forwards to 2010, focusing on a rivalry of Biblical proportions between the well-to-do Parking Lot King of Minnesota Emmit Stussy and his shiftless parole-officer brother Ray (Ewan McGregor, pulling double duty). Somehow fitting into all this is a femme fatale (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a right-hand man lawyer (Michael Stuhlbarg), a gangster with the rotten-toothed smile (David Thewlis) and The Leftovers‘ Carrie Coon as the resident detective. Give it a look-see if you’re near the channel, why dontcha.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (HBO, Apr. 22nd)
When Henrietta Lacks felt a “knot in her womb” in 1951, she went to an African-American hospital; medical information and consent laws being what they were, she had no idea that her cervical cancer cells were being taken and sent off to a lab. The upside was that that there was something extraordinary about her biology – Lacks’ cells just kept reproducing, a unique quality that led to a handful of breakthroughs including the polio vaccine. Oprah Winfrey takes up Lacks’ struggle in this adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s treatise on the intersection between medical ethics and race. Do the required reading ahead of time, too; Lacks made her vital contribution to medicine in obscurity, and she’s long overdue for recognition.
Prison Break (Fox, Apr. 4th)
Return to the simpler, more innocent time of the mid-to-late 2000s with this continuation of Fox’s once-popular serial drama. Back in 2009, wrongly convicted criminal Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) bade a sad farewell to his brother and partner in prison-breaking Michael (Wentworth Miller). Through the magic of contract negotiation, however, it turns out that Michael is less dead than initially assumed. When Lincoln learns of this news, he must – you guessed it! – break out of prison yet again. We anticipate the greatest escape since, well, The Great Escape, or at least the show’s first season.
The Son (AMC, Apr. 8th)
Novelist Philipp Meyer envisioned this audacious Western diptych as his ultimate creation myth for America; in one half, a young Eli McCullough gets kidnapped and assimilated into the Comanche tribe in 1849; in the other, his adult self is welcomes turn-of the century modernity. Pierce Brosnan plays the grown-up version, grinding to keep his family’s cattle empire secure while the Bandit Wars of South Texas rage in the background. A clear descendant of John Wayne in The Searchers, Eli is the sort of uncompromising tough guy that was necessary to winning the West – but who had to be left behind in order for civilization to follow. We just hope the show fares better than Hell on Wheels.