Did you know time-travel is having something of a moment, with a new buddy-buddy sitcom and a historical crime procedural offering two differing takes on the topic? And networks are offering harshly critical perspectives on exploitation of undocumented labor and the racial underpinnings of police shootings? There’s a bounty of interesting programming dropping this month, as well as a trio of beloved shows returning: Welcome back, The Americans! How we’ve missed you, Review! Has it really been a dozen years since we saw you last, Samurai Jack!?! Here are 10 shows and specials you should keep an eye out for. (And watch for the month’s best streaming options, going up tomorrow.)
American Crime (Mar. 12, ABC)
John Ridley’s anthology drama series has pivoted from one hot-button issue to the next, tackling the sorry state of veteran affairs in the first season and college campus rape culture with the second. He shifts focus to Alamance County in North Carolina for the third go-round, centering the action on a industrial farm engaging in some shady business practices. When a fire claims the lives of several undocumented migrant workers, a court case takes shape. It couldn’t be more timely.
The Americans (Mar. 7th, FX)
Thank god it’s back! When we last checked in with the Jennings clan, KGB sleeper agents Phillip and Elizabeth (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) had brought their daughter into the family businesses of assassination and subterfuge. As the Cold War rages on, they continue to conspire against the United States under the watchful eyes of their friends and neighbors, constantly fighting to keep their own emotions subdued. How this Reagan-era period piece will play now that Russia may have actually infiltrated our government should be interesting.
Feud (Mar. 5th, FX)
For years, silver screen idols Joan Crawford and Bette Davis hated each other’s guts. They only shared the silver screen once, in the campy psycho-thriller What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), and the commotion behind the scenes was every bit as delectable as what ended up on camera. Who else but Ryan Murphy could dramatize the material? Who else but stars Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon could gleefully devour the scenery so wonderfully as Joan and Bette, respectively? And should you think this anthology show’s first season is nothing but catty theatrics, just pay attention to how the eight-episode run focuses on the way a male-dominated Hollywood callously discards actresses once they outlive their sex appeal. Buckle your seat belts, it’s gonna be a bumpy miniseries.
Imaginary Mary (Mar. 25th, ABC)
Alice (Jenna Elfman) has taken a shine to a new boyfriend (Stephen Schneider) – but she doesn’t feel prepared to take on his three kids from a previous marriage. Luckily, our romantically confused heroine gets regular counsel from Imaginary Mary, an animated manifestation of her subconscious that looks like a mini-Yeti, offer running off-color commentary and speaks in the reassuring tones of Rachel Dratch. Can’t go wrong selling the American people on a cute, wise-cracking cartoon, right?
Jerrod Carmichael: 8 (Mar. 11th, HBO)
For the past couple of years, Jerrod Carmichael’s been keeping busy as the creator, writer and star of the NBC sitcom that bears his name. For a real uncut dose of what this comedian does best, however, you’ll want to check out his jaw-dropping stand-up act, courtesy of this HBO special. In one bit, he confesses to idolizing Jay-Z over Martin Luther King; in another, he explains that he only buys fly sneakers to compensate for a childhood of poverty. This guy is the real deal.
Making History (Mar. 5th, Fox)
When loser computer science professor Dan (Adam Pally) discovers a large duffel bag capable of traveling through time, he does the same thing anyone would do: go back to Colonial-era Massachusetts and use contemporary pop-culture references to score a comely 17th-century girlfriend (Leighton Meester). But when the Revolution fizzles out before it can start, our man enlists the help of an African-American colleague (Yassir Lester) to right the historical wrongs he’s caused. Imagine a tweaked, topical reimagining of Quantum Leap, with racial overtones, romantic buffoons and ham used as a currency.
Review (Mar. 16th, Comedy Central)
Over two seasons, this mockumentary about a critic reviewing life experiences has quietly asserted itself as one of the funniest, most deviously clever comedies on television. Fans feared that the show had been cut short when our man, trenchant reviewer Forrest Macneil (Andy Daly), toppled over a bridge while fighting with his producer. Almost two years later, our patience has been rewarded with one short, final go-round; we have one last to chance to answer he eternal question, “Life: Is it any good?” A million stars!
Samurai Jack (Mar. 11th, Adult Swim)
Animation godhead Genndy Tartakovsky’s most popular creation sent a samurai warrior into a dystopian future where he battles nefarious robots, hideous monsters and a powerful demon-king. The premise is simple enough; what’s made this series grow in popularity since concluding in 2004 is its stylistic tics and tricks (some episodes contain no dialogue whatsoever) and highly sophisticated, anime-inflected aesthetic. The new season should deliver all the “Seven Samurai for kids!” virtuosity that fans have come to expect.
Shots Fired (Mar. 22nd, Fox)
From director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights) comes this 10-part “event series” revolving around the sort of story we regrettably know all too well: small town, close-knit community, cop with an itchy trigger finger, kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. Except here, the policeman is black, the kid is white. The show sets up some uncomfortable questions about racial double standards in how crimes get investigated, prosecuted and publicized, all anchored by a raw performance from Tristan Wilds as the police officer at the center of the scandal.
Time After Time (Mar. 5th, ABC)
Those enamored of Sherlock and Elementary‘s modernized literary ambition, take note – this remake of a 1979 film sends seminal sci-fi novelist H.G. Wells (Freddie Stroma) to the present day via primitive time machine. With the help of his sidekick-and-maybe-more Jane (Génesis Rodríguez), his goal is to track down Jack the Ripper (Josh Bowman), who has also fast-forwarded to 2017 and is in search of some fresh flesh to mutilate. No word on whether the Cyndi Lauper single of the same name will appear on the show’s soundtrack.