This month, it’s all about the TV power couples: FX unveils their next big prestige project, i.e. a bruising Broadway-duo relationship drama with a liberal doze of jazz hands; AMC and BBC America combine forces to give folks a match-up between a witch and a vampire, as well as bringing back a critically adored cat-and-mouse game for a bloody Round Two; and no less than Javert and Valjean will obsessively pursue one another yet again in a new rendering of Les Misérables. That still leaves your standard morally-deficient-blind-girl comedy, a The Wire-style drama about race relations under pressure and the return of a show called Game of Thrones — just the single most anticipated final season in the history of modern television, no big whoop. Here’s what you need to tune into this April. (You can check out our streaming recommendations for the month here.)
A Discovery of Witches (AMC/BBC America, Apr. 7th)
Apparently the Underworld movies had it all wrong — the cataclysmic interspecies showdown playing out under humanity’s nose isn’t between vampires and werewolves, but vampires and witches. Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) resists her heritage as a sorceress in an effort to stay outside this secret war, until she happens upon a lost manuscript that plops her in the center of the conflict. Her saving grace comes in the form of Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode), a debonair bloodsucker with a background in genetics, who may know how to put an end to the blood feud once and for all. Get the Twilight T-shirts out of mothballs, because supernatural sexual tension is back in style.
Fosse/Verdon (FX, Apr. 9th)
It the tempestuous, decades-spanning relationship between peerless Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and his prize dancer/lover/muse Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams), reimagined for Prestige TV. These two brought sex to the American theater, and endured one hell of a romantic melodrama behind the scenes (infidelity, addiction and betrayal — you know the drill). In between slinky musical numbers, the show charts a soulmate-level connection that was perhaps too powerful even for the people within it. Get out your hats and start running your hands across the brims, folks.
Game of Thrones: The Final Season (HBO, Apr. 14th)
HBO’s epic comes to an end at long last, with the many inhabitants of Westeros joining hands in the spirit of peace and reconciliation and … okay, fine, everyone knows things are going to get ugly now. (The expression ain’t “when you play the game of thrones, it’s all about doing your best and having fun.”) Who finally claim the crown? Will it be mother of dragons Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow (who knows nothing)? Maybe the wine-sipping Cersei Lannister? Her brother, Tyrion? One of the Stark ladies? Or perhaps a dragon? An entire chapter of pop-culture history concludes in what will undoubtedly be a cascade of fire and ice. [Get a free trial to watch HBO here]
In the Dark (The CW, Apr. 4th)
Murphy (Perry Mattfeld) may be blind, but she doesn’t let that stop her from living the dirtbag lifestyle to her heart’s content: regular drinking binges, easily detachable flings, a drug-dealing teen for her only friend. When the junior entrepreneur turns up dead, she finds some semblance of purpose by taking up the investigation personally. Of course Murphy gets in way over her head, but as long as she’s got her trusty guide dog, she’ll find a way out. There’s nothing that she can’t conquer with a cigarette and a cutting one-liner.
Killing Eve, Season 2 (AMC/BBC America, Apr. 7th)
It’s back! Who’s ready for more potentially lethal face-offs between MI5 desk jockey Eve (Sandra Oh) and assassin-for-hire Villanelle (Jodie Comer)? As the unmoored agent tries to wrap her mind around how her life has taken a turn for the weird after that first season’s cat-and-mouse game, the very-much-not-dead Villanelle goes on a reality TV binge and regroups, preparing for the most satisfying kill of her career. Everything that made this series the big breakout hit of last year — the mordant humor, the couture, the ineffable sleekness — has been ratcheted up for Round Two.
Les Misérables (PBS, Apr. 14th)
Never mind the A.W.O.L. showtunes; this literary-minded remounting of Victor Hugo’s timeless French Revolution novel still has the same sweeping tapestry of hardship and redemption among the lower class. The real selling point is the well-curated cast, featuring Dominic West as bread thief Jean Valjean and David Oyelowo as Javert, the inspector obsessively pursuing him. And in the role that brought Anne Hathaway the Academy Award, Lily Collins plays the weeping, hair-cutting Fantine. Also: recent Oscar winner Olivia Colman portrays the money-grubbing Mrs. Thénardier. From the dank jail cells to the barricade, from poverty to rebellion, a new generation of actors now carries the flag.
Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration (CBS, Apr. 21st)
In February, the Recording Academy staged a massive tribute to the soul-powered Detroit record label that truly earns the near-exhausted distinction of “iconic.” Now we get the full broadcast of the event. Cedric the Entertainer and Smokey Robinson preside as cohosts over a program including John Legend, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Boyz II Men (among many others). Motown deserves a party to match its Rushmore-sized reputation.
Native Son (HBO, Apr. 6th)
Already a stalwart of the fine-art world, filmmaker Rashid Johnson treats Richard Wright’s novel with all the gravity that a cornerstone of black literature deserves. Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) is Bigger Thomas, a kid moving up from a dead-end life in his corner of New York to a plush gig as the rich Dalton family’s driver. The secondhand spoils of the One Percent can come with a steep cost, however, as Bigger learns when fetching Mary Dalton (Margaret Qualley) takes a liking to him. A bold newcomer has electrified and revitalized a classic.
The Red Line (CBS, Apr. 28th)
On Chicago’s more well-off north side, an unarmed black doctor is shot to death by a white police officer. This eight-episode miniseries spiderwebs out from that pivotal event, exploring the lives of those affected to create a patchwork portrait of a society in turmoil. We follow the late doctor’s grieving husband, their daughter, the girl’s birth mother, that woman’s husband, the cop responsible, his partner, his brother — and that’s not even everyone. It’s a street-level perspective on class, race and the intersection between the two.
Warrior (Cinemax, Apr. 5th)
The big problem with Martin Scorsese’s crime epic Gangs of New York? It clearly did not enough martial-arts ass-whupping. Banshee co-creator Jonathan Tropper and Fast and Furious maestro Justin Lin bring viewers back to 19th-century San Francisco, as the so-called Tong Wars broke out between the elaborate network of rival gangs made up of Chinese immigrants (and all of whom faced staunch racism from the white settlers). Fists and feet of fury do indeed fly. And if any doubts over the show’s kung fu bona fides still remain, just know that Bruce Lee himself originally came up with the idea back in the Seventies.