I don’t know how it’s already April or why time really does seem to be springing forward; nevertheless, it’s that time of year when everything feels shiny and new. The hope of emerging from our pandemic hibernation is beginning to feel more real than ever (vaccine #1 in the can! er, arm) and we’re all itching to be outdoors again. In the evenings and off-hours, though, we still love the lure of engaging TV shows, so here’s the best of what’s coming your way this month.
Made for Love
April 1, 2021 (HBO Max)
Directed by S.J. Clarkson (Succession, The Defenders, Jessica Jones), Stephanie Laing (Vice Principals, Divorce), and Althea Jones (Dollface, Queen America); written by Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers, Maniac), Sarah McCarron, and Dean Bakopoulos; starring Cristin Milioti, Billy Magnussen, Ray Romano, Noma Dumezweni, and Augusto Aguilera. Based on Alissa Nutting’s novel, a (cheekily named) tech whiz/kazillionaire secretly tests out his next big idea on his own wife, who goes on the run to escape his tracking. Despite the bananas-crazy premise, this dark comedy is a blast straight out the gate, due in no small part to Milioti’s pitch-perfect performance and her interactions with the rest of the ensemble (especially Romano). Do yourself a favor and check this one out.
April 2, 2021 (Netflix)
Directed by Hans Herbots (Rellik, The Treatment) and Tom Shankland (The Punisher, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, House of Cards, Ripper Street); written by Richard Warlow (Ripper Street, Waking the Dead) and Toby Finlay (Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders); starring Tahar Rahim, Jenna Coleman, Billy Howle, Ellie Bamber, Tim McInnerny, and Mathilde Warnier. Based on real-life serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who murdered international travelers and stole their identities to facilitate selling stolen gems. If darkness is your coronavirus comfort friend, this one’s for you.
April 9, 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Directed by Nelson Cragg (Ratched, American Crime Story, American Horror Story, Halt and Catch Fire); written by Little Marvin, Dominic Orlando (Mindhunter, The OA); starring Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Alison Pill, Ryan Kwanten, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Javier Botet, and Percy Hynes White. Executive produced by Lena Waithe, this horror anthology is set in 1953 Los Angeles and follows the terrifying experiences of a black family moving into a white neighborhood. This may be too close to home or unsettling for some, so definitely watch the trailer first and make sure it’s your thing (think: Get Out/Lovecraft Country).
April 11, 2021 (HBO Max)
Created, directed, and written (pilot) by Joss Whedon (who departed the series and was replaced with Philippa Goslett (Little Ashes, How to Talk to Girls at Parties); starring Outlander’s fabulous Laura Donnelly, as well as Olivia Williams, James Norton, Tom Riley, Ben Chaplin, Pip Torrens, Nick Frost, Denis O’Hare, Ann Skelly, and Zackary Momoh. A brilliant cast led by Donnelly features in this science fiction outing about a superpowered group of Victorian women taking on …let’s be honest, WHO CARES? Look at that cast! We’ve seen plenty of superheroes battle villains and go on impossible missions, but how many were wearing the fabulous clothes of Victorian England? Check out this stunning trailer and I can almost guarantee you’ll be all in.
April 14, 2021 (AMC)
Directed by Miguel Alexandre (Gran Paradiso, The Inspector and the Sea); written by William Boyd (Chaplin, Any Human Heart); starring Preacher’s Dominic Cooper, Brian Caspe, Johanna Wokalek, Tom Ashley, Leonie Benesch, and Ben Münchow. In this period thriller circa 1961, gorgeous Dom Cooper plays a British spy sent to Berlin just as the wall separating East and West Germany is about to go up. With tensions high, the espionage hub is full of international soldiers and fellow spies and somehow, Cooper’s Fielding Scott must suss out a traitor. AMC is great at cinematic intrigue, and this is a quick six-episode commitment, so it’s clearly a must-see.
Frank of Ireland
April 16, 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Directed by M.J. Delaney (Ted Lasso); written by the unbelievably talented Brothers Gleeson (sons of Brendan Gleeson), who also star in this comedy about a self-destructive mess that is the titular Frank (Brian Gleeson). Frank is a single ex-musician who simply can’t get it together… despite his brother Doofus’s (Domhnall Gleeson) help. Also starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Sarah Greene, Pom Boyd, and Liz Fitzgibbon. So… Derry boys? SOLD.
Mare of Easttown
April 18, 2021 (HBO Max)
Directed by Craig Sable (Compliance, Westworld, The Leftovers, American Gods, Outcast); written by Brad Ingelsby (The Way Back, Out of the Furnace); starring Kate Winslet, Jean Smart, Evan Peters, Guy Pearce, David Denman, Julianne Nicholson, Neal Huff, James McArdle, Sosie Bacon, and Angourie Rice. The always compelling Winslet returns to HBO, along with her Mildred Pierce co-star Guy Pearce, this time as a small-town detective on the hunt for a murderer. HBO just keeps rounding up the big-name talent and we can’t help but watch, especially when La Winslet takes the lead.
Life in Color with David Attenborough
April 22, 2021 (Netflix)
Sometimes, all we need is to stare at (and learn about) beautiful animals with the comforting voice of (by now) an old friend — Sir David Attenborough — to guide us. With the aid of new cameras, this three-parter delves into how animals use color to protect themselves, warn off predators, attract mates, and simply survive. Kick back and be mesmerized.
Shadow and Bone
April 23, 2021 (Netflix)
Pilot directed by Lee Toland Krieger (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, You); written by Eric Heisserer (Arrival, Bird Box); based on the wildly popular Young Adult series by Leigh Bardugo; starring Jessie Mei Li, Archie Renaux, Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, Kit Young, and Ben Barnes. This action/fantasy features Mei Li as Alina Starkov, an orphan with extraordinary power, transformed through training with an elite magical army. With her country under threat, Alina must navigate unknown forces and learn friend from foe in order to help save her homeland. Hopefully, this can hold us over until the next season of The Witcher.
The Mosquito Coast
April 30, 2021 (Apple TV)
Pilot directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Exorcist); pilot written by Neil Cross and Tom Bissell; starring Justin Theroux alongside Melissa George, Gabriel Bateman, Kimberly Elise, and Logan Polish. Luther and Hard Sun creator Neil Cross serves as showrunner for this spin on Paul Theroux’s (Justin’s uncle) novel about a man who uproots his family to escape the U.S. government. Of course, there’s running away, and then there’s running away to Honduras with the feds trying to hunt you down and kill you because they want your research. The double-whammy of Cross and Theroux means this will be dark and irresistible.