Just when you thought the slow winter months were going to give you a break from the onslaught of new TV, there is the spring.
The new reality of television production means that no month is a true slow month. (Remember that dormant stretch between the holidays and NFL playoffs?) Now, there’s pretty much a new TV show happening somewhere every week, as the next three months — an absurd collection of big premieres, hugely anticipated returns, and the kinds of series, mini-series, and TV movies that seem destined to end up on everybody’s season-end lists — reminds us.
The big players this spring are Netflix and HBO, though Amazon and Hulu are making big strides to capture the prestige TV season. Then there’s FX, testing the post-Ryan Murphy waters with a show that seems from the outside incredibly Ryan Murphy-esque. Should be a fun spring! Prepare your schedule as needed.
HBO, premieres March 3
This documentary detailing the stories of two survivors of child-sexual-abuse at the hands of Michael Jackson was the talk of the Sundance Film Festival. The four-hour film is supposed to be unsettling and very powerful, meticulously detailing the abuse frankly and explicitly, and following Jackson’s victims as they continue forward in life. The doc will air in two parts, one on Sunday, March 3, and concluding the next night.
Starz, returns March 10
It’s been 20 months since we last saw an episode of this Neil Gaiman adaptation about the old gods of ancient legend, and the new gods of technology and media, clashing on the field of battle known as America. Those ensuing months have seen changes in leadership behind the scenes — old showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green left, and with them went stars Gillian Anderson (Media) and Kristin Chenoweth (Easter) — and ever shifting release dates. Still, the show boasts Ian McShane in his central role as Mr. Wednesday, and the source material signals that there’s plenty left to explore in season 2.
THE CASE AGAINST ADNAN SYED
HBO, premieres March 10
Questions over the guilt or innocence of Adnan Syed in the 1999 murder of his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, have hung in the air and the pop cultural ether since the podcast sensation Serial turned this real-life crime into the subject of America’s momentary fascination. The questions that Serial raised, and the light it shone on the case, led to the investigation against Syed to be re-opened. HBO’s four-part documentary will bring the story back to the forefront of the cultural conversation one more time.
THE GOOD FIGHT
CBS All Access, returns March 14
The third season of television’s most appropriately unhinged drama returns to the stark outpost that is CBS All Access. After surviving her law partner (Delroy Lindo) getting shot and coming way too close to the infamous Trump “pee tape” for comfort, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) encounters a new rival this season, played by Michael Sheen with, if the trailer is to be believed, quite a bit of bravado. There also promises to be plenty more about the absurdity that accompanies fighting for justice in Donald Trump’s America. This is the show we need, and thank god it’s almost back.
Bravo, returns March 14
Speaking of being back, Project Runway not only returns for its 17th season, but for the first time since season 5, it’s where it’s always belonged: Bravo. The comeback is not without some significant personnel changes: Hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn chose not to return with the show, meaning that famed model Karlie Kloss will now hold the famous button bag and remind the designers that, in fashion, one day you’re in and the next day you’re out. Meanwhile, season 4 champion — and the show’s most successful alumnus — Christian Siriano takes over the Tim Gunn role as workroom mentor. Thankfully, Nina Garcia remains as head judge in order to gawk at unfinished hems for another year.
Amazon, returns March 15
The fourth and final season about the unlikely shotgun marriage of Rob (Rob Delaney) and Sharon (Sharon Horgan) picks up after the season 3 car accident that left an off-the-wagon Rob up a creek without a breathalyzer to paddle with. The season has already aired in Britain, so we know that the looming specter (so to speak) of Carrie Fisher’s real life death will eventually be addressed (she played Rob’s mom and died just after filming season 3), though not before Sharon and Rob deal with about a hundred other relationship and parenting pitfalls.
TURN UP CHARLIE
Netflix, premieres March 15
Idris Elba plays a DJ who attempts to make ends meet in his life by taking a job as a manny. You’re already onboard, aren’t you? Elba, in between making movies and somehow still not getting cast as James Bond, will play the titular Charlie, in addition to sharing co-creator credit with Gary Reich. Piper Perabo also co-stars.
Netflix, returns March 15
For the third season of the Netflix reboot, our intrepid queers — Jonathan, Bobby, Karamo, Tan, and Antoni — move on from Atlanta to Kansas City, where the un-fabulous need more help than ever. Continuing their mission to diversify the usual Queer Eye clientele, this season features more makeovers for women.
Hulu, premieres March 15
Lorne Michaels has scored once this year with a comedy from within his Saturday Night Live talent pool — that would be Comedy Central’s The Other Two, from former SNL head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider — and how he hopes to strike again on Hulu with Aidy Bryant. Bryant will play Annie, a struggling journalist who begins to push back against a world that hates her for being fat and a woman at the same time. Elizabeth Banks is another executive producer on the project, which is based on the book by Lindy West.
Hulu, premieres March 20
The Act, from Channel Zero creator Nick Antosca, is a brand new true-crime anthology series for Hulu. The first season stars Patricia Arquette — who’s already having a pretty damn good start to 2019, picking up all kinds of awards for her performance on Showtime’s Escape at Dannemora — as Dee Dee Blanchard, a real-life woman whose toxic relationship with her daughter led to some ... dark outcomes. Joey King plays Dee Dee’s daughter Gypsy Rose, and the design of the series on the whole should make you super suspicious of what’s going on in that house.
JANE THE VIRGIN
The CW, returns March 27
The fifth and final season of American television’s most outrageous telenovela picks up where last season’s bombshell left off: Michael (Brett Dier) is alive! How that impacts the lives of Jane (Gina Rodriguez), Rafael (Justin Baldoni) and everybody else who revolves around them is why we’re on pins and needles to get to these episodes.
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
FX, premieres March 27
The hilarious 2014 vampire comedy starring, co-directed, and co-written by Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement is now going to be an FX comedy series. Importing the action from the original film’s Wellington, New Zealand, location to New York City, it once again follows the absurd domestic routines and squabbles of a trio of modern, cohabitating vampires. Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, and Natasia Demetriou play the bloodsuckers, while Harvey Guillen plays Guillermo, their familiar.
Amazon, premieres March 29
The underrated and underseen 2011 Joe Wright action drama Hanna starred Saoirse Ronan as a kind of feral child assassin raised in the snowy wilderness by her father (Eric Bana) and pursued by Cate Blanchett’s shadowy government organization. Eight years later, the Amazon TV series adaptation sees Esme Creed-Miles (Samantha Morton’s daughter) stepping into Ronan’s formidable shoes, while Joel Kinnaman takes over the Bana role and The Killing’s Mireille Enos takes the Blanchett role. A classic case of TV plugging in lesser stars for a TV adaptation of a movie that had no flaws to begin with, or will the series treatment open the story up? We hope for the latter.
HBO, returns March 31
Bill Hader and Henry Winkler won Emmys for their work on the first season of this dark, deeply funny comedy in which a deadly assassin (Hader) decides he wants to become an actor. The much-anticipated return for season 2 promises more of Barry trying to balance his secret double life while struggling with his own sense of self. And hopefully more of the scene-stealing Anthony Carrigan as Noho Hank.
HBO, returns March 31
It’s been close to two years since we last saw Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her band of barely competent political aides. By the end of season 6, both Selina and Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons) planned on running for president, and with the season 7 premiere episode titled “Iowa,” that madness appears to be in full swing once we get back. Also, there’s that whole thing about Amy (Anna Chlumsky) and Dan (Reid Scott) having a baby together. Welcome back, Veep!
THE TWILIGHT ZONE
CBS All-Access, premieres April 1
The original, Rod Serling-hosted The Twilight Zone, premiered in 1959. Sixty years later, it’s coming back to TV — or whatever CBS All-Access is — with a brand new host, Get Out Oscar-winner Jordan Peele, who also executive produces the series. The anthology series, telling new paranoid, macabre tales of the strange and unusual, boasts an impressive cast, including Adam Scott, Sanaa Lathan, Steven Yeun, Kumail Nanjiani, Jacob Tremblay, John Cho, and Greg Kinnear.
IN THE DARK
The CW, premieres April 4
Murphy (Perry Mattfeld) is a twentysomething blind woman whose life is a disaster, and probably still would be even if she could see. She’s a drinker, she’s mean, her sex life is a revolving-door disaster, but one day when she’s out walking her guide dog, Murphy stumbles upon the seemingly dead body of a teenage drug dealer she knows, one of the few people she’d consider a friend. When the body disappears and Murphy has no evidence to prove it was ever there, she sets out to solve the crime on her own.
Cinemax, premieres April 5
Based on the writings of famed martial artist Bruce Lee, Warrior comes to Cinemax courtesy of Banshee producer Jonathan Tropper and director Justin Lin (Fast Five). The series follows a martial arts prodigy from China (Andrew Koji) who arrives in late-1800s San Francisco in time for the war between Chinese organized-crime factions in the city to explode. The trailer promises a lot of slickly filmed action, which ought to appeal to Cinemax audiences, who tend to like their action fast and furious.
THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA
Netflix, returning April 5
Netflix returns with the back-half of the first season that saw Kiernan Shipka step into the magical shoes of Sabrina Spellman, teenage witch and girl pulled between the regular world of proms and boys and progressive politics that her friends inhabit, and the Satan-pledging strict social hierarchy that represents her bloodline. Helping to navigate, as ever, are her aunts Zelda (Miranda Otto) and Hilda (Lucy Davis).
BBC America, returns April 7
The hugely anticipated return of one of last season’s most lauded shows means expectations are sky high. Last we were in this show’s vise grip, MI5 analyst Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) had spent a season tracking remorseless killer Villanelle (Jodie Comer) while at the same time becoming increasingly enthralled by her freedom and power. In the season finale, Eve proved something to herself by coming face-to-face with Villanelle and stabbing her in the gut. Of course, she turned away in panic afterwards just long enough for Villanelle to escape. Season 2 reportedly picks up immediately thereafter.
FX, premieres April 9
Alert the Emmy committee as Oscar-winner Sam Rockwell and four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams step into the legendary dancing shoes of Bob Fosse and his muse, Gwen Verdon, for a 8-episode limited series on the creative and romantic partnership that resulted in legendary stage productions like Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity, and Chicago. Somehow, Ryan Murphy isn’t the creative force behind this glitzy series — which also stars Margaret Qualley as Ann Reinking, Norbert Leo Butz as Paddy Chayefsky, Ethan Slater as Joel Grey, and Laura Osnes as Shirley MacLaine — which should make this a fabulous test case for how FX will succeed now that Murphy’s jumped to Netflix.
GAME OF THRONES
HBO, returns April 14
It’s what we’ve all been waiting for. Good luck paying attention to anything else this spring while Game of Thrones lays down six weeks of extra-long episodes that close out the Song of Ice and Fire and (at least we presume) will leave one of our beloved characters atop the Iron Throne. Or perhaps the Iron Throne will be destroyed and the new Lord (or Lady) of Westeros will just fly around on a dragon all day. Anyone’s guess! Expectations are high for a spectacular ending, and fans will require satisfying endings for dozens of characters, so this could get awfully bumpy before it’s all said and done.
Amazon, returns May 17
The very, very, very long-awaited second season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s acclaimed comedy hits the BBC in March. American audiences have to wait another two months before Amazon drops the entire season in one shot. With Waller-Bridge’s fame having jumped up several levels since series one — she gave an acclaimed vocal performance in Solo: A Star Wars Story and wrote Killing Eve — expect this second helping of episodes to be even more loudly ballyhooed upon arrival.
Hulu, premieres May 17
Joseph Heller’s legendary satirical novel about a World War II bomber pilot struggling to maintain his sanity amid the insanities of war. Christopher Abbott (Girls) stars as protagonist John Yossarian, backed up by an all-star cast that includes George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Kyle Chandler and more. Clooney, his producing partner Grant Heslov, and acclaimed cinematographer Ellen Kuras, split up directing duties on the six-episode miniseries.
Amazon, premieres May 31
The ecclesiastical, apocalyptic, deeply funny novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett has been the subject of adaptation attempts for years. Director Terry Gilliam (Brazil, 12 Monkeys) wanted to direct Good Omens for the longest time, with Johnny Depp and Robin Williams at one point rumored to star. Now the six-episode TV series arrives from Douglas Mackinnon (Sherlock: The Abominable Bride), and stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen as a rival pair (Tennant’s the demon Crowley, Sheen is the angel Aziraphale) who team up to prevent the birth of the antichrist, and with it, the apocalypse. Jon Hamm, Josie Lawrence, Michael McKean and Miranda Richardson co-star.
Joe Reid is a film and entertainment writer in New York City.