Chances are, no matter how much television you normally watch, you’ve been watching more than usual lately. A lot more. We’re all stuck inside, bored to tears, and there’s only so many times you can watch the same Parks and Recreation reruns. (Except for the Snake Juice episode. That one has infinite replay value.) In the midst of all this bad news, the good news is that new TV shows and highly anticipated premieres continue to arrive with regularity. (At least for now: the COVID-19 pandemic has already pushed the April premieres of The Walking Dead: World Beyond and Fargo‘s fourth season to dates TBD.) So what’s ahead in April (beyond more isolation and dread)? Here are 10 new viewing options — eight TV series, one movie and one doc on the Beastie Boys — that should help make the month easier to endure.
Bad Education (HBO, Apr. 25)
Inspired by true events experienced firsthand by writer Mike Makowsky, the social satire stars Hugh Jackman as a Long Island school superintendent whose success as an educator is matched only by his skill at ripping off his employers for absurd amounts of money. Allison Janney costars as someone who’s also found a few financial loopholes to exploit; Ray Romano is the school’s long-suffering principal; Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers) is the young, up-and-coming muckraker whose sniffing around leads to the scam’s great unraveling. Director Cory Finley’s follow-up to his impressive 2018 debut Thoroughbreds earned acclaim at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. And now you can see it without leaving the house (as if that was an option).
Beastie Boys Story (Apple TV+, Apr. 24)
After releasing the terrific Beastie Boys Book in 2018, surviving group members Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz took to the stage for a series of raucous, poignant performances that retold the band’s story from young NYC punks to hip-hop groundbreakers. Billed as a “Spike Jonze live documentary,” Beastie Boys Story captures that show live, doubling as a crash course in Beastie Boys history and a tribute to their friendship with the late, great Adam Yauch.
Brews Brothers (Netflix, Apr. 10)
What if two brothers who didn’t like each other had to work together to run a brewery? Thank god we now have a show dedicated to answering the question via this new series, created by comedy writers-room veterans/real-life siblings Greg and Jeff Schaffer. Alan Aisenberg and Mike Castle star as the fractious family members tasked with making beer and making good with each other, in that order. Netflix’s landing page classifies the show as both “raunchy” and “irreverent.” We’re assuming hilarity, if not sobriety, will likely ensue.
Home Before Dark (Apple TV+, Apr. 3)
The youngest member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Hilde Lysiak founded her own newspaper, Orange Street News, at age eight. At age nine, she covered her first murder case. Now 13, her efforts have won acclaim, led to a highly publicized confrontation with the police, and inspired a book series for young readers. Starring The Florida Project’s Brooklynn Prince, this Apple TV show promises a darker take on the teen muckraker’s story, one in which she tasks herself with delving into a cold case in her father’s hometown — a case in which her journalist dad (Jim Sturgess) might have played some role.
I Know This Much Is True (HBO, Apr. 27)
Taking on a different sort of double role than he’s been playing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Mark Ruffalo stars as identical twins — one seriously mentally ill, the other doing his best to protect his brother while dealing his his own problems — in this adaptation of Wally Lamb’s Oprah’s Book Club-approved 1998 novel. Following the model of Big Little Lies (before it opted to keep going for a second season) and Sharp Object, it’s a prestige-TV miniseries based on a bestseller and helmed by a single filmmaker, in this case Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines). And considering the pageturner runs over 900 pages, he should have no problem filling up this six-hour, six-episode run.
Killing Eve, Season 3 (BBC America, Apr. 26)
It wasn’t immediately clear that BBC America’s hit show — about a skilled assassin and the not-quite-official MI6 agent pursuing her — would hold onto its audience after former showrunner Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s departure following Season One. But her replacement Emerald Fennell kept the story of the mutual obsession between Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and Eve (Sandra Oh) charged rolling along smoothly for it’s sophomore go-round, so we now have a third season…with yet another showrunner (Fear the Walking Dead‘s Suzanne Heathcoate). So far, she has been pretty tight lipped about her plans, promising only that we’ll see new elements of both characters — a suggestion that sounds kind of foreboding given how this series has played out so far.
Mrs. America (FX on Hulu, Apr. 15)
Mad Men/Halt and Catch Fire writer Dahvi Waller hopes to do for the 1970s political landscape what she helped to do for ’60s Madison Avenue culture and ’80s-’90s Silicon Valley. Specifically, this FX/Hulu miniseries focuses on the push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment — and the pushback that stopped it. Cate Blanchett takes the plum role of the anti-feminist crusader Phyllis Schaffly. She’s joined by Rose Byrne (as Gloria Steinem), Margo Martindale (Bella Abzug), Uzo Aduba (Shirley Chisholm), Elizabeth Banks (Jill Ruckelshaus), and Tracey Ullman (Betty Friedan); Sarah Paulson also co-stars in a fictional role as one of Schaffly’s friends. It’s chapter of American history whose aftershocks can still be felt, and a story long overdue for the all-star dramatic treatment.
Run (HBO, Apr. 12)
This new HBO drama’s intriguing premise makes it sound like one of those shows that you’re better off not knowing much about before plunging in. Some 17 years ago, Ruby (Merritt Wever) and her college boyfriend Billy (Domhnall Gleeson) agreed to drop everything, reunite, and hit the road if both texted to word “RUN” to one another. When the latter sends out the telltale message, Ruby decides to make good on the agreement, leading to some unanticipated — and possibly criminal — consequences. The series was created by Vicky Jones, a frequent collaborator of Phoebe Waller-Bridge. And if the always-worth-watching leads of Wever and Gleeson weren’t already reason enough to tune in, Waller-Bridge plays a supporting role, joining a cast that also includes The Good Wife‘s Archie Panjabi and Mad Men‘s Rich Sommer.
Tales from the Loop (Prime Video, Apr. 3)
Created by Nathaniel Halpern (a veteran of Legion and Outcast) and based off of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag’s first book, this sci-fi series follows a girl (Nicole Law) who goes searching for her mother. Her disappearance may or may not be somehow be connected to her work for a mysterious laboratory at the heart of the the curiously underpopulated town. she calls home. Whether or not the series will get to the bottom of that mystery or revel in disquieting suggestiveness remains to be seen, but this looks like one worth following to find out. Rebecca Hall, Jonathan Pryce, Dan Bakkedahl and Jane Alexander costar; music video legend Mark Romanek directs the pilot. Lovers of robots and brutalist architecture, take note!
World on Fire (PBS, Apr. 5)
Taking a big-picture approach to World War II, this new Masterpiece series is set across five countries: England, France, Germany, the United States, and Poland. But war has a way of making the world seem smaller, as a cast that includes Helen Hunt, Lesley Manville, and Sean Bean will undoubtedly discover across this first season’s seven hours, which stretch from the invasion of Poland to the Battle of Britain. A hit in Britain when it aired last fall, the series has already been renewed for a second season. The big question: will the oft-killed Bean, who plays a pacifist bus conductor, survive to the end?
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