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Your Guide to the April Television Premieres

Once upon a time, September could be counted on as the month in which the best and brightest of the television landscape began their seasons. However, in this brave new world of year-long slates and streaming services, the notion of the Fall having the best of the best when it comes to TV is a thing of the past. But, even in this era of Peak TV, it’s rare that a single month will house so many amazing new and returning shows. Yet, here we are, with an April that is bringing with it a deluge of great television (much of which will be reviewed here on Entertainment Fuse). Here’s a quick look at the best of the best.

Better Call Saul (April 10, AMC)

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill – Better Call Saul Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

The Breaking Bad prequel, starring the exceptional Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy “Soon to be Saul Goodman” McGill, really came into its own in its second season, wisely opting to split the series into two distinct elements: Jimmy’s slow descent into Saul and Mike Ehrmantraut’s (the always great Jonathan Banks) work in the Albuquerque underground. This allowed the audience to continue caring deeply for Jimmy and lamenting the path we knew he was about to walk down, while still setting up the drug running scene that was central to Breaking Bad (and which we knew Mike had been involved in for years before Walter White showed up, while Saul had kept his hands relatively clean).

Season three will be bringing back one of the greatest television villains in the form of Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), which means the show will be doubling down on its split format, since, as Breaking Bad fans remember, Saul and Gus never crossed paths prior to Walter White’s involvement with the Los Pollos Hermanos franchisee. Even with Jimmy and Gus working on completely different arcs, it’s hard to see the addition of Esposito to this already stacked cast (which also includes Rhea Seehorn and Michael McKean) as anything but a plus. Check back here Tuesday mornings for our weekly episode reviews.

Doctor Who (April 15, BBC America)

The swan song for Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor kicks off this month, with the first appearance by his new (and first openly gay) companion Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie). The season also marks the last one for long-time showrunner Steven Moffat, who took over the reigns of the series after David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor’s run at the end of 2009.

This latest season of the hit British sci-fi series will include appearances from Nardole (Matt Lucas), Missy (Michelle Gomez), and, as was just announced, the (earlier) Master (John Simm). Joining in on the fun will be many old enemies, including the Daleks, the Ice Warriors and – returning after over a half century off the screen – the Mondasian Cybermen. Check back here Monday mornings for our weekly episode reviews.

The Leftovers (April 16, HBO)

One of TV’s best dramas that no one watches is back for its final season this month. If you aren’t familiar with this superb character driven series, there’s still time to catch up before the premiere (the show’s first season is weak, but necessary, to watch before diving into the show’s spectacular second season). Starring Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, and Carrie Coon, the final season of The Leftovers will wrap things up in Miracle, TX, before jumping in time and place to Australia (don’t worry, the cast isn’t going anywhere). Exploring the human capacity for love, hate, and faith, I am amazed HBO gave the show one last go-round to tie up the remaining loose ends, but I remain grateful for the chance to get to see where the story takes us this time.

Veep (April 16, HBO)

After losing out on her bid for a second term, Selina Meyer is back to being a citizen- and her staff is back to hustling for new jobs. Consistently one of (if not the best) comedies on television, Veep shows no sign of slowing down as it heads into its sixth season. While the actual realm of politics has regularly begun to bleed into heightened ridiculousness that is often reserved for the fictional realm of Veep, this might be the calming respite we all need from the daily barrage of weird from Washington. After all, the real Congress can’t have anyone as unqualified as Jonah, right?

Fargo (April 19, FX)

Showrunner Noah Hawley is pretty much the hottest mind in television at the moment, with the recent success of Legion coupled with two really strong seasons of Fargo under his belt. Another strong season of Fargo would certify him as a television genius. Considering the cast (Ewan McGregor- in a dual role, Carrie Coon, David Thewlis, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead), season three looks to be yet another great chapter in the anthology series. Not much is known about this particular season, but the early teaser trailers have been fun, there’s plenty of snow, and some great accents. If you haven’t watched either of the first two seasons, no need to worry. Each season is a standalone story with new characters and a new cast. That being said, I highly recommend popping over to Netflix and catching up.

Silicon Valley (April 23, HBO)

The hit comedy returns for its fourth season, with Richard having left Pied Piper to start up a new venture. One of TV’s best comedies, the pairing of Silicon Valley with Veep creates perhaps the best comedy bloc on television. Smart, savvy, and unafraid to force its characters to confront their own shortcomings, it’s hard to imagine what the characters will get up to this season. Certainly something memorable.

The Handmaid’s Tale (April 26, Hulu)

The recent US presidential election made The Handmaid’s Tale a bit more timely than its showrunner, Bruce Miller, anticipated when the series began filming last year. Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name, it’s hardly a surprise that audiences will see parallels to our current national political pulse- the novel has been popular since its release in large part due to people seeing elements of our present America in its fictional future. Telling the story of a dystopian America, where a totalitarian Christian-fundamentalist government has taken over a section of the country, the show will center on Elisabeth Moss’s Offred, a Handmaid. A handmaid is a woman who is allegedly able to conceive, and who is given, against her will, to powerful men whose wives cannot have children.

In addition to Moss, the series will feature Joseph Finnes, Samira Wiley, Yvonne Strahovski, Ann Dowd, and Alexis Bledel. The series will also flesh out Atwood’s novel, diving more in the pre-Gilead America, and adding in original characters not found in the novel. Hulu will release the show’s first three episodes on April 26, with an additional episode released every Wednesday after.

Catastrophe (April 28, Amazon)

Catastrophe returns for its third season this month, once again giving us a look into the rocky marriage of Rob and Sharon. Having seen the first few episodes of the new season, I can say that the show is back and just as good as before. This third season will also include an appearance from the late Carrie Fisher, reprising her role as Rob’s slightly off mother. As with the previous two seasons, there are only six half hour episodes in the season, so it’s a quick watch.

American Gods (April 30, Starz)

Anyone who has read Neil Gaiman’s wonderful novel has wondered what it would look like on screen. With Bryan Fuller taking the reigns as showrunner, I think it’s pretty clear to say this will be the most visually stunning show on television. After all, if there’s one thing Fuller can do better than pretty much anyone, it’s put together a visual feast. Fuller is also a master at crafting complex and smart characters, and pulling from a bench as deep as the one Gaiman has given him can only mean that these characters will pop.

The show follows Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) as he becomes acquainted with the old gods of America (led by Ian McShane’s Mr. Wednesday) and the new gods America has now begun worshiping (including Media, played by Gillian Anderson). The first season will consist of eight episodes, and the series has already been renewed for a second season. Check back here Monday mornings for our weekly episode reviews.

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About / Bio
TV critic based in Chicago. When not watching and writing about awesome television shows, I can be found lamenting over the latest disappointing performance by any of the various Chicago sports teams or my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow me @JeanHenegan on Twitter.

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