In April TV Will Ruin Your Life, part 1

In April TV Will Ruin Your Life, part 1

There Will Be More Good Shows on TV in April Alone Than We Sometimes See in Entire Years. It’s Almost Scary


In a little less than two weeks, the most jampacked month of new and returning television will be kicking off, and you are not ready. Christ, I spend virtually all of my waking hours trying to keep up with the unwieldy beast of TV, and even I’m freaking out a little. Ah, television, she is a cruel mistress, one who keeps getting younger and fitter each year, demands more of your time and threatens to call your wife every time you miss one of her calls. That was a weird metaphor. Let’s keep moving.

So, why is April the month that we catch such a giant, hot load of new content, and why am I still making this weirdly sexual? The latter point is ’cause I’m basically seven but, to answer the first part, check out Todd VanDerWerff’s piece over at Vox that explains how broadcasting is effected by Emmy eligibility, which determines that most prestige programs will begin airing over the new few weeks.

Beyond that, though, let’s just call it a madcap, batshit happenstance that’s in equal measure thrilling and overwhelming. In order to brace you for the whirlwind weeks to come, we’ve prepared an anticipatory list of the shows that are coming back or premiering in April that you might be interested in, rated in order of what we’re most excited for. Here goes nothing…



This is the first of a few other shows on this list that was featured on our TV Shows We Missed in 2016 feature from a couple months back, where we predicted that it could be as far as half a year away. Needless to say, we’re seriously pumped that Fargo‘s returning so soon after it left us long ago in late-2015. Following on two superlative seasons of the anthology series, the third season promises to once more focus on a new cast of characters and plotline, all taking place in the same fictional Minnesotan world.

While previous seasons of the snowcapped, blood-soaked crime show have featured incredible performances from actors as varied as Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst, Bokeem Woodbine, Allison Tolman and Ted Danson, this year we’ll be treated to Ewan McGregor’s “Minnesota nice” accent. In a dual performance, he’s playing twin brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy, the former a handsome business magnate and the latter a paunchy parole officer. The obvious differences between the two – not to mention the sibling rivalry that has metastasised into a deep, brooding resentment over the years – will likely propel the story forward, invariably leading to more homespun murders and treacherous goings-on. I cannot fucking wait!

Fargo returns on April 20th.



Donald Trump is not Veep‘s fault. Yes, the long-running political comedy has made its name ripping into the egomaniacal, self-interested cretins that tend to make up the majority in the cesspool of Washington, D.C. (or “District of Cunts” according to this show, to give you an idea of what you’re in for). If you think this has anything to do with normalising the concept of an actual fuckhead in the White House, though, I have two things to say to that:

  1. You have fundamentally misunderstood the entire premise of this show.
  2. You are pointing in the wrong direction, my friend.

‘Cause yeah, President Selina Meyer (played by, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the funniest person on television) is an awful person, but that’s clearly not an endorsement of having people who are awful as President, otherwise it would be a very different show… like, basically just an off-shore broadcast of a North Korean docudrama. Instead, it’s an unapologetically brutal satire, selecting the absolute worst people in the world and putting them in positions of significant power to both evince laughs and – in happier days – embolden our conviction to not let it actually happen in real life. So really, it’s not that Veep has let us down but, rather, we just failed to pay enough attention. Let’s rectify that by all watching season six and continuing to piss ourselves, both laughing and for… whatever other reasons.

Veep returns on April 17th.


The Leftovers

It’s hard to overstate just how compelling The Leftovers manages to make the immeasurable pain of losing loved ones. Not only is this a difficult process when it comes to death, it becomes even moreso when the person you’re grieving for has suddenly just… disappeared, never to be heard from again. The ambiguous and implacable sorrow that comes with that feeling isn’t exactly the stuff that thrilling TV is made of, but the twist of The Leftovers is to make that sensation universal.

In this world, on October 14th, 2011, 140 million people (2% of Earth’s population) simply vanished, with no explanation as to why or where they ended up. The entirety of the planet, overnight, is confronted with the notion that their lives are so meaningless that nothing keeps them tethered to this reality, that there is no guarantee they won’t abruptly be snuffed out at any moment. Of course these concepts are, at their base level, the duelling factions of life and death, just played out on a grander and even less definable scale. Beyond the strong cast and intimate direction The Leftovers regularly boasts, the show’s chief strength is its willingness to engage with such metaphysical notions, setting its sights on faith, the afterlife and the value of interconnectedness.

The Leftovers returns on April 17th.


American Gods

Our most anticipated new show of the year, American Gods is the latest TV endeavour from Bryan Hannibal Fuller, co-created with Michael Green and adapted from Neil Gaiman’s source novel of the same name, which is all about gods like Odin rising up to combat their deadliest foe in the modern era: the media (seriously). What else do I know specifically about this show that excites me? Well, it’s got Ian McShane in it and the trailer is like if an interdimensional being dropped acid, was asked to direct a porno but got gore and sex mixed up and then just threw in a punch of deities for the fuck of it. But, like, in a really good way.

Also, with the aforementioned Hannibal under his belt, Fuller has already established himself as a pre-eminent purveyor of beautiful violence, so what better vehicle for him than an epic tale of gods and men, waging war against the modern world and never stopping along the way to wipe blood of the lens. Anyway, without having read the book, I can offer up scant details as to plot, characters or anything more general than “the gods are real, and they are piiiissed.” That said, if you’re still unsure if this is something you’d be willing to check out, all I can do is remind you that Game of Thrones is ending soon and The Walking Dead still sucks, so you might need a new graphically violent show to pick up soon. Why not, right?

American Gods premieres on May 1st (which is April 30th in the U.S., so it still technically counts).



No show on this list, drama or comedy, is as insularly constructed as Archer. Each episode of this animated, spycaper pisstake is full of so many in-jokes, callbacks and obscure references – not to mention labyrinthine plotting – as to leave anyone who’s unfamiliar with it feeling a little out of their depth (uuuh, “phrasing“, I guess?). Indeed, the frenetic rhythm of its dialogue, rampant pace of its humour and unparalleled ensemble at its disposal makes Archer, even on its off days, one of television’s most vital comedies. Now on the brink of its eighth season, there’s no shame in admitting that it may have lost a step since its early days, but that’s not a knock against it so much as an acknowledgment of its longevity.

So, after reinventing itself once before as a cocaine-fuelled, ’80s crime saga in its fifth season, Archer is really leaning into the private detective narrative it forged last year, returning in what feels like the most natural fit for the stylishly-crafted show: a hardboiled noir tale straight out of the 1940s, that may or may not all be taking place in Sterling Archer’s mind. Whatever the case, here’s hoping the stellar voice cast and joke-a-second writing will remain tight as ever. Ok, we really need to get “phrasing” back into the mix.

Archer returns on April 6th.


Silicon Valley

On the basis of iconic, stand-alone moments of hilarity, Silicon Valley – the story of a bunch of misfits constantly stepping on their own dicks trying to launch their startup company – is perhaps the funniest show currently on the air. If you doubt this, think back to the dick jerk algorithm from season one or the camera engineer who ends up filming his near-demise in season two. Even last year (in what was maybe the most successful slow-build to an anticlimax in the history of HBO) we had protagonist Richard spend most of an episode formulating a heist-like scheme to wrest control of his company back, only to trip over a cable, drop his plans and reveal them to the one person he shouldn’t.

Besides it’s humour, this is the point the show is most insistent on: these guys are all losers, and that’s really for the best. Not only because they fail so often and usually in the funniest, most unfortunate of ways, but because Silicon Valley wouldn’t work otherwise. Its entire narrative is pent up in the world of web technicians and app designers, a field where being the best is the only acceptable way to succeed. To that end, what makes these characters so frustrating onto themselves is that they actually are the best, and can’t seem to get out of their own way to score a win. And yeah, that’d be a real tragedy, if it wasn’t so consistently fucking hilarious.

Silicon Valley returns on April 24th.

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