In April TV Will Ruin Your Life, part 2

In April TV Will Ruin Your Life, part 2

Here’s the Second Part of Our Guide to the Veritable Smorgasbord of Television Coming to the Airwaves in April


Following on from Part 1 of our list of TV show’s in April that will take you away from your family and loved ones (see: video games, cats and porn), Part 2 delves in with a look at a couple of new hopes and some returning old favourites…


The Handmaid’s Tale

If you’ve ever seen Alfonso Cuarón’s captivating Children of Men, you’ll already be well-acquainted with the specifics of the plot to The Handmaid’s Tale: in a not too distant dystopian future, widespread infertility has resulted in the collapse of modern society, leading to global conflict and the rise of oppressive regimes. However, while Children of Men was something of a clearheaded action film where the emergence of one pregnant woman was a game-changer, in the more stately The Handmaid’s Tale there are still a smattering of women capable of having children… they’re just, y’know, basically slaves.

Under the authoritarian religious rule of Gilead (the former United States), fertile women known as “Handmaids” are dispensed to high-ranking Commanders, where their entire function is to bear children that can be raised in the tenets of this fucked-up society. I know, it sounds like a wildly unpleasant system, but there are dynamics at play here that all but ensure The Handmaid’s Tale will be a supremely watchable TV show, even setting aside that Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss plays the lead role. Totalitarianism run amok, extreme forms of subservience leading to a revolt, not to mention the stakes being quite literally life or death the world over. This is the shit television is made for.

The Handmaid’s Tale premieres on April 27th.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Does it count to call this a returning show if it’s half-way through its fourth season, which also aired most recently on January 1st of this year, meaning it hasn’t actually been off-air since at least 2016 like every other show on this list? Y’know, if we’re being technical, like a bunch of virgin nerds? Or worse, “nerdgins”, which was incidentally my nickname for a number of ye–. Hey, let’s start over: Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s coming back! And no, it hasn’t been that long since its latest episode, but that doesn’t diminish our excitement for its imminent return.

If you think about it, that in and of itself is pretty remarkable, the fact that it remains such a consistently engaging and chuckle-worthy workplace sitcom almost four years in, a show that has grown familiar and comfortable without becoming content to stand on its history or shuffle along lazily to some undetermined endpoint. I mean, sure, Jake Peralta and the gang at the 99th precinct may be on track to running out of fresh storylines and wacky capers to blunder through, but we’re certainly not there yet, and as long as we have Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher, in one of TV’s most painfully hilarious performances) to continue screaming random words like they’re the bane of his existence or deliver killer burns to his nemesis, I’ll definitely be onboard for whatever’s to come.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns on April 12th.


Better Call Saul

I remember the first time someone told me AMC was toying with the idea of a Breaking Bad spinoff. While initially reluctant, I found myself realising what a great opportunity it would be to learn more about Gustavo Fring pre-Walter White, and even convinced myself that a show following Jessie that picked up right where Breaking Bad left off might not be such a bad idea. Then I found out it would be about Saul Goodman and, I swear to God, I almost quit TV altogether for books. Stupid, non-crystal-meth-cooking books. Almost.

That said, if you were ever as hesitant as I was to give Better Call Saul, it’s at this point (two weeks out from its third season premiere) that I feel obligated to insist you give it a whirl. Not one bit the shallow, unwarranted cash-grab that most spinoffs appear to be, this show’s secret weapon and most sensible choice is that it never tries to emulate or surpass the legacy of Breaking Bad. Yes, it shares that show’s attention to detail, meticulously crafted plotting and visual palette, but to a different end: Breaking Bad was the story of a seemingly-good man who slowly revealed the dormant monster within him; Better Call Saul shows us Jimmy McGill (Saul before he went crooked), a screw-up who everybody has written off, desperately trying to make something of himself. Just because we know how it ends up, doesn’t make it any less compelling.

Better Call Saul returns on April 11th.


iZombieRelated image

I know what you’re thinking: no. Just… no. Any show with a lowercase “i” at the start of its title is, as a rule, not going to not suck, especially when followed by a word like “zombie”, or “boy“, or the like. And that’s a fair call to make. You’ve already got a lot on your plate, outside of gratuitous amounts of television consumption, so it’d make sense if you just wanna side-step this obviously millennial-drenched turd of a concept where the lead character is an undead vigilante named… Liv Moore (your gassy eye rolling is duly noted).

Here’s the thing, though: please don’t ignore this show. Real talk, iZombie is the most shockingly enjoyable program on this list when based on the merits of its plot, in which Liv (the fantastic Kiwi actress Rose McIver) is a young doctor who becomes a zombie, managing to function day-to-day without becoming an ambling corpse as long as she consumes brains from the morgue she works at… which give her psychic visions that allow her to help solve murder cases. Once again, stop rolling your fucking eyes and listen to what I’m saying: this is not only a show with whip smart writing and a superb cast, it’s also made the solid transition in two seasons from a good comic book procedural to a great show in its own right, on par with any of the best Marvel has to offer. I sincerely implore you check it out, to the extent that I used the phrase “real talk” a few sentences ago and barely hate myself. It’s that good.

iZombie returns on April 5th.


Attack on Titan

I am not, nor I imagine will I ever be, a huge anime fan. That’s not a knock against the genre, as I – like many other late-’90s to early-’00s kids – recall wasting away many a cloudless sunny arvo when Cartoon Network would run its habitual Dragon Ball Z marathons. The trappings of anime, while more than a little goofy, have always made me nostalgic for that time: characters shouting whole sentences that definitely didn’t need to be shouted, epic battles that rage on for a thousand episodes, that weird, wide-eyed gasp reaction that every anime character does like fifty times a second. It was good fun, sure, but to be honest, it always left me at something of a remove from the content, enjoying it for the spectacle without ever taking it in on any level deeper than that.

Attack on Titan, as should come as no surprise to hardcore anime fans, changed that significantly. I never would have anticipated becoming as engrossed or unhealthily invested in an anime program as I have in this show. The sheer scale of it helps: the world has been overrun by massive, perpetually grinning, human-eating creatures known as “Titans”. Humanity’s only hope is to fight back, despite the clear disadvantage of trying to take on something gargantuan that wants you inside it… in a bad way. On that level, the determination the human characters on this show display in their fighting (not to mention the awe-inspiring animation that bolsters those attack sequences) is nothing short of goddamn riveting. It’s only equalled by the determination this show’s fanbase has exhibited, waiting for two-and-a-half years for it to return. Appropriately, when it finally gets here, I’m gonna fucking devour it.

Attack on Titan returns on April 2nd.


Great News

Ugh, don’t even get me started on that poster. It’s like a first year uni student’s half-arsed project for his class in Ironic Sitcom Studies. Look a little bit closer though and you’ll notice something that should distinguish this pantomimic “Mondays, right?” tableau into something actually worth looking forward to: executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Y’know, the guys that gave us 30 Rock… aaaaaand Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If that doesn’t register for you, fine, but to me it’s like I’m a crack addict who just heard that my favourite brand of crack is teaming up with my second-favourite brand to make baby crack together. I want me some of that crack.

Goddamit, and now I have to defend this shitty trailer, too? Uuuugh. Ok, pretend that all promotional material for this show is just Tina Fey drunk off her arse, standing on a news desk yelling, “Watch my new show, motherfuckers!” We’ve all got that in our minds now, yeah? Right, sooooo… yep, that’s where I’d leave it. One of the funniest people on the planet has a new show, about the behind-the-scenes workings of television, and she and those six mimosas she has in her really think you should give it a shot. Awesome or, as Liz Lemon would say: “I want to go to there.”

Great News premieres on April 26th.

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