Spring brings with it some brilliant new TV picks. Not included in my list below are Better Call Saul (which I know will be a big deal for many), Hacks on Amazon Prime and if we are very lucky a new show from David Simon – We Own This City. Tipped as the sequel to The Wire, it’s only not on my top 5 list below as, like Under the Banner of Heaven, a UK release date is not 100% as yet, but it will be expected soon on Sky Atlantic.
April 6 – The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On – Netflix
For all of us who are missing Love is Blind and have had all we can take of the post show Instagram non-drama of who is unfollowing who (Shake, just give up trying to happen, ok?) here comes The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On. From the creators of LiB, who must have known we would be suffering serious withdrawal by now, that we would have watched the Tokyo and Brazil spin-offs and needed another reality dating show hit. Sadly the one thing they really don’t seem to understand is that Nick and Vanessa Lachey really aren’t good presenters as they’re back for this show too. Ok, fair enough, the Lacheys finally got a bit more interesting in LiB2 The Reunion but that was too little too late. The premise of this show is, surprisingly, an ultimatum. There are six couples where one partner in each issues an ultimatum due to the other being hesitant to marry or make a true commitment. They will then over the course of eight weeks explore the strengths and weaknesses of their relationships in a fake marriage setting in, of course, satisfyingly salacious TV nature with the Lacheys serving as both hosts and mediators. At the end of eight weeks they decide whether they want to get married, or part ways; “marry or move on”. I CAN’T WAIT.
21st April – The Flight Attendant (Season 2) – Sky Max
I still don’t think enough people have seen the almost sublime first season of The Flight Attendant. Perhaps put off by the fact that it stars ex Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco? This is not saccharine trash but a highly stylised crime romp with a satisfying aesthetic and overlying season arc that can be analysed and picked apart just as much as the source texts it draws so cleverly upon; Hitchcock being its main visual and thematic driving force as some of the New York shots are even directly taken from films like North by North West. It’s now been two years since Cassie’s life as a basically messed up, partying flight attendant was thrown into total disarray after waking up next to a dead guy in a hotel room on an overlay in Thailand, her memory blighted by her binge drinking. What transpired could be argued to be predictable or familiar territory but the characters and acting from incidental appearances from powerhouses such as Michelle Gomez were wonderfully written and kept it fresh and many also praised the series for the portrayal of Cassie’s functional alcoholism and how it was used both as a plot point but how Cassie was successfully forced to confront it. Adapted from The Flight Attendant: A Novel (2019) by Chris Bohjalian and coming from Berlanti productions, the home of Dawson’s Creek, Brothers & Sisters, and You it is not surprising that its calibre is so stunning. Created by relative rookie Steve Yockey, this fresh voice keeps the action driving through. Season 2 seems Cassie a year sober, making huge mistakes and still paying – the CIA – for repercussions from what happened in season 1.
April 22nd – They Call Me Magic Season 1 – Apple TV
During lockdown whilst many watched an idiotic tiger-obsessed woman pretend to have not murdered her husband, the rest of us watched what is possibly the best sports documentary of all time: Save The Last Dance (ESPN/Netflix). It was a thorough, celebratory look through Michael Jordan’s mind-boggling, record-defying career. Apple TV have now decided they would like a piece of that sweet documentary action. Following Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (available on Sky Max) they bring us the second TV show about the rival basketball star Magic Johnson this spring. They Call Me Magic is out on Apple TV April 22nd. With unprecedented access, the docuseries explores Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s remarkable journey from being the face of the LA Lakers and cementing himself as an all-time NBA legend with NBA championship wins, three MVP titles, appeared in 12 All-Star games and won an Olympic gold medal. It also shows how in 1991 at the peak of his career he contributed to changing the conversation around AIDS when he announced he was HIV positive. At that time HIV was known to be a “gay, white man’s disease”. Here was a strong, black heterosexual sportsman speaking out about the virus.
April 29 – Season 7b Grace and Frankie (Final Season) – Netflix
“Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star in this comedy about two women whose husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) fall in love with each other.”
This month one of my all time favourite shows and Netflix’s oldest running original show (at 94 episodes) sadly comes to an end. It has been a true original, starring older actors and not showing them acting “young” but acting as real people with desires, lives and worries hat they need to try and, ok so for our sakes hilariously, try and manoeuvre round. The quartet of actors Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston (swoon) have been a dream ensemble. The amount of in-jokes and references to their overwhelmingly stunning careers are too huge to mention. Four episodes from this season aired in August 2021 and we have been waiting with bated breath to find out how the money laundering is going. Fonda and Tomlin were brought together as a deadly duo because of their chemistry from the film 9 to 5 (1980) and we have been promised a cameo from the third musketeer if you will from that film, Dolly Parton before the show ends. It is going to be really hard to say goodbye to the gang’s capers, to the yam lube, the elder vibes and rising loo seats. I will miss the tender love between Sheen and Waterston and how their family made their relationship work when it could have destroyed them all. It is a sweet, funny show that reminds us why getting older is still worthy of its own narratives and not stereotypes.
April – Unknown Release Date – Under the Banner of Heaven – Disney Plus
Each article I write seems to mention Andrew Garfield in some way at the moment or be adjacent to his projects. Maybe that says a lot about my subconscious bias but I think it also says a lot about this meteoric yet strangely quiet career metamorphosis from somewhat satisfying Spiderman to theatre icon who wields real acting clout. He comes to our screens for this, his first foray into TV after a magnificent performance in Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s tick, tick…BOOM! for Netflix where he starred as writer of Rent Jonarthan Larson. For true crime fans out there, Under The Banner of Heaven is based on the New York Times bestselling non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. It follows Garfield as devout Mormon Detective Jeb Pyre, a man who begins to question his own faith as he investigates the Lafferty family: murder, scandal and intrigue in the Mormon church. The show will be out on Disney Plus at some point at the end of this month but there is no exact release date as yet. Joining him is a fabulous cast that includes actors like Sam Worthington and Daisy Edgar Jones (Normal People).
— Variety (@Variety) March 7, 2022