2021 was supposed to be the year we got back out there and rejoined society, but we aren’t ready yet. And with so much glorious new TV headed to our homes, can you blame us?
From nudists to sorcerers, a Kung Fu reboot (!) and more Pose, here are our top picks for your spring TV schedule… society can wait.
1. Worn Stories
Anyone who’s held on to their favorite jacket for years or worn a pair of shoes until they fell apart knows that clothes are so much more than the things we wear. Worn Stories is a docuseries that gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to share the stories behind significant articles of clothing. Some stories are funny anecdotes and others are devastatingly poignant, but they’re all worth listening to.
Worn Stories premieres on Netflix April 1.
2. The Serpent
Notorious serial killer Charles Sobhraj may not be as well known in the United States, but his sickening crimes made him infamous in Thailand, Nepal, and India in the 1970s. The Serpent dramatizes Sobhraj’s crime spree from the perspectives of his lover and accomplice Marie-Andreé Leclerc (Jenna Coleman) and of Herman Knippenberg (Billy Howle), the Dutch aspiring diplomat who personally investigated Sobhraj when the Indonesian police neglected to act.
The Serpent premieres on Netflix April 2.
3. Kung Fu
Kung Fu reimagines the original 1970s TV series starring David Carradine (which, yikes) with a new, actually Asian female lead and a modern setting. Nicky (Olivia Liang) is a young Chinese woman who left her family three years ago to study martial arts at a Shaolin temple. When her mentor is killed in an unusual attack, she returns home to San Francisco to continue her search for the killer and bring justice to her imperiled community. Kung Fu is part CW soap, part butt-kicking martial arts adventure with top notch fight scenes to boot.
Kung Fu premieres on The CW April 7.
It’s not a tough leap from Them’s horror-movie trailer to to suspect that the true monster is racism in this drama from Little Marvin, executive produced by Lena Waithe, Miri Yoon and Roy Lee. The Emory family moves from North Carolina to California as part of the Great Migration, and end up swapping the Jim Crow South for a very different kind of antagonism. Each episode recaps roughly a day of their stint in a white suburbia filled with panicked, belligerent neighbors and other terrors within the four walls that should protect them. Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Melody Hurd star.
Them premieres on Amazon Prime Video April 9.
5. Rutherford Falls
When the town of Rutherford Falls considers taking down a statue of its founder, descendant Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms) takes it personally. Despite the “wackadoos” supporting him, he presses on, supported by childhood best friend Reagan (Jana Schmieding). Local Chief Terry (Michael Greyeyes) sues Nathan for not protecting the tribe as his ancestors promised, and the scandal attracts NPR reporter Josh Carter (Dustin Milligan). The show is the latest from Parks and Recreation and The Good Place creator Mike Schur and boasts one of the largest indigenous writer’s rooms on television, as well as Schmieding and Greyeyes in the lead cast.
Rutherford Falls premieres on Peacock April 22.
6. Shadow and Bone
Welcome to the fantasy land of Ravka, based on the bestselling novels by Leigh Bardugo. The country is split by a deadly strip of land and its people divided between magical Grisha and those without powers. Alina’s (Jessie May II) parents died crossing that treacherous strip known as the Fold, but nothing prepares her for what will happen when she tries to — when she finds out who she truly is. Her new life brings her to Genya (Daisy Head) and General Kirigan (Ben Barnes), but separates her from her lifelong best friend Mal (Archie Renaux) and maybe from the only safety she ever knew.
Shadow and Bone premieres on Netflix April 23.
7. The Handmaid’s Tale
Season 4 picks up moments after the Season 3 finale, when June (Elisabeth Moss) helped a plane full of children and Marthas escape from Gilead — a massive act of resistance that could lead to war with Canada, where the Waterfords (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Stravoski) await trial for their myriad crimes against humanity. In Gilead, Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) and Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) face their own trials while the hunt for June continues, and June becomes a symbol of rebellion while working desperately to reunite with her daughter.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 premieres on Hulu April 28.
The real life history of African samurai Yasuke gets a supernatural twist in this Netflix anime starring and co–executive produced by Lakeith Stanfield. Yasuke takes place in a feudal Japan populated by lords, peasants, and warriors — as well as flying robots, werewolves, and sorcerers. It’s the kind of world where a samurai’s code of honor means nothing or everything, and Yasuke must metaphorically fight his demons while literally fighting other, actual demons.
Yasuke premieres on Netflix April 19.
While the news that this third season of Pose on FX will be the show’s last is unbelievably sad, this groundbreaking show will be able to finish the stories of Pray Tell, Blanca, Elektra, Angel, and Damon on its own terms. Pose is one-of-a-kind in its dedication to giving uplifting storylines to characters who don’t often get positive depictions in mainstream television while opening doors for real life queer and trans creators. Pose will be missed, but its third season absolutely should not be.
Pose Season 3 premieres on FX May 2.
10. Jupiter’s Legacy
Netflix dives into another superhero series based on a comic book with Jupiter’s Legacy, a new show based on Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s work. Jupiter’s Legacy examines the lives of the children of superheroes in a world where a small group of superpowered individuals have existed since the 1930s. Where the older generation is comfortable being heroes, their offspring have different ideas about how to wield and coexist with their powers.
Jupiter’s Legacy premieres on Netflix May 7.
11. Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet
Ah, Mythic Quest. Apple TV+ struck gold with this comedy from the It’s Always Sunny creators about the people who make video games, delivering a story and a cast of characters capable of swinging from unhinged hilarity to heartfelt sincerity. When we last left the MQ gang, Poppy Li (Charlotte Nicdao) was getting ready for a new adventure working alongside Ian Grimm (Rob McElhenney) as co-creative director. Season 2 will pick up sometime after the show’s emotionally harrowing quarantine episode with Poppy and Ian back to butting heads over the direction of their game while various subplots bubble all around them at the studio.
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet Season 2 premieres on Apple TV+ May 7.
12. The Underground Railroad
Barry Jenkins will write, direct, and executive produce The Underground Railroad, a highly anticipated series based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer and National Book Award–winning historical fiction novel. The Underground Railroad is a fictional reimagining of the historical system of ferrying African American slaves to freedom as a literal railroad with stations, tickets, and locomotives.
The Underground Railroad premieres on Amazon Prime Video May 14.
Adam Rosenberg contributed to this article.