TV still hasn't quite returned to its pre-COVID normal – where "normal" realistically means 450+ scripted series and 500+ unscripted series – but March 2021 featured the welcomed arrival of quite a few major TV premieres. That trend isn't stopping in April, which will finally bring The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 to fans, and will also bring its fair share of spring finales, from Falcon and Winter Soldier and The Walking Dead closing out their seasons to Wynonna Earp and Shameless wrapping up for good.
So let's take a closer look at many of the biggest TV and streaming premieres that are coming in April 2021, starting with the return of one of network television's most mysterious dramas.
Manifest Season 3 - NBC (April 1)
After nearly a year's hiatus away from audiences, NBC's theory-sparking Manifest will finally return for Season 3 when April begins. That said, we're hoping there aren't any holiday-related fakeouts involved as Manifest's time-jumping opener follows up on the discoveries made during that wacky Season 2 finale. What does it all mean?!? Don't expect all the answers right away, but they're coming...eventually. Maybe. In the form of other questions.
Law & Order: Organized Crime - NBC (April 1)
Following Manifest's Season 3 premiere, NBC is going all out for Law & Order fans, first with the long-awaited SVU return from Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler, and then with the premiere of the Meloni-led spinoff Law & Order: Organized Crime. It's likely we're going to learn some pretty unfortunate details about the Stabler family, but most fictional deaths are worth it when the results are "more Meloni" and "more Stabler."
Birdgirl - Adult Swim (April 5)
Following its 2007 finale, the classic toon-aping Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law made a long-awaited return in the form of the special Harvey Birdman: Attorney General, and fans thankfully haven't had to wait nearly as long for the impending spinoff Birdgirl. In the Adult Swim follow-up, Criminal Minds vet Paget Brewster is bringing her superbness back to the role of Judy Ken Sebben, better known as Birdgirl while wearing her Birdgirl costume (and getting hit on by her dimwitted father).
Chad - TBS (April 6)
Former SNL star Nasim Pedrad first brought her pitch for Chad – in which she plays an awkward 14-year-old boy trying to achieve manhood in various ways – to Fox back in 2016. It was picked up to series in 2019, and was initially set to debut at some point in 2020 before COVID changed everything. Now, Pedrad finally gets to deliver this bizarre (but lovingly delivered) concept to viewers on April 6 and many weeks beyond that. (Fun fact: Chad shares director and executive producer Rhys Thomas with Disney+'s Hawkeye.)
Kung Fu - The CW (April 7)
With Jared Padalecki's Walker reboot having premiered on The CW earlier this year, the network has another ass-kicking reimagining on the way in the form of Kung Fu. With Arrowverse co-creator Greg Berlanti partially behind the modern take on David Carradine's original series, Kung Fu sees Legacies' Olivia Liang using her martial arts skills to keep her community safe. Expect for there to be way more differences than similarities, but hopefully in the best of ways.
Queen Of The South Season 5 - USA (April 7)
Queen of the South may not have the biggest viewership, but the fanbase is passionate, and they've been waiting a long time for the fifth and final season to finally arrive on USA. Season 4 wrapped up back in August 2019 on the same day the Season 5 renewal came down the line. But while it was supposed to film and release in 2020, Queen of the South faced the same delays that many other series faced. Here's hoping the long wait will be worth it.
Rebel - ABC (April 8)
Anytime Katey Sagal is part of a show, I'm signed up from the jump. While she's currently still part of The Conners's third season, Sagal is also heading up the new ABC drama Rebel, in which she will star opposite Andy Garcia, playing a legal advocate without a law degree who works tirelessly for the local community that she cares about so deeply. The role is based on the life of activist Erin Brockovich, who also serves as an executive producer alongside Grey's Anatomy showrunner and Rebel creator Krista Vernoff.
Them - Amazon Prime Video (April 9)
Not a remake of the '50s giant ants movie, Amazon's Them hails from creator Little Marvin and executive producer Lena Waithe (The Chi) and seems to dwell in the same discomforting, racially charged sandbox as Jordan Peele's Get Out and Us. The series centers on a Black family moving from the east coast to an all-white neighborhood in L.A., where they fight for survival against malevolent forces, and stars Us' Shahadi Wright Joseph, Luke Cage's Deborah Ayorinde and Top Boy's Ashley Thomas.
The Nevers - HBO (April 11)
Throughout its development process, the biggest thing going for HBO's fantasy quasi-superhero drama The Nevers was that it was created by that other Justice League director Joss Whedon, who has since fallen from pop culture grace after allegation-filled backlash from female stars he worked with in the past. In the face of all that BTS drama, The Nevers is a female-led adventure blended with science fiction, Victorian horror, and dark humor to make up a strange (and expensive-looking) mystery that will no doubt earn a loyal and sizable fanbase.
Infinity Train Season 4 (April 15)
The emotionally sound animated series Infinity Train felt like a cult classic when it started life at Cartoon Network, and continued held to that distinction upon becoming an HBO Max exclusive. Created by former Regular Show writer and storyboard artist Owen Dennis, Infinity Train is an interconnected anthology series about a magical (for lack of a better word) train that presents its human riders with moral and social conundrums to help conquer their psychological issues. Thankfully, the streaming service soothed fans' cancellation fears by ordering up Book 4.
Younger Season 7 - Paramount+ (April 15)
After spending its first six seasons as arguably TV Land's most successful scripted original series, Darren Star's rom-dramedy Younger is aiming for bigger audiences by debuting its seventh and final season on the streaming service Paramount+. And that season is a long time coming, also, with Season 6 having wrapped up back in September 2019. Fans will finally get to learn what happened after the finale's cliffhanger between Sutton Foster's Liza, Peter Hermann's Charles and Hilary Duff's Kelsey, and something tells me it'll be mostly heartwarming.
Big Shot - Disney+ (April 16)
The family-friendly dramedy Big Shot has an unlikely set of big TV names at its center: Full House's John Stamos is the star, and the creator/developers include Everybody Loves Raymond's Brad Garrett, Harley Quinn writer/EP Dean Lorey and Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley. The show follows Stamos as a hot-tempered basketball coach who unhappily takes a new job at an all-girls private high school where Community vet Yvette Nicole Brown is the dean, and Vikings alum Jessalyn Gilsig his assistant coach. Who doesn't want to see smart and confident teen girls making John Stamos uncomfortable?
Mare of Easttown - HBO (April 18)
For her first major trip to television since 2011's Emmy-winning Mildred Pierce, Kate Winslet is returning to HBO for the miniseries Mare of Easttown, which was created by The Way Back screenwriter Brad Ingelsby. Winslet plays a detective investigating a murder in a small Pennsylvania town while trying not to let her own life spiral out of control. If that didn't already sound like a lock, add in the rest of the cast, which includes WandaVision's Evan Peters, The Outsider's Julianne Nicholson, Watchmen's Jean Smart and the most recent Spider-Man franchise's Angourie Rice.
Zero - Netflix (April 21)
From creator Antonio Dikele Distefano comes the impending Netflix original series Zero, which is the first TV series to truly focus on the Black Italian experience, though not in the most realistic terms. Zero centers on a shy, second-generation Italian with the incredible power to turn invisible, and how he puts aside his artistic dreams so that he can control his powers as a way to defend his neighborhood. Rather than aiming solely for darkness, Zero sounds like it'll be a more inspiring superhero tale. (Is it too soon to call for Umbrella Academy crossovers?)
Rutherford Falls - NBC (April 22)
With The Office vet Ed Helms and The Good Place creator Michael Schur as two-thirds of the creative team, Rutherford Falls has major built-in comedy cred. But it's the third co-creator, Navajo filmmaker Sierra Teller Ornelas, that helps make this new Peacock comedy truly special. The series centers on a fictional Native reservation and its neighboring small town, with a cast and crew that features a variety of indigenous creatives. One can only hope Rutherford Falls' comedy can match its inclusivity measures.
Shadow and Bone - Netflix (April 23)
Netflix's next big-budget foray into young adult fantasy fare will be for the highly anticipated Shadow and Bone, based on Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy of novels. Developed for TV by Eric Heisserer, who penned the scripts for Arrival and Bird Box, Shadow and Bone is set against the (admittedly predictable) backdrop of a world ravaged by a war between good and evil, and follows one orphaned soldier (Last Night in Soho's Jessie Mei Li) in her challenged attempts to train a magical army. Oh, and the power-hungry antagonist is played by Punisher and Westworld vet Ben Barnes.
A Black Lady Sketch Show Season 2 - HBO (April 23)
The past few years have been surprisingly rich with new and hilarious sketch comedies, with HBO's absolutely divine A Black Lady Sketch Show earning an Emmy nomination in 2019, though it lost out to SNL. (Big sigh.) Created by star Robin Thede, the sometimes silly, sometimes poignant and always brilliant series was renewed for a second season back in August 2019, but it took a while for things to come together due to COVID delays. And though co-star and co-writer Quinta Brunson wasn't able to appear in Season 2 due to scheduling, I'm still more pumped for A Black Lady Sketch Show's return than any other comedy in April.
The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 - Hulu (April 28)
After The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 ended in August 2019, Hulu went into development on the Margaret Atwood spinoff The Testaments, and then the pandemic happened. Despite all the setbacks, Elisabeth Moss & Co. successfully put Season 4 together and will finally (and hectically) start delivering more answers to fans at the end of April. With Season 5 already ordered, no one needs to worry about Moss' June meeting her maker, but the same can't really be said for anyone else.
The Mosquito Coast - Apple TV+ (April 30)
Apple TV+ (opens in new tab)'s upcoming drama The Mosquito Coast is based on the 1981 adventure drama novel by Paul Theroux, and it stars the author's nephew Justin Theroux (The Leftovers) as a quixotic man whose increasingly negative view of American consumerism and corruption inspire him to uproot his family to Latin America. To be expected, that major life decision leads to twists, turns, and problems for the Fox family, with Melissa George playing Theroux's wife. It'll be interesting to see how the episodic adaptation stacks up against the 1986 film starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren.
Hopefully the above list will give everyone a lot to look forward to in April 2021, though these are far from the only noteworthy TV premieres lighting up primetime and the A.M. streaming hours. I'm also pumped for American Dad Season 16, Creepshow Season 2, Top Chef Season 18, and Cruel Summer's debut season, to name a few. Not to mention the various spring premieres from shows such as Fear the Walking Dead, 9-1-1, 9-1-1: Lone Star and All American. No foolin', April and the rest of the Winter/Spring TV schedule has more than enough awesome content to spare.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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