Spring TV Preview: Nine Premieres and Six Returns
Spring tends to be a slow time in the television year. This is the time of year when many shows wrap up their seasons. However, a few shows are launching in the springtime and more fan favorites are coming back for new seasons, taking advantage of the relative lull in programming. I’ve profiled fifteen series to watch this spring, nine of which are new series and six are returning favorites.
Years of Living Dangerously
On our current path, climate change threatens the stability of our Earth with each passing year. James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger are executive producers of this series, which strives to make climate change "a human story" in order to sway deniers and skeptics.
Celebrity Reporters: Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Don Cheadle, America Ferrera, Schwarzenegger, Lesley Stahl, Mark Bittman, Ian Somerhalder, Olivia Munn, Michael C. Hall
Premiere Date: April 13 on Showtime
Based on the 1996 movie of the same name, right down to the dark comedic turns, yah, you betcha. A drifter turns the lives of small-town Minnesotans upside down with his penchant for violence. A harried insurance salesman finds himself to be the most impressionable with regard to the newcomer’s antics.
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Kate Walsh
Premiere Date: April 15 on FX
WGN America takes a stab at original programming by putting a few witches at the stake. Set in 17th century New England, a group of supernatural pilgrims who use their powers for good and evil have to be very careful that the town preacher doesn’t find out about their witchy ways, or they will surely be put to death.
Starring: Janet Montgomery, Shane West, Seth Gabel, Ashley Madekwe, Tamzin Merchant, Elise Eberle, Xander Berkeley, Iddo Goldberg
Premiere Date: April 20 on WGN America
A pregnant woman discovers that her husband is cheating, and promptly files for divorce. After she shares her story with her best friend, who is running a business half a world away, she is surprised to learn that her friend just walks away from everything to help her and the unborn baby in their hour of need.
Starring: Lennon Parham, Jessica St. Clair, Keegan-Michael Key, Brad Morris, Zach Woods
Premiere Date: April 29 on USA
ABC is betting the farm on this cutting-edge drama, giving it the coveted post-"Grey’s Anatomy" time slot on Thursdays. Dr. Catherine Black diagnoses various neurological conditions, all the while harboring a deep secret - that she herself is bipolar. She works with her team despite her fears that her work will be undermined.
Starring: Kelly Reilly, Ditch Davey, David Ajala, Ali Wong, Laura Fraser, David Chisum, Siobhan Williams, Terry Kinney, Vanessa Redgrave
Premiere Date: April 24 on ABC
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
John Oliver, a fan favorite from Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show," moves to HBO for his own show, and it sounds very similar to "The Daily Show." In this new offering, U.S. and world news and current events from the week previous will be explored in a satirical tone.
Starring: John Oliver
Premiere Date: April 27 on HBO
24: Live Another Day
A continuation of the popular 2001-10 TV series, Jack Bauer, Chloe O’Brian, Audrey Raines, and others find themselves having to stop yet another global disaster, this time with beautiful London as the backdrop. An actor to watch: Stephen Fry, in the role of the British Prime Minister.
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kim Raver, William Devane, Yvonne Strahovski, Benjamin Bratt, Tate Donovan, Stephen Fry
Premiere Date: May 5 on Fox
Whatever happened to Josh Hartnett? He is back on our screens in this mysterious series that combines traditional horror story characters such as Dr. Frankenstein, his monster, Dorian Gray, and others in the dark and gray setting of Victorian England. Filmed on location in Ireland.
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Billie Piper, Rory Kinnear, Timothy Dalton, Reeve Carney, Harry Treadway, Helen McCrory, Simon Russell Beale
Premiere Date: May 11 on Showtime
Halt and Catch Fire
Three iconoclastic computer engineers are the underdogs of Texas’ Silicon Prairie in 1981. Their talents and vision constantly show up the corporate machines. Their work was the cause of envy, jealousy and aggravation, but they paved the way for the devices we use today.
Starring: Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishé, David Wilson Barnes, Toby Huss
Premiere Date: June 1 on AMC
Last We Left Them: Grace chooses not to attend Jackie’s party; when she forces her hand, Grace has a breakdown. Jackie sabotages herself by going back to pills on the one-year anniversary of her sobriety. Jackie and Frank are unsure about the future of their relationship.
Series Status: Edie Falco stars in Nurse Jackie, which will air its sixth season in 2014.
Premiere Date: April 13 on Showtime
Last We Left Them: Hank doesn’t know if he should pursue Faith or Karen. Hank decides to go on tour with Faith. After Charlie and Marcy are married, and Becca gives her blessing, Hank decides that he should be with...Karen. He leaves the tour to tell her his decision.
Series Status: David Duchovny stars in Californication, which will air its seventh season in 2014.
Premiere Date: April 13 on Showtime
Last We Left Them: In 1968, the office prepares to open a West Coast branch to take the Sunkist account. Ted is leaving to manage the account and not Don, who is forced to take a leave of absence. Peggy takes Don’s place during his absence. Megan is furious as she wanted to go West. Joan is careful not to get Roger’s hopes up. Don reveals he grew up in a brothel.
Series Status: Jon Hamm and an ensemble cast return for the first part of the seventh season in 2014.
Premiere Date: April 13 on AMC
Last We Left Them: The team travels to San Francisco to stop Paracelsus, but are ultimately too slow as they arrive after he has achieved immortality. Myka’s cancer worsens and requires surgery to alleviate the pain. Artie reveals a secret to Claudia. Claudia attempts to save the Warehouse.
Series Status: The ensemble science fiction series comes back for a fifth and final season in 2014.
Premiere Date: April 14 on Syfy
Last We Left Them: The in vitro clones Alison, Cosima and Sarah are all trying to decide what their next moves will be. Sarah has decided to confront the evil Helena, while at the same time she digs up details about her birth mother who gave her up and made her a foster baby.
Series Status: After a successful debut last year, Orphan Black, starring Tatiana Maslany, will air its second season in 2014.
Premiere Date: April 19 on BBC America
Last We Left Them: The maids all pledge to find Flora’s killer. Alejandro asks Carmen to enter into a sham marriage so he can hide his sexuality, but this throws a wrench into Carmen’s relationship with Sam. Philippe tries and fails to get Genevieve to elope. The murderer meets a hasty demise. Immigration comes to take Rosie away.
Series Status: The maids are returning for a second season in 2014.