Alex Casey and Sam Brooks round up the new content coming to Lightbox this month, including the highly anticipated return of The Handmaid’s Tale, Russian spies in wigs and Helen Mirren’s career-defining role!
The Handmaid’s Tale S2 (April 26)
The last we saw of Offred and the gals, a cute way of characterising a group of women enslaved as baby-making machines in the dystopian hellscape of Gilead, was in the supremely cool and final scene of The Handmaid’s Tale season one. Marching down the snowy streets in perfect uniform to a cover of ‘I’m Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone, their obedient formation no longer felt submissive, but rebellious. Organised. Militant. As the above trailer for season two suggests, these are women on the cusp of a world-changing resistance. Luckily for us…. it will be televised. Really bad joke, really good show. / Alex Casey
The Americans S5 (April 4)
Since its debut five years ago, The Americans has been hailed as one of the best, smartest and most taut shows on television. If you haven’t heard of it, I don’t know what Cold War rock you’ve been living under, but you need to get on the boat. While the premise might be simple (two Russian spies are in deep cover in America in the 80s), the emotions are anything but. Within all the spy drama, and wigs, there’s a beautiful and compelling story of a relationship constantly in flux as each party decides what they want, and what they actually need. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys give performances worthy of the show – sometimes even exceeding it – while guest stars Margo Martindale, Alison Wright and Frank Langella do layered, sparky work from the sidelines. / Sam Brooks
Feud: Bette and Joan (April 16)
It’s Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Crime Story, American Horror Story) taking on the story of Golden Age icons Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as they filmed their camp horror film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. What more do you need? Do you need Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange playing Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, doing simultaneously deep and hammy work as these icons? Do you need Catherine Zeta-Jones playing Olivia de Havilland, or an absolutely bonkers Jackie Hoffman playing Joan Crawford’s maid? We’ve got it. Murphy makes appointment television, and Feud is no exception. / SB
The Replacement S1 (April 13)
A successful architect goes on maternity leave, and the woman brought in to cover for her has ideas of her own. If you want a little Single White Female or a little Black Swan in your corporate drama, three-parter mini-series The Replacement has you covered. More than just that, The Replacement touches on issues, especially those amongst women in high-powered professional environments, and this show is smart enough to go deep on this while still being a compelling and engaging thriller. / SB
Imposters S1 (April 28)
One for fans of Gone Girl, Kill Bill-style revenge thrillers, Imposters charts one woman’s blazing trail through many scorned men and many emptied safes. Con artist Maddie, billed as equal parts “beautiful and dangerous” (same!), marries a poor (rich) chap called Ezra Bloom, before clearing out his bank account and legging it out of their marital home. Leaving nothing but a threatening envelope full of secrets that could ruin Ezra forever, her ex-husband begins a quest across the country to find the woman that stole his heart and absolutely all of his savings. Uma Thurman is on board, so it’s got to be good. / AC
Aber Bergen S2 (April 30)
Do you love Norwegian drama? Of course you do, everybody does. It’s very chic right now. And do you love legal dramas? Of course you do, people have loved legal dramas since literally the start of time (if by the start of time you mean since the 50s, with 12 Angry Men). And thirdly, do you love beautiful people? Everybody does. Well, the second season of Aber Bergen has got you covered, and you should definitely also binge your way through the first season, with the continuing story of Elea and Erik, a divorced couple who still have to run a law firm together while raising their teenage son. When you add in the mountainous setting of Bergen, you’ve got a legal drama that’s not only fun to watch, but genuinely beautiful. / SB
Modern Family S7 (April 9)
About once a month I think about the scene where a pigeon flies into Jay and Mitch’s house, and I laugh and laugh and laugh. Is there anything funnier than a bird inside? This serious TV critic says: no. Plus, if that’s the sort of gold they were spinning in season one, can you even imagine what glorious wonders season seven contains? / AC
Prime Suspect S1-7 (April 11)
For many, Helen Mirren’s iconic role is Queen Elizabeth II: it’s what she won her Oscar for – the role might not be what put her on the map, but it’s what secured her place on it. But for me, she’ll always be Captain Jane Tennyson, who she played for 15 years across seven seasons. It’s a role she nailed from the very start but still found new places to push into as time went on. Across its run, Prime Suspect nailed down a wide variety of topics (sexism, homophobia, racism, alcoholism, really the royal flush) but what it did best was give audiences the chance to watch a character grow over a decade and a half. It’s a unique achievement in television, and the chance to watch all of it is one you should definitely grab this autumn. /SB
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