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Spring TV Preview: 11 New Must-See Shows

Sally Field, Cate Blanchett and Reese Witherspoon each star in promising series

Dispatches From Elsewhere (AMC, March 1)

From Sally Field's breakout gig on Gidget to her Emmy-winning role on Brothers and Sisters, TV audiences have liked her — they've really liked her! Now Sally, 73, is back on the small screen as an empty nester searching for meaning in life — and the answers to a bizarro-world scavenger hunt — in this mind-blowing drama from writer-director-costar Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother).


Devs (FX on Hulu, March 5)

With the culty sci-fi films Ex Machina and Annihilation, director Alex Garland, 49, has a growing reputation as a 21st century Stanley Kubrick. In this surreal limited series, Sonoyo Mizuno stars as a computer programmer who suspects her employer of foul play after her boyfriend disappears. Nick Offerman, 49, is a revelation as the software development company's shaggy-haired, shady-souled CEO — he couldn't be more different from his Parks & Recreation role of macho, meat-loving Ron Swanson.


The Plot Against America (HBO, March 16)

Executive producer David Simon (The WireThe Deuce) adapts Philip Roth's 2004 novel into a six-part miniseries. The alternate-universe story follows a widowed New Jersey rabbi (John Turturro, 62), a prominent player in the administration of Charles Lindbergh, who beats FDR to become president in 1940. (Besides being a heroic pilot, Lindbergh really was a fascist sympathizer.) One of the clergyman's most ardent followers is played by Winona Ryder, 48, star of Stranger Things. She'll see stranger things indeed!


Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu, March 18)

Reese Witherspoon, whose TV career has been blazing lately with HBO's Big Little Lies and Apple TV+'s The Morning Show, plays another type A personality in this miniseries adaptation of Celeste Ng's 2017 best seller. In Shaker Heights, Ohio, in the 1980s, Witherspoon is a journalist and married mom who hires an itinerant artist (Kerry Washington, 43) to help out around the house — with explosive results. Think Big Little Lies meets Scandal.


Council of Dads (NBC, March 24)

With its teeming ensemble cast and unabashedly sentimental tone, this drama is targeting the same crowd that has made NBC's This Is Us the biggest network-TV hit in years. Based on Bruce Feiler's nonfiction best seller, Council of Dads follows a middle-aged man (Tom Everett Scott, 49) who assembles six friends to help raise his daughters after he's diagnosed with terminal cancer. (Feiler, 55, is still here and healthy, and enjoying his memoir's success.) Make sure you have plenty of tissues on hand when you watch the pilot.


Pauley Perrette Jaime Camil and Natasha Leggero star in the C B S show Broke

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Broke (CBS, April 2)

NCIS favorite Pauley Perrette, 50, returns to CBS in this sitcom as a suburban single mom whose snooty sister (Natasha Leggero) and once-wealthy brother-in-law (Jaime Camil) — along with their trusty manservant (Izzy Diaz) — move in after they lose their money. Fran Drescher's new NBC sitcom, Indebted, has a similar premise. Hey, 2 Broke Girls ran for six seasons on CBS — no reason why this shouldn't succeed.


Belgravia (Epix, April 12)

Julian Fellowes, 70, the creator of Downton Abbey, adapts his own 2016 novel for this six-episode miniseries. On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, in 1815, a couple attends the Duke of Wellington's ball in Brussels. Twenty-five years later, shattering secrets are revealed about what really happened that night. The estimable ensemble includes In the Bedroom and Michael Clayton Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson, 72, and Downton's Lady Shackleton, Harriet Walter, 69.


Victor Rasuk and Nathalie Kelley star in A B C's The Baker and the Beauty

Guy D'Alema/ABC

The Baker & the Beauty (ABC, April 13)

An Americanized adaptation of the smash Israeli series Beauty and the Baker, this musical rom-com transplants the action to Miami. Victor Rasuk stars as Daniel Garcia, a Cuban American who works in his family bakery and falls into a whirlwind relationship with world-famous fashion mogul Noa Hamilton (Nathalie Kelley). If it's half as sweet as the original, this one will be a real treat.


Mrs. America (FX on Hulu, April 15)

Cate Blanchett, 50, executive-produces and stars as conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in this miniseries about the 1970s battle over the Equal Rights Amendment. As if two-time Oscar winner Blanchett didn't provide enough star wattage, the cast also boasts Damages’ Rose Byrne, 40, as Gloria Steinem; The Americans’ Margo Martindale, 68, as Bella Abzug; and Orange Is the New Black's Uzo Aduba, 39, as Shirley Chisholm.


Mark Ruffalo plays two different roles as twin brothers in I Know This Much Is True

Atsushi Nishijima/HBO/WarnerMedia

I Know This Much Is True (HBO, April)

If you thought Mark Ruffalo's transformation into the Incredible Hulk in The Avengers was impressive acting, in this six-episode miniseries based on Wally Lamb's wildly popular 1998 novel, Ruffalo plays twin brothers. The catch: One of them is schizophrenic and much heavier than the other. We know this much is true: The production shut down for six weeks so Ruffalo could pack on 30 pounds to play that part.


Natalie Wood posing for photo where she places her hand under her chin to hold up her face

HBO

Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind (HBO, May)

Don't expect this documentary to solve the lingering mystery of the movie legend's death by drowning in 1981. Instead, it focuses on her life: how a child of Russian immigrants became a star, at age 9, in Miracle on 34th Street, and went on to date Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Warren Beatty. The film promises never-before-seen photos and home movies, as well as interviews with daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner, 49 — one of the doc's producers — and Robert Wagner, 90, whom Natalie married twice.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on Feb. 19, 2020. Fargo was initially listed in this article but the premiere date for Season 4 has been delayed indefinitely. The series premiere date for Council of Dads was also updated.

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