Spring is not just about warm breezes and fresh blossoms — it’s also about great new TV shows arriving on the networks as well as on streaming giants like Netflix, HBO Max and Apple TV+. Whether it’s the second season of Bridgerton or Renée Zellweger in a juicy true-crime drama, we’re talking must-watch TV. Don’t miss a thing with our preview.
The Thing About Pam (NBC, March 8)
A startlingly unrecognizable Renée Zellweger makes her broadcast TV debut as the real-life murderer Pamela Hupp, accused of staging her best friend’s murder for life insurance money and (at first successfully) pinning it on her friend’s husband.
Watch it: The Thing About Pam, on NBC
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (Apple TV+, March 11)
Samuel L. Jackson plays an elderly dementia victim who uses a risky experimental drug pushed by a doctor (Walton Goggins) to get his memories back and solve his great-nephew’s murder. From a novel by legendary writer Walter Mosley.
Bridgerton, Season 2 (Netflix, March 25)
Sometimes you really dig a girl the moment you kiss her — then you get distracted by her older sister. In the return of Netflix’s most-watched episodic series, about romance in early 19th-century England, Lord Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) beguiles his fiancée’s sib (Simone Ashley of Netflix’s Sex Education).
Watch it: Bridgerton, Season 2, on Netflix
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Harry Wild (Acorn TV, April 4)
Jane Seymour plays a retired professor turned sleuth who discards lovers like Kleenex and cracks her detective son’s murder cases through literary knowledge. Says Seymour, “I don’t think I’ve been as excited by anything since Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman!”
Watch it: Harry Wild, on Acorn TV
Benjamin Franklin (PBS, April 4-5)
Why watch Ken Burns’ riveting, four-hour portrait of Franklin’s contradictory soul? “He is the most compelling personality in America in the 18th century, the man most responsible for victory in the Revolution, a scientist of Nobel quality,” says Burns. “He launched America’s first public library, set a model for future humorists such as Mark Twain, and wrote the second-greatest sentence in the English language, right after ‘I love you’: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ ”
Watch it: Benjamin Franklin, on PBS
Anatomy of a Scandal (Netflix, April 15)
In Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley’s latest scandalous courtroom thriller limited series, Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery is a prosecutor on the trail of British politician and accused rapist James Whitehouse (Rupert Friend). Sienna Miller plays his wife, facing the consequences of her life of privilege.
Watch it: Anatomy of a Scandal, on Netflix
The First Lady (Showtime, April 17)
Get up close and personal with our presidents’ high-profile spouses — Michelle Obama (Viola Davis), Betty Ford (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Eleanor Roosevelt (Gillian Anderson) — in this new anthology series. Was Davis scared to portray Ms. Obama’s pillow talk and private life? “There’s a huge amount of fear,” says Davis, “but that’s what we live for as artists.”
Watch it: The First Lady, on Showtime
Better Call Saul, Season 6 (AMC, April 18)
After two years off the air, criminal lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk, who survived a recent near-fatal heart attack) is back for the final season of the Breaking Bad prequel many rate even higher than the original series.
Watch it: Better Call Saul, on AMC and AMC+
Gaslit (Starz, April 24)
Julia Roberts plays Martha Mitchell, the bigger-than-life whistleblower in the Watergate scandal, whose husband, felonious Attorney General John Mitchell (Sean Penn), helped orchestrate the nasty smear campaign meant to shut up her big mouth.
Watch it: Gaslit, on Starz
We Own This City (HBO, April 25)
The creators of The Wire, arguably the best fact-inspired crime show ever, bring you a six-hour limited series about the rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department’s shockingly evil and corrupt (and now scuttled) Gun Trace Task Force.
Watch it: We Own This City, on HBO and HBO Max
The Survivor (HBO, April 27)
Rain Man director Barry Levinson, 79, tells the fact-based story of Poland’s Harry Haft, who was forced to fight 76 other Auschwitz prisoners for the entertainment of SS officers before escaping to America and fighting Rocky Marciano. USC Shoah Foundation executive Stephen Smith calls it “one of the best contributions to Holocaust filmography since Schindler’s List.”
Masterpiece: Ridley Road (PBS, May 1)
In a drama inspired by the real-life fight against neo-Nazis in 1960s London, a Jewish girl (Agnes O’Casey) tries to infiltrate a fascist group to save her anti-fascist boyfriend. Brilliant Rita Tushingham, 79 (Dr. Zhivago) plays her landlord, and Eddie Marsan, 53, is the head of the Nazi-hunting 62 Group.
Watch it: Masterpiece: Ridley Road, on PBS
The Big Conn (Apple TV+, May 6)
The true story of lawyer Eric C. Conn, who heisted more than half a billion dollars in the biggest Social Security fraud case in history to fund his entertainingly extravagant lifestyle (prior to attempting to flee the country).
Watch it: The Big Conn, on Apple TV+
Tim Appelo covers entertainment and is the film and TV critic for AARP. Previously, he was the entertainment editor at Amazon, video critic at Entertainment Weekly, and a critic and writer for The Hollywood Reporter, People, MTV, The Village Voice and LA Weekly.