Spring in the UK is an unpredictable time. For the days where it’s more rain than blue skies, there’s plenty of tempting new TV shows to keep you entertained and happy to relax on the sofa. From Sienna Miller’s highly anticipated turn in political crime drama Anatomy of a Scandal to the BBC’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s debut novel Conversation with Friends, these are the new TV series that everyone will be talking about over the coming months.
Best New TV Shows For April And May
Anatomy of a Scandal
Sienna Miller returns to the small screen in this hotly anticipated new crime drama, adapted from Sarah Vaughan’s novel of the same name. Miller plays Sophie Whitehouse, the doting wife of a charismatic government minister (played by Rupert Friend), whose life in political privileged circles is turned upside down when her husband James is accused of rape. As the pair find themselves thrust into the spotlight, Sophie is determined to prove her husband’s innocence and protect her family.
A timely infiltration of Britain’s political elite at a time where the government continues to fuel tabloid fodder with hot water scandals, this new limited series is the ideal combination of courtroom and personal drama. Miller and Friend are joined by fellow heavy-hitters Michelle Dockery as lawyer Kate and Naomi Scott as James’s accuser, Olivia, a young parliamentary researcher who previously had an affair with him. The six-part thriller is set to lay bare the relationship between privilege and power, as well as tackle entitlement, truth and boundaries of consent. A perfect choice for those looking to fill The Undoing-sized gap in their TV watching schedule.
Netflix, 15 April
From the creators of women’s wrestling comedy-drama series GLOW comes this darkly comedic series that highlights women’s experiences in an entirely novel way. Based on a book of short stories by Cecelia Ahern, this anthology series sees each episode depict a twisted feminist fable. Led by a stellar cast of women, including Nicole Kidman (also an executive producer), Cynthia Erivo, Issa Rae, Merritt Wever and Alison Brie, the 8-episode series tells the tale of a woman whose husband builds a shelf for her to permanently sit on, a woman who finds herself becoming invisible after achieving professional success, and much more.
The tales are equal parts hilarious, frightening, twisted and thought-provoking, taking a particular issue or stereotype that women are used to dealing with everyday and seeing it through an absurdist lens. Think Black Mirror but updated for the modern woman, with a combination of fantasy, harsh realism and deeply funny moments.
Apple TV+, 15 April
Those who were sad to bid adieu to the French comedy-drama Call My Agent! will be delighted that a new British adaptation hits screens later this month. The eight-episode series follows a small London talent agency, Nightingale Hart, as its agents juggle an ever-demanding celebrity clientele whilst navigating their own complicated private lives.
Written and directed by Bafta-winner John Morton, Ten Percent has a stellar cast – Jack Davenport, Lydia Leonard, Maggie Steed, Prasanna Puwanarajah and Jim Broadbent – and, like its chic Parisienne counterpart, promises a string of starry cameos including Helena Bonham Carter, David Oyelowo, Phoebe Dynevor, Emma Corrin, Clemence Poesy and more.
Amazon Prime, 28 April
Based on Lauren Beukes’ novel of the same name, this new series sees Elisabeth Moss return to the horror genre in epic style. Moss stars as Kirby Mazrachi, a woman who finds herself trapped in a constantly shifting reality years after a brutal attack. As she continues to cross time, locations and worlds, Mazrachi discovers that her assault is tied to a recent murder. Determined to finally get to the truth of her ever-changing present and her murky past, she teams up with a veteran journalist (played by Wagner Moura). But can they hunt down the truth before they are hunted themselves?
Tense, dark and — if you haven’t already read the award-winning book — full of plenty of surprises, this series will likely be a hit amongst thriller fans, particularly for those who enjoyed seeing Moss in The Invisible Man.
Apple TV+, 29 April
The Lazarus Project
Emmy and BAFTA-nominated Paapa Essiedu, who won over audiences with his incredible performance in Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, takes the lead in this 8-part action thriller. Essiedu stars as George, who wakes up one day to find that he’s back to reliving a day that already happened months ago, with all his recent milestones — including professional achievements and marrying the love of his life, Sarah (Charly Clive) — have never happened.
Disturbed, scared and alone, George eventually meets Archie (Anjli Mohindra), who recruits George to join the Lazarus Project, a secret organisation that has found a way to turn back time whenever the world is at risk of extinction. As the organisation’s members are the only ones to remember the events that have been undone by the rewinding of time, they’re also the only ones who can save the human race from disaster. But how far can George go to save the world, and at what personal cost?
Sky Max and NOWTV, April 2022
Recent years have seen big movie stars turn to the smaller screen, and with her role in Amazon Prime’s thriller series Homecoming, Julia Roberts was one of the pioneers in making the move. Now, she returns to the TV screen — alongside none other than Sean Penn — in this thriller series based on the Watergate scandal. Inspired by the first season of hit podcast Slow Burn by Leon Neyfakh, the show focuses on the untold stories of those who were around Nixon at the time, including his subordinates, his fans and the whistleblowers who each had a role in bringing down the President.
The series centres on Roberts’ character: Martha Mitchell, a celebrity Arkansan socialite who is married to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John N. Mitchell (Penn). Despite her deep ties to the President and the Republican party, Martha becomes one of the first outspoken critics of his involvement in Watergate. A fascinating look at a surprising side to a well-publicised scandal and — surprise, surprise — a woman being underestimated by the political elite.
Starzplay on Amazon Prime, 24 April
The Lincoln Lawyer
David E. Kelly is the producer behind some of the biggest TV hits in recent memory, including Big Little Lies and Ally McBeal. Now, the TV king is taking inspiration from Michael Connelly’s popular crime drama to create a brand new Netflix series. The novel has been adapted before — in 2011, Matthew McConaughey starred as the titular lawyer in a film version — but this limited series plans on expanding on the original tale in exciting ways.
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo stars as Mickey Haller, an idealist running his law practice out of the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car. The Netflix series will pick up with the second book from Connelly’s series, “The Brass Verdict,” following Haller in and out of the courtroom. Familiar faces including Neve Campbell and Becki Newton of Ugly Betty fame will also appear.
Netflix, 13 May
The Essex Serpent
Claire Danes and Tom Hiddlestone return to the small screen in this adaptation of Sarah Perry’s period thriller novel. Set in the Victorian era, the series follows Cora Seaborne (Danes), who after the death of her abusive husband, leaves London for a small village in Essex. There, she becomes intrigued by the tale of the Essex Serpent, a mythical sea dragon that locals believe was awakened by an earthquake that created a nearby ruin.
Convinced that the Serpent could be an undiscovered dinosaur that survived extinction, Cora meets the Reverend Will Ransome (Hiddlestone), who can help her investigate. But entanglements ensue once a friend from London, Dr. Luke Garnett (Frank Dillane) comes to help, too. A period drama with a twist, the combination of enviable cast and acclaimed source material has set the bar high for this series.
Apple TV+, 15 May
Conversations with Friends
If the success of last year’s adaptation of Normal Friends and the original novel are anything to go by, this TV version of Sally Rooney’s debut novel is sure to be a hit. Newcomers star alongside familiar faces in this reimagining of Rooney’s popular tale of entangled relationships, sexual politics and a complex menage-a-quatre.
Twenty-one year olds Frances (Alison Oliver) and Bobbi (Sasha Lane) are best friends and ex-lovers, who perform spoken-word poetry together in Dublin. While performing in the city, a journalist Melissa (Jemima Kirke) spots their potential, and Frances soon finds herself pulled in by her sophisticated, artistic world. She is particularly drawn to her tall, handsome husband, Nick (Joe Alwyn) — a surprise, given that he represents the complete opposite of her steadfast beliefs regarding the patriarchy. Things continue to get increasingly complicated, as all four individuals become more enmeshed in each other’s lives and sex, desire and love make things even more complex.
BBC Three, May 2022