Kate Winslet as a small town detective, Jared Harris as a doomed naval captain, Bryan Cranston as a judge caught in a crime family’s crosshairs — this spring is bursting with a promising line-up of new television shows. The next few months also sees the arrival of a number of long-awaited, lockdown-delayed series, including the fourth season of dystopian drama The Handmaid’s Tale and Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad. From fantasy adventures to gripping dramas, we’ve rounded up the best upcoming shows to bookmark.
Following his acclaimed turn in the hit series Breaking Bad, Emmy winner Bryan Cranston returns to the small screen in this tense 10-part legal thriller. Cranston plays Michael Desiato, a respected New Orleans judge whose sense of justice is put to the test when his teenage son, Adam (played by Hunter Doohan), is involved in a hit-and-run.
Desperate to keep his son out of jail, Desiato begins to cross legal and personal lines. Unfortunately for him and his son, this means going up against Jimmy Baxter (played by Michael Stuhlbarg), the menacing head of the city’s biggest crime family, and his wife Gina, who is even more set on having her revenge.
2 March on Sky Atlantic
Following a successful reception in the US, this Arctic drama is finally coming to the BBC. Based on the true story of Captain Sir John Franklin’s expedition to the Arctic from which he and his two ships never returned, this frightening tale imagines the experience of the men on board, with an added horror in the form of a mysterious monster referred to as the Tuunbaq.
Starring Jared Harris of Chernobyl fame as the doomed Captain, the cast also features prominent actors including Tobias Menzies and Ciarán Hinds as part of the on-deck crew. The first season was so popular that a second has already been commissioned, with plans to focus on a different historical horror each season.
3 March on BBC iPlayer
John Marrs’ psychological thriller finally gets a TV adaptation at the hands of Misfits creator Howard Overman. Taking the concept of soulmates to an uncomfortable extreme, The One is set in the close future, where scientists have discovered that everyone has a gene that matches with exactly one other person, meaning that a simple DNA test can reveal your perfect partner. The consequences are explosive, and when top testing company MatchDNA begins to draw the police’s attention, the series veers from sci-fi drama to true crime series with a spooky twist.
Starring Hannah Ware as Rebecca, the impulsive and ambitious CEO of MatchDNA, and Zoë Tapper as Detective Inspector Kate, whose suspicions threaten all that Rebecca has built, The One is a perfect post-Valentine’s exploration of what truly makes a great relationship.
12 March on Netflix
After waiting for nearly two years, the fourth installment of the addictive series is finally coming, and the first trailer hints that it is set to be the most explosive yet. Picking up right where we left June (Elizabeth Moss) in season three, the resistance against Gilead appears to be mounting, with the world on the brink of all-out war and June set on creating a better world for her daughter’s future.
The dystopian drama has impressed audiences around the world for its haunting depiction of women fighting against an oppressive regime, and it’s exciting to see June enter the role of rebel leader in the new season. We’re well past Margaret Atwood’s original novel now, so where the series takes us is anyone’s guess, but it promises to be full of terrifying twists and turns that will keep audiences on the edge of their seat — or hiding under their covers.
20 June on Channel 4
Multiple award-winning actress Kate Winslet gives her first dramatic TV role in 10 years in this eerie and nerve-wracking limited drama series. Winslet transforms into Mare Sheehan, a detective in a small Pennsylvania town who is tasked with solving the brutal murder of a young girl while struggling to keep her own life together.
Directed by The Leftovers’ Craig Zobel, the seven episode series sees Winslet joined by an impressive cast that includes Julianne Nicholson from The Outsider as Mare’s best friend and three-time Emmy-winner Jean Smart as Mare’s mother. Simultaneously a chilling crime drama and an empathetic look at the bonds of a small town community, Mare of Easttown will be the addictive limited series of the spring.
19 April on Sky Atlantic
Set in the final years of Queen Victoria’s reign, this period drama with a magical twist follows a pair of women who, after a mysterious event in London, become one of the Touched, a group of mostly female people who develop magical powers. While some of these powers are charming, others are deeply disturbing, making all of the Touched a persecuted group that normal people fear and hate.
The two women at the centre of The Nevers are determined to protect the innocent and champion the Touched. There’s Amalia True (played by Laura Donnelly), a mysterious, feisty widow, and genius inventor Penance Adair (played by Ann Skelly), both armed with their mysterious powers and quick wits. Combining sci-fi, period crime drama and feminist oomph, it’s the perfect indulgent watch.
April on Sky Atlantic
This dark, brooding four-part limited series sees Colin Farrell return to the small screen for the first time in 6 years. An adaptation of Ian McGuire’s novel of the same name, The North Water casts Farrell as Henry Drax, a harpooner and terrifying killer who is sent out on missions to harvest whales and is hiding horrifying secrets.
The drama kicks off with Drax committing a terrible murder before setting off on a whaling expedition to the Arctic. Also on board is Patrick Sumner (Jack O’Connell), a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as the ship’s doctor in an effort to escape the horrors of his past. Unluckily for him, his search for redemption is superseded by the danger he faces on his journey with a murderous psychopath.
April on BBC iPlayer
Acclaimed Moonlight director Berry Jenkins makes his television directorial debut with this highly anticipated historical fiction drama about the 19th century Underground Railroad. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead, the series reimagines the real-life network of hidden routes and safe houses that helped enslaved African-Americans escape the antebellum South as an actual subterranean railroad line that promises to take riders to freedom.
At the centre of the story is Cora (played by newcomer Thuso Mbedu) who discovers the railroad and jumps on board to flee the horrors of the plantation she grew up on. Her journey is perilous, with a bounty hunter called Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton) in hot pursuit, determined to take her back. It’s a timely and important reimagining of African American history that is sure to be well-served by Jenkins’ vision.
14 May on Amazon Prime