Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Jason Segel in Dispatches From Elsewhere (Photo: Jessica Kourkonis/AMC); Octavia Spencer in Self Made (Photo: Netflix); Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon in Little Fires Everywhere (Photo: Erin Simkin/Hulu); John Turturro in The Plot Against America (Photo: Michele K. Short/HBO); and Sonoya Mizuno in Devs (Photo: Miya Mizuno/FX); Graphic: Natalie Peeples

Spring is a time of renewal, when we eagerly await the return of longer days and warmer weather. It’s also when we can expect a fresh new crop of TV premieres, from streaming releases to compelling PBS documentaries. Although the number of shows debuting in March doesn’t quite reach the Twenties, it’s still far from ZeroZeroZero. There are lots of Amazing Stories on the horizon, some of them years in the making, but Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn had no reason to worry about Making The Cut for this preview. Early spring breakers can send Dispatches From Elsewhere, set up camp with Little Fires Everywhere, or head to the Motherland (Fort Salem, that is). Throughout the month, you can get to know Dave and Hillary, or learn the inspiring true story of a Self Made millionaire. Not all of these debuts are Feel Good stories, as we’ll also have to reckon with The Plot Against America, the erosion of East Lake Meadows, and The Most Dangerous Animal Of All. But our recommendations will keep you busy until the spring thaw.


March 1

Dispatches From Elsewhere (AMC)

For three years in the early 2000s, thousands of San Franciscans were captivated by the Games Of Nonchalance, a live-action adventure game that led them all over the city searching for a missing girl, “Ana.” Jason Segel fictionalizes the phenomenon in a 10-hour TV season for AMC, where his character meets up with a pack of teammates played by the likes of André Benjamin, Sally Field, and Eve Lindley as they scour Philadelphia for the elusive “Clara,” as a simultaneously charming and diabolical Richard E. Grant pulls the strings. The game’s many twists and turns are confusing enough to be insurmountable at times, but Segel wisely uses the quest as a springboard to delve into a plethora of big life questions about memory, identity, and connection. You may not always know what’s going on in Dispatches From Elsewhere, but like the players themselves, you’ll likely enjoy the unique and insightful ride. [Gwen Ihnat]


March 2

Breeders (FX)

If you’re a parent, you don’t need to be told just how difficult it is to raise a child, but Breeders is here to do that for you anyway. Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard star in this FX series as Paul and Ally, two parents overwhelmed by their young kids and their jobs, and easily thrown when wild cards (like Michael McKean as Ally’s wayward dad) are added to the mix. Everyone with offspring can probably relate to Paul’s lament “I would die for those kids, but often, I also want to kill them” and the futility of yelling at your kids to stop yelling. The stress in the trailer is enough to raise any parent’s blood pressure, while viewers who have opted for a kid-free existence will likely just count their blessings. [Gwen Ihnat]


March 4

Dave (FX)

Comedian and rapper Lil Dicky broke into the mainstream back in 2013 with his viral video “Ex-Girlfriend,” an ode to male insecurity wrapped in a veneer of hip-hop bravado. Now Dicky—or, rather, Dave Burd, the man behind the glasses and the oh-so-confident smile—is extending that paean to his own neuroses even further. Playing himself (that is, an up-and-coming rapper whose rampant anxieties conflict with the expected swagger of his chosen field), Burd has put together something for FX that looks a bit like Curb Your Enthusiasm for a more modern and musical set—it’s not hard to imagine an alternate universe where Larry David is the one hesitating to take a pull from a joint because the person who passed it to him might have a cold. Taylor Misiak and Christine Ko co-star, but the focus is purely on Burd, as he wrestles (sometimes literally) with his larger-than-life persona versus the regular guy lurking within. [William Hughes]

Twenties (BET)

Serving as both a comedy and commentary on Black artists in the entertainment industry, Twenties has nearly an entire decade of expectations to live up to. The new BET series, which is based on Lena Waithe’s webseries of the same name, was inspired by her experiences as a young writer and recent transplant to Los Angeles. The eight-episode, semi-autobiographical series follows aspiring TV writer Hattie, a queer Black woman who is also trying to navigate life in her 20s with the help of two friends. While struggling to make it big in Hollywood, she lands a job as a writing assistant to a demanding, ambitious woman. Hattie, who is portrayed by Good Trouble’s Jonica “JoJo” T. Gibbs, is BET’s first queer female lead. Gibbs’ co-stars include Christina Elmore and Gabrielle Graham as Hattie’s friends. Sophina Brown plays Hattie’s boss, while Big Sean will make his TV debut as Nia’s love interest. [Angelica Cataldo]


March 5

Devs (FX)

What is this show really about? To quote one of Devs’ main characters—Nick Offerman’s engimatic tech genius—“I’m not gonna tell you; don’t worry, you’ll figure it out.” That seems to be the guiding principle behind FX’s unusual new series from Alex Garland: Much like the writer-director’s films, the show is based on a narrative puzzle that methodically reveals itself before your eyes. What we do know: A bright young software engineer (Sonoya Mizuno) begins an investigation into the secret “Devs” research division of her tech company, led by Offerman’s Svengali, believing it to be somehow responsible for the murder of her boyfriend. There are mysterious coworkers (Alison Pill, Zach Grenier), a remote facility dwarfed by an enormous, Big Boy-like mascot, and the suspicion that something truly sinister is going on within the protective walls of the company. Beyond that—to again quote one of the trailer’s elliptical hints—we’ll just have to watch it unfold. [Alex McLevy]


March 6

The Most Dangerous Animal Of All (FX)

We’ve all had a sneaking suspicion that our parents weren’t exactly paragons of virtue while they were growing up, despite what they say about slushing through snow for five miles with a halo over their heads but no shoes. But for Gary L. Stewart, digging into his father’s past has been far thornier than uncovering a former rebellious streak—he has reason to believe his father was the infamous Zodiac Killer. Stewart and Susan Mustafa co-authored the true crime/memoir hybrid, The Most Dangerous Animal Of All, which is the basis for this docuseries. With some help from director Kief Davidson and executive producer Ross M. Dinerstein, Stewart probes his family history to investigate the mystery that’s haunted California since the late 1960s. [Danette Chavez]

Amazing Stories (Apple TV+)

After surviving a dramatically tumultuous development that saw the show picked up by NBC with Hannibal and American Gods co-creator Bryan Fuller attached, lose both NBC and Fuller, and then ultimately land at Apple TV+, this reboot of Steven Spielberg’s beloved ’80s anthology show is finally coming out. The series will tell one-off stories with a sci-fi bent and a more upbeat tone than, say, The Twilight Zone, with the first five episodes featuring Dylan O’Brien, Victoria Pedretti, Josh Holloway, Sasha Alexander, and the late Robert Forster—the latter of whom plays a super-powered grandpa in his final on-screen role. Series directors include Chris Long, Mark Mylod, Michael Dinner, Susanna Fogel, and Sylvain White, and while we don’t have many details about the specific stories beyond Super Forster, Apple does tease that Amazing Stories “transports everyday characters into worlds of wonder, possibility, and imagination.” [Sam Barsanti]

Hillary (Hulu)

Hillary, a docuseries about former Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, premieres on Hulu just days after Super Tuesday, and nearly two months after arriving at Sundance. The docuseries is easily the most extensive dive into Clinton’s life; Nanette Burstein whittled down nearly 35 hours of exclusive interviews with the one-time presidential candidate, former President Bill Clinton, their daughter, Chelsea Clinton, as well as staff and journalists to produce this four-part series. But though it jumps between accounts, Hillary follows a fairly chronological order: The first episode, “The Golden Girl,” documents her shift from young Republican to her time as the first lady of Arkansas. Later episodes explore her tenure as first lady of the United States, Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, and her own bid for the presidency. In contemporary interviews with Burstein, Clinton applies hindsight to her career in politics, but refrains from trying to define her own legacy. [Danette Chavez]

ZeroZeroZero (Amazon)

Roberto Saviano’s gripping exploration of the global cocaine trade is the basis for Amazon’s latest international thriller. ZeroZeroZero follows the money and the drugs, charting paths across oceans and hemispheres, into the homes of men like Edward Lynwood (Gabriel Byrne), a shipping magnate who owes his fortune to more than luck or birthright. Andrea Riseborough and Dane DeHaan co-star as Edward’s children, who gradually become aware of their father’s nefarious dealings. But even while situated in the poshest of manors, this joint production from Sky Atlantic, Canal+, and Amazon Studios never loses sight of the death and destruction that has fueled and continues to fuel the ascent of mega-corporations and prominent families. ZeroZeroZero, which is a code name for both the purest of flour and purest of cocaines, ventures into the Latin American countries that hold the supply, and the international crime syndicates that have forged alliances to distribute and benefit from the product. [Danette Chavez]


March 13

Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse (Amazon)

One of the joys in watching Sarah Phelps’ semi-regular Agatha Christie adaptations (Ordeal By Innocence, The ABC Murders, etc.) is the way she deliberately strips the restraint and respectability of the mystery writer’s prose away, exposing the raw forms of murder and madness that lurk underneath. This year’s installment seems especially rife with blood and barminess, centering as it does on a perfectly respectable businessman (Rufus Sewell, fresh off The Man In The High Castle, and still looking satisfyingly lizard-like) who comes under suspicion from cop Jon Pertwee after his name is found on a list of people discovered in a dead woman’s shoe. Things appear to go The Wicker Man route with a quickness, though, as the people on the list start dropping dead—possibly due to the actions of some actual, no-fooling witches. The two-part series aired on the BBC last year, but American audiences will be getting their usual dose of Phelps’ lurid mystery story courtesy of Amazon later this month. [William Hughes]


March 16

The Plot Against America (HBO)

Unevenly received at the time of its initial publication (“Fantasy is the wrong form,” Clive James wrote of Philip Roth’s 2004 alternate-reality novel), The Plot Against America has subsequently been reevaluated as a “masterwork of counterfactual history,” and now HBO aims to try and give Roth’s masterwork a prestige-cable retelling. The story follows an America in which Charles Lindbergh, the celebrated aviation hero, runs and defeats Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election. As a result, Lindbergh’s isolationist policies, his praise for Hitler, and antisemitism all become increasingly popular and normalized ideas, as America begins a marked turn toward fascism. The show follows a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey watching these developments unfold, as depicted by stars Zoe Kazan, Morgan Spector, and Anthony Boyle, with Winona Ryder and John Turturro playing controversial voices in the scrum. But hey, never fear, it’s alt-history; no one living through current events can relate, right? [Alex McLevy]


March 18

Motherland: Fort Salem (Freeform)

The history of TV is littered with shows about young witches learning to balance young-people drama with burgeoning destructive power, but few if any have gone as high-concept as Motherland: Fort Salem. The Freeform series takes place in an alternate America, where real witches ended their persecution 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the government to use their magic in service of the U.S. military. The show focuses on a group of witches and their witch teachers (including Taylor Hickson, Jessica Sutton, and Ashley Nicole Williams) at a military academy where they are hated and feared just because they’re different—and also because someone called “The Spree” has been committing magical murders. It has the potential to be excitingly bizarre, at least if some of the trailer’s spookiest images (like a bird flying out of a dead guy’s mouth and dozens of people mindlessly leaping to their deaths) are any indication. [Sam Barsanti]

Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)

Little Fires Everywhere is Hulu’s stab at a domestic prestige series based on a bestseller: Celeste Ng’s popular novel described the planned community of Shaker Heights, Ohio, its most perfect family, the Richardsons, and what happens when an enigmatic stranger enters their lives. As Elena Richardson, Reese Witherspoon plays Tracy Flick as a mother, while Kerry Washington’s Mia calmly cracks open the door into creativity and unconventionality for the youngest and most rebellious Richardson, Izzy (Megan Stott), with ultimately devastating results. Little Fires has a lot to say about motherhood and what happens when kids reach that stage where they want to be their own people, far afield of what their parents had envisioned for them. The community itself may be perfectly planned, but this 10-episode series explores the futility of trying to fit people into those same regimented boxes and what surprising things can happen when they break out of that mold. [Gwen Ihnat]

March 19

Altered Carbon: Resleeved (Netflix)

The second season of Netflix’s wildly ambitious adaptation of Altered Carbon has only just dropped, but much like the Matrix franchise’s Animatrix, released just after the arrival of The Matrix Reloaded in theaters, the streaming service is betting this is a world fans will want to continue exploring in other ways. There’s not even a trailer posted yet, so this brief description from Netflix will have to suffice: “On the planet Latimer, Takeshi Kovacs must protect a tattooist while investigating the death of a yakuza boss alongside a no-nonsense CTAC.” In case you’re not an Altered Carbon obsessive, CTAC stands for “Colonial Tactical Assault Corps”—a fairly worrisome agency that plays a significant role in the live-action story, and not in a good way. But look, it’s Takeshi, someone who may not even resemble his actor/s from the show, given the futuristic conceit of humans getting “resleeved” in other bodies. It’s the character you may or may not know, now in cartoon form! [Alex McLevy]

March 20

Self-Made: Inspired By The Life Of Madam C.J. Walker (Netflix)

Madam C.J. Walker’s story is one of tribulations, resilience, pure nerve, and, in an entertainment era littered with biopics, fit for a prestigious retelling. Netflix’s explosive four-part limited series traces her journey from struggling servant to hair care entrepreneur and America’s first female self-made millionaire. Starring Octavia Spencer, Blair Underwood, Carmen Ejogo, and Tiffany Haddish, Self Made will delve into the targeted racism, sexism, and colorism that Walker had to overcome to secure her legacy—a journey that many Black women will find intimately familiar. At the center of it all are the evergreen politics that surround Black hair, which is still used by the status quo to justify oppression and hinder opportunities. In a way, it’s astounding that this particular tale is only just now getting the on-screen treatment. Still, it’s never too late to spread the message that everyone, including the most marginalized among us, deserves the space to pursue their wildest dreams. [Shannon Miller]

The Letter For The King (Netflix)

At just six episodes, The Letter For The King is one of the shorter fantasy epics. The new Netflix series is based on Dutch writer Tonke Dragt’s De Brief Voor De Koning, a novel about some potentially world-saving correspondence and the plucky teens who set out to deliver it. His Dark Materials’ Amir Wilson stars as Tiuri, the lad tasked with getting the eponymous letter into the right hands. It’s not long before Tiuri has recruited some of his fellow youths, including Ruby Ashbourne Serkis’ Lavinia, to his mail-related cause, and they all set out on an adventure complete with magical shenanigans, camaraderie, and monstrous threats. It’s still early, but The Letter For The King has “fun for the whole family”—or, in the modern business parlance, “co-viewing experience”—written all over it. [Danette Chavez]

Feel Good (Netflix)

We’re not suggesting that Netflix’s Feel Good will fill the Fleabag-shaped hole in your hearts, but this new dramedy from stand-up comedian and actor Mae Martin does walk a similar tight line between painful revelations and laugh-out-loud humor. Feel Good is a semi-autobiographical series, and Martin plays herself—that is, Mae, a stand-up comedian, immigrant (she moved to England in real life several years ago), and a recovering addict. Vulnerable but not emotionally closed off, Mae strikes up a new romance with a bewitching woman named George (Call The Midwife’s Charlotte Ritchie). Despite their intense infatuation, the two women struggle to keep their new relationship afloat; their emotional baggage ranges from substance abuse issues (Mae’s) to having lived a mostly heterosexual existence up until now (that would be George). Lisa Kudrow co-stars as Mae’s WASPy mom, whose obliviousness is part of her charm. [Danette Chavez]

March 24

East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story (PBS)

Documentary filmmakers Sarah Burns and David McMahon turn their eyes to public housing for East Lake Meadows. The directors, who previously helmed the award-winning Central Park Five documentary under the auspices of Ken Burns, return to PBS to tell the tragic story of the East Lake Meadows public housing community. Fifty years ago, this Atlanta neighborhood, once predominantly white, was opened up to Black families, who spent the next two decades making a new life there. But by 1995, the city had effectively pulled its support of the community, leaving them to pick up the pieces more than 20 years later. East Lake Meadows puts progress under the microscope, examining who are the losers and winners of social policy and “revitalization” efforts. Though not as grim a watch as The Central Park Five, this new documentary illuminates another ongoing blight in our country’s history. [Danette Chavez]

March 27

Making The Cut (Amazon)

After saying “auf wiedersehen” to Project Runway, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are trying on an all-new fashion design competition series. In Making The Cut, Klum and Gunn are now on the search for the next “global brand.” Yes, that still ultimately translates to “fashion designer,” but it’s clear that Making The Cut wants to offer one-stop shopping for both creatives and customers. Instead of flash sales, the winning look will be available for purchase on Amazon at the end of each episode. Instead of Brother sewing equipment, Making The Cut will set the winner up with $1 million with which to launch their global brand. We’re not the only ones using the corporate speak; Klum and Gunn say “global brand” during this trailer more times than Naomi Campbell sniffs disapprovingly at an ensemble. Despite those contractual obligations, the old Project Runway team looks ready to dispense invaluable advice and bring a great new fashion talent to the fore. [Danette Chavez]


Returning shows: Better Things, season four (March 5); On My Block, season three (March 11); Élite, season three (March 13); Westworld, season three, Black Monday, season two (March 15); My Brilliant Friend: The Story Of A New Name (March 16); Brockmire, season four (March 18); Top Chef, season 17 (March 19); One Day At A Time, season four/POP TV premiere (March 24)

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