After a two-year break, Hulu's biggest series -- "The Handmaid's Tale" -- is back for a fourth season starting April 28. The Emmy-winning dystopian drama picks up with June (Elisabeth Moss) facing new challenges as she leads a rebellion against the oppressive regime of Gilead. It's a good show, if your emotional state can tolerate the misery-porn aspects of it. (It is...a lot.)
There's also the documentary "WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn" (link) (April 2), which tells the story of the Adam Neumann-led company's rapid rise and fall; the three-part docuseries "Sasquatch" (link) (April 20), which investigates whether Bigfoot killed three Northern California pot growers in 1993 (seriously!); and "Hysterical" (link)(April 3), a documentary about women in standup comedy, streaming a day after it premieres on FX.
Also see: Here's what's coming to Hulu in April 2021, and what's leaving (link)
Hulu will also have the seventh and final season of the rom-com "Younger" (April 15), which will air on cable later this year. (See the Paramount+ section below for more details.)
Who's Hulu for? TV lovers. There's a deep library for those who want older TV series, and next-day streaming for many current network and cable shows.
Play, pause or stop? Pause and think it over. "The Handmaid's Tale" will be reason enough to watch for some, but if that show is not your thing, there's not a whole lot else to offer in April.
Amazon Prime Video ($12.99 a month)
Amazon Prime Video doesn't have a ton of new stuff coming in April, but what there is sounds intriguing.
At the top of the list is "Without Remorse" (April 30), starring Michael B. Jordan as John Kelly, a Navy SEAL who uncovers a global conspiracy while tracking down his wife's killers. It's based on the 1993 Tom Clancy novel, and could be a decent addition to the exceedingly-violent-revenge-thriller genre, alongside the "John Wick" series and seemingly every recent Liam Neeson movie.
If you're more in the mood for creepy thrills, there's "Them" (link)(April 9), a limited anthology series from producer Lena Waithe ("Master of None," "The Chi") that explores terror in America. Set in the 1950s, Season 1 focuses on a Black family who move to an all-white part of Los Angeles, where they face hostility from neighbors as well as supernatural forces. It's already drawn comparisons to Jordan Peele's "Us" and "Get Out" (link) and HBO's "Lovecraft Country," (link) but "Them" looks like a solidly compelling and unsettling drama all on its own.
Amazon (AMZN) also has"Frank of Ireland" (link) (April 16), a six-episodes comedy series about a misanthropic slacker trying to get his life together, starring Brian Gleeson and his brother, Domhnall Gleeson.
For more: Here's everything coming to Amazon Prime Video in April 2021 (link)
And you can always catch up on Oscar nominees "Sound of Metal," "One Night in Miami" and "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm."
Who's Amazon Prime Video for? Movie lovers, TV-series fans who value quality over quantity.
Play, pause or stop? Pause. "Without Remorse," "Them" and "Frank of Ireland" all seem watchable. But are they essential? Maybe not. They'll still be around if you don't subscribe this month.
Paramount+ ($5.99 a month with ads, $9.99 no ads)
It's actually a good month for the fledgling Paramount+. For reality fans, there's "The Challenge: All Stars" (April 1), as 22 "Real World" and "Road Rules" veterans compete to win $500,000. Among the big names this season: Trishelle, Syrus, Beth, Ruthie and Big Easy. (It's funny, I haven't watched any of those MTV shows in probably 15 years or more, but those names still take up precious brain space.)
There's also the seventh and final season of "Younger" (link)(April 15), the sneakily compelling publishing-house romantic dramedy starring Sutton Foster. Four episodes will drop on the 15th, with the remaining eight episodes coming one at a time every Thursday. If you're a fan of the show who doesn't have Paramount+, don't worry -- the whole season will air on TV Land later this year. (It'll also stream concurrently on Hulu.)
"No Activity" (link) (April 8) returns for a fourth season, with a big twist: The cops-and-criminals comedy switches from live-action to animation this time around, with the voices of Tim Meadows, Kevin Bacon, Bob Odenkirk and Will Forte. And for Earth Day, there's"Cher and the Loneliest Elephant" (link) (April 22), a documentary about Cher's efforts to rescue an elephant from captivity in Pakistan.
It's also a great month for sports fans. Paramount+ will stream the men's Final Four (April 3) and NCAA men's championship game (April 5); as well as the final two rounds of The Masters (April 10 & 11), including special hole-specific livestreams from Augusta; and the UEAFA Champions League's quarterfinal matches (April 6-14) and the first leg of the semifinals (April 27).
Who's Paramount+ for? Gen-X cord cutters who miss live sports and familiar ViacomCBS (VIAC) broadcast and cable shows.
Play, pause or stop? Pause and think it over. Most people still don't need it. But "The Challenge," "Younger" and the live sports will appeal to different niche audiences, and each could be very appealing.
Apple TV+ ($4.99 a month)
It's a quiet month for Apple (AAPL) originals, but the one premiere could be a good one. "The Mosquito Coast" (April 30), stars Justin Theroux ("The Leftovers") as a radical idealist and inventor who flees from the U.S. government with his family and settles in Mexico. It's based on the novel written by Justin's uncle, Paul Theroux, which was also made into a Harrison Ford movie years ago. This version, produced by Neil Cross ("Luther"), looks fantastic and could quickly become one of Apple TV+'s most gripping dramas.
There'll also be fresh episodes every Friday of "For All Mankind," which is the current contender for Apple's most gripping drama.
Who's Apple TV+ for? It offers a little something for everyone, but not necessarily enough for anyone.
Play, pause or stop? Stop. It's tempting to say "For All Mankind" alone is worth a subscription, but to get your money's worth, you'd be better off waiting until it ends and binging the series all at once with a one-month subscription. Besides, "The Mosquito Coast" won't debut until the end of the month, and May will have a stronger lineup of new shows.
Peacock (free basic level, Premium for $4.99 a month with ads, or $9.99 a month with no ads)
Peacock has a really intriguing sitcom on the way in "Rutherford Falls" (April 22). Ed Helms ("The Office") stars as a small-town scion who gets into a kerfuffle with a local Native American tribe over moving a statue of his ancestor, who founded the town, while Jana Schmieding co-stars as his best friend, who's trying to turn the tribal cultural center -- currently located in a casino -- into a full-blown museum. The show has a seriously impressive creative team behind it, with producers Michael Schur ("The Office," "The Good Place," "Parks and Recreation") and Sierra Teller Ornelas ("Superstore," "Happy Endings"), and half of its writers are of indigenous heritage, which should provide some fresh comedic points of view. No one's better than Schur at making feel-good, small-town comedies, and if "Rutherford Falls" can live up to its potential, this could be a gateway show to lure paid subscribers to Peacock -- call it the "Ted Lasso" effect.
And then there's wrestling. The WWE Network will fully merge with Peacock on April 5, and Peacock Premium subscribers will get access to watch this year's WrestleMania (April 10 & 11). A lot of WWE programming has already migrated over, including WrestleManias from years past. (Tip: If you're of a certain age and were a WWF fan as a kid, watching WrestleMania from, say, 1986, is highly entertaining.)
Who's Peacock for? If you like network and basic-cable TV and don't mind ads, the free version of Peacock is great. If you're eligible for Premium through a Comcast (CMCSA) or Cox cable subscription, it's also a perfectly fine free addition.
Play, pause or stop? Stop. By all means check out the free version, but the paid tier will be unnecessary for most people (with the exception of soccer fans, since Peacock Premium is the exclusive streaming home of the English Premier League). "Rutherford Falls" could change that, though, so stay tuned.
Discovery+ ($4.99 a month, $6.99 ad-free)
Discovery+ is going all-in for Earth Day in April, with a number of original docuseries about our planet. That includes "Expedition Deep Ocean" (April 1), in which a submersible team explores the depths; "First to the Top of the World" (April 8), a documentary about a forgotten 1968 polar expedition; "Endangered" (April 22), following wildlife conservationists and narrated by Ellen DeGeneres; and "Chasing Ocean Giants" (April 28), featuring dazzling underwater photography of little-seen creatures and scenery.
The streaming service will also add a handful of old shows from the former Viceland channel: "Hamilton's Pharmacopeia," which explores the history of drugs; the pro wrestling docuseries "Dark Side of the Ring" and its companion show "After Dark," the Action Bronson cooking show "F*ck That's Delicious"; "Hate Thy Neighbor," which examines the rise of hate groups in America; and the pot-culture show "Weediquette."
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