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From 'Ripley' to 'The Jinx: Part 2,' here's -2-

It's a slow month, and of the handful of premieres, the best of the bunch look to be "The Sympathizer" (April 14), a limited-series espionage thriller/comedy about a half-French, half-Vietnamese refugee and former communist spy (played by Hoa Xuande) now living in L.A. who gets pulled back into the game. There's also "Conan O'Brien Must Go" (April 18), a four-episodes travel series where the former late-night host visits fans in Norway, Thailand, Argentina and Ireland; and "The Jinx: Part 2" (April 21), a six-episode follow-up to the jaw-dropping 2015 docuseries about real-estate scion/now-convicted murderer Robert Durst. Don't expect a dramatic, overheard bathroom confession this time around, but the whole Durst saga is bizarre enough that this can't help but be fascinating.

Max also has the finale of the very solid second seasons of "Tokyo Vice" (April 4), the series finale of Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (April 7), and the finale of the disappointing political satire "The Regime" (April 7), as well as new episodes of "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver." There's also the streaming debut of the Oscar-winning Holocaust drama "The Zone of Interest" (April 5).

On the sports side, there's the men's basketball Final Four (April 6) and national championship (April 8), and a full slate of NBA, NHL and MLB games - including NBA and NHL playoffs - as well as U.S. women's soccer in the SheBelieves Cup (April 6 and 9).

Who's Max for? HBO fans and movie lovers. And now, unscripted-TV fans too, with its slew of Discovery shows, all under the Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) umbrella.

Play, pause or stop? Pause and think it over. There's nothing hugely compelling, but probably enough to still keep you entertained.

Apple TV+ ($9.99 a month)

Apple (AAPL) continues its historical kick and bolsters its "Dad TV" cred with "Franklin" (April 12), a new miniseries starring Michael Douglas as founding father Benjamin Franklin, set during his secret mission to France in 1776 to win support for the revolution back home.

"Loot" (April 3), the comedy starring Maya Rudolph as the now-ex-wife of a billionaire who works to give away her fortune, is back for a second season. There's a lot of potential for comedy here, but while Season 1 had its moments, it was mostly lackluster. Boasting impressive on-screen talent (including Adam Scott, Joel Kim Booster and Nat Faxon), it should be better.

Colin Farrell stars as a hard-boiled private eye in the noirish mystery "Sugar" (April 5), alongside Amy Ryan and James Cromwell. That sounds good so far, though early reviews say the series starts our great but loses itself in the last couple of episodes, so be warned. Apple also has Season 2 of the sci-fi comedy "The Big Door Prize" (April 24), and the poli-sci documentary "Girls State" (April 5).

There's also the finale of the sadly boring "Manhunt" (April 19), and new eps of "Palm Royale," which wastes Kristen Wiig as much as "Loot" wastes Maya Rudolph.

Dig deeper: For those who enjoyed "Masters of the Air," Apple added the documentary "The Bloody Hundredth," honoring the real-life exploits of the WWII bomber group and featuring the true stories of some of the characters portrayed in the recent miniseries. Another worthy companion piece is "Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress," a gripping 1944 documentary from William Wyler following the crew of the legendary B-17 (available for free on YouTube).

Who's Apple TV+ for? It offers a little something for everyone, but not necessarily enough for anyone - although it's getting there.

Play, pause or stop? Stop. Nothing stands out, so save a few bucks this month.

Disney+ ($7.99 a month with ads, $13.99 with no ads)

It's a pretty lean month for Disney+ as well. The best of a bunch of ho-hum additions is "Wish" (April 3), last year's animated musical starring the voice of Ariana DeBose as a princess who makes a wish upon a star and gets more than she bargained for.

There are also new weekly episodes of "Star Wars: The Bad Batch," "X-Men '97" and a super-sized new episode of "Bluey" (April 14).

Also read: Disney steels for April 3 shareholder showdown with activist investors

For those who don't want to stare at the sky and be blinded, there's also "Eclipse Across America" (April 8), a live, two-hour telecast that can also be seen on Hulu, ABC and NatGeo.

Who's Disney+ for? Families with kids, hardcore "Star Wars" and Marvel fans. For people not in those groups, Disney's (DIS) library can be lacking.

Play, pause or stop? Stop. The price is still decent, but there's not nearly enough new programming. Though you could always watch "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" six more times.

Peacock ($5.99 a month with ads, or $11.99 with no ads)

It's a sleepy month for Peacock, highlighted by the addition of all six seasons of the NBC sitcom "Community" (April 1), which is moving over from Netflix. Though it dropped off significantly in its final seasons, it's still a very funny show that could be worthy of a rewatch ahead of a reunion movie that's rumored to be in the works.

Peacock also has the streaming premiere of the better-than-expected animated kids movie "Migration" (April 19); "Orlando Bloom to the Edge" (April 18), one of those docuseries that serves mainly as branding for a celebrity; and the Season 3 finale of "Resident Alien" (April 4), which has gained prominence now that its first two seasons are a hit on Netflix.

There are also new episodes of NBC and cable series such as "Top Chef," "Vanderpump Rules" and "Saturday Night Live," as well as live sports such as English Premier League soccer, golf, motorsports and the SheBelieves Cup, featuring the U.S. women's soccer team.

Who's Peacock for? Live sports and next-day shows from Comcast's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal are the main draw, but there's a solid library of shows and movies. Also, if you're a Comcast cable subscriber, look into its Xfinity Rewards program - you may qualify for a free Peacock subscription.

Play, pause or stop? Stop. "Top Chef" is still outstanding and "Community" is great for when you need a bit of absurd comedy, but aside from that, the lineup is pretty weak.

Amazon's Prime Video ($14.99 a month with ads, $8.99 without Prime membership, both +$2.99 to avoid ads)

The well for post-apocalyptic dramas is apparently not dry yet, as Prime Video rolls out "Fallout" (April 11), the series adaptation of the hit videogame franchise. Taking place in a nuclear wasteland and starring Ella Purnell ("Yellowjackets"), Walton Goggins and Aaron Moten, the series will reportedly not follow the plot of any of the games, but rather tell a new story set in that universe.

Meanwhile, the hyper-violent animated superhero series "Invincible" finally drops its Season 2 finale on April 4. The two-part, eight-episode season first dropped in November, so now's a good time to binge the whole thing.

Amazon (AMZN) also has women's soccer, with NWSL matches every Friday night; all eight seasons of the hit Fox medical drama "House" (April 1); and the Oscar-nominated boarding-school drama "The Holdovers" (April 29); but not a lot else worth mentioning.

Who's Prime Video for? Movie lovers, TV-series fans who value quality over quantity.

Play, pause or stop? Stop. That light of a lineup? At that price? And that's with commercials? Nope.

Paramount+ ($5.99 a month with ads, $11.99 a month with Showtime and no ads)

"Star Trek: Discovery" - the elder statesman of the current crop of "Star Trek" spinoffs - returns for its fifth and final season April 4. Paramount also has "Dora" (April 12), an animated "reimagining" of "Dora the Explorer"; "Knuckles" (April 26), a "Sonic the Hedgehog" spinoff starring the hot-headed echidna, voiced by Idris Elba; and "The Challenge: All Stars" (April 10), as the competitors head to South America.

There's also The Masters (April 8-14), a full slate of UEFA Champions League quarterfinals action, the concert movie "The 100th: Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden" (April 14), the CMT Music Awards (April 7), and new episodes of the Ewan McGregor historical drama "A Gentleman in Moscow."

Who's Paramount+ for? Gen X cord-cutters who miss live sports and familiar Paramount Global (PARA) broadcast and cable shows.

Play, pause or stop? Stop. It's a weak month.

Need more? Catch up on previous months' picks at What's Worth Streaming.

-Mike Murphy

This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


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04-05-24 0838ET

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