BETTER CALL SAUL — Season 3 (Netflix).
This prequel to Breaking Bad hasn’t made the same impact as its illustrious predecessor, but that’s not to say it’s been a failure. It’s very hard to follow a series like Breaking Bad (considered as one of the best TV dramas ever made), but this lighter insight into the origins of criminal lawyer Jimmy McGill deserves more attention. It’s equally as well-made, and even if the underlying story isn’t as gripping as a milquetoast teacher becoming a drug lord, it’s essential stuff for Breaking Bad fans. And this third season is where the two shows start to enter each other’s orbits more noticeable, as we’re promised to see the moment Jimmy adopts his “Saul Goodman” moniker, and fan-favourite villain Gus ‘The Chicken Man’ Fring makes his long-awaited debut…
UK Premiere: 11 April 2017.
BASKETS — Season 1 (Fox UK).
Having just wrapped its second season in the US, this eccentric comedy finally makes its belated bow in the UK. It stars Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) in two roles: Chip Baskets, a middle-aged man fresh back from unsuccessfully learning how to be a clown in France, forces to become a lowly “rodeo clown”; and his more successful twin brother Dale. There’s also comedian Louie Anderson in drag as the Basket’s matriarch Christine, and Martha Kelly as Chip’s only friend in the world. Strange, quirky, melancholic, and unlike most things you’ll see on television right now.
UK Premiere: 13 April 2017.
DOCTOR WHO — Series 10 (BBC1).
It’s a series of new beginnings with the introduction of a new companion in Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), but this year of Doctor Who also marks the end of an era. Steven Moffat is departing the show after five series as showrunner and twelve years writing for the revived sci-fi drama, while Peter Capaldi steps down as the Thirteenth Time Lord after three years living out his boyhood dream. But we’re promised another year of high-spirited adventure and silliness, with the return of Missy and ‘classic’ Cybermen. There’s even some progression with the reveal that Bill will be The Doctor’s first openly gay companion.
UK Premiere: 15 April 2017.
THE LEFTOVERS — Season 3 (Sky Atlantic).
Quite possibly the greatest television show around right now, despite the fact so few have seen it. Blame tone and subject matter, for a series about those left behind after 2% of the world’s population inexplicably vanish one day. The first season was hard-going with its focus on grief and despair, although it was worth sticking with for the dramatic highs, but the second season managed to add colour by taking this world down some unexpected avenues. It was, quite frankly, one of the best seasons of TV ever made. Here’s hoping they stick the landing for this final year, which once again relocates the main characters (this time overseas, to Australia), so I can convince more people to give it a try.
UK Premiere: April TBC.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOLUME 2.
One of the best surprises of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was how entertaining Guardians of the Galaxy was, and how refreshing it felt to have a movie that didn’t feel like a slightly cynical cog in an unstoppable machine. GotG2 will hopefully continue the good work, and none of the trailers seem to suggest otherwise. Plus we have Kurt Russell as a sentient planet and Baby Groot’s poised to become the star of a thousand animated GIFs.
UK Release: 28 April 2017.
THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE.
Something a little more sedate is this adaptation of Diane Ackerman’s 2007 non-fiction book; a war drama starring Jessica Chastain as, unsurprisingly, the wife of zookeeper Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh) in Warsaw Zoo during the late-1930s. Ackerman’s book pulled from the unpublished diary of the real life Antonina Żabińska, who saved the lives of 300 Jews imprisoned in a nearby ghetto after the Nazi invasion in 1939. It sounds like prime Oscar fodder, but has arrived after 2017’s awards season, where it’s likely to be completely forgotten by this time next year… but here’s hoping it’s nevertheless a compelling true life story worth bringing to wider attention.
UK Release: 28 April 2017.