Backstage Picks the Spring TV Premieres You Can’t Miss

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Photo Source: Helen Sloan/HBO

Spring has sprung, and the golden age of television continues apace. Overwhelmed by the amount of options on your small screen? So are we. But we’re also excited about the new and returning TV offerings below, series premiering between now and the 2019 Emmy Awards that belong on your radar. From dark British comedies to dark British dramas featuring dragons, Backstage has got you covered.

“The Act” (Hulu)
Did you watch Patricia Arquette’s SAG Award-winning work in Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora” and think, “This is great, but not quite murdery enough”? Have Hulu and co-creators Nick Antosca and Michelle Dean got a limited series for you! Starring Joey King as the real-life Gypsy Blanchard, caught in as toxic a relationship as seems humanly possible with her mother, played by Arquette at her most abominable, the first season of “The Act” promises shock value, intrigue, tears, and the haunting spectre of death at every turn. Sign me up. —Jack Smart

“Barry” (HBO)
When the premise of your comedy follows a painfully awkward professional hitman (played the awesome Bill Hader) who wants to leave the assassination business behind and become an actor under the wing of an eccentric acting coach (played by the equally awesome Henry Winkler), you know you have a winner on your hands (two acting Emmy winners, to be exact). If you watched Season 1 of Barry, you know that it’s filled with fun twists, turns, and just the riiiiiight amount of murder, which I’m confident Season 2 will continue right from the jump March 31. And if you haven’t, well, what are you waiting for? —Francis Ramos

“Fleabag” (Amazon)
If a perfect first season of television exists, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s black comedy “Fleabag” is it. And if the trailer is any indication, the comedy’s long-awaited second season promises to be just as flawless and possibly even wilder come May 17. Our titular Fleabag dabbles in religion and therapy but can’t seem to swear off men despite her best efforts. Sian Clifford returns as the ever-responsible Claire while newly-minted Oscar winner Olivia Colman reprises her role as the hilariously infuriating stepmother for six new episodes. Will I be able to resist watching the whole season in one sitting? *Looks to camera* Almost definitely not. —Elyse Roth

“Fosse/Verdon” (FX)
Like saying “Macbeth” in the theater, this could very well jinx it, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and do it anyway: “Fosse/Verdon” looks poised to be everything “Smash” ever hoped to be, while also being genuinely very good? Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams as Broadway and Hollywood legends Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon are so perfectly matched in their vintage-era brooding, their chemistry is unmissable. They’re joined by a rotating ensemble of New York stage actors, all doing the perfect amount of “the most” for the small screen musical we’ve all been waiting for; tune in April 9. —Casey Mink

“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Winter is here! The six episodes comprising the final season of “Game of Thrones” begin April 14 and I can’t wait. Will any of the Starks survive? Who, if anyone, will end up on the Iron Throne? Can Arya finally just kill everyone who messed with her family? Will Jon Snow ever know anything? OK, I know the answer to that one is probably no, but otherwise I’m counting down the days to find out what happens as this epic series comes to an end and the fate of Westeros is revealed. Valar morghulis. —Lisa Granshaw

“Killing Eve” (BBC America)
Between the return of “Fleabag” and her bringing the original stage show to New York, 2019 looks to be Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s year. Then again, every year has been the writer-performer-comedian-mastermind’s year since she burst onto the scene. Her hit drama “Killing Eve,” returning April 7, is the perfect embodiment of her style; it’s somehow an international espionage thriller, a lesbian romance, a study in psychopathy, and a kooky buddy comedy all in one. It also features crackling chemistry between award winners Sandra Oh and Jodi Comer, whose delicious performances as Eve and Villanelle have to be seen to be believed. I’d rather get stabbed in the gut than miss Season 2. —JS

“Shrill” (Hulu)
If ever there were a right cultural moment for a show like “Shrill,” boy is this it. Based on the collection of Lindy West essays of the same name, Hulu’s new comedy not only finally gives national treasure Aidy Bryant a true place to shine, it also speaks to notions of women’s self-worth, body acceptance, and respect in a genuine, specific way, feeling like nothing before it. —Allie White

“When They See Us” (Netflix)
While “A Wrinkle in Time” certainly had its Oprah-fied charms and was a landmark accomplishment for filmmaker Ava DuVernay, the Oscar nominee is at her best when using her platform to tell stories of social justice—her decorated documentary “13th,” for example, or feature films “Selma” and “Middle of Nowhere.” She returns to Netflix May 31 with the premiere of “When They See Us,” a miniseries depicting the historic case of the Central Park Five, in which five black Harlem residents were falsely accused and incarcerated for raping a jogger in Central Park. Its all-star cast includes Michael K. Williams, Niecy Nash, Vera Farmiga, Felicity Huffman, and John Leguizamo, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store. —Benjamin Lindsay

TV to Come: Mark Your Calendars for These March Premieres

“Tuca & Bertie” (Netflix)
Fill the “BoJack Horseman”– and “Big Mouth”–shaped holes in your Netflix queue with this new animated comedy from “BoJack” production designer and producer Lisa Hanawalt on May 3. Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong voice the yin and yang leads of Tuca and Bertie, respectively, for a comedy about two 30-year-old bird women who live in the same building. The animal-filled world might have a familiar look, but expect something new, different, and hilarious from this addition to what’s becoming a golden era in television animation. —ER

BONUS: “Queer Eye” (Netflix)
Grab your tissues, the third season of the (more than a) makeover reality series will definitely get you. The Fab Five (Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, and Jonathan Van Ness) road trips to Kansas City, Missouri to spice up the lives of a new crop of heroes, including a widower, a new father, and restaurant-running sisters. This third season has already dropped, so tune in for inspirational inner as well as outer transformations; if that’s not enough to tempt you, the Fab Five becomes six with the addition of Bruley, a French bulldog who gets plenty of adorable screen time. —ER

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