TV Preview: Procrastination Programming

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Typically, as the exam season arrives, there is plenty on television to distract you from revision. From big budget ‘game-of-thronesian’ drama, to returning American comedies, there are loads of excuses to put the books down and turn on the TV this month.

The most exciting, and perhaps unknown, premiere this month is Amazon’s American Gods. Based on the best-selling novel by Neil Gaiman, the series follows the conflict between the old gods and the new. Ian McShane stars as Odin, a Norse god wandering America, and comes face to face with the new gods of media and technology. The premise sounds complicated, but the series comes from Bryan Fuller, the show runner of Hannibal, so therefore promises to be heavily stylised and shocking. It also boasts a stellar supporting cast including Kristen Chenoweth, and the reliably magnetic Gillian Anderson.

Fans of american comedy are in for treat, as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt returns to Netflix. Although it has never reached the heights of Tina Fey’s previous effort 30 Rock, Ellie Kemper brings huge energy to Kimmy and Titus Burgess steals the show as Titus Andromedon. However, although Kimmy Schmidt will get all the attention, another US comedy, Episodes with Matt LeBlanc also returns this month. Also starring Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan, the show hasn’t received any attention since the first series but has consistently been an intelligent portrayal of the differences between the British and the Americans. Following two British writers who remake their UK hit TV show for an American audience starring Matt LeBlanc as an egotistical version of himself, it has always been very funny, and with this being its final season, perhaps I will be the only one to miss it when it’s gone.

If you fancy something a bit more indie, Amazon’s I Love Dick premieres May 12th, from the creators of Transparent. It follows a filmmaker who moves from NYC to Texas with her husband and becomes obsessed with his employer, the eponymous Dick. Offering a funny and revealing look at modern relationships, this series looks set for Golden Globe success next year, if the triumph of Transparent is anything to go by.

If you don’t fancy anything new in May, then there is an abundance of Easter highlights on catch up. The two biggest British dramas Line of Duty (BBC iPlayer) and Broadchurch (ITV Hub), are definitely worth watching with Line of Duty enjoying its most successful run yet starring Thandie Newton. The end of Broadchurch may have divided critics and viewers but it is worth watching for a gripping and sensitive portrayal of sexual assault that never feels gratuitous. Although the ending may lose some focus on the rape of Trish (Julie Hesmondhalgh), this series was the most important of the year so far as it brought rape into mainstream drama and portrayed the trauma that follows honestly, without compromise. Broadchurch has never been perfect since its first run, but it will be missed and ITV will be searching with desperation for another hit, now that they’ve lost their biggest drama.