With drama, scandal and romance galore, this spring provides a stellar lineup of television shows you won’t want to miss. Here are 15 of our must-watch picks to help get you started.
Minx (Crave, out now)
The ‘70s are in full swing in this new comedy that stars Ophelia Lovibond as Joyce, an ambitious feminist determined to shake up the patriarchy by launching The Matriarchy Awakens, a magazine focused on women empowerment. When her mag is quickly shot down by every man she pitches it to, she’s forced to team up with Doug, a raunchy publisher played by New Girl’s Jake Johnson. Together, they create the first women’s erotic magazine. From the colourful set design to the eye-catching costumes—Johnson is decked out in chest-bearing V-necks in almost every scene to really hammer home that disco-era aesthetic—the series beautifully explores different perspectives on feminism and the female gaze while seamlessly generating laughs.
Anatomy of a Scandal (Netflix, out now)
This dramatic Netflix series was developed by Melissa James Gibson and David E. Kelley (who brought us Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers), and is based on a novel of the same name. In what feels like a story straight out of the Daily Mail, the show focuses on the wife of a British MP, Sophie Whitehouse (Sienna Miller), who discovers her husband is cheating on her with one of his aides. If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s then accused of rape, sending Sophie spiralling as she tries to reckon with the man she thought she knew. The series holds up a magnifying glass to the justice gap between the wealthy elite and those who are often left behind. With a twisty depiction of womanhood and the power of revenge, you’re in for some jaw-dropping moments.
Julia (Crave, out now)
Most people who love to cook know Julia Child and probably fell in love with the hit film, Julie and Julia. Interestingly, this series picks up where the movie left off, diving into the culture of the ‘60s that surrounded Child and her success as her show hit the air. There are intimate moments of Child’s personal life on display outside of the kitchen, such as the relationship between Child and her husband Paul, and her discovery that motherhood isn’t on the table for her. Although viewers will appreciate the mouth-watering dishes being whipped up on screen, the series primarily explores how surprisingly radical Child was for pushing boundaries with her show and the power she held each time she stirred a pot, helping women disrupt the norms around food preparation. It’s a warm, endearing show that’s perfect for comfort viewing.
The Outlaws (Amazon Prime, out now)
Community service takes a turn for the wild and wacky in this British series, where seven lawbreakers are forced to transform a sketchy warehouse into a community centre together. The oddball team of street-smart crook Frank (Christopher Walken), serial shoplifter Rani (Rhianne Barreto), unwilling thief Christian (Gamba Cole), lonely lawyer Greg (Stephen Merchant), grouchy businessman John (Darren Boyd), social justice warrior Myrna (Clare Perkins) and rich influencer Gabby (Eleanor Tomlinson) couldn’t be more different. When the group discovers a bag of money, the stacks of cash threaten to derail their probation and set them down a path more ominous than anyone could have predicted. It’s a thriller disguised as a comedy—not that it isn’t hilarious, especially when Walken unleashes some witty one-liners—that carefully balances out the fun with some blazing action scenes. Each character has a decently fleshed-out backstory, so you’ll easily become invested in their camaraderie. Get a jump on it now; the series has already been renewed for a second season.
The First Lady (Crave, out now)
With a stacked cast that features Viola Davis, Michelle Phiffer and Gillian Anderson as some of America’s most iconic first ladies, this new anthology series places three history-making presidents in the backseat to look at their famous spouses. Blending together the politics of three incredibly different eras—Davis plays Michelle Obama in the 2010s, Phiffer portrays Betty Ford in the ‘70s and Anderson stars as Eleanor Roosevelt in the ‘40s and ‘50s—the show takes a close look at the personal lives of each of the women and reveals their similarities despite the gaps in time that separate them. If you’re a fan of history and unusual storytelling, be prepared to dive into the sacrifices made by these women to stand behind their husbands as they shoulder the weight of a nation caught in war, inflation, racial tensions and more.
White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch (Netflix, out now)
If you were a teen in the late ‘90s or early 2000s, you know the hold Abercrombie & Fitch had on the fashion world. Everyone who was anyone was decked out in the brand’s iconic polos and preppy basics, and unsurprisingly it was designed this way. If you weren’t white, built like a model and of a decent income, it’s safe to say you weren’t the type of person the company was catering to. In this new documentary, filmmaker Alison Klayman delves into A&F’s discriminatory practices. From firsthand stories from former employees about the racism they experienced to accounts from models who felt used in order to market the clothes, each person helps explain how Abercrombie became an elitist brand rooted in white supremacy.
Gaslit (Crave, April 24)
There have been numerous films and shows that have covered the Watergate scandal, though most have focused on Richard Nixon or journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. In Gaslit, the lesser-known figures involved in the turbulent scandal get their due. Julia Roberts takes centre stage as Martha Mitchell, the wife of John N. Mitchell, United States Attorney General under President Nixon. Fiercely outspoken about the Watergate burglary, she was kidnapped and threatened. A thriller that will grip you at every turn, Gaslit illuminates the lengths Mitchell went through to expose the truth as the presidency unravelled.
Under the Banner of Heaven (Disney+, April 28)
The Andrew Garfield renaissance continues with this new murderous series based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. The mysterious show covers the sinister lead up to the 1984 murder of Brenda Wright Lafferty (Normal People’s Daisy Edgar-Jones) and her baby. Garfield stars as a devout Mormon detective Jeb Pyre, who uncovers the connection between the deaths and the Lafferty family’s ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Exploring the history of the LDS Church, Pyre begins to question his faith as he digs into suspects and discovers the frightening motivations of the murderers.
Shining Girls (Apple TV+, April 29)
Another series based on a bestselling novel, Shining Girls is part sci-fi, part thriller, and follows Kirby Mazrachi (Elizabeth Moss), an archivist who survives a traumatizing assault. Mazrachi dreams of becoming a journalist, and after discovering her attack is linked to a murder, she sets out to unmask the serial killer—who can (surprise!) travel through time. The gripping storytelling shows the fragility of memory and the resilience of an assault survivor who is determined not to let her past define her future. Jamie Bell plays the shadowy killer, Harper Curtis, a stark contrast to his best-known role as Billy Elliot. As Curtis creeps around stalking his next victim, it’s up Mazrachi to use what she knows to stop him from claiming his next victim.
The Staircase (Crave, May 5)
A family is torn apart in this miniseries, which follows the true story of novelist Michael Peterson (Colin Firth), who was convicted of murdering his wife, Kathleen Peterson (Toni Collette) in 2001. When Kathleen was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in their family home, Michael told authorities she tumbled down the stairs after drinking too much. However, the nature of her death was suspicious due to the injuries to her head and the amount of blood found at the site of her fall. Things escalate quickly when a three-month trial to get to the bottom of Kathleen’s death threatens to reveal more secrets about Michael’s past. With a number of twists in the series, tensions within the family are rocked and Kathleen’s daughter and sister go from siding with Michael to denying his innocence. The astonishing trial attracted serious media attention and was the subject of a French documentary also titled The Staircase filmed shortly after Michael’s arrest, which you’ll likely be tempted to watch after binging this series.
The Essex Serpent (Apple TV+, May 13)
Clare Danes brings the drama to this gothic show as Cora, a widow who moves to a new town to start over after escaping an abusive marriage. Set in the Victorian era, the series follows Cora as she settles in an Essex village where a mythical sea serpent is said to be terrorizing the locals. Deeply fascinated by the rumoured beast, Cora meets Will (Tom Hiddleston), the local vicar who is working to contain the fear generated by the creature. The two end up bonding with one another, though things start to sour when Cora is accused of bringing the beast’s wrath on the village after an unexpected accident. With sprawling fields and rolling waves, get ready to be immersed in the lush scenery of several real-life Essex locations.
Conversations With Friends (Hulu – TBD for Canada, May 22)
Sally Rooney fans rejoice—it’s finally time for more yearning and heartbreak with the latest adaptation of her bestselling novel, Conversations With Friends. If you loved Normal People, then you’ll love this newest fictional set of millennials and their complicated love lives. There’s Frances (Alison Oliver) and Bobbi (Sasha Lane) who are ex-girlfriends but now best friends, and their lives collide with Melissa (Jemima Kirk) and Nick (Taylor Swift’s beau, Joe Alwyn). Nick and Frances grow so close that things become romantic, but there’s a catch—Nick is married to Melissa. Bobbi and Frances’ friendship becomes strained under the weight of Nick and Frances’ affair as the two try to navigate their bond against the backdrop of the 2008 post-economic crash in Dublin. Normal People director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Alice Birch both worked on this series, so it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a sensation.
Ms. Marvel (Disney+, June 8)
Pakistani-Canadian actress Iman Vellani is set to make history (and her on-screen debut) as Marvel’s first Muslim superhero Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel in this upcoming miniseries. In classic coming-of-age fashion, Kamala is a regular teenage girl who doesn’t always seem to fit in—likely due to her love of writing fanfiction and her obsession with the Avengers. But everything changes when she gains something in common with her favourite Avenger, Captain Marvel: superpowers. The show will explore her learning to use her powers, which allow her to harness cosmic energy, elongate and shapeshift. With her introduction to the MCU, fans are already speculating that she’ll be the first of the Young Avengers, with her series laying the groundwork for the upcoming film, The Marvels.
Halftime (Netflix, June 14)
It’s time to get loud. Musician, actress and mogul Jennifer Lopez is the subject of a new documentary covering the pivotal moments leading up to her iconic Super Bowl Halftime show performance in 2020 and her performance at President Biden’s inauguration in 2021. While not the first documentary to cover Lopez’s life, Halftime will focus on the second half of her career in more recent years, having established herself as an award-winning triple threat. Expect music, dancing, outfits, and likely some footage of Lopez’s children (her daughter, Emme, performed with her at the Super Bowl). The film will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, not far from where Jenny from the block grew up, before becoming available to stream on Netflix.
A Very British Scandal (Amazon Prime, April 22)
A salacious scandal usually makes for great storytelling, and A Very British Scandal is no exception. In this new series based on the real-life Argyll v Argyll case, Marvel’s Paul Bettany and The Crown’s Claire Foy star as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, whose marriage crumbles in front of the whole country when Duchess Margaret Campbell is caught in a media firestorm for her infidelity. The show covers everything from the couple’s whirlwind marriage to their shocking divorce trial, which included nude photos of Margaret that the Duke submitted as evidence of her adultery. It’s a stylish show, filled with stunning period costumes and dripping in opulence, which makes the drama all the more engaging.