Steven Yeun and Ali Wong’s road rage incident escalates into a series of pranks and attacks in this comic drama. Their characters already had reasons to be angry at life. Yeun plays a building contractor with a failing business, and Wong is a discontented entrepreneur in the suburbs. It’s all too much when her gleaming white SUV cuts off his beat-up red pickup truck. The series received extravagant praise when it premiered at SXSW recently, with Angie Han of The Hollywood Reporter calling it, “A feast of sharp comedy, wild thrills and disarming empathy”. Series creator Lee Sung Jin has said he is “grateful to the guy who yelled at me in traffic three years ago. I did not let it go and now we have a show”.
Beef premieres 6 April on Netflix internationally.
The latest series created by Sharon Horgan sounds like her stunning dark comedy Bad Sisters without all the murdering. Four sisters reunite in their Margate town in a series based on Horgan’s BAFTA-winning 2017 short, Morgana Robinson’s Summer. Lily Allen plays the sister who pays a surprise visit home, unsettling the dynamic of the three who stayed, including Freema Agyeman. The women’s mother and grandmother add a multigenerational layer to the story of secrets, rivalries and multiple pregnancies. The show was shot in Margate in pop-off-the-screen colours, and while Horgan isn’t in it, her usual hilarious, sophisticated, sardonic take on family, love and sibling dynamics is sure to shine through.
Dreamland premieres 6 April on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK
This World War II drama is based on the remarkable true story of Varian Fry, an American sent to France during World War II to smuggle out great artists and writers targeted by the Nazis, including Marc Chagall and Marcel Duchamp. Cory Michael Smith plays Fry, Gillian Jacobs is Mary Jayne Gold, the heiress who works with him and funds the escapes, and Corey Stoll plays the American consul in Marseille, where much of the action is set. Julie Orringer’s first-rate 2019 novel, The Flight Portfolio, inspired by Fry’s exploits, heightens his real-life struggle by adding a romance and is the source for a series that promises to be full of intrigue, suspense, heroism and duplicity.
Transatlantic premieres 7 April on Netflix internationally
4. The Last Thing He Told Me
In this suspense series based on Laura Dave’s best-selling novel, Jennifer Garner stars as Hannah, whose husband of a year suddenly disappears, leaving her with a belligerent 16-year-old stepdaughter and loads of questions. “Your husband is not who you think he is,” Hannah is told in the trailer, and their problem isn’t the kind that can be solved by marriage counselling. Somehow it involves a large bag of cash. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, forever Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones, plays her husband. His daughter is played by Angourie Rice, who was Kate Winslet’s daughter in Mare of Easttown and obviously has excellent taste in on-screen parents and stepparents.
The Last Thing He Told Me premieres 14 April on AppleTV+ internationally
5. Mrs Davis
What if Siri developed a messiah complex and a nun tried to take her down? That’s basically the premise of this series from odd-couple creators Damon Lindelof (Lost and Watchmen) and Tara Hernandez (megahit sitcom The Big Bang Theory). Mrs Davis is the name of a religion-spouting Artificial Intelligence with a cult following. Betty Gilpin (G.L.O.W.) plays Sister Simone, who is unexpectedly charged by Mrs Davis with finding the Holy Grail but turns on her all-powerful mission-setter. No wonder the Daily Beast has called the series gonzo and Gilpin describes it as “No country for old Looney Tunes”. With fears of AI and Chat GPT all over the news, the show has a layer of social commentary and even more comic absurdity.
Mrs Davis premieres 20 April on Peacock in the US
6. The Diplomat
In her first series since The Americans, Keri Russell plays Kate Wyler, the new US ambassador to the UK. A no-nonsense career diplomat with political ambitions, she doesn’t even want the job, but takes it to help sort out an international crisis. There is always one of those going on, but never mind. Rufus Sewell plays Kate’s husband, also a diplomat, causing plenty of work-life conflicts. The show has been created by Debora Cahn, known for writing tense political dramas including Homeland and the West Wing, who has said she wants to depict the diplomats’ day-to-day life. Even world leaders, she told Vanity Fair, sometimes “forget to take the tag off their pants”. It will also be fun to see how close to real-life US and UK politics this fiction dares to go.
The Diplomat premieres 20 April on Netflix internationally