Yes. That’s the short answer to the question posed above, but if you would like some form of explanation then please, do keep reading.
TV has frustrated me endlessly in recent years. 2016 saw a downward trend as it pertained to the medium’s quality. The golden age had ended, led by the utter mediocrity of AMC, and the tide of entertainment that had crushed film under its weight was starting to recede. There were bright spots of course; Stranger Things was impossible not to like, Westworld was fascinating, and returning shows like Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, and Bloodline continued to be series of sublime quality.
2017 has started off infinitely stronger than last year with regards to new series. Legion is a visually grand and downright scary affair, Santa Clarita Diet scratches an itch for those wanting a Weeds/Dexter mash up (though that may be a house of one), and the arrival of The Young Pope (initially airing in Europe late last year) was an extraordinary affair; television of the highest quality that demonstrated everything that the medium is capable of. It’s going to take quite the product to best the story of Pope Pius XIII.
April is going to give it an awfully good go however (as far as US release dates are concerned). As this particular month of the year has a quite incredible slate of shows – returning and new – that has the potential to make it one of TV’s greatest ever. We are going to be truly spoiled – if the shows stay true to form and/or deliver on the lofty expectations assigned to them.
Kicking things off on April 10th is the last hope of a once great network — AMC’s Better Call Saul. Saul is the only thing on the channel currently worthy of your precious minutes, and what a show it is. Season 2 was a gradual progression from the first, continuing on the doomed and tragic story of Jimmy McGill as he fights a destiny named Saul Goodman. Season 3 promises to be no different, and one has no reason to assume that the men and women behind the show have anything other than excellence up their sleeves – they’ve never demonstrated anything else with the Breaking Bad/BCS product. And as we get further along the road with the show’s plot, things are fated only to become more chaotic and tense. Shit is about to hit the fan with Saul, the transition is almost upon us, and season 3 should (hopefully) deliver on to us what we had all initially tuned into the show to see.
Next up, on April 16th, we have the return – after what has been far too long – of one of TV’s greatest and least appreciated shows, The Leftovers. This HBO drama by Damon Lindelof 0f Lost fame, is truly spectacular. Season 1 was brilliant television but season 2 took us to another level entirely, elevating the series into the pantheon of TV’s great currently airing shows, rivaling the likes of Saul and Game of Thrones. Taking everything that was great about Lost and blending it with a bit of Stephen King, this is a show that excites like no other pending its season 3 debut. This will be the final season of the show, a sad but welcome fact. As we all must be aware at this point, having a finish line in site provides a series with the drive and focus that so many lack. This can only help The Leftovers and should supply the show with everything it needs to wow us for one last time in 2017.
Landing on April 19th we have season 3 of Fargo. A much beloved anthology series, all set in a quirky and hilariously dark interconnected world. This writer wasn’t the biggest fan of season 2, having much preferred the adventures of Lester in season 1. This is a stance in the minority however, and regardless of one’s rankings of the show’s previous instalments, season 3 is undoubtedly TV to look forward to. Set closer to the present after season 2’s trip back in time, this year will feature Ewan McGregor in dual roles. This fact alone should lend itself to that distinctive Fargo meld of dark humour and desperately desperate escapades. Whether you thought Season 2 was the genius that many proclaim it to be, or you are of mind that season 1 was truly the bee’s knees, Fargo’s return only adds to what is already a stacked month of premium television.
We finish things off with a brand new show debuting right at the end of the month on April 30th — American Gods, a Starz adaptation of the modern fantasy novel of the same name. Fans of Hannibal have been drowning in a never ending perpetual grief since the show finished its gloriously macabre run a couple of years ago, so expectations are high for the latest project of Bryan Fuller, who will be the showrunner for American Gods along with the source material’s author Neil Gaiman. Bringing along many Hannibal alumni to the project such as director David Slade and actress Gillian Anderson; American Gods is promising to be something truly special and to appease the cravings of Fannibals the world over. With a truly unique plot and some top tear talent, this series has to be on your radar. Bryan Fuller is a man of great ability, and television is a far better place with him producing his unique brand of spectacularly bizarre content — American Gods seems to be the perfect conduit for this. If the show can live up to such expectations, and bring along with it the immaculate writing of Hannibal; then The Young Pope could have itself a challenger – at least in terms of debuting series.
The gap left by Game of Thrones, after the blockbuster series shuffled its release to later in the year, should have been damage too fatally done to the month of April; but with this truly special slate of new and returning shows, this time of the year promises to be better than it has ever been.
TV lovers rejoice. It seems unlikely to get any better than this for all your serialised viewing needs.