April brings an eclectic crop of shows to the streaming landscape. Some of the returning programs include the raunchy but intellectual animated comedy Archer and HBO anchors like Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Veep and the tech comedy Silicon Valley. As far as dramas go, The Handmaid’s Tale is coming to Hulu. And everyone’s favorite scientist — Bill Nye! — is coming back into your life via Netflix.
Archer (FXX, Returning April 5)
While I’m new to the Archer bandwagon, that doesn’t make me any less enthusiastic about this raunchy, hilarious animated comedy. The series follows Sterling Archer, a Don Draper lookalike spy who is perpetually screwing up and would rather be out chasing women than criminals. What makes Archer so funny and ultimately palatable is the smart writing, specifically the mixing of slick double entendres with raunchier material. Another strength of the show is the excellent voice work done by the cast, which includes H. Jon Benjamin of Bob’s Burgers, comedian Aisha Tyler, Arrested Development’s Jessica Walter, SNL’s Chris Parnell and perpetual protagonist’s best friend Judy Greer. While the show always has a 1960s flair, complete with sharp fashion and cocktails aplenty, this season resembles a 1940s noir film. As an Old Hollywood superfan and general consumer of great TV comedies, I can’t recommend this season of Archer enough.
Veep (HBO, Returning April 16)
There’s not a more reliable comedic powerhouse in the television game than Julia Louis-Dreyfus. In Veep, she plays Selina Meyer, a jaded political servant who once held the highest office in the land and now has no idea where to go from there. This series is really a master class on how to make a great, critically acclaimed comedy. With a razor-sharp cast and airtight writing, Veep is near perfection at all times.
Bill Nye Saves the World (Netflix, Premiering April 21)
At a time when nostalgia feels more powerful than ever, what better way to warm the soul than a Bill Nye reboot? Kids from the ’90s and ’00s will remember watching Nye’s program either in science class or on PBS, where he talked and played games to explain basic science to children and young adults. Nye is not only charismatic and intelligent, but he also has an unbridled enthusiasm for the material. His new program, Bill Nye Saves the World, will feature Nye talking about concepts such as global warming, technology GMOs and more. The Netflix show will also feature some celebrity guests and correspondents (including model-turned-academic Karlie Kloss). Like many of my fellow ’90s classmates, I have a soft spot in my heart for Nye. He sparked my interest in science at a time when I had none. Especially in the chaos of 2017, I would love nothing more than for Bill Nye to save the world.
Silicon Valley (HBO, Returning April 23)
I recently went on a series binge of HBO’s tech comedy, and I recognized the brilliance of this show. Silicon Valley is about a data compression startup called Pied Piper and its band of misfit programmers trying to turn it into the next big thing. The writing on Silicon Valley is certainly a high point; the writers are great at raising the stakes, accurately and hilariously capturing the nuances and broad strokes of the tech world, and crushing the dialogue. Some of the show’s standout performances come from Kumail Nanjiani (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates), Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks) and T.J. Miller (Deadpool). If you’re craving a superb, intellectual drama with some goofy humor, check out Silicon Valley.
The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu, Premiering April 26)
This new Hulu show is adapted from the 1985 novel of the same name, written by Margaret Atwood. The series takes place in a sort of alternate reality where after an uprising, women’s rights are virtually (and easily) stripped away. The society kept some women alive to become handmaids, individuals who help men in power bear children. The show follows Offred (played by Mad Men’s spectacular Elisabeth Moss), who becomes a handmaid against her will. She becomes embroiled in chaos, hopelessness and anxiety. It’s a harrowing tale that is particularly relevant during today’s political turmoil. I personally cannot wait to see this series, and I think streaming is the perfect fit for a story as nerve-wracking and graphic as this one (relatively minimal censorship, whee!)