Spring TV Preview: New shows feature witches, diseases and geeks
Spring is on the way, meaning we’ve nearly broken free of the polar vortex’s icy embrace (Probably. Maybe. Fingers crossed). And with warmer weather comes a lot of fresh springy new TV to watch inside, away from said warm weather. You’ve got old friends returning, new friends premiering, and vague acquaintances that seem to still be hanging around.
Fox, premieres March 27, 9:30 p.m.: Christopher Meloni will never top Gene, the proud sweater-fondler he played in “Wet Hot American Summer,” but he’s trying anyway with this sitcom about a stay-at-home dad. It’s set in the ’90s, because cellphones ruin all dramatic tension.
Comedy Central, premieres April 2, 10:30 p.m.: Various comedians and animation styles combine for a sketch comedy cartoon that’s likely to be obscene and offensive to some, quotable dinner conversation for others.
‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’
HBO, premieres April 27, 11 p.m.: HBO dips its toe in the “Daily Show” pond by stealing a popular “Daily Show” correspondent.
Let’s do the twists
WGN America, premieres April 20, 9 p.m.: Sure, you thought the Salem story was about the effects of mass hysteria in a puritanical New England town, but what if there were ACTUAL WITCHES involved? Scary times ahead, and look out for some hot Cotton Mather action as well.
ABC, premieres April 24, 10 p.m.: This is a medical mystery show about a neurologist… who has mental health issues! Starring Kelly Reilly, of Caroline Bingley in the 2005 “Pride and Prejudice” movie fame (fine, she was also in the “Sherlock Holmes” movies), it sounds a bit “House”-ish.
Fox, premieres May 20, 9 p.m.: Ryan Lopez is a new member of his city’s gang task force, but he’s also … a member of a gang! Will his loyalties be tested? Will there be good guys in the police… but also in the gang? Signs point to yes.
Battle of the dramatic computer use shows
HBO, premieres April 6, 10:30 p.m.: Remember when “30 Rock” faced off against “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” as shows about late night shows? This spring, the hot topic is the people who make your technology. “Silicon Valley” comes from Mike Judge, of “Office Space” and “Idiocracy” fame. Funny dudes are involved (see above) but the only woman appearing in the trailer is a stripper. Way to combat stereotypes about the tech world, guys.
‘Halt and Catch Fire’
AMC, premieres June 1, 10 p.m.: Set in the ’80s, “Halt” is about a team of people who try to out-IBM IBM in the PC race. AMC has a pretty solid track record — minus “The Killing” — and we all need more ’80s music and clothing in our lives. This could be worth tuning in for ’80s hair alone.
Prestige programming that everyone will talk about
‘The Normal Heart’
HBO, premieres May 25 at 9 p.m.: This is HBO’s adaptation of the play about the early days of the AIDS crisis, and the efforts of gay activists to raise awareness in an unforgiving world. Julia Roberts will deign to grace your TV set, and Ryan Murphy of “Glee” and “American Horror Story” directs.
Monsters, mayhem and revisionist history
AMC, premieres April 6, 9 p.m.: Based on an actual spy ring, “Turn” is about a farmer and his friends becoming spies during the Revolutionary War. Reportedly, the real spies used invisible ink and coded messages in newspapers (and probably other cereal box prizes, as well).
Showtime, premieres May 11, 10 p.m.: If you like camp, Gothic horror and Victorian London, “Penny” is for you. Timothy Dalton headlines this psychological thriller about literary monsters (Dorian Gray, Dr. Frankenstein, Josh Hartnett) running amok in London.
CBS, premieres July 2, 9 p.m.: Another movie star heads to the greener pastures of TV. Halle Berry plays an astronaut trying to readjust to life on Earth after a yearlong solo mission in space. The promos say she ends up changing “the course of human history,” so it’s a pretty big year for Halle.
FX, premieres some undetermined day in July: The head of the CDC in New York, who we feel obliged to inform you is named Ephraim Goodweather, works with his team to combat a virus that appears to be a form of vampirism. It’s based on a series of books by Guillermo del Toro, so that’s neat.
New in Reality
‘American Dream Builders’
NBC, premieres March 23 at 8 p.m.: Nate Berkus hosts a home redesign competition where contestants have only a few days to redesign and renovate a home while “remaining true to the home’s innate charm.” No getting rid of the Precious Moments collection, guys.
Food Network, premieres April 7 at 9 p.m.: Combining gambling with food? Sure, why not. Meals based on the results of a slot machine, a roulette wheel forcing chefs to finish each other’s meals; this is exactly how chefs should be trained.
‘Jim Henson’s Creature Shop’
Syfy, premieres March 25 at 10 p.m.: Contestants vie for a job in the famous Jim Henson Creature Shop by building a series of creatures. The competition is canceled when creature turns on creator! Well, they can end it that way if they take the Metro’s advice.
Returning Reality Featuring Hobbits
‘Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan’
BBC America, returns March 25 at 10 p.m.: Dominic Monaghan of “Lost” and “Hobbit” fame travels around the world looking at dangerous creatures. Who could ask for more? The show’s website has a picture of him with a tarantula on his face, so prepare yourself.