April 2022 Television Preview | Women and Hollywood Otesanya David April 3, 2022

April 2022 Television Preview | Women and Hollywood

April 2022 Television Preview | Women and Hollywood


Though the most notable holiday of April is one that celebrates pranks, which are definitely not enjoyed by all, this month’s television premieres offer something for everyone. If you, like so many of us, were devastated by “GLOW’s” too-early demise, creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch’s new show, “Roar” (April 15), is sure to satisfy. An anthology series adapted from Cecelia Ahern’s short story collection, these darkly funny contemporary parables will turn the ordinary strange and vice versa. In a similar vein, “The Baby” (April 24) puts a chilling spin on the fairly common occurrence of having a baby.

For something equally strange yet also true, “Captive Audience” (April 21) is a docuseries that follows one family’s various shocking tragedies and their coverage in the media. From the disappearance of a seven-year-old boy to a serial killer investigation decades later, this series takes a look at the family ensnared in all the public scrutiny and turns an eye on the media as well.

April will also see Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Gillian Anderson portraying Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt, respectively, in “The First Lady” (April 17). From director Susanne Bier, the Showtime anthology explores the public and private struggles of some of the most high-profile women in U.S. history.

This is a great month for adaptations, too. “Shining Girls” (April 29), based on Lauren Beukes’ bestselling book, follows a journalist trying to solve a crime perpetrated on her, and who discovers a mysterious connection to other victims from decades past. Hailing from an all-women directing team that includes star Elisabeth Moss, this promises to be a dark, atmospheric piece.

As for April’s returning shows, “Russian Doll” is back for a much-anticipated second season April 20 and the final episodes of “Grace and Frankie” drop April 29.

Here are April’s premiering and returning women-driven and women-created TV projects. All descriptions are from press materials unless otherwise noted.

TV and Episodic Premieres

“The Thaw” (Premieres April 1 on HBO Max)

The body of a young woman is discovered in the icy water of the Oder River. The investigation into the case is led by Katarzyna Zawieja (Katarzyna Wajda), a young police officer who never gives up easily. It soon becomes evident that the investigation goes beyond the murder as the woman gave birth shortly before her death. But where is the baby? For Katarzyna, the search for the newborn baby means she must confront her own circumstances: a woman in crisis after the death of her husband. The fight to find the baby will become a fight to find herself.

“Whitney, A Look Back” (Special) (Premieres April 2 on CBS)

“Whitney, A Look Back” will chronicle the life and legacy of the music superstar. The special will include lost performances and rare moments with Whitney, alongside new interviews with those who knew her best, including Dionne Warwick, Clive Davis, CeCe Winans, Monica, and Kelly Price. In addition, the special will explore new details about the days leading up to and following Whitney’s death.

“Long Slow Exhale” – Created by Pam Veasey (Premieres April 4 on Spectrum)

J.C. Abernathy (Rose Rollins) is a successful head coach of a competitive women’s college basketball team who finds herself in the middle of a potentially career-shattering sexual abuse scandal. As she tries to find the truth among the many secrets she uncovers, she is forced to make hard decisions that will affect her, her family, and the team of female athletes who all rely on her.

“Harry Wild” (Premieres April 4 on Acorn TV)

Literature professor Harriet “Harry” Wild (Jane Seymour) is adjusting to retirement when she’s mugged. While recovering at the home of her son (Kevin Ryan), a detective in the Dublin police, Harry gleans a clue for his current case. But when she’s rebuffed, Harry decides to solve the crime herself. Recruiting an unlikely young sidekick (Rohan Nedd), she finds a new path as a private investigator.

“Black Dog: Being a Teacher” – Created by Park Joo-yun and Hwang Jun-hyuk (Premieres April 5 on Netflix)

In a temporary position at a private high school, a compassionate teacher fights to support her students’ dreams while navigating school politics.

“Green Mothers’ Club” – Created by Ra Ha-na and Shin Yee-won (Premieres April 6 on Netflix)

Five moms in a competitive grade school community keep their enemies close, and one another closer, as envy and secrets tangle and unravel their lives.

“Michela Giraud: The Truth, I Swear!” (Comedy Special) – Written by Michela Giraud and Marco Vicari (Premieres April 6 on Netflix)

Career success. Fame’s shortcomings. The cringeworthy label of “curvy” and tough ballet days during her youth. Michela Giraud has a whole lot to unpack.

“My Liberation Notes” – Created by Park Hae-young and Kim Sok-yun (Premieres April 9 on Netflix)

Three siblings, exhausted by the monotony of day-to-day adulthood, seek to find fulfillment and freedom from their unremarkable lives.

“Our Blues” – Created by Noh Hee-gyoung and Kim Gyu-tae (Premieres April 9 on Netflix)

Romance is sweet and bitter — and life riddled with ups and downs — in multiple stories about people who live and work on bustling Jeju Island.

“Hard Cell” – Created by Catherine Tate (Premieres April 12 on Netflix)

“Hard Cell”

Events planner-turned-women’s prison governor Laura Willis (Catherine Tate) documents the thrills and spills of life behind bars in this delightfully dry comedy series.

“Smother-in-Law” (Premieres April 13 on Netflix)

Living with her family since the pandemic struck, the meddling Isadir does her best to disrupt the lives of her bumbling son and rival daughter-in-law.

“Roar” (Anthology) – Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch (Premieres April 15 on Apple TV+)

“Roar”: Apple TV+

Based on the book by best-selling author Cecelia Ahern and led by a star-studded cast of female talent in front of and behind the camera, “Roar” explores female experiences that many women have but rarely talk about. Through these eight stories, each episode uses magical realism and delivers an insightful, poignant, and sometimes hilarious portrait of what it means to be a woman today. Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, Issa Rae, Merritt Wever, Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Meera Syal, Fivel Stewart, and Kara Hayward star.

“Anatomy of a Scandal” (Miniseries) – Created and Written by Melissa James Gibson and David E. Kelley; Directed by S.J. Clarkson (Premieres April 15 on Netflix)

A psychological thriller and gripping courtroom drama, the series infiltrates Britain’s elite through personal and political scandal, where the truth lies between justice and privilege. James and Sophie Whitehouse (Rupert Friend and Sienna Miller) live in a blissful and rarified world. A Minister in Parliament, a loving family at home, James’ trajectory appears without limits. Until a scandalous secret suddenly comes to light. Barrister Kate Woodcroft (Michelle Dockery) has a trajectory of her own, and her prosecution threatens to tear into Westminster, the Whitehouse marriage, and her own personal esteem.

“La Madrina: The Savage Life Of Lorine Padilla” (Documentary) – Directed by Raquel Cepeda (Premieres April 15 on Showtime)

“La Madrina: The [Savage] Life of Lorine Padilla”

“La Madrina: The Savage Life Of Lorine Padilla” follows a beloved South Bronx matriarch and former “First Lady” of the Savage Skulls gang as she struggles to remain visible in a rapidly gentrifying community she helped rebuild in the 1980s. With one foot firmly grounded in the outlaw life and the other as an activist and spiritual advisor, Lorine straddles the complexities of multiple worlds. Employing rich, never-before-seen archives of the borough that gifted the world both salsa and hip-hop culture, the documentary embarks on a complicated and, at times, surreal journey through five decades of Bronx history and resilience in La Madrina’s own words.

“Mai: A Mother’s Rage” (Premieres April 15 on Netflix)

A grieving mother discovers the criminals behind her daughter’s tragic death, and transforms from meek to merciless to get the real story.

“Swimming with Sharks” – Written by Kathleen Robertson (Premieres April 15 on The Roku Channel)

Starring Kiernan Shipka and Diane Kruger, “Swimming with Sharks” follows Lou Simms (Shipka) as she starts her internship at Fountain Pictures. While Lou may seem like a naïve Hollywood newcomer, awestruck by the studio’s notorious CEO, Joyce Holt (Kruger), landing this internship was no happy accident. As Lou’s obsession grows, she will do anything to get close to her idol.

“The First Lady” (Anthology) – Directed by Susanne Bier (Premieres April 17 on Showtime)

“The First Lady”

A revelatory reframing of American leadership through the lens of the First Ladies. Starring Viola Davis as Michelle Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford, and Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt, this series delves deep into the Ladies’ personal and political lives. Exploring everything from their journeys to Washington, family life, and world-changing political contributions, the impact of the White House’s women is no longer hidden from view.

“Annika” (Premieres April 17 on PBS Passport)

Nicola Walker stars as DI Annika Strandhed, the speedboat-driving head of Glasgow’s newly-formed Marine Homicide Unit, who juggles baffling cases and a rebellious teenage daughter.

“Captive Audience” (Docuseries) – Directed by Jessica Dimmock (Premieres April 21 on Hulu)

This is the story of how a story gets told, and how the media’s magnifying glass impacts the characters caught in the narrative. Siblings Ashley and Steven Stayner Jr. never knew their famous father, Steven, the child victim of a shocking California kidnapping. In 1972, seven-year-old Steven went to school — and never came home. His mother Kay struggles to keep the media interested in the case and to hold her family together. Then, after seven years, a miracle: Steven returns. The media can’t get enough of the story, and frantic news crews descend on the Stayner home — but this isn’t the fairytale ending it appears to be. Now 14 years old, Steven struggles to adapt, and his family grapples with life under the media microscope. Just as he starts to pull his life together — with marriage, kids, and a hit TV movie about his story — the Stayners endure another tragedy. And soon, they’ll be famous all over again, for a very different reason.

“A Very British Scandal” (Miniseries) – Created by Sarah Phelps (Premieres April 22 on Prime Video)

“A Very British Scandal”: Amazon Prime

“A Very British Scandal” focuses on the divorce of the Duke (Paul Bettany) and Duchess of Argyll (Claire Foy), one of the most notorious, extraordinary, and brutal legal cases of the 20th century. Famed for her charisma, beauty, and style, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, dominated the front pages as the divorce exposed accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking, bribery, and an explicit Polaroid picture that was to haunt her for the rest of her life. “A Very British Scandal” turns this scandal inside out in order to explore the social and political climate of post-war Britain, looking at attitudes towards women and asking whether institutional misogyny was widespread at the time. As her contemporaries, the press, and the judiciary sought to vilify her, Margaret kept her head held high with bravery and resilience, refusing to go quietly as she was betrayed by her friends and publicly shamed by a society that reveled in her fall from grace.

“Explorer: The Last Tepui” (Documentary Special) – Directed by Taylor Rees and Renan Ozturk (Premieres April 22 on Disney+)

“Explorer: The Last Tepui,” from National Geographic, follows elite climber Alex Honnold and a world-class climbing team led by National Geographic Explorer and climber Mark Synnott on a grueling mission deep in the Amazon jungle as they attempt a first-ascent climb up a 1,000-foot sheer cliff. Their goal is to deliver legendary biologist and National Geographic Explorer Bruce Means to the top of a massive “island in the sky” known as a tepui. The team must first trek miles of treacherous jungle terrain to help Dr. Means complete his life’s work, searching the cliff wall for undiscovered animal species.

“The Baby” (Miniseries) – Created by Siân Robins-Grace and Lucy Gaymer (Premieres April 24 on HBO/HBO Max)

“The Baby”: HBO

Michelle De Swarte stars as 38-year-old Natasha, who is furious that her closest friends are all having babies. But when she is unexpectedly landed with a baby of her own, her life dramatically implodes. Controlling, manipulative, but incredibly cute, the baby twists Natasha’s life into a surreal horror show. As she discovers the true extent of the baby’s deadly nature, Natasha makes increasingly desperate attempts to get rid of it. She doesn’t want a baby. But the baby definitely wants her.

“Gaslit” (Premieres April 24 on Starz)

“Gaslit” is a modern take on Watergate that focuses on the untold stories and forgotten characters of the scandal – from Nixon’s bumbling and opportunistic subordinates to the deranged zealots aiding and abetting their crimes to the tragic whistleblowers who would eventually bring the whole rotten enterprise crashing down. The story will center on Martha Mitchell, played by Julia Roberts. A big personality with an even bigger mouth. Martha is a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell, played by Sean Penn. Despite her party affiliation, she’s the first person to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon’s involvement in Watergate, causing both the Presidency and her personal life to unravel.

“The Man Who Fell to Earth” – Created by Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman (Premieres April 24 on Showtime)

“The Man Who Fell to Earth”: Showtime

An alien (Chiwetel Ejiofor) crashes deep into the oilfields of New Mexico with a mission: he must find the brilliant scientist Justin Falls (Naomie Harris), the one woman on earth who can help save his species. Even as he struggles to adapt to our world and to become more “human,” her faith in humanity couldn’t be lower. An unlikely duo, together they discover that in order to save his world, they must first save ours. A continuation of the novel by Walter Tevis and the iconic 1976 film starring David Bowie.

“Sketchbook” (Docuseries) – Directed by Leanne Dare, Jason Sterman, and Andrew McAllister (Premieres April 27 on Disney+)

An intimate instructional documentary series, “Sketchbook” takes us onto the desks and into the lives of talented artists and animators. Each episode focuses on a single artist teaching us how to draw a single iconic character from a Walt Disney Animation Studios film. As we learn the steps to drawing these characters, we also discover that the artists themselves each have a unique story to tell about how they made their way to Disney and their chosen character.

“The Survivor” (Feature) – Written by Justine Juel Gillmer (Premieres April 27 on HBO/HBO Max)

“The Survivor” stars Ben Foster as Harry Haft, who, after being sent to Auschwitz, survives not only the unspeakable horrors of the camp, but the gladiatorial boxing spectacle he is forced to perform with his fellow prisoners for the amusement of his captors. Unbeknownst to those who try to destroy him, Haft’s will to survive is driven by his quest to reunite with the woman he loves. “The Survivor” is an examination of one man’s journey from unspeakable horrors to freedom, forgiveness, and redemption.

“Shining Girls” – Created by Silka Luisa; Directed by Michelle MacLaren, Daina Reid, and Elisabeth Moss (Premieres April 29 on Apple TV+)

“Shining Girls”: Apple TV+

Based on Lauren Beukes’ bestselling novel, “Shining Girls” follows Kirby Mazrachi (Elisabeth Moss) as a Chicago newspaper archivist whose journalistic ambitions were put on hold after enduring a traumatic assault. When Kirby learns that a recent murder mirrors her own case, she partners with seasoned, yet troubled reporter Dan Velazquez (Wagner Moura), to uncover her attacker’s identity. As they realize these cold cases are inextricably linked, their own personal traumas and Kirby’s blurred reality allow her assailant to remain one step ahead.

“I Love That For You” – Created by Vanessa Bayerand Jeremy Beiler (Premieres April 29 on Showtime)

Inspired by true events, this hilarious new comedy follows childhood leukemia survivor Joanna Gold (Vanessa Bayer) as she chases her lifelong dream of becoming a home shopping channel host. Shedding her “cancer girl” label, she moves away from her parents, starts a budding romance for the first time in her adult life, and befriends her idol (Molly Shannon), the charismatic star of the network. But when a little white lie to her boss (Jenifer Lewis) turns into a big snowy avalanche, Joanna finds that living the dream comes with a hefty price tag.

Returning Series

“Grace and Frankie”: Netflix

“The Boarding School: Las Cumbres” – Created by Laura Belloso and Asier Andueza (Prime Video, April 1)

“A Black Lady Sketch Show” – Created by Robin Thede (HBO/HBO Max, April 8)

“iCarly” (Paramount+, April 8)

“Russian Doll” – Created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler (Netflix, April 20)

“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max, April 21)

“Pretty Hard Cases” – Created by Tassie Cameron and Sherry White (IMDb TV, April 22)

“Three Busy Debras” – Created by Sandy Honig, Mitra Jouhari, and Alyssa Stonoha (Adult Swim/HBO Max, April 24)

“Smother” (Peacock, April 28)

“The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin” (Docuseries) – Directed by Marina Zenovich (HBO Max, April 28)

“Grace and Frankie” – Created by Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris (Netflix, April 29)

Undone” – Created by Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg (Amazon Prime, April 29)


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