These days, when you’re surfing social media, you’ll inevitably stray into politics even if you’re browsing the Twitter feed of an entertainer. This is partly because the current American President Donald Trump began as an entertainer, which makes anyone feel emboldened to speak out. But it’s mostly because his policies impact people from so many walks of life — immigrants, women, minorities, LGBTQ+ — that it’s impossible to turn a blind eye. This spirit is reflected in entertainment, and particularly in April’s biggest television shows. If you’re feeling helpless, confused, depressed, or all of the above, here are the can’t-miss shows that are perfect for the current era.
1. The Leftovers
The Leftovers is a show that is quite literally about depression. After two percent of the world mysteriously disappears into thin air, their loved ones are left behind, struggling to cope. Some turn to religion, while others turn away from it. Some begin believing in magic, others feverishly search for a scientific solution. While Season 1 is slightly rocky, the second season solidifies The Leftovers as the most philosophical show on television. It is unabashedly about the search for meaning and purpose in a world that seems to hold none. In that regard, although it’s about depression and the apocalypse, it’s also life-affirming and cathartic. It will cap at three seasons, so there’s time to catch up. It also has some of the best writing and acting on modern TV, to boot.
Premiere date: April 16 on HBO
2. The Handmaid’s Tale
Based on Margaret Atwood’s classic feminist novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale is the most overtly political show. It’s a dystopia in which America has become a theocratic society called Gilead in which secret police abound, paranoia is rampant, and women are literally men’s property. Forget reproductive rights — in this story if you’re a handmaid as Elizabeth Moss’s character Offred is, you’re assigned to a household to be a glorified concubine. If you’re lucky enough to get pregnant, you must leave the baby and move on to another household to repeat. The inciting event that tipped the world into this nightmare? The U.S. Government using Islamic terrorism as a justification for oppressive policies.
Premiere date: April 26 on Hulu
3. Dear White People
Dear White People shouldn’t technically be a political show, as it’s simply about college campus culture and the Black experience. But it was caught in a recent internet firestorm after some Netflix users interpreted it as an attack on white people. What with the recent prominence of white supremacists in the public sphere, Dear White People couldn’t possibly be landing at a better time.
Premiere date: April 28 on Netflix.
4. American Gods
Based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, American Gods is an urban fantasy story about an ex-con who becomes entangled in a war between old gods from classical mythology and newer forms of worship like technology and media. Although American Gods is about the clash between the old and the new, it’s primarily a story about immigration. Adjacent to the main story of an oddball road trip are copious scenes of characters from all different cultures and backgrounds immigrating to America. During a time when immigration policy is shifting, and people are protesting at airports with signs welcoming immigrants, this couldn’t be landing at a more opportune moment.
Premiere date: April 30th on Starz.