Watch for our in-depth columns on The Last Thing He Told Me, an Apple TV+ limited series based on the bestselling novel by Laura Dave and starring Jennifer Garner (premiering April 14 on Apple TV+), and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret., a theatrical film based on Judy Blume’s classic children’s book (premiering April 28). In the meantime, here are four new series heading to small screens in April:
April 7: Tiny Beautiful Things (series premiere, Hulu)
Cheryl Strayed is best known for her bestselling, Kirkus-starred 2012 memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, about a three-month hike she undertook in California and Oregon. This new series is based on her 2012 collection of “Dear Sugar” advice columns for the online magazine The Rumpus, which she wrote anonymously. In her answers, she frequently provided personal anecdotes to illustrate her points; our reviewer noted that “her verbose self-reflection projects understanding and sympathy.” The show, on which Strayed is an executive producer, uses the book as a springboard to tell the story of fictional advice columnist Clare Pierce (played by the always-entertaining Kathryn Hahn), who struggles with marriage and career woes even as she helps strangers with her thoughtful, pseudonymous counseling. It’s an offbeat way to adapt a nonfiction work, and Hahn’s considerable skill with both comedy and drama are sure to make the show worth a watch.
April 7: Transatlantic (limited series premiere, Netflix)
Julie Orringer’s Kirkus-starred 2019 historical novel, The Flight Portfolio, offers the intriguing fictionalized tale of American journalist Varian Fry and the Emergency Rescue Committee, which, in real life, assisted thousands of refugees escaping the Nazis during the Holocaust; Fry and his group helped such famous figures as artists Marc Chagall and Marcel Duchamp, political theorist Hannah Arendt, and writer André Breton. This series, co-created by Orthodox’s Anna Winger, features some unexpected casting that could yield interesting results; Cory Michael Smith, best known as the Riddler on the Fox superhero series Gotham, plays Fry, and Gillian Jacobs, a highlight of the sitcom Community, portrays his wealthy friend Mary Jayne Gold, a key player in the ERC’s efforts.
April 13: Obsession (limited series premiere, Netflix)
In Josephine Hart’s Kirkus-starred 1991 bestseller, Damage, a nameless British doctor and Member of Parliament conducts an intense, all-consuming affair with his son’s mysterious fiancée, Anna, which threatens to tear apart everything he holds dear. Our reviewer, in a starred review, called the novel “elliptical, haunting, and altogether extraordinary,” and a well-regarded 1992 film version featured Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche. This new limited series features The Hobbit’s Richard Armitage and, as Anna, Peaky Blinders’ Charlie Murphy, who recently provided a compelling performance as a conflicted villain in the underrated Paramount+ SF series Halo.
April 28: Frog and Toad (series premiere, Apple TV+)
Only those with the hardest of hearts can resist the charming Frog and Toad children’s books by the late, great author/illustrator Arnold Lobel; his simple but affecting tales of friendship, first published in the 1970s, have multiple generations of fans. The Jim Henson Company is a co-producer of this promising new animated series, which stays faithful to Lobel’s distinctive earth-toned visual style and features the voice talents of The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants’ Nat Faxon as Frog and The Batman’s Kevin Michael Richardson as Toad.
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.