5 New TV Shows to Watch This Week: From ‘Gaslit’ to ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’

Plus: “Barry” returns and “Grace and Frankie” ends

Andrew Garfield in the FX series "Under the Banner of Heaven" (FX)
Andrew Garfield in the FX series "Under the Banner of Heaven" (FX)

This week we’ve got a ton of brand-new content, from a prestige Apple TV+ thriller featuring a time traveling serial killer to the real-life tales of Watergate, Navalny, the Holocaust, and the making of “The Godfather.” Plus, we say goodbye to the longest-running Netflix original comedy series. As you can tell, this is a lot!

On with the television!

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“Shining Girls”

Friday, April 29, Apple TV+

Apple TV+

“Shining Girls,” based on the novel by South African author Lauren Beukes, has an ingenious premise. Jamie Bell plays a time-traveling serial killer who targets special young women (the “shining girls” of the title). In the 1980s, he leaves one girl standing, who then decides to hunt him down. Of course, that girl is Elisabeth Moss, who through roles on “Mad Men,” “Top of the Lake” and “Handmaid’s Tale” (not to mention big screen turns in “The Invisible Man,” “Us” and “Shirley”), has become one of the most exciting and emotionally acute performers working today. If anybody can make the oversized narrative feel alive and real, it’s Moss. [TEASER]

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“Grace and Frankie”

Friday, April 29, Netflix

"Grace and Frankie" (Netflix)

Touted earlier this week during the Netflix earnings report as the longest-running Netflix original comedy series, “Grace and Frankie” started back in 2015 and will have run for more than 80 episodes. Pretty impressive, especially considering Netflix’s proclivity to drop original series after a couple of seasons, no matter how talked-about or watched they are. (“Mindhunter,” we miss you!) If you’ve never seen the series, it stars national treasures Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, who become BFFs after their respective husbands (played by Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen) fall in love with each other. Of course, within this outwardly cutesy set-up there was some real drama, and as the years went on the appreciation for the Marta Kauffman-created series grew. They will be missed! [TRAILER]

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“The Survivor”

Wednesday, April 27 at 8 p.m., HBO

The Survivor

Barry Levinson, the celebrated filmmaker behind “Diner” and “Rain Man” has had a late-career second wind directing prestige made-for-TV movies like “Paterno,” “You Don’t Know Jack,” “The Wizard of Lies” and now “The Survivor,” which, like the earlier films, is made for HBO. “The Survivor” is another real-life story, this time chronicling the life of Harry Haft (played by Ben Foster), a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he boxed fellow inmates to survive. While the subject matter might sound incredibly solemn, we’re sure that Levinson can weave an uplifting story out of it about the nature of hope and survival. (Right?) The all-star supporting cast includes Danny DeVito, Vicky Krieps, Billy Magnussen, Peter Sarsgaard and John Leguizamo. At the very least we’ll get a good cry out of it. [REVIEW]

spring tv watch list documentary


Sunday, April 24 at 9 p.m., CNN


This new documentary focuses on Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who was poisoned with a toxic nerve agent by one of Putin’s goons. The story is harrowing, as the politician hopscotched around hospitals in a fight for his life. “Navalny” Director Daniel Roher has described it as “the story of one man and his struggle with an authoritarian regime.” (Could there be a timelier documentary?) The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Festival Favorite Award and the Audience Award for the U.S. Documentary Competition. After its premiere on CNN, “Navalny” will stream on the new streaming service CNN+. (Considering it is an HBO Max co-production, it should also be on that service soon as well.) [TRAILER]

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“Gravity Falls”


Gravity Falls

There’s a lot of heavy subject matter on this week’s list, so why not lighten things up with “Gravity Falls,” a kind of “Twin Peaks” for kids that ran on the Disney Channel? Creator Alex Hirsch ingeniously packs each episode with so much information (visual cues, hidden cyphers, allusions) that it can sometimes feel like an animated scavenger hunt (in a good way). By the time you reach early season 1 episode “The Time Traveler’s Pig,” you will start to notice hidden details and realize that there is a grand design to “Gravity Falls,” and that that grand design is wildly ambitious. Performers Jason Ritter, Kristen Schaal, J.K. Simmons and Hirsch himself bring these colorful characters to vibrant life. And the show’s singular design aesthetic is always a thrill. Also, it’s just delightful and funny. It might be the most flawless 40 episodes of animated television ever. [WATCH]

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Sunday, April 24 @ 8 p.m., Starz

Ready to revisit the Watergate Scandal? “Gaslit,” based on the Slate original podcast “Slow Burn,” has a ridiculously starry cast, including Julia Roberts (as Martha Mitchell), Sean Penn (as John Mitchell), Dan Stevens (as John Dean), Shea Whigham (as G. Gordon Liddy), along with Betty Gilpin, Alison Tolman, Chris Messina, Hamish Linklater, Patton Oswalt and Nat Faxon. And yes we love seeing celebrities play famous historical figures but this could be a great new take on some well-worn material, especially given the stature of the talent involved both in front of and behind the camera (it is being executive produced by “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail). [TRAILER]


Sunday, April 24 at 10 p.m., HBO

“Barry” is back (finally). The last episode of the HBO dark comedy aired almost three years ago. But that hasn’t done anything to lessen our excitement for the series that stars Bill Hader (who also co-created and often writes and directs the show) as the titular reformed hitman attempting to live his life and make it as a struggling actor in Los Angeles. Remember that at the end of last season Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) realized that Barry really is a killer. Where does this go from here? Early promotional materials suggest that there could be a showdown between Barry and Gene. Can you imagine? Bring it on! [REVIEW]

“We Own This City”

Monday, April 25 at 9 p.m., HBO

The latest project from “The Wire” creator David Simon and frequent collaborator and novelist George P. Pelecanos is once again set in Baltimore. Based on the nonfiction book by Baltimore Sun writer Justin Fenton, “We Own This City” is based on the development and implementation of Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force, a unit riddled by corruption and racketeering. All six episodes are directed by “King Richard” director Reinaldo Marcus Green and the cast includes Jon Berenthal, Wunmi Mosaku and Treat Williams. Excited yet? [TRAILER]

“The Offer”

Thursday, April 28, Paramount+

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the first “Godfather” film, this Paramount+ original miniseries follows the making of the film, with Miles Teller as film producer Albert Ruddy, Matthew Goode as Paramount exec and producer Robert Evans and Dan Folger as director Francis Ford Coppola. (The cast also includes Juno Temple, Colin Hanks, Burn Gorman and Giovanni Ribisi.) Partially directed and executive produced by “Rocketman” filmmaker Dexter Fletcher, at its worst, “The Offer” could be some campy fun. At best, it could be an illuminating look at the creation of a cinematic classic. [TRAILER]

“Under the Banner of Heaven”

Thursday, April 28, Hulu

Based on the best-selling nonfiction book by “Into Thin Air” author Jon Krakauer, “Under the Banner of Heaven” uses a real-life murder within the Mormon church to investigate the religion’s history of violence. (The book is shocking and absolutely riveting.) Andrew Garfield, as the detective investigating the case, leads an all-star cast that also includes Daisy Edgar-Jones, Sam Worthington, Wyatt Russell and Rory Culkin. And the behind-the-scenes talent is just as impressive – the limited series is written by “Milk” scribe Dustin Lance Black and directed, in part, by “Hell or High Water” filmmaker David Mackenzie. This one should get people talking. [TRAILER]