5 Biggest New TV Shows Of April 2024

April brings us charmers, dead detectives, and the post-apocalypse.

april ripley

The tendency towards single-word titles (ideally the protagonist’s surname) in contemporary media is hard to deny, but April’s new TV shows are really pushing the boat out in that regard. One of these entries is presumably only not an example because it would involve more diacritics than a lot of audiences are fully comfortable with. And as for the only other entry with more than one word in the title, if there was a handy word that meant ‘ghosts investigating mysteries’, it would absolutely have used it.

If you’re trying to fill up your watchlist as Spring begins in earnest, here are the biggest new TV shows of April 2024.

1. Ripley | April 4th, 2024

Nothing to do with the well-regarded lady wrestler – this is Andrew Scott (Moriarty from Stephen Moffat’s Sherlock, but that’s not his fault) having a try at being The Talented Mr Ripley. In all likelihood the character’s still quite talented and also an adult man in this too, but the title’s just deferring to no-frills single-word modern standards, which is something we’ll be seeing more of this month, so keep your eyes peeled.

Filmed in black and white, Ripley will have to try to be artsy without spilling over into fartsy – but stuff set in Italy in the 1960s is fairly natural territory for that kind of thing. Dakota Fanning, John Malkovich, and Johnny Flynn will be among those being scammed, ripped-off, or otherwise charmed by Scott’s general-purpose rogue.

Promisingly, this is directed and written by Steven Zaillan, previously known for the superlative The Night Of. That show was at its zenith when it was thrumming with pure Hitchcockian tension, the edge-of-your-seat experience of how its protagonist might be caught, and any good con man will have that dynamic whirring away the whole time – until the very moment he flees to the Bahamas with a large sack full of money.

2. Fallout | April 11th, 2024

Can a big-time adaptation of a beloved video game franchise exist, without it turning into a vicious culture-war screaming match for a few weeks before everyone moves on in embarrassment? Probably not. Last year’s The Last Of Us somehow became controversial because a canonically gay character was, in fact, gay – Fallout’s been going since 1997, and some of the fans are probably still bitter about the change to full 3D.

The Fallout TV show’s being developed by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, the people behind Westworld. Now, Westworld ended up going down the pan because the creators were too worried about what the fans thought. This does not necessarily bode well for something with such an entrenched fandom already. Anyone who begins to worry about what all Fallout fans think may well have already gone mad.

But unlike Westworld, there isn’t some overly-complicated mystery of how the world of Fallout came to be. Those who aren’t prematurely burnt out on the concept can enjoy the gallows humour of a postapocalyptic world being explored by the rowdy three of Walton Goggins, Kyle MacLachlan, and Ella Purnell, who without wishing to be unkind could probably all be made in the character creator.

3. Franklin | April 12th, 2024

Michael Douglas stars as the well-known electricity and GILF enthusiast Benjamin Franklin, also known for other work. Will Franklin manage get the French onside with the American Revolution? Who’s to say, no spoilers here.

A near-terminally self-assured figure like Franklin needs someone of Douglas’s caliber, and he is very clearly the main event here. So you have to hope it doesn’t devolve into Franklin staggering through France being right about everything, though there’s doubtless some raunchy records of what Franklin really got up to over there for them to draw upon.

Beyond that, there’s – well, there’s presumably other actors in it, but I don’t know if that particularly matters in a top-heavy production like this one. Apple’s clearly splashing the cash, though, with the costumes and sets looking to be literally on par with the average BBC historo-drama.

4. The Sympathizer | April 14th, 2024

After the end of Vietnam war a communist spy washes up over in America, in Hollywood, possibly the one place in the world more prone to plots, backstabbing, and the usual gamut of fun you get in the sparkling world of espionage. Exactly who is it he’s sympathising with? Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it?

Adapted from Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2015 Pulitzer-winning novel by Park Chan-wook (he of Oldboy), The Sympathizer touches on the experience of Asian immigrants to America – no picnic today, and certainly not in the ‘70s – with the little wrinkle that our main man is a communist spy. Though the inevitable racists won’t know that when they accuse him of it, of course.

Although it’s Hoa Xuande in the lead role, The Sympathizer also promises to have Robert Downey Jr. in ‘multiple roles’, suggesting a kind of Dr. Strangelove affair – and if it’s got Downey Jr. as a Wernher von Braun-alike mad scientist, hamming it up as he explains doomsday devices, I will personally lobby for it to receive every award going.

5. Dead Boy Detectives | April 25th, 2024

Much as I try never to judge a book by its cover, I cannot help but feel a distinct affection for anything with such a straightforward, in-and-out, no-messing title as this. They’re dead boys, who are ghosts now, and solve crimes, you know what you’re getting. It’s like Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased), if Randall was also deceased.

Though this began as a spinoff of Doom Patrol, the titular dead boys are characters created by Neil Gaiman and Matt Wagner from the Sandman universe, but there is at least one Doom Patrol character still in there – thus bringing us ever closer to the cinematic universe singularity. If they include Detective John Munch, that ties them in with a good half of all TV ever created.

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