USA TODAY TV Critic Kelly Lawler breaks down her must-see TV shows of the spring and talks about how the pandemic is affecting production.
Ready for summer TV? Sheltering in place may leave you with a lot of time on your sanitized hands.
Thankfully, television is here to offer a distraction.
New streaming service HBO Max is up and running with several original series, including one starring a beloved “Sesame Street” character in “The Not Too Late Show with Elmo” and Anna Kendrick in rom-com series “Love Life.”
While ABC’s “The Bachelorette” season starring Clare Crawley has been delayed, the network is looking back on its franchise’s finest moments in “The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons – Ever!” And it’s time to say goodbye to Netflix’s “Fuller House” and “13 Reasons Why.”
Our calendar of major highlights ensures you won’t miss the return of your favorite series or the start of a new show you’ll fall in love with. (All times EDT/PDT).
“America’s Got Talent” (NBC, Tuesdays at 8)
“World of Dance” (NBC, Tuesdays at 10)
Dancers Jake & Chau appear on “World of Dance.” (Photo: Jordin Althaus/NBC)
“Craftopia” (HBO Max): YouTube star crafter Lauren Riihimaki hosts the artistic showdown among contestants ages 9-15.
“Legendary” (HBO Max): Heroes may get remembered, but you know what they say about legends. Voguing teams stage balls with hopes of impressing celebrity judges, including stylist Law Roach, actress Jameela Jamil, dancer Leiomy Maldonado, and rapper Megan Thee Stallion.
“Love Life” (HBO Max): Anna Kendrick stars in this anthology series charting one woman’s romantic relationships over the course of her life.
“Looney Tunes” (HBO Max): Eighty new episodes feature Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the gang.
“The Not Too Late Show with Elmo” (HBO Max): There’s a new talk show host in town. The “Sesame Street” resident’s series features interviews with Jimmy Fallon, stand-up comedian John Mulaney, actress Blake Lively and Grammy-winner Lil Nas X.
“On the Record” (HBO Max): The documentary depicts how Drew Dixon made the choice to go public with her accusations against Russell Simmons. Other accusers of the hip-hop mogul, Sil Lai Abrams and Sheri Sher, are also featured in the project.
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“Ramy” (Hulu): Co-creator and star Ramy Youssef won a Golden Globe this year for his performance in the series, now in its second season.
“Space Force” (Netflix): Steve Carell reunites with “The Office” creator Greg Daniels for a comedy series spoofing the real-life new division of the U.S. armed forces.
The verdict: Review: Disappointing ‘Space Force’ fails to launch on Netflix, even with Steve Carell
Jimmy O. Yang as Dr. Chan KaiFang, Steve Carell as General Mark Naird, Ben Schwartz as F. Tony Scarapiducci and Don Lake as Brad Gregory in “Space Force.” (Photo: Aaron Epstein/Netflix)
“Celebrity Family Feud” (ABC, Sundays at 8): Let’s hope the stars featured on this season – like the cast members of “Jersey Shore,” “Queer Eye,” “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “The Hills” – give good answers.
“Press Your Luck” (ABC, Sundays at 9)
“Match Game” (ABC, Sundays at 10): Bob Saget, Christie Brinkley, Vivica A. Fox and more stars attempt to mirror contestants’ answers.
“Quiz” (AMC, Sunday at 10; then Sundays at 9 June 7 and 14): The three-part series depicts the story of Major Charles Ingram and his wife Diana, who were accused of conspiring with an audience member to cheat on the U.K. edition of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in 2001.
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“Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story” (USA Network, Tuesdays at 10): Amanda Peet (Betty Broderick) and Christian Slater (Dan Broderick) bring this true story of the demise of a marriage and the earth-shattering aftermath to the small screen in the second season of the anthology series inspired by the podcast.
“Fuller House” (Netflix): The streaming service releases the final episodes of the “Full House” spinoff that followed Danny Tanner’s adult daughters D.J. and Stephanie and their families.
Spelling the Dream (Netflix): Through four competitors, this documentary explores how how Indian Americans have ruled Scripps National Spelling Bee since 1999.
“Dear…” (Apple TV+): The 10-part docuseries celebrates the lives of well-known figures – Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Stevie Wonder and more – through letters from people who have been affected by their careers.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” (VH1, Fridays at 8)
“13 Reasons Why” (Netflix): The final season.
“Queer Eye” (Netflix)
Queen of the South (Netflix)
“Yvonne Orji: Momma, I Made It!” (HBO at 10): The actress, who plays best friend Molly on HBO’s “Insecure,” performs in her first standup special, which includes bits filmed in her native Nigeria.
“Patriot Act” host, comedian Hasan Minhaj (Photo: Cara Howe/Netflix)
“Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” (Netflix)
“I May Destroy You” (HBO, Sundays at 10:30) “Chewing Gum” star/writer Michaela Coel plays Arabella, a writer who “must question and rebuild every element of her life” after someone puts drugs into her drink.
“The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons – Ever!” (ABC, Mondays at 8): With no new season available due to the coronavirus pandemic, the network’s dating franchise is reliving its dramatic history. Each week, host Chris Harrison revisits a beloved season.
“The Bold Type” (Freeform, at 10)
“Dating Around” Season 2 (Netflix): The gorgeously shot reality show, in which a single man or woman goes on five first dates before choosing one to see again, moves to New Orleans.
The Woods (Netflix): The Polish series adapted from Harlan Coben’s novel follows a prosecutor who learns that a body is found 25 years after his sister went missing.
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“Siesta Key” (MTV, Tuesdays at 8)
“Mr. Iglesias” (Netflix): Comedian Gabriel Iglesias is back for Part 2 of his series as a high school teacher who helps underperforming students at his alma mater.
“Babies: Part 2” (Netflix): The docuseries continues with more research about human development.
“The Politician” (Netflix): Payton (Ben Platt) sets his sights on the state senate in a race against an incumbent (Judith Light) and her fierce aide (Bette Midler) that includes double crosses and love triangles in the second season of Ryan Murphy’s series.
Ben Platt stars as Payton Hobart in “The Politician.” (Photo: Giovanni Rufino/Netflix)
“Perry Mason” (HBO, Sundays at 9): Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”) stars in the origin story of one of TV’s most famous defense lawyers, set in 1931.
“Yellowstone” (Paramount Network, Sundays at 9): Josh Holloway (“Lost”) joins the hit Western for its third season.
“The Chi” (Showtime, Sundays at 9): Star and creator Lena Waithe has her sights set on leading Chicago as mayor in the new season.
Crazy Delicious (Netflix): A cooking competition where amateur chefs prepare dishes using ingredients from a magical edible forest.
“Transhood” (HBO, 9): The documentary follows the lives of four transgender children (beginning at ages 4, 9, 12 and 15) living in Kansas City.
“The Twilight Zone” Season 2 (CBS All Access)
“Black Monday” (Showtime, Sundays at 8)
“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” (HBO, Sundays at 10): The six-part docuseries, based on Michelle McNamara’s best-selling crime book, centers on California’s Golden State Killer.
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‘America’s Got Talent’: Singer Archie Williams gets second chance after wrongful conviction
“Expecting Amy” (HBO Max): The docuseries follows captures comedian Amy Schumer during her difficult pregnancy her son, born in May 2019.
The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)
“The Good Lord Bird” (Showtime, Sundays at 10): Ethan Hawke portrays abolitionist John Brown in the limited series inspired by James McBride’s 2013 novel, with Joshua Caleb Johnson as Onion, a young slave.
“Love Fraud” (Showtime, Sundays at 9): This four-part docuseries explores the cons of Richard Scott Smith, who romanced and swindled several women who turned to a bounty hunter for revenge.
“Hollywood” (Netflix): The limited series, co-created by Ryan Murphy, depicts a group of actors and filmmakers on a search for stardom in Hollywood following World War II.
“Trying” (Apple TV+): The comedy series follows a couple who are attempting to conceive.
“Upload” (Amazon Prime): Nathan (Robbie Amell) experiences a virtual afterlife after he’s involved in a car accident in this comedy from Greg Daniels (“The Office,” “Parks and Recreation”).
“Billions” (Showtime, Sundays at 9): Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) revert to being adversaries for the shows fifth season, which will feature guest stars Julianna Margulies and Corey Stoll.
“Archer” (FX, Wednesdays at 10): Season 11 of the animated comedy kicks off.
“The Eddy” (Netflix): The story of a former successful pianist-turned embattled club owner is told over eight episodes. Producers include Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”).
“I Know This Much is True” (HBO, Sundays at 9): Mark Ruffalo pulls double-duty playing a pair of twin brothers in the limited series in which one brother suffers from mental illness.
Mark Ruffalo plays a set of twins in “I Know This Much Is True.” (Photo: Courtesy of HBO)
“Amy Schumer Learns to Cook” (Food Network, Mondays at 10): So many are cooking in quarantine, including comedian Amy Schumer, who is social distancing with her husband, chef Chris Fischer, on Martha’s Vineyard. Schumer goes from stand-up to sous-chef for this cooking show.
“Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics” (Netflix): Famous faces share their experiences with psychedelic drugs in this documentary.
“The Great” (Hulu): Elle Fanning portrays former empress of Russia Catherine the Great in the comedy that also stars Nicholas Hoult.
“Snowpiercer” (TNT, Sundays at 9): Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs star in the sci-fi show, based on the 2013 film from Bong Joon-ho (“Parasite”) that’s been gestating for years. It’s also been years since the world has frozen over, and those who linger are on train that is continuously on the move.
“Taylor Swift City of Lover Concert” (ABC, Sunday, 10): The special was filmed last September at L’Olympia Theater in Paris and features the Grammy-winning musician singing songs from her latest album, “Lover,” to an “intimate crowd of fans from 37 countries,” according to a news release.
“DC’s Stargirl (CW, Tuesdays at 8, and DC Universe): The series focuses on teen Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) who has enlisted the help of budding heroes to battle the bad guys.
“The Genetic Detective” (ABC, Tuesdays at 10): True-crime fans may have a new favorite. Genetic genealogist CeCe Moore helps solve cases utilizing crime scene DNA.
“Holey Moley II: The Sequel” (ABC, Thursdays at 9): The game of golf might be mini, but the grand prize is huge. Putt-putt golf fanatics face off in each obstacle course-filled episode with hopes of returning for the finale, where one will sink the $250,000 pot.
“Labor of Love” (Fox, Thursdays at 9): A dating-style show in which a 41-year-old woman selects from 15 potential mates to impregnate her and let their “paternal sides shine.” Kristin Davis (“Sex and the City”) hosts.
Contributing: Cydney Henderson, David Oliver and Carly Mallenbaum
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