Spring 2017 looks to bloom with a sizable slate of notable offerings from broadcast, cable and streaming networks.
The networks are stepping up to the plate with urban series examining race relations and law enforcement in the U.S. with Fox’s Shots Fired and the U.K. with Showtime’s docu-series Guerrilla. AMC western drama series The Son premieres and the fully revamped Top Gear goes for a ride on BBC America.
Netflix continues to thrill and hit hard with Marvel’s Iron First and the second installment of the critically-acclaimed retro hip-hop drama The Get Down.
Also, beloved Logo cult favorite RuPaul’s Drag Race make the switch to sister Viacom network VH1 for its season 9 premiere, featuring guest judge Lady Gaga.
Below, Daily Brief takes a look at what’s coming up in the next few months.
Top Gear - Season 24 (BBC America, March 12)
The name of the Top Gear franchise may be same, but definitely not the series. After former show host Jeremy Clarkson was fired for punching a producer and his co-hosts left the series in protest, the newly revamped show, now in season 24, is led by Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid, with appearances by Sabine Schmitz, Eddie Jordan and The Stig. The seven-part show has been filmed in locations such as Kazakhstan, Cuba, Monaco and the American West, and prominently features souped-up cars like the Ford GT, Aston Martin DB11, BMW M2, Ferrari FXX K and Bugatti Chiron.
Marvel’s Iron Fist (Netflix, March 17)
The upcoming Marvel series features Danny Rand (Game of Thrones’ Finn Jones), who, after being orphaned following a mysterious plane crash, is taught the ways of mystical martial arts in K’un-Lun before returning home 15 years later. He longs to reunite with his childhood friends Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) and Joy (Jessica Stroup). However, when the hero comes back to New York, he is greeted with ridicule and skepticism from those he once considered friends.
Shots Fired (Fox, March 22, 8 p.m.)
The 10-episode event series is a topical drama that explores the aftermath of two racially charged shootings, one involving a white teenage and one involving a black teenager, in a small Southern town. The show’s storyline starts with a white teenager being shot and killed by a black cop (Mack Wilds) who may be a racist. The series is described by co-creator Reggie Bythewood as an “autopsy of a town like Ferguson” that features both “whodunnit and whydunnit elements.” The questions of who killed Joey Campbell and why Jesse Carr was killed will weave together a charged narrative that could not be more timely given the subject of police brutality and racially motivated violence in the United States.
RELATED: TCA: Fox’s ‘Shots Fired’ Shows The ‘Grey Area’ Between Cops and Citizens
RuPaul’s Drag Race (Switches from Logo to VH1, March 24, 8 p.m.)
Logo’s long-running competition makes its ninth season premiere on sister Viacom channel VH1. The switch comes as Viacom tries to boost the audience of the long-running Logo competition series. The show will not leave Logo entirely—encore episodes will air on the Logo network. In the clip, below, a new cast of contestants appear, along with a sneak peek of the Super Bowl-slaying singer-songwriter Lady Gaga appearing as a guest judge in season-nine.
Five Came Back (three part docu-series, Netflix, March 31)
A three-part series examining Hollywood during World War II makes waves on streaming giant Netflix this spring based on a bestselling book of the same name by Mark Harris. The story examines the experiences of five filmmakers (Frank Capra, William Wyler, George Stevens, John Huston and John Ford) who interrupted successful Hollywood film careers to serve their country during World War II, risking their lives to tell the stories of the war to the U.S. civilian population. The five directors featured in the trailer, below, are five modern filmmakers—Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Greengrass and Lawrence Kasdan – who offer their perspectives while Meryl Streep serves as narrator.
RELATED: Meryl Streep Narrates Netflix’s WWII Docu-Series ‘Five Came Back’
The Get Down: Part II (Netflix, April 7)
Critically-acclaimed retro hip-hop drama gets a second installment on streaming network Netflix this spring. The show is a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to a new art form: hip-hop. Set in New York in 1977, this music-driven drama series chronicles the rise of hip-hop and the last days of disco -– told through the lives, music, art and dance of the South Bronx kids who would change the world forever. The Get Down stars Justice Smith as Ezekiel “Brooks” Figueroa, Herizen Guardiola as Mylene Cruz, Shameik Moore as Shaolin Fantastic and Skylan Brooks as Ra-Ra Kipling.
The Son (AMC, April 8, 9 p.m.)
The original AMC western drama based on Philipp Meyer’s novel, The Son, stars Pierce Brosnan as Eli McCullough. The story follows Eli who is kidnapped and raised into the Comanche Tribe in 1849. Sixty years later, Eli struggles to maintain his family’s cattle empire during the bandit wars of South Texas.
Unprotected (Oxygen, April 11, 9 p.m.)
Be on the lookout for this upcoming unscripted mob-themed series. The series stars the Cantarellas—headed by reputed New York crime boss, Richard Cantarella and his family— who live life in an unassuming Scottsdale, Ariz.-based gated community after leaving a witness protection program in New York. Their high-profile crime family name juxtaposed against the new sleepy suburban neighborhood they live in brings about a lot of raised eyebrows in the community they now live, as seen below—especially as they drive to their new home in an ominous-looking black truck. Shooting (no pun intended) took place in the family’s actual neighborhood.
Guerilla (Showtime, April 16, 9 p.m.)
Racial friction in 1970s London is at the core of a gritty upcoming limited series from Showtime. The six-part series is a love story about a normal couple that become revolutionaries set against the backdrop of a politically explosive time in 1970s London. It tells the story of a couple—Jas Mitra (Freida Pinto) and Marcus Hill (Babou Ceesay)—whose relationship and values are tested when they liberate a political prisoner and form a radical underground cell. Their ultimate target becomes the Black Power Desk, a true-life, secretive counter-intelligence unit within the Special Branch dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism. And is a notable moment in U.K. history.
Twin Peaks (Showtime, two-hour series premiere, May 21, 9 p.m., regularly airs Sundays at 9 p.m)
The 18-part limited event series picks up 25 years after the citizens of a quiet northwestern town were shocked when their homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) was murdered, which the network teases in a gripping clip, below. The upcoming limited series will celebrate its two-part premiere on “Twin Peaks Day” on Sunday, May 21, the day fans revere as the first time Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) set foot in the mysterious town.