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7 unmissable TV shows you’ll want to add to your watch list

Cynthia Erivo stars as soul legend Aretha Franklin in Genius: Aretha

From mesmerizing new writing to buzzy returns, PORTER highlights the TV shows and sequels you’ll want to binge-watch to your heart’s content…

Lifestyle

Genius: Aretha

Stepping into the shoes of the Queen of Soul is no easy feat, but the sublime Cynthia Erivo is already racking up future award nods for her portrayal of Aretha Franklin. This TV biopic follows the peaks and troughs of Franklin’s colossal career, as she navigates the ever-changing shifts in pop music but ultimately comes out on top. For fans and non-fans alike, it’s a fascinating slice of rock ’n’ roll history – with the seal of approval from Franklin’s long-term producer, the iconic Clive Davis, no less. On National Geographic in the US from March 21 and on Disney+ in the UK from June

Solos

This new anthology series has a roll call of prime-time heavyweights attached (Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Uzo Aduba, Constance Wu and more), and is set to be a hard-hitting drama like no other this spring. These are stories of love, loss and loneliness told through the eyes of each character in their very own episode. Be sure to look out for directorial cameos from Sam Taylor-Johnson and Zach Braff, too. Think Modern Love meets Black Mirror. On Amazon Prime later this year

Kate Winslet stars in crime-drama Mare of Easttown

Mare of Easttown

The latest character-led HBO crime-drama is darker, dirtier and, dare we say, perhaps even better than last year’s The Undoing. Set in a run-down town plagued by petty drug crime, missing persons and now murder, the irascible detective alienating friends and family over the investigation is played with peppery perfection by Kate Winslet. Evan Peters, Guy Pearce and Angourie Rice join a stellar cast, playing possible allies and suspects. Gripping storylines + intriguing characters = viewing addiction. On HBO from April 18

Newcomer Jessie Mei Li stars in Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone

This new fantasy series is adapted from Leigh Bardugo’s excellent Grisha trilogy and rooted in Russian folklore rather than Medieval England. The plot of a scrappy young map-maker, who unleashes supressed power and is recruited into the King’s Army, explores racial and gender discriminations in a narrative of weaponized magical appropriation, land-grab power plays, innocents, villains and voyagers. Fresh faces Jessie Mei Lei, Amita Suman, Archie Renaux and Freddy Carter are joined with a flourish by Ben Barnes and Zoe Wannamaker. On Netflix from April 23

Elisabeth Moss as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale

If the news isn’t quite post-apocalyptic enough at the moment, look no further than season four of The Handmaid’s Tale, which will bring a fresh helping of chaos, corruption and catastrophe. Rumor has it that this is the season Offred (Elisabeth Moss) finally escapes and brings down the regime, meaning that the day of reckoning could finally have arrived in this eerily-close-to-home drama. On Hulu from April 28

Lily James and Emily Beecham in The Pursuit of Love

The Pursuit of Love

It’s been a minute since the last period drama went viral but, worry not, this new adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s 1945 classic is here to fill the Bridgerton-shaped hole in your life. Emily Mortimer brings her own English sensibility to the series – which she has written and directed herself – with Lily James and Emily Beecham as the best friends at the heart of the story, not to mention great cameos from Andrew Scott (Fleabag’s Hot Priest) and Call My Agent star Assaad Bouab. Expect plenty of wit, high-society hubbub and scene-stealing costumes. On BBC and Amazon Prime, release date to be confirmed

Thuso Mbedu stars in The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

There has rarely been as perfect a marriage of content and direction than this adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, helmed by Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins. The show is every bit as haunting and compelling as it should be – with emerging stars Thuso Mbedu and Aaron Pierre bringing the characters of Cora and Caesar (two slaves in 19th-century America) to life with deep poignancy. Jenkins’ collaborator Nicholas Brittell (who scored both Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk) serves as composer to this evocative masterpiece. On Amazon from May 14

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