Documentaries explore the lives of an extraordinary lioness and one of America’s greatest authors. ABC debuts an Erin Brockovich-inspired series and The CW reimagines a martial arts drama.
Dispatches:Weekly TV news
Fox has given a series order to “Our Kind of People” for the 2021-22 season. The drama is from executive producer Lee Daniels and written by Karin Gist. It’s inspired by Lawrence Otis Graham’s critically acclaimed book, “Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class.”
Contenders:Shows to keep on your radar
Feature documentary, “Hysterical” (April 2, FX, 9 p.m. ET), goes backstage and on the road with female comedians. Following veterans, rising stars and novices, the film explores their personal and professional stories as they break comedy’s glass ceiling.
In “My Grandparents’ War” (April 4, PBS, 8 p.m. ET), Helena Bonham Carter, Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas and Carey Mulligan retrace their grandparents’ footsteps during World War II.
“Gangs of London” (April 4, AMC, 10 p.m. ET) makes its U.S. television debut. The story follows Sean Wallace (Joe Cole), the son of the most powerful criminal in London, as he hunts down his father’s killer and takes over the dangerous role he left behind.
Angela Basssett narrates “Malika the Lion Queen” (April 4, Fox, 8 p.m. ET). The two-hour wildlife documentary takes viewers through the life of Malika, the lioness of a pride in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
The iconic series on race, “Eyes on the Prize,” returns to broadcast TV on the anniversary of the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (April 4, World Channel and PBS, 9 p.m. ET). The 14-part series tells the story of the Civil Rights era from the point of view of those whose actions launched a struggle that continues to be felt today.
Filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick are the pair behind the documentary, “Hemingway” (April 5, PBS, 8 p.m. ET). An examination of the life of one of America’s greatest writers, the film combines biographical events with excerpts from his work, as well as interviews with scholars and Hemingway’s son, Patrick.
Nasim Pedrad (“Saturday Night Live”) plays a 14-year-old Persian boy in “Chad” (April 6, TBS, 10:30 p.m. ET). On a mission to become popular during his first year of high school, Chad uses every strategy he can think of to target the cool kids, all while dealing with his mom’s new dating life, and reconciling with his cultural identity.
“Kung Fu” is reimagined (April 7, The CW, 8 p.m. ET). In the reboot, a young Chinese American woman named Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang) vows to protect her San Francisco community from corruption and criminals. Watch it for the entertaining fight sequences and likeable cast.
Katey Sagal (“Sons of Anarchy”) plays Annie “Rebel” Bello in new series, “Rebel” (April 8, ABC, 10 p.m. ET). Inspired by the life of activist Erin Brockovich, the show follows Rebel, a fearless blue-collar legal advocate, as she fights for the causes that matter to her.
Ratings winners and losers
Winners: FX renewed “Snowfall” for season five.
Losers: In its new/old Sunday slot, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” marked series lows.
Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @mcstaytuned