Best Reason to Watch: You remember “Russian Doll” Season 1, right? Natasha Lyonne’s half-hour time loop comedy scored 13 Emmy nominations (and won three) after its breakout debut in February 2019. Co-created by Lyonne, Amy Poehler, and Leslye Headland (the latter of whom also directed four episodes), “Russian Doll” follows sweet birthday baby Nadia (Lyonne) as she lives through her 36th DOB again and again, always ending with her unfortunate (and oft-amusing) demise.
While the first season appeared to close that loop, Season 2 restarts the insanity — with a twist I dare not mention here. Some may balk at extending a series that’s already found an ideal closing point, but given how long it’s taken for new episodes to come about, as well as the talent involved in front and behind the camera, “Russian Doll” seems poised to prove it’s a circle worth extending. Season 2! What a concept!
Best Reason to Watch: The end is nigh. Just three months after the first half of Season 4 hit Netflix, the final episodes of “Ozark” are set to roll out. The crime saga that started with Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney) fleeing Chicago to set up a money laundering front in central Missouri is winding its way to a halt, and fans will find out the ultimate fate of their favorite antihero family: As Jason Bateman put it earlier, “Are they going to get away with it, or are they going to pay a bill?”
Of course, there’s more than just the Byrdes to worry about. [Editor’s Note: Light spoilers ahead for “Ozark” Season 4, Part 1.] January’s set of episodes ended with Ruth Langmore (Emmy winner Julia Garner) on a rampage. But if she kills the man she’s dead set on taking down, that spells serious trouble for Marty and Wendy. Does that mean they’ll take preemptive aim at Ruth? Will debating that very decision be the final wedge that splits the married co-conspirators for good? And is there any way all of our main characters can make it out of this alive? Showrunner Chris Mundy has done an admirable job setting up a final sprint that’s too close to call. Now, the key question becomes: Can “Ozark” finish strong?
Best Reason to Watch: Speaking of endings, “Grace and Frankie’s” has been a long time coming. Premiering in 2015, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda’s endearing comedy about twilight-year friendships outlasted countless Netflix originals as well as one seemingly incessant presidency, and it would’ve eclipsed the very pandemic that delayed its production if everyone simply had the common sense to get vaccinated. But here we are. Season 7. A sum total of 94 episodes. The longest-running Netflix original series of all-time. Wow.
So what can fans expect for a goodbye? Mum’s the word on plot details, but after dropping the first four episodes in January, April will see 12 more coming. The series finale is written by co-creators Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, with Kauffman directing the ending chapter, as well. Tears will certainly be shed. Laughs will be had. And here’s hoping Grace (Fonda), Frankie (Tomlin), and their ex-husbands/now-partners Robert (Martin Sheen) and Sol (Sam Waterston) find the happy ending they deserve.
Best Reason to Watch: April may be the fourth month of the year, but in 2022, it also marks the beginning of the end for quite a few shows! As AMC starts rolling out “Better Call Saul” Season 6 — the final season will be split into two parts, wrapping this summer — Netflix offers fans the chance to catch up with Season 5. There’s not much left unsaid about what’s proven to be a worthy successor to “Breaking Bad”: Bob Odenkirk’s performance is as good as they say; Rhea Seehorn is an absolute gem, long deserving of Emmy gold; the rest of the cast has created a sterling supporting ensemble around its leads; episode directors have evolved the informative visual language that deepened the original series, and showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have beautifully developed Saul’s extended flashback into its own compelling, standalone story. Catch up before it’s too late — even though, there won’t be a wrong time to revisit this classic.
Best Reason to Watch: The logline (for once) says it all: “An epic five-part series narrated by President Barack Obama that invites viewers to celebrate and discover the power of our planet’s greatest national parks and wild spaces.”
President Obama + environment docuseries = our eyes and ears, but a little more context is helpful here. “Our National Parks” is the latest project to stem from Netflix’s partnership with Higher Ground Productions, the company founded by Barack and Michelle Obama. Past releases are already impressive: the “Becoming” documentary scored four Emmy nominations, “Crip Camp” was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar, and “American Factory” won it. Then there’s “Waffles + Mochi,” aka the best children’s show since “Sesame Street.” Higher Ground Productions has, so far, lived up to the lofty expectations set by its founders, and “Our Great National Parks” looks to continue the streak. Visiting Monterey Bay in California, as well as Chile, Kenya, Indonesia and more, the series looks to continue President Obama’s mission to protect public lands and waters by inviting the world to appreciate them anew.
That, or he got a little jealous of Michelle’s onscreen success. Either way, I’ll be watching.
Best Reason to Watch: Based on the novel by Sarah Vaughan, this six-episode limited series stems from creative heavyweights David E. Kelley (“Big Little Lies”) and Melissa James Gibson (“House of Cards”), with a cast including Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery, Rupert Friend, and Naomi Scott. That, however, is where the good times end. The courtroom drama centers around a prominent politician and married man who’s first caught having an affair and then accused of rape. Soon, his wife doesn’t know what to believe or who to trust, as investigators dig into their personal history in order to determine what fate will befall one of London’s most trusted members of Parliament. A psychological thriller with more on its mind than guilt and innocence, “Anatomy of a Scandal” may not be a fun watch, but hey, at least its cast is strong. (More projects for Rupert Friend, please.)
Best Reason to Watch: Hey, it’s another final season! Syfy’s original series “Van Helsing” wrapped with its fifth season in 2021, and now Netflix subscribers can appreciate the cult favorite’s full run. From creator and showrunner Neil LaBute, the hourlong series stars Kelly Overton as Vanessa Van Helsing, humanity’s last hope in a post-apocalyptic landscape, three years after a volcano eruption covers the world in permanent darkness — and allows vampires to seize control. But Vanessa’s distinct blood composition allows her to turn vampires back into humans, making her an integral warrior in the fight for peace and a symbol of hope for people who have lost so much.
“Van Helsing” didn’t exactly take the TV world by storm, but it developed a passionate fan base, strong critical allies, and five gripping seasons. Genre fans in particular should give it a shot, though there’s plenty to like for just about anyone seeking savvy, escapist thrills.
“Get Organized with The Home Edit” Season 2 (available April 1)
“Tomorrow” (available April 1)
“Trivia Quest” (available April 1 – new episodes daily)
“Abby Hatcher” Season 2 (available April 1)
“CoComelon” Season 5 (available April 1)
“Heartland” Season 14 (available April 1)
“Polly Pocket: Season 4, Part 1: Summer of Fun” (available April 1)
“Green Mother’s Club” (available April 6)
“The Ultimatum: Marry Me or Move On” (available April 6)
“Queen of the South” Season 5 (available April 7)
“Barbie It Takes Two” (available April 8)
“Dirty Lines” (available April 8)
“Elite” Season 5 (available April 8)
“Green Eggs and Ham” Season 2 (available April 8)
“My Liberation Notes” (available April 9)
“Our Blues” (available April 9)
“Hard Cell” (available April 12)
“Almost Happy” Season 2 (available April 13)
“Smother-in-Law” (available April 13)
“Ultraman” Season 2 (available April 14)
“Heirs to the Land” (available April 15)
“Mai” (available April 15)
“Strawberry Shortcake Berry in the Big City” Season 1 (available April 15)
“LEGO Friends: Girls on a Mission” Seasons 1-4 (available April 16)
“Pacific Rim: The Black” Season 2 (available April 19)
“The Marked Heart” (available April 20)
“Yakamoz S-245” (available April 20)
“He’s Expecting” (available April 21)
“Heartstopper” (available April 22)
“Selling Sunset” Season 5 (available April 22)
“The Seven Lives of Lea” (available April 22)
“Bullshit: The Game Show” (available April 27)