1. “Dear White People” Season 1 (available April 28)
Why Should I Watch It? “Dear White People” is based on Justin Simien’s 2014 Sundance sensation of the same name, pulling characters and plot lines from the satirical comedy that helped introduce us to the glory that is Tessa Thompson. While the “Creed” star won’t be returning, other breakouts from the film are, and the core story — of a predominantly white Ivy League university facing a heated racial debate after a misguided blackface Halloween party — has been refined to fit a serialized format. It is hilarious, sharp, and so timely it hurts. Don’t miss it.
Best Episode: We caught the first two at SXSW, and though both are absolutely stellar, I’ve got to give the edge to the pilot. Logan Browning, as a radio personality who hosts a show titled “Dear White People,” gives a finely layered turn and the general introduction to Winchester University can’t be beat. We can’t wait to see if future episodes will top it — especially the sixth episode, directed by “Moonlight” Oscar winner Barry Jenkins — but the premiere set a damn high bar.
2. “The Get Down” Part II (available April 7)
Why Should I Watch It? The first half of “The Get Down’s” first season was a vibrant splash of color in the oft-quiet world of TV, and Baz Luhrmann’s aptly wild creation left a mark on those who watched it. Hopefully even more of an army builds for Part II, considering the show’s reported budget and, of course, that the high quality demands as many eyeballs as Netflix needs. Chronicling the rise of hip-hop during the disco era, “The Get Down” is an adult take on a story of kids trying to make it. But what’s truly compelling is how it blends the push and pull of getting out and staying in; what you can accomplish both ways and what you’re giving up either way. It’s an emotional punch that makes you reprioritize in interesting ways — in between truly outstanding musical numbers.
Best Episode: We’ve seen all five of the new episodes, and it’s clear that Episode 8 takes the title. So not to spoil anything, I’ll just drop a few brief highlights: The Get Down Brothers perform at Les Inferno. Shaolin v. Cadillac dance-off. “Gonna Fly Now” Get Down remix. And there’s more! Get excited!
3. “Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Return” (available April 14)
Why Should I Watch It? The official Netflix summary of “Mystery Science Theatre’s” return is as simple as the concept itself:
“One man. Three bots. And a vault of B movies just begging to be riffed. Welcome to an all-new era of MST3K.”
But that doesn’t do justice to the hilarity and insights within this beloved franchise. The revival casts Jonah Ray (The Nerdist Podcast) as the latest unfortunate host who is forced to watch terrible movies alongside robots Crow, Tom Servo and evil scientist Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day). She terrorizes Ray, assisted by Patton Oswalt, with a number of frighteningly bad films, and the three jokesters fight back with their mightiest weapon: a sharp wit. Dan Harmon, Joel McHale, and Justin Roiland are among the writers for the revival.
Best Episode: My esteemed colleague Liz Shannon Miller, who’s been covering the series extensively for IndieWire, gives the following advice for viewers: “Start with Episode 1, which will set up how our new host enters the Satellite of Love, as well as the new characters. It’s the only one I’ve seen, and I can’t tell you what the movie is, but you can expect a little more serialization than in the past and, if you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ll want to experience how that element updates the show for a new audience.”
4. “Girlboss” Season 1 (available April 21)
Why Should I Watch It? Inspired by the New York Times best-selling book, “#Girlboss,” written by Sophia Amoruso (who founded the fashion brand Nasty Gal), the new Netflix original series stars Britt Robertson as the aforementioned author, who built a fashion empire by the time she was 28 years old. If fashion’s not your thing, then be aware that Charlize Theron serves as an executive producer on this one, and has been vocal about her involvement in the series. Co-stars include Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”), RuPaul and relative newcomer Ellie Reed, and the 13 half-hour episodes were created by showrunner Kay Cannon, of “Pitch Perfect” and “30 Rock” fame.
Best Episode: We haven’t had a chance to watch yet — nor can be break the embargo set by Netflix — so this one remains a bit of a mystery. Still, a few of the things mentioned at the Netflix NY panel have caught our interest, so we’ll be eager to discuss very soon.
5. “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On” Season 1 (available April 21)
Why Should I Watch It? Based off the popular and well-received documentary produced by Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On” is a six-part anthology series examines the intersection of sex and technology through social media, pornography and virtual relationships. Each episode examines personal stories of race, gender politics, and intimate connections made online. While the film focused on the pornography industry through the eyes of its young stars, the show looks to expand on those themes, conflicts, and general discussion through a lengthier examination.
Best Episode: Sadly, we haven’t been able to see this one yet, but we encourage everyone to try out the film. When the original film premiered at Sundance, it caused quite a stir before exploding with its Netflix debut. It’s no wonder the media giant wanted more from this story.
6. “Documentary Now!” Season 2 (available April 10)
Why Should I Watch It? If you’re a film buff, this is a must-see. Where else can you see expert improv performers and satiric writers like Bill Hader and Fred Armisen parody documentaries like “Swimming to Cambodia,” “Stop Making Sense,” “Salesman,” and “The Kid Stays in the Picture”? And even if you’ve never heard of those, the loving reverence paid to each in these half-hour homages will make you want to go back and see the real thing. It did for us, anyway.
Best Episode: Frankly, the swag IFC sent critics before this premiered may have been our favorite thing about the series, but only because of how well the fake campaign memorabilia bolstered our appreciation of the episode chronicling Ben Herndon’s run for governor of Ohio. Parodying Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, Episode 1, “The Bunker” was a send-up of the 1993 documentary, “The War Room.” Now a proud member of the Criterion Collection, “The War Room” was D.A. Pennebaker’s Oscar nominee in ’94, and simply spoofing an obscure but beloved doc classic is enough to woo us in the right direction, even without the hats, buttons, and bumper stickers.
7. “Bill Nye Saves the World” Season 1 (available April 21)
Why Should I Watch It? Science has never been more valuable to study, understand, and appreciate than right now, and having an amiable, enthusiastic presence like Bill Nye leading the way only makes following through that much easier. In his new series, Nye dispels myths and refutes anti-scientific claims through panel discussions, special correspondent reports, and Bill’s own blend of lab procedure and personal flair. Nye is on a mission to make scientific facts not only understood as the undeniable truth, but to make sure we all appreciate the difference between what’s provable and what’s opinion. Get ready for a lesson you won’t want to miss.
Best Episode: Reviews are embargoed at the time of posting, but we can say that the title of Episode 1 is the best of the first four: “Do Some Shots, Save the World.” Bill, now you’re speaking our language. Pour me a rye whiskey and let’s get to work.
The Rest of Incoming TV
“Wynonna Earp” Season 1 (available April 1)
“Chewing Gum” Season 1 (available April 4)
“Dawn of the Croods” Season 3 (available April 7)
“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” Season 2 (available April 12)
“Chelsea” Season 2 (available April 14)
“Tales by Light” Season 2 (available April 21)
“The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show” Season 4 (available April 21)
“The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass” Seasons 1 – 3 (available April 22)
“Liv and Maddie” Season 4 (available April 23)
“Real Rescues” Seasons 6-7 (available April 26)
“Las Chicas del Cable” Season 1 (available April 27)
“Sofia the First” Season 3 (available April 30)