Finally! Last year’s big Emmy-winning breakout hit The Handmaid’s Tale is back on the air – “under his eye,” naturally – to give us yet another glimpse of a hellish, misogynistic dystopia that’s pure escapism. (Riiiight.) Offred and Co. will have plenty of competition for your attention this month, as the service also drops a doc on everyone’s favorite impossibly proportioned doll; Netflix pulls back the curtain on a new Adam Sandler-Chris Rock collaboration and a big-budget update of a sci-fi TV classic; and Amazon premieres the latest release from Spike Lee and gives one of the best movies of 2017 its online debut. Here’s your need-to-stream guide for the next month.
All or Nothing (Amazon, April 6th)
After mining Shakespearean drama from the Los Angeles Rams’ relocation and attempted comeback, the latest iteration of this fan-favorite docuseries heads south to chronicle the Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 season. While the team missed the playoffs with a middling win-loss record, it landed at the center of a maelstrom when running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended following domestic-abuse allegations from an ex-girlfriend. It should be an improbable legal thriller wedged inside a crackling gridiron saga – and more important, provide thorough reportage on one of the strangest sports stories of last year.
The Florida Project (Amazon, April 6th)
The Oscars didn’t provide Sean Baker’s slice-of-life drama with the profile bump it deserved; perhaps at-home availability will turn more viewers on to this gem of a movie. Young Moonnee (Brooklynn Prince, in one of cinema’s all-time great kid performances) romps with her friends around the rundown Sunshine State motel she calls home. Meanwhile, her mother (Bria Vinaite) resorts to desperate measures to make ends meet and the manager (Willem Dafoe) struggles to keep his residents in line. It’s as empathetic a child’s-eye, coming-of-age story as you’re likely to see this year, or really any year.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 2 (Hulu, April 25th)
It’s won a cavalcade of awards and helped put Hulu on the map last year – and this adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel has to avoid the sophomore slump to prove that the stellar first season wasn’t a fluke. Star Elisabeth Moss has confirmed that things are going to get even worse for Offred (née June) as she makes a flight for freedom away from Gilead. But the new episodes will also map uncharted narrative territory, as the series extends the story past the limits of her original novel, introducing Offred’s mother, Holly (Broadway legend Cherry Jones), and bringing on a new dose of nightmare fuel. Blessed be the fruit.
Lost in Space (Netflix, April 13th)
Netflix continues to reboot the latter half of the 20th century with this take on the 1965 sci-fi series that followed the Robinson family and their fellow space colonists as they adjust to post-marooned life beyond the stars. This new series boasts a far more vivd depiction of the hostile alien world that the clan and their companion Dr. Smith (played by Parker Posey!) crash-land on, while contending with the inclement conditions of their new home and a few extraterrestrial bogies. Danger, Will Robinson!
National Treasure: Kiri (Hulu, April 4th)
Social worker Miriam (Sarah Lancashire) brings young Kiri (Felicia Mukasa) for an unsupervised visit with her birth family before the girl is to be adopted by an upper-middle-class white couple. That day, the kid goes missing, thus setting off a Gone Girl-scale manhunt that widens the racial divides in an already fraught situation. To be clear: At no point in this lacerating drama does Nicolas Cage steal the Declaration of Independence – but viewers are still in for a gripping 11th-hour search all the same.
No Offence (Acorn, April 16th)
Shameless creator Paul Abbott takes on the police procedural, with an inspector (Joanna Scanlan) overseeing a squadron that’s pursuing a serial killer who’s targeting young girls with Down’s syndrome. She soon gets too close to the case, as cops on the edge are wont to do, and lands herself and her crew in harm’s way. It’s already a smash overseas following a multiseason run on the U.K.’s Channel 4; it’s bound to captivate SVU savants on this side of the pond as well.
Pass Over (Amazon, April 20th)
At Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater in late 2017, Spike Lee quietly filmed a production of writer Antoinette Nwandu’s riff on Waiting for Godot, which follows two young black men for the course of one rudderless day. Crowds at Sundance and SXSW have responded positively to this visceral, intimate stage adaptation torn from today’s headlines; with little more than lights and a spartan set, Lee and a cast of unknowns create a gripping drama of inertia.
6 Balloons (Netflix, April 6th)
In a Southern California far removed from the outer-borough playground of Broad City, Katie (Abbi Jacobson) takes responsibility for her heroin-addict brother, Seth (Dave Franco). With one eye on her pint-size niece and another on her brother as he sinks deeper into an agonizing withdrawal, she scrambles to get him help – while also throwing together a surprise party for her boyfriend during one chaotic day. This gritty indie character study from writer-director Marja-Lewis Ryan gives Jacobson a great opportunity to display some of her acting range; it’s solid proof that she can tackle tough drama as well as stoner comedy.
Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie (Hulu, April 27th)
She may be a mere 11.5 inches of plastic, but the shadow of Barbie looms long in American popular culture – and her physically impossible waist-to-hip ratio has provided a symbol of the unrealistic expectations society places on women. But thanks to a body-type remodeling and an expansion of career options for the can-do toy, Barbie’s image has been somewhat rehabilitated in recent years. A host of big-name scholars, including Roxane Gay and Gloria Steinem, offer their thoughts on Barbie’s complex history and charged feminist significance. The only question is: How long until Ken Burns tackles the Bratz?
The Week Of (Netflix, April 27th)
With this wedding comedy, Adam Sandler completes the four-picture blood pact he signed with Netflix in 2014. (Don’t worry, he signed another four-picture deal last year, so Sandler fans will be all set for the next decade or so.) Here, he portrays a boorish father-of-the-bride who grates on the nerves of everyone involved – especially the laid-back father of the groom (longtime Sandler pal Chris Rock). But surely the power of love and family will prevail in the end. And, hey, Steve Buscemi’s along for the ride, so that’s fun!