By Brendan Lee
After Life – Season 1, March 8th (Netflix)
“A good day is when I don’t go around wanting to shoot random strangers in the face, and then turn the gun on myself.” Ricky Gervais (The Office, Extras) drags his hilarious, narcissistic butt back to Netflix with his latest dark dramedy. After Life tells the story of Tony, a man whose wife’s sudden death corkscrews him into a depression that isn’t deep enough to kill him, just enough to turn him into an insensible asshole. Produced, Directed, Written, and Starring the man himself, the 6-part first season promises to be classic Gervais, with his knack for saying whatever, whenever, the subject of close examination that begs the question: Why care about anyone else, if you don’t care about yourself?
Turn Up Charlie – Season 1, March 15th (Netflix)
Idris Elba – the name carries such a weight these days. He’s the man best known for his roles in HBO’s The Wire, BBC’s Luther, and everybody’s dream-choice to be the next James Bond. With another big leap, Elba takes a crack at co-creating and producing with Turn Up Charlie, a comedy about a DJ treading water who’s given a chance at long sought-after success when he’s forced to be a nanny for his famous best-friend. It’s a premise that doesn’t immediately kick you in the pants, but the eight-episode first season is worth a watch for Elba alone. Also, look up DJ Big Driis – Elba’s real-life DJ pseudonym – and the appeal intensifies.
Hanna – Season 1, March 29th (Amazon Prime)
You may remember the 2011 film with the same name, starring Saorsie Ronan and written by Seth Lochhead while a student at Vancouver Film School. Well, nine years later, David Farr (co-writer of the original script) has adapted the story for television, and the first episode – released for a 24-hour period at the beginning of February – has already whitened more than a few knuckles. The dramatic-thriller follows Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles), an extraordinary girl with violent skill. Cut-off from all things civilized and bunkered in a forest on the edge of Eastern Europe, Esme hides out with a man named Erik (Joel Kinnaman). With veiled mystery surrounding Hannah’s past, the man who’s taught her to kill, and the rogue CIA agent who hunts them both down (Mirelle Enos), only time will tell how deep this foxhole goes.
Barry – Season 2, March 29th (HBO/Crave)
In case you missed it the first time around, with the inaugural season released in March of last year, Barry is the next hit HBO-produced comedy series. Co-created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader, a depressed, ex-marine turned serial killer looks for fulfillment in his life when his hits just aren’t doing it for him anymore. So, like a wandering stray dog, Barry stumbles his way into the arms of a local theatre group where he pretends to have a passion for the stage – and then begins to actually develop one. The show’s become known for the way Berg and Hader juxtapose gut-wrenching violence with laugh-out-loud comedy and emotionally staggering scenes. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d advise that you sign up for Crave, binge the first season, and buckle up for Season 2 while you still have the chance.