The first episode of HBO’s zombie video-game-turned-series “The Last of Us” was the network’s second-biggest premiere of the past 13 years, eventually reaching more than 10 million viewers — only hinting at the deluge of shows to come. Meanwhile, Rian Johnson of “Knives Out” fame is attempting to revive television of a bygone (see: pre-streaming) era with his Natasha Lyonne-starring case-of-the-week dramedy “Poker Face” on Peacock.
To ease that nasty paradox of choice a little, we’ve compiled a list of spring premieres worth adding to the never-ending queue. A bit of nostalgia, a touch of satire and a dollop of action. Now, even ol’ Bill couldn’t say that’s too much of a good thing, right?
Party Down (Season 3)
Feb. 24, Starz
When “Party Down” debuted in 2009, it felt a bit like a secret, a sneak preview. Here was Adam Scott, just before he broke out with “Parks and Rec,” and Jane Lynch, as she began her ascent on “Glee.” The jokes were wry and nihilistic, disguising a heartfelt earnestness at the story’s core. And all this from a group of disillusioned, pill-popping, shot-taking caterers stuck serving the likes of Steve Guttenberg. (No offense to Steve, of course.) Then, after two far-too-brief seasons, it was gone quicker than a tray of passed hors d’oeuvres. The online campaigns to get another season seemed as doomed as the characters’ big-screen dreams, but every once in a while, miracles do happen — even in Hollywood.
The Mandalorian (Season 3)
March 1, Disney Plus
Baby Yoda may turn 4 this November (at least, in human years), but fans have only gotten to watch the little green bundle of joy for two seasons. The hotly anticipated third season of Jon Favreau’s bounty hunter saga arrives after a more than two-year wait, during which Tony Gilroy elevated the live-action Star Wars TV genre with his critically beloved “Andor.” Whether “The Mandalorian” will be able to escape its newly cast shadow rests on the shoulders of star Pedro Pascal. May the Force be with him. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist!)
Daisy Jones & the Six
March 3, Prime Video
Christopher Guest, Rob Reiner and Co. perfected the satirical faux rock doc back in 1984 with the seminal, sidesplitting “This Is Spinal Tap.” But what if they had played it straight? That’s a question the Reese Witherspoon-produced “Daisy Jones & the Six,” based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2019 novel stylized as an oral history, will answer. The dramatic series, starring Riley Keough as the titular Daisy and shot documentary style, traces the rise and fall of a fictional 1970s rock band (clearly inspired by Fleetwood Mac). Will it go to 11? We sure hope so.
Perry Mason (Season 2)
March 6, HBO
Some greeted the news that the world was getting another helping of America’s greatest TV defense attorney with rolled eyes. What’s left to say about Perry Mason, they wondered. And framing it as an origin story? Don’t we have enough of those? The 2020 premiere, featuring Matthew Rhys as the hard-boiled, hard-charging, hard-drinking Mason, locked those eyeballs back in place. The big difference this go-round? The man has a personality outside the courtroom, which the second season will undoubtedly continue mining for lessons about the tenacity of moral courage.
Yellowjackets (Season 2)
March 24, Showtime
Grab your forks (erm, hands?), because everybody’s favorite cannibalism show is back! (Our apologies to “Bones and All,” “House of Hammer,” “Fresh” and “Dahmer — Monster.” Wow, 2022 really was the year of the cannibal, wasn’t it?) To be fair, this gripping thriller about a female high school soccer team surviving in the wildness after a plane crash — and trying to come to grips with everything that happened some years later — is more interested in the interpersonal relationships among the survivors and the way unresolved trauma always lurks just beneath the surface. Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress and Christina Ricci return — as, we hope, will a killer soundtrack of ’90s shoegaze, punk and riot grrrl tunes.
Succession (Season 4)
March 26, HBO
Not since “Game of Thrones” has watching a clan tear itself apart been so delightful. The long-awaited Season 3 of the viciously funny and funnily vicious satire found the Roy family torn ever more asunder while Waystar Royco, the business some of them supposedly help run when they’re not busy plotting one another’s downfalls, is feeling more and more like a corporate dodo. All to say, anything is possible in Season 4. Will this really be Cousin Greg’s year?
April 20, Peacock
Damon Lindelof, the mind behind “Lost,” “The Leftovers” and HBO’s tremendous take on “Watchmen,” is back, baby! He and Tara Hernandez, best known for writing on “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon,” teamed up to write a thriller about a nun (Betty Gilpin) dedicated to taking down a powerful A.I. known as Mrs. Davis. (With a plot like that, it’s a good thing it’s coming out on 4/20.) If “Poker Face” and “Mrs. Davis” are as good as early buzz suggests, Peacock might finally spread its plumage and emerge as a real player in the never-ending Streaming Wars.
White House Plumbers
Spring TBD, HBO
Some people like to think the folks wandering the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., resemble the characters in “House of Cards.” Anyone familiar with the story of E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, however, knows they’re more like the ones in “Veep.” This limited series about how the pair of intelligence agents planned the Watergate burglaries, accidentally helping to dismantle Richard M. Nixon’s presidency while trying their damnedest to protect it, will certainly drive that point home. We planned on watching for that reason alone, so the fact that our bumbling duo are portrayed by Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux is just a little pork-barreling to sweeten the deal.
Spring TBD, Disney Plus
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s foray into television has been as mixed a bag as the Avengers themselves. (Not to digress, but an expert archer somehow fights alongside a god?!) Aside from the Owen Wilson/Tom Hiddleston-starring “Loki,” the shows have generally made a pretty good argument that the MCU should stick to the “C.” Though “Secret Invasion,” about shape-shifting aliens who have invaded Earth, might be a TV series, it has all the trappings of a silver screen production, down to its stars Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn. Which is a plus because, though we never thought we’d say it, the MCU has lacked a certain spark ever since Thanos … well … you know.
Justified: City Primeval
Early summer, FX
Supposedly no one leaves Harlan alive, but it seems like Raylan Givens will. Eight years after “Justified” finished its six-season run, the show’s returning for a limited series that finds Elmore Leonard’s beloved U.S. marshal — one Timothy Olyphant was born to portray — in Detroit. Curiously, the story is based on “City Primeval,” a Leonard novel that doesn’t include Givens. So it’s unclear if he’ll be facing off with anyone he once dug coal with, but Motor City will certainly represent an interesting change of pace after so many years in the Kentucky hollers. Put on your Stetson, brush off your boots and pour yourself a finger of Pappy in preparation. Actually, for a show like this, a double is probably … justified.