The Spring T.V. lineup shows promise

A clip from the animated T.V. series

Courtesy Photo

A clip from the animated T.V. series “Invincible.” “Invincible” premiered on March 26 and is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

With the midway point of spring coming up, we’ve had some time to get a taste of what television shows are going to be coming out for the remainder of the season. The question is whether the shows rolling out for the rest of the season will keep it up.
In terms of shows that have already started, there are two, in particular, that stand out. These are the animated series “Invincible” on Amazon Prime and returning “Creepshow” on Shudder.
The first of these premiered on March 26, and is based on the comic of the same name by author Robert Kirkman, most well known for writing “The Walking Dead.” The series is similar to fellow Amazon Prime show “The Boys” in which it provides a deconstruction of the superhero genre, and often mixes it with some shockingly graphic violence.
“Invincible” differs from “The Boys” because the deconstruction is far less cynical and pessimistic. “Invincible” feels like it comes from someone who enjoys the genre, but is willing to poke fun at it, while the latter often gives the impression that its author has little more than disdain for superheroes as a whole.
While the animation isn’t always consistent, the stellar writing and voice cast includes the likes of J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”, “Spider-Man”) and Jason Mantzoukas (“John Wick”, “The Disaster Artist”). While the violence may be a turn-off for some, the overall package of “Invincible” makes it a must-see.
Also premiering on April 1 was the second season of “Creepshow.” The show is an anthology series based on the 1982 movie of the same name, which itself was based on 1950’s horror comics like “Tales from the Crypt,” and “The Vault of Horror.”
The show is a mix of original and adapted short horror stories all tinged with the kind of pulp people’s love of cheesy B movies. The first episode of the season, “Model Kid/Public Television of the Damned,” is a perfect example of this, mixing the “Evil Dead” with the setting of a PBS studio.
Different episodes have different directors, and while this does mean there can be some inconsistencies in quality, it also means you get a wider variety in styles. While the second episode of the season wasn’t as strong as the first, hopes are still high for the remaining season.
When it comes to new and returning series on the way, there are also some promising names on the horizon. These include returning shows like “Godfather of Harlem” and “Infinity Train,” as well as new series like “Loki” and “Mare of Easttown.”
The “Godfather of Harlem” returns to Epix on April 18 and sees the return of crime boss Bumpy Johnson, (Forest Whitaker, “Black Panther,” “Platoon”) and his battle for control of the streets with the Italian mob. Sharply written, the show’s first season was willing to address the series setting in the social upheavals of the 1960s and racial tensions of the era.
On April 15, HBO Max viewers will get to see the final season of the acclaimed animated show “Infinity Train.” The series has earned praise for its willingness to tackle darker themes not usually covered in children’s television, animation style and stellar voice cast, a legacy the reportedly last season seems ready to carry on.
Another addition to the ever-growing list of Marvel T.V. series, “Loki” has big shoes to fill on the heels of “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers”, “Kong: Skull Island,”) reprises his role as everyone’s favorite snarky Norse god finds himself in a “Time Squad” style adventure, needing to fix the timelines he broke.
Finally, we have the HBO limited series “Mare of Easttown” set to premiere on April 18. The show features Kate Winslet (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Mildred Pierce”) as detective Mare Sheehan as she balances a murder investigation with issues with her personal life.
The pandemic over the last year has proven as a huge obstacle to film and television makers, and the fact there is a fairly promising lineup of shows so far into it shows people’s ability to work through this massive obstacle. Here’s to hoping these shows manage to live up to that promise.