Spring's New and Returning TV Series

The final season of the newly timely "The Americans," Tracy Morgan's eagerly awaited return to TV and public life and — can it really be? — the "Jersey Shore" gang is back

click to enlarge The cast of "Fear the Walking Dead" - PHOTO: Richard Foreman, Jr./AMC
PHOTO: Richard Foreman, Jr./AMC
The cast of "Fear the Walking Dead"

The weather outside might still be frightful, but spring is here and with it comes a fresh crop of new and returning series.

The Americans (Season Premiere, 10 p.m. March 28, FX) – The final season of this excellent Cold War-set KGB spy drama flashes forward three years from Season 5’s finale to 1987. We left off with Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) scrapping their plans to return to Mother Russia with their kids to continue operations in the U.S. And seeing as how daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) — who has gradually learned of her parents’ true identities and gained interest in following suit — is now nearly 20, she just may be working with them.

The Last O.G. (Series Premiere, 10:30 p.m. April 3, TBS) – Tracy Morgan returns to TV post-30 Rock (after a 2014 near-fatal car accident) with this comedy co-created by Jordan Peele. Morgan stars as an ex-con adjusting to life “outside” after a 15-year prison sentence. Last year’s breakout comedy queen Tiffany Haddish co-stars alongside Cedric the Entertainer and Ryan Gaul.

Jersey Shore Summer Vacation (Series Premiere, 8 p.m. April 5, MTV) – They’re ba-aaack. Everyone’s favorite crew of hard-partying New Jerseyans (OK, maybe not everyone’s) returns to MTV nearly 10 years after they made their debut with their families in tow (minus Sammi “Did Anyone Actually Call Her Sweetheart” Giancola and Snooki’s husband, Jionni LaValle). The gang reunites in Miami before embarking on a trip with several mystery stops.

Chef’s Table: Pastry (Season Premiere, April 13, Netflix) – This gorgeous food docuseries gets extra sweet in a season devoted to desserts. Each episode focuses on a different pastry chef, starting with Christina Tosi, founder of bakery-gone-viral Milk Bar and MasterChef judge. Do not watch with an empty stomach.

Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas (Series Premiere, 11:30 p.m. April 13, HBO) – Comic and writer Wyatt Cenac (star of TBS’ People of Earth) hosts the latest HBO news show, wherein he’ll travel across America to learn different perspectives on the country’s most pressing issues (and comedic ones, too). Emmy-winning Daily Show writer Hallie Haglund has been tapped as head writer while O.J.: Made in America’s Ezra Edelman will serve as an executive producer.

Fear the Walking Dead (Season Premiere, 10 p.m. April 15, AMC) – Season 4 will debut immediately following its companion series The Walking Dead’s eighth season finale — and the two episodes will air in more than 750 movie theaters. Longtime Walking Dead character Morgan (Lennie James) is set to cross over from the original series to prequel Fear the Walking Dead, which will feature a major time jump. Jenna Elfman, Garret Dillahunt, and Maggie Grace also join the cast.

Westworld (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. April 22, HBO) – Few details have emerged about the highly anticipated second season of this sci-fi Western thriller — probably in an attempt to prevent viewers from decoding twists (we can’t help being observant and obsessed!). We last left the Wild West theme park as it was being attacked by newly sentient A.I. “hosts.” Ford (Anthony Hopkins) got shot, the Man in Black (Ed Harris) was revealed to be William (Jimmi Simpson) and Maeve (Thandie Newton), on the brink of escape from the park, turned around to find her daughter. Our theory for Season 2? Everyone is a host. Nothing is real!

Genius (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. April 24, National Geographic) – This anthology follows its debut season about Albert Einstein with a Pablo Picasso biopic. Antonio Banderas stars as the Spanish artist whose work was deeply influenced by his tumultuous relationships, affairs and political ties.

The Handmaid’s Tale (Season Premiere, April 25, Hulu) – Last year’s mega-hit drama returns for a second season, moving beyond the plot of Margaret Atwood’s source novel (though the author is very much involved). June/Offred (Elizabeth Moss) starts a new chapter after getting pregnant, learning her husband Luke is alive and being taken from the Waterfords. We’ll learn Emily/Ofsteven’s fate, flash back to the beginnings of Gilead, see the infamous Colonies work camps and meet new characters played by Clea DuVall, Cherry Jones, Marisa Tomei and Bradley Whitford. The first two episodes premiere on Hulu April 25 with subsequent episodes airing each Wednesday into July.

Contact Jac Kern: @jackern

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