Every year, dozens of new shows grace the TV schedule, their pilots all shiny and exciting, filled with the promise of many satisfying seasons to come. But (Spoiler Alert!) not all those pilots good. In fact, a very small minority of the shows launched every year are good, which makes it all the more comforting to look forward to the returning characters and story lines you know you can trust. To help you out, we’ve compiled a brief list of the best Lydia Mag-approved shows to return this spring. And in case you’re not already into these fabulous shows and the fabulous women whose stories they tell, we’ve included a little primer on the plots and characters you need to know. So read on, and get pumped!
Call the Midwife
What You Need to Know: This show has so much going for it that we almost don’t even know where to start. Not only does it hold the fascinating charm of a period drama and the refined sensibilities of the BBC, but it also tells compelling tales about interesting women and the vital (and often messy) work they do. Call the Midwife focuses on a group of women working as midwives in the poor part of London, England in the 1950s. Miss Jenny Lee is your star, and her personality is seriously infectious, though you will probably grow to love every single woman on this show. The work of midwifery is obviously at the forefront of the subject matter on this drama, but it’s really just a front to examine so many other, deeper topics like motherhood, femininity, poverty, classism, education, friendship, and loyalty. And it’s basically porn for anyone who’s really into super-cute vintage bicycles.
When It Returns: Series 3 of Call the Midwife premieres March 30 at 8 pm ET on PBS.
What You Need to Know: So much happened in the inaugural season of this sci-fi/mystery/thriller series that in order to catch up without actually watching, you’ll probably have to read some really winding and convoluted synopses that will sound goofy and nonsensical. But if you didn’t catch the first season yet, let us assure that Orphan Black is worth your time. What may at first seem like a trippy ride through eugenics, fuelled by futuristic science, and steered by an evil genius is actually more just a story about a girl named Sarah trying to figure out who the hell she is. This searching for personal identity is a pretty relatable theme, but in Sarah’s case, she’s a clone. So, y’know, the whole thing is a little more complicated than it would be for the average person. But seriously, this show is as touching as it is icky at times. Prepare yourself for the occasional prosthetic grossness, but also to fall completely in love with some of TV’s most interesting women. And all those interesting women? Yeah, they’re all played by the same crazy-talented actress, the formidable Tatiana Maslany. It’s worth tuning in just see how she does it.
When It Returns: Season 2 of Orphan Black premieres April 19 at 9 pm ET on BBC America.
What you need to know: If the thought of babies being born and beleaguered human clones weighs a little too heavy on your soul, then let Devious Maids be your pick this spring. If you didn’t catch the first season when it aired on Lifetime last summer, then you have some seriously fun catching up to do. Just promise us you’ll go easy, ’cause this deliciously soapy drama is almost too easy to binge on. When a Beverly Hills maid, Flora, gets murdered at her employees’ house, four of her friends embark on a mission to catch her murderer and bring justice to the whole situation. The real star of this show is the chemistry between the all-Latina main characters. Rosie, Carmen, Zoila, and Marisol bicker, plot, and clash, but they are ultimately fiercely loyal with one another – a loyalty they need when dealing with their rich, conniving (and possibly murderous) employers. The show touches on some of the issues surrounding race politics, class power, and sexual harassment between the white employers and their Latina employees, but ultimately Devious Maids is pretty light fare — light, but still chock full of drama, mystery, suspense, and smart, curious women.
When it returns: Season 2 of Devious Maids premieres April 20 at 10 pm ET on Lifetime.
Orange is the New Black
What You Need to Know: The only way you could possibly not know the basic principles of this Netflix Original is if you spent the last year living on a magical island doing Dharma work. In case that’s exactly where you’ve been, allow us to recap: when Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) gets sentenced to 15 months in prison on a 10-year-old drug charge, she has to leave her yuppie life behind to face her past. The time she spends at a women’s penitentiary changes her in innumerable ways, serving as a case study in identity, race, sexuality, insurmountable struggle, simple happiness, and the complex sociology of group living. If you love stories – especially when the past and the present are woven delicately and intricately together – OITNB is your jam. Trust us, you really do not want to miss out on meeting the women of this show; their dance moves alone are enough to keep you coming back for more.
When It Returns: Season 2 of Orange is the New Black premieres June 6 at 12 am ET on all Netflix platforms.
So, did we succeed in giving you a few more reasons to look forward to spring? Let us know in the comments what show you’re most looking forward to!
Hannah McIlveen is a freelance graphic designer and TV-obsessed writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She grew up riding horses and reading Roald Dahl books, got an art degree, and then spent the next several years moving around the country and watching television. Her greatest goals in life are to write good stuff, produce a web series, build a house with her husband, and have six cats at once. Hannah has contributed to BitchMagazine.org and is a staff blogger for the soon-to-launch TeenSized.com. She also writes her own daily blog, Click Watch Write. Hannah can be accosted on Twitter @ClickWatchWrite.