Let’s face it ― it’s spring, that time of year when things are supposed to be fresh and blooming. Except in pop culture. We’re in the doldrums, movie-wise, in that period between award season and summer blockbusters ― Oz The Great And Powerful was heavy on style but short on substance, and Spring Breakers is getting a ton of buzz but very mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. Even Justin Timberlake’s massive-selling comeback to music hasn’t been a total slam dunk. And with network TV offering things like D-List Celebs Jumping In Water ― sorry, it’s actually called Splash ― there’s not a whole lot to get jazzed about there, either.
Luckily, there’s a hero on the way ― cable! Many of our faves are returning to TV on AMC, HBO, and the like, providing us with plenty of entertainment right in the comfort of our own homes. In fact, some of the very best shows on TV debut new seasons in March, April, and May, so we can collectively sigh with relief and know we won't have to resort to, like, reading books or anything. Hooray for cable!
Here are the six shows we're dying for this spring!
1. Mad Men (Season Six)
Last Season: A major character committed suicide, Peggy left the agency to spread her wings at a new job, Joan became a partner, and Don and Megan’s marriage continued to be strained by her desire to be an actress. Also: hefty Betty!
Returns: April 7 on AMC
Why We’re Dying: Well, there’s the distinct possibility that Mad Men is the greatest show currently on TV. The show has never really hit a false note, despite a multitude of characters who come and go as they please. (You won’t see everyone in every episode as in most shows.) The show heads into the later ‘60s with both Joan and Peggy in more powerful roles than ever (though far from even with the boys), while the guys have all the success they could desire but are still left wanting more. After spending last season as a surprisingly stable family man and abstaining from his usual extramarital philandering, Jon Hamm’s Don Draper ended the season in a bar, alone, being approached by a beautiful women. Since Don’s passion for advertising seemed restrained last year along with his libido, will we see both return for Season Six? It seems likely!
2. Veep (Season Two)
Last Season: We were introduced to USA’s fictional VP Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a somewhat well-meaning but also self-absorbed second-in-command to a president we never meet, along with her mostly incompetent staff.
Returns: April 14 (HBO)
Why We’re Dying: With only 8 half-hour episodes under its belt, Veep’s Season One was a mere snack that we quickly devoured, left hungry for more. Well, here’s the second course. Veep is a clever show featuring a lot of (book) smart people acting quite stupidly, with plenty of foul-mouthed chatter and physical comedy. Best of all, there are 10 episodes in the new season ― so even though we’re still a little bitter at HBO for cancelling that other great comedy in its second season, we’ll put aside our differences for these ten weeks, at least.
3. Awkward (Season Three)
Last Season: Awkward teenager Jenna had to make an awkward choice between the two teen dreamboats on her radar ― Jake and Matty. Awkwardness ensued.
Returns: April 16 (MTV)
Why We’re Dying: Perhaps you aren’t expecting much from an MTV teen comedy? We weren’t either. But Awkward is seriously good, you guys! No fooling! The writing is sharp and witty, the characters have real depth underneath those fast and furious zingers, and the whole cast brings their A-game to every episode. From the overweight cheerleader who terrorizes her to Jenna’s perpetually inappropriate “cool mom,” Awkward gives the high school comedy genre a refreshing blast of brutal honesty and has some of the funniest dialogue on TV. Even if you’re no longer MTV’s target demographic, there’s plenty to enjoy for all ages. And instead of a 12-episode season, this year, we get 20. Rejoice!
4. Louis C.K.: Oh My God (comedy special)
Previously: Louis C.K. is no stranger to a standup special, and we are no strangers to his self-effacing and just-edgy-enough brand of comedy. This is his fourth such special for HBO.
Premieres: April 13 (HBO)
Why We’re Dying: If the Emmy-winning Louis were returning to FX, you’d better believe it’d make this list. But since it won’t be back on TV until 2014 (!!) we will have to sate ourselves with this night of slightly uncomfortable humor. As "the greatest comedy of the generation of blah blah ever to do a thing on a thing," it should do the trick.
5. Arrested Development (Season Four)
Last Season: If we can remember all the way back to 2006, George Sr., Michael, and George Michael were evading the law on a yacht and Maeby was selling the rights to the family story to Ron Howard.
Returns: May (Netflix)
Why We’re Dying: Um, hello! Many Arrested Development cast members have since become bigger stars, including Jason Bateman and Michael Cera, while other cast members continue to bring hilarity to TV on shows from Archer to Up All Night toVeep. But now the Bluths are all back in one place, on the too-short-lived comedy that originally aired on Fox and now will bow on Netflix, House of Cards-style ― that means you can watch all 14 new episodes in one sitting, if you so desire (and we know some of you will). Not much is known about the actual storyline of the new season, except that the episodes will each center on a different member of the family before they all come together in the end. With Judy Greer, Liza Minnelli, and Ben Stiller amongst the returning guest stars and Isla Fisher and John Slattery added to the roster, we’re already blue-ing ourselves in anticipation. (And there’s still talk of an Arrested Development movie to follow!)
6. Game of Thrones (Season Three)
Last Season: Um, let’s try and summarize this is as briefly as possible. The Starks were all separated, teen king Joffrey became increasingly tyrannical, the Red Priestess birthed a smoke baby, Tyrion fell for a prostitute and made secret moves against his fellow Lannisters, winter was still coming, and most of all, Daenerys wanted to know where the hell her dragons were. Plus a lot more stuff.
Returns: March 31 (HBO)
Why We’re Dying: Sure, trying to figure out who’s who and what they’re all trying to do can be a headache for anyone who hasn’t read George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series. But there’s no other adult-oriented fantasy like this out there, and once you get sucked in, you’re in it for good. Season Three promises more epic battles, (ooh!) backstabbing (both literal and figurative, we gather), nudity (obvi), and dragons (hooray!). Not that we’re totally geeky about dragons or anything…
Also returning this spring: the BBC’s Dr. Who (Series Seven) and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, The Big C, and The Borgias (popes are so hot right now).
Which spring show are you most excited for?