TV

Spring TV preview: Most promising new shows of the season

Starring in The Real Housewives of Dallas are, from left: Cary Deuber, Brandi Redmond, Stephanie Hollman, LeeAnne Locken, Tiffany Hendra.
Starring in The Real Housewives of Dallas are, from left: Cary Deuber, Brandi Redmond, Stephanie Hollman, LeeAnne Locken, Tiffany Hendra. Bravo

Things are about to get real, Dallas.

Reality TV shows of all kinds have been filmed in North Texas in recent years — from Dallas SWAT and Most Eligible Dallas to Texas Women and Texas Flip N Move. But now the biggest reality franchise of them all, The Real Housewives, in all its tipsy/air-kiss/catfight glory, has come to town.

The Real Housewives of Dallas, premiering in April on Bravo, is among the most notable new shows for viewers to consider this spring.

We sifted through hours of television to help you cut through the clutter. Here’s our take:

Best reality show

The Real Housewives of Dallas

The latest in this ever-expanding franchise focuses on five North Texas women: LeeAnne Locken, Cary Deuber, Tiffany Hendra, Stephanie Hollman and Brandi Redmond. They form new friendships, and make enemies, in the Dallas charity event world. LeeAnne (a former model who takes these galas very seriously) and Brandi (a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader who makes a mockery of the events … see what she wears to the Mad Hatter’s Tea and Luncheon, benefiting the Dallas Arboretum) are headed for a showdown. Hard to say whether North Texas viewers will be filled with pride or shame — but they’ll enjoy the ride.

Premieres at 9 p.m. April 11 on Bravo.

Best drama

Game of Silence

This fast-paced 10-episode thriller gets off to a shocking start when a mild-mannered family man goes berserk, assaulting his childhood tormentor with a golf club. They were enemies 25 years earlier in a Texas juvenile prison. The incident triggers an escalating chain of events, as ex-detainees, guards and the corrupt warden choose sides in a war of retaliation and long-overdue justice. David Lyons (formerly of Revolution) plays an up-and-coming lawyer who wants to build a legal case against the warden. His hot-headed buddy (Michael Raymond-James, of True Blood) would rather use violence. Even the good guys have dark secrets.

Premieres at 9 p.m. April 12, then moves to 9 p.m. Thursdays, on NBC (KXAS/Channel 5).

Best comedy

The Detour

Jason Jones, one of Jon Stewart’s madcap correspondents on The Daily Show, created this demented family-vacation comedy with his wife, Samantha Bee (host of Full Frontal, TBS’s news-comedy show). Jones stars as Nate Parker, who piles wife Robin (Natalie Zea) and two kids into an unreliable minivan for a Syracuse-to-Fort Lauderdale road trip that’s fraught with disaster. In the premiere, the kids play a prank, holding up a “Help us! We’ve been kidnapped” sign in the rear window, that leads to a confrontation with well-meaning but scary truckers. And just when you think their situation can’t get any worse, it does.

Premieres at 8 p.m. April 11 on TBS.

Best miniseries

The Night Manager

This six-hour thriller is a thorough overhaul and updated version of John le Carré’s 1993 espionage novel. Tom Hiddleston (who plays Hank Williams in the just-released I Saw the Light) stars as Jonathan Pine, a former British soldier and Iraq War vet now hiding out from life as a hotel night porter. He finds a new purpose when recruited by a British Intelligence operative (Olivia Colman) to bring down a charismatic billionaire arms dealer (Hugh Laurie). To infiltrate super-villain Richard Roper’s empire, however, our hero must first become a criminal himself. Great performances from a great cast make this a major miniseries.

Premieres at 9 p.m. April 19 on AMC.

Best movie

Confirmation

Wendell Pierce and Kerry Washington head up an all-star cast in a film chronicling the explosive Clarence Thomas-Supreme Court nomination hearings of 1991. Pierce (who starred in HBO’s The Wire and Treme) portrays the judge whose confirmation hearings launched a national discussion about such issues as sexual harassment, victims’ rights and race relations. Washington (the leading lady of Scandal) plays Anita Hill, the law professor whose accusations sparked the controversy. The cast also includes Greg Kinnear (as Sen. Joseph Biden), Jeffrey Wright, Eric Stonestreet and Jennifer Hudson.

Premieres at 7 p.m. April 16 on HBO.

Guilty pleasure

Rush Hour

The popular movie trilogy of buddy-cop action comedies starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker has been turned a TV show. Jon Foo, an English-born circus acrobat and martial artist-turned-movie stuntman-turned-actor, plays Lee, the by-the-book Hong Kong detective. Justin Hines plays Carter, the fast-talking LAPD detective. The series does absolutely nothing new — it’s a conventional buddy-cop show in every way — but it does it with such gusto. The two stars (along with Wendie Malick, as Carter’s disapproving captain) have a fun chemistry. And Foo’s lightning-quick martial arts moves are a marvel to behold.

Premieres at 9 p.m. Thursday on CBS (KTVT/Channel 11).

Channel hopping

The Path

Aaron Paul stars in this 10-episode drama about a family at the center of a controversial cult group and its struggle with relationships, faith and power. Available for streaming on Hulu beginning Wednesday.

Lopez

George Lopez plays himself in this culture-conscious comedy. He’s too rich to go back to his working-class roots, too “brown” to feel comfortable in his celebrity life. Premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday on TV Land.

Hoff the Record

David Hasselhoff plays a washed-up version of himself in this Curb Your Enthusiasm-style comedy. Efforts to re-launch the Hoff’s career in England go horribly awry. Premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday on AXS TV.

The Ranch

Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson, longtime costars on That ’70s Show, reunite in this sitcom about a semi-pro football player and his ranching family. Available for streaming on Netflix beginning Friday.

Dead 7

This movie is a “boy-band zombie Western” starring members of Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, 98 Degrees and O-Town. The crazy mashup is from the creators of Sharknado. Premieres at 7 p.m. Friday on Syfy.

Wynonna Earp

This Canadian-made thriller (based on a comic book) chronicles the adventures of Wyatt Earp’s great-granddaughter as she battles demons and other supernatural beasties. Premieres at 9 p.m. Friday on Syfy.

The Story of God With Morgan Freeman

The Oscar-winning actor hosts and produces this show, exploring different cultures and religions in a quest to uncover the meaning of life. Premieres at 8 p.m. April 3 on National Geographic Channel.

The Other Kingdom

This is a family-friendly fantasy series about a fairy princess who chooses life in the human world and enrolls in high school as a freshman exchange student. Premieres at 6 p.m. April 10 on Nickelodeon.

The Girlfriend Experience

Riley Keough (of Mad Max: Fury Road) stars as a girl juggling two lives: She is a law student and law-firm intern, but also makes big money as a paid escort. Premieres at 7 p.m. April 10 on Starz.

Dice

Andrew Dice Clay stars as himself — a man trying to be more than his leather-clad “Diceman” persona —in this scripted, semi-autobiographical comedy. Premieres at 8:30 p.m. April 10 on Showtime.

Hunters

Nathan Philips stars in this sci-fi thriller about an “exo-terrorist” unit that tracks and fights terrorists from alien worlds. Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck) co-stars. Premieres at 9 p.m. April 11 on Syfy.

The Last Panthers

In this gritty crime thriller, two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton plays an insurance investigator in pursuit of a dangerous Serbian diamond thief. Premieres at 9 p.m. April 13 on Sundance.

The Dude Perfect Show

The five-member Dallas-based Dude Perfect crew, an Internet sensation for its basketball trick shots and over-the-top stunts, now has a TV show. Premieres at 8 p.m. April 14 on CMT.

Hear My Song

Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates co-star in this Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, about a neglected 12-year-old boy with an angelic voice. Premieres at 7 p.m.April 16 on CBS.

Containment

When a deadly epidemic wreaks havoc in Atlanta, an urban quarantine is enforced while officials desperately search for a cure. Premieres at 8 p.m. April 19 on CW (KDAF/Channel 33).

Houdini & Doyle

An unlikely detective duo — magician Harry Houdini and author Arthur Conan Doyle — investigate supernatural crimes. Premieres at 8 p.m. May 2 on Fox (KDFW/Channel 4).

All the Way

Bryan Cranston reprises his Tony-winning role in a behind-the-scenes look at President Lyndon B. Johnson’s first year in office. Premieres at 7 p.m. May 21 on HBO.

Preacher

This supernatural drama, based on a 1990s comic book, follows a West Texas preacher who is possessed by a creature that is both pure evil and pure good. Premieres at 9 p.m. May 22 on AMC.

Roots

Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne and Anna Paquin are among the stars of this four-night, eight-hour miniseries, based on the Alex Haley novel. Premieres at 8 p.m. May 30 on History.

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