10 of the best TV shows to watch this March

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By Caryn JamesFeatures correspondent

Apple TV+ Palm RoyaleApple TV+

(Credit: Apple TV+)

From Kristen Wiig as a would-be socialite in Palm Royale, to Kate Winslet as an autocratic leader in The Regime – and a new series, 3 Body Problem, by the creators of Game of Thrones.

HBO (Credit: HBO)HBO

(Credit: HBO)

1. The Regime

In this timely, absurdist satire, Kate Winslet is spectacular and funny as Elena Vernham, the autocratic Chancellor of a fictional Central European country. She is a sometimes chilling and sometimes ludicrous figure ­– singing Santa Baby on television as her Christmas message – who falls under the sway of a sociopathic soldier, Herbert Zubek (Matthias Schoenaerts), who works for her in the extravagant palace. Hugh Grant appears in one standout episode playing Elena’s predecessor as Chancellor, and Martha Plimpton in another as a US Senator negotiating foreign policy with her. Will Tracy, who wrote the recent dark comedy The Menu and has written for Succession, creates a world that shadows our own without directly referencing specific real-life authoritarians. “This is not a current affairs show,” Winslet told The New York Times, although Tracy told the Times that he researched leaders from Syria, Russia and Romania. Stephen Frears (The Queen) and Jessica Hobbs (The Crown) each directed three episodes.

The Regime premieres 3 March on HBO and Max in the US and 8 April on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK

Sky (Credit: Sky)Sky

(Credit: Sky)

2. Mary and George

Julianne Moore is a scheming delight as the real-life Mary Villiers, Countess of Buckingham, in this historical drama, which is set in the 17th Century and is full of palace intrigue, but feels like a devilish contemporary soap opera with more sumptuous settings. The wife of a minor aristocrat, Mary sees an irresistible opportunity when she realises that King James I has an eye for handsome young men, a type her second son, George, fits perfectly. All she has to do is throw him the King’s way. Nicholas Galitzine, who played the British prince who falls for the US president’s son in the romcom Red, White and Royal Blue, is George, who might have preferred a handsome young man of his own instead of the craggy middle-aged James (Tony Curran). But what’s a second son to do? Nicola Walker plays the influential Lady in Waiting to James’s Queen Consort. The series was shot at estates and historic houses across the UK, including the onetime royal residence Knole.

Mary and George premieres 5 March on Sky and Now in the UK and 5 April on Starz in the US

The Gentlemen (Credit: The Gentlemen)The Gentlemen

(Credit: The Gentlemen)

3. The Gentlemen

Guy Ritchie based this series on his 2019 film The Gentlemen, placing it in the same world but with an entirely different set of characters. This time there’s no Matthew McConaughey as the head of an illegal cannabis empire operating out of the stately homes of cash-poor British aristocrats. Here Theo James plays Eddie Horniman, Duke of Halstead, who inherits one of those estates and finds himself drawn into the criminal world. Ray Winstone plays an imprisoned mob boss, whose will is enforced outside by his daughter, Susie (Kaya Scodelario). Ritchie’s action thrillers, going back to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), often divide viewers, and this series is no different. The film was criticised for negative stereotypes of Asians, and The Hollywood Reporter’s middling assessment of the show says, “the decrease in casual anti-Asian racism is welcome”. But the London Standard was enthusiastic, saying, “Guns, geezers and a weird obsession with aristos – this is peak Guy Ritchie.”

The Gentlemen premieres 7 March on Netflix internationally

Peacock (Credit: Peacock)Peacock

(Credit: Peacock)

4. Apples Never Fall

Liane Moriarty’s novels almost automatically become starry, high-profile series, including Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers. In this adaptation of her 2021 bestseller, Apples Never Fall (as in “far from the tree”), Annette Bening and Sam Neill are Joy and Stan Delaney, recently retired from running a tennis academy. When Joy disappears, her family, including the four grown Delaney children, uncover secrets that go deeper than the mystery of Joy’s whereabouts, as the story flashes back and forth in time. Alison Brie and Jake Lacy are two of the children, and much of the suspense revolves around whether they, or one of their siblings or spouses, might be wormy apples. The show’s executive producer is the very powerful David Heyman (Barbie and Wonka, last year alone). Melanie Marnich, who wrote the smart, twisty thriller Murder at the End of the World, is the showrunner of this promising saga.

Apples Never Fall premieres 14 March on Peacock

Max (Credit: Max)Max

(Credit: Max)

5. The Girls on the Bus

A very fictionalised, burnished version of life on the campaign trail for female reporters, the series is loosely based on Amy Chozick’s experience as a reporter for The New York Times, chronicled in her 2018 non-fiction book Chasing Hillary. For the series, co-creators Chozick and Julie Plec (Vampire Academy) have invented four wildly different but equally ambitious, idealistic women who bond as they cover a fictional US presidential campaign. Melissa Benoist (Supergirl) plays Sadie, reporter for the New York Sentinel, a barely disguised New York Times. Carla Gugino plays the Washington-based veteran for a rival newspaper, Christina Elmore is the unlikely black conservative at a television channel resembling Fox News, and Natasha Behnam plays an internet influencer who gets serious about politics. There is a romance thwarted by a conflict of interest, a scramble to find an abortion pill while travelling through right-wing states, and above all a lot of sisterhood. Sadie’s worship of old-school journalism gives the series its name, a take on Timothy Crouse’s classic campaign book, The Boys on the Bus (1973).

The Girls on the Bus premieres 14 March on Max

Apple TV+ (Credit: Apple TV+)Apple TV+

(Credit: Apple TV+)

6. Palm Royale

Kristen Wiig stars as Maxine, a feisty social climber earnestly but deceptively trying to break into wealthy Palm Beach society in 1969, an era of bouffant hair and Lilly Pulitzer style that makes Palm Royale look like the comic flip side of Feud: Capote vs the Swans. Allison Janney plays the social gatekeeper determined to keep Maxine out. Laura Dern, an executive producer along with Wiig, also stars as a feminist trying to raise Maxine’s consciousness. Guest stars include Bruce Dern and the legendary Carol Burnett as a rich dowager. Promoting the show, Burnett told the Television Critics Association that joining the cast was an easy call. “In the first three episodes I’m in a coma, and I still got paid. So, I mean it was a slam dunk,” she said. Abe Sylvia, who created the series George and Tammy and co-wrote the film The Eyes of Tammy Faye, created the show.

Palm Royale premieres 20 March on Apple TV+

Netflix (Credit: Netflix)Netflix

(Credit: Netflix)

7. 3 Body Problem

This series is among the most anticipated of the year because it comes from the creators of Game of Thrones, David Benioff and DB Weiss, along with Alexander Woo, a producer and writer of True Blood. “It was really important to move on and put Westeros behind us,” Benioff told The Hollywood Reporter, and they certainly have. An existential sci-fi story, 3 Body Problem is based on a trilogy of Chinese novels. The trouble begins during the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, when a scientific experiment sets off a reaction that reaches into the present, and may bring aliens from a failing planet to Earth. The show is set primarily in the UK, where scientists known as the Oxford Five (Jack Rooney, Samwell on Game of Thrones, is one of them) grapple with the possible responses to an invasion that might or might not be friendly. Jonathan Pryce plays a billionaire cult leader, and Benedict Wong (Wong the sorcerer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) is a detective investigating unexpected deaths among the scientists. The eight episodes reportedly cost $160m (£126m), double the last season of Games of Thrones, and the trailer suggests a lot of that went on extravagant world building and special effects.

3 Body Problem premieres 21 March on Netflix internationally

Hulu (Credit: Hulu)Hulu

(Credit: Hulu)

8. We Were the Lucky Ones

This compelling World War Two drama follows a large Jewish family trying to survive in Nazi-occupied Poland. Robin Weigert and Lior Ashkenazi play Nechuma and Sol Kurc, whose five adult children, with their own spouses and children, are forced to scatter from their hometown of Radom, only to find that no place is safe. Logan Lerman plays their youngest son, Addy, a musician who is in Paris when the Nazis take control, unable to contact his parents and siblings for years. Joey King plays Halina, their youngest daughter, who joins the Resistance in Poland, at great personal cost. Other siblings, including Henry Lloyd-Hughes (Indian Summers) as Genek, are forced into hiding or led to labour camps, in a series that focuses on the resilience it took to survive. Thomas Kail (Hamilton and Fosse/Verdon) directs some episodes of the show, which is adapted from Georgia Hunter’s novel, based on her own family history.

We Were the Lucky Ones premieres 28 March on Hulu

Paramount (Credit: Paramount)Paramount

(Credit: Paramount)

9. A Gentleman in Moscow

Ewan McGregor has a moustache to rival Hercule Poirot’s as Count Alexander Rostov in this series based on Amor Towles’ bestselling 2016 novel. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks sentence the young, aristocratic Rostov to a life sentence in a small attic room in the grandiose Hotel Metropol in Moscow. To step outdoors will be a death sentence. Over decades of Russian history, Rostov roams the hotel, crosses paths with the hotel’s staff and guests, including an actress, Anna Urbanova (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and becomes surrogate father to a nine-year-old daughter. Much of the series was directed by Sam Miller, a Bafta winner for I May Destroy You. Vanity Fair calls the show “enchanting”, and says that it “mounts Amor Towles’ novel on an expansive, sumptuous scale”, shot on locations and constructed sets in the UK.

A Gentleman in Moscow premieres 29 March on Paramount+ with Showtime

AMC (Credit: AMC)AMC

(Credit: AMC)

10. Parish

Giancarlo Esposito, who made the character of Gus Fring a memorable, coolly lethal crime boss in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, returns with a crime series of his own, based on the 2014 BBC drama The Driver. In the original show, David Morrissey plays Vince, a cab driver in Manchester who goes to work for a crime syndicate. In the US version, Esposito is Gray Parish, who was once a wheelman for a criminal but is now the legitimate owner of a faltering car service in colourful New Orleans. With his livelihood falling apart, Parish agrees to deliver a package for an underworld figure, and learns there is no such thing as one last job when he is swept into the orbit of a human trafficker called The Horse (Zackary Momoh). Paula Malcomson (Ray Donovan) plays Parish’s wife, and Bradley Whitford is a businessman who has a history with him in this action-thriller filled with violence and moral questioning.

Parish premieres 31 March on AMC and AMC+

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