Ask anyone even remotely interested in entertainment these days and they’ll likely tell you their biggest complaint is how fragmented Hollywood’s biggest releases seem to be. Beloved library shows like Friends and The Office keep jumping from Netflix to various other streaming services, HBO Max and Peacock will play hot potato with the streaming rights to the Harry Potter franchise until 2025, and so many new originals are released each month that it’s frankly overwhelming. We get it and we hear you.
So to help you navigate the precarious path, here are the most exciting new streaming releases coming to the big five platforms in April.
The Serpent (Netflix)—April 2
Starring The Mauritanian‘s Tahar Rahim and Doctor Who‘s Jenna Coleman, The Serpent is inspired by the real events of serial conman Charles Sobhraj and his girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc. While Netflix’s latest international crime thriller Sky Rojo (stylish but frustrating) is generating a bee hive of buzz, The Serpent is the superior product of the two. Sobhraj’s devious manipulation and heartless nature juxtaposed with the remarkable attempts to bring him to justice play out over a tight and tense eight episodes. Your stomach won’t loosen the entire time, yet the far-too-frequent time jumps may leave your head spinning just a bit.
Netflix’s Shadow and Bone (April 23) is guaranteed to be the bigger commercial hit, but we’re going with the underrated choice here.
Mortal Kombat (HBO Max)—April 16
MMA fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is unaware of his heritage—or why Outworld’s Emperor seeks to hunt him down (Mondays, amirite?). Cole finds sanctuary under Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies of Outworld in a high-stakes battle for the universe. Basically, there’s going to be a whole lot of otherworldly ass-kicking.
The remake of the beloved 1995 B-movie based on the popular video game franchise has generated a lot of excitement among fans for its faithful depiction of the source material. But, as we know, video game movies have a long and spotted track record in live action. Will WB and HBO Max’s new Mortal Kombat help change the paradigm?
Big Shot (Disney+)—April 16
Big Shot follows Coach Korn (John Stamos) who, after getting ousted from the NCAA, is given a chance for redemption with a coaching position at an elite private high school. He soon learns that the teenage players require empathy and vulnerability — foreign concepts for the stoic coach. By learning how to connect with his players, Marvyn starts to grow into the person he’s always hoped to be. The girls learn to take themselves more seriously, finding their footing both on and oﬀ the court.
The 10-episode series stars John Stamos, Jessalyn Gilsig, Yvette Nicole Brown, Richard Robichaux and features a talented group of young actors including Sophia Mitri Schloss, Nell Verlaque, Tiana Le, Monique Green, Tisha Custodio and Cricket Wampler.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 (Hulu)—April 28
Elisabeth Moss’ dystopian series is clearly Hulu’s flagship series. As such, the streamer has missed The Handmaid’s Tale over the last year and a half as COVID-19 delayed production on Season 4. But finally, June’s attempt to overthrow the heinously totalitarian government of Gilead will play out in full.
In the upcoming fourth season, her character emerges as the fierce rebel leader she’s been building toward throughout the show. But the risks she takes to demolish the abusive state bring unexpected and dangerous new challenges. Her quest for justice and revenge threatens to consume her and destroy her most cherished relationships.
Without Remorse (Amazon Prime Video)—April 30
Michael B. Jordan is arguably Hollywood’s hottest young star. Taylor Sheridan, who was hired to do a script rewrite, is arguably Hollywood’s hottest screenwriter. Meanwhile, Tom Clancy’s best-selling novels have long fed both the big and small screens. Put ’em all together and you have the highly anticipated new action thriller Without Remorse, which Paramount Pictures sold off to Amazon during the pandemic. Paramount’s original hope was that Without Remorse could spark a new action franchise with Jordan at its center as John Clark. We’ll find out soon enough if that’ll be the case.