April Premieres: Our Most (and Least) Anticipated New Shows

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This year, April brings more than rain and taxes: lots of series premieres! We've compiled a guide to several of the month's new shows—from HBO's buzzed-about Game of Thrones to Discovery's Human Planet to E!'s latest Karadashian whatever-it-is—and ranked each one on our super high-tech TV.com Excite-o-Meter. Here's the heads up on what looks good, what looks bad, and what looks terribly, horribly ugly.


Chaos (8PM, CBS)
Starring: Freddy Rodriguez, Eric Close, Tim Blake Nelson, James Murray, Carmen Ejogo, and Kurtwood Smith
The Premise: "A comedic drama about a group of rogue CIA spies in Clandestine Administration and Oversight Services (CHAOS), who combat threats to national security amidst bureaucratic gridlock, rampant incompetence, and political infighting. The team tackles high-risk foreign intelligence missions using manipulation, deception, and wit to succeed, and that's just for starters."
Excite-o-Meter Says: (On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest) 6. There's always reason to be wary of a show that a broadcast network decides to launch on a Friday night in April—contrary to popular belief, networks do actually know when they have a show that isn't that good. Combining CIA operations with healthy doses of humor is tricky, and that's the issue that seems to be at the heart of the mostly negative early reviews. Still, the trailer looks like a fun romp, so let's give this one a chance, shall we?

Camelot (10PM, STARZ)
Starring: Jamie Campbell Green (The Prisoner) as King Arthur, Eva Green (Casino Royale) as Morgan, Joseph Fiennes (FlashForward) as Merlin
The Premise: "In the wake of King Uther’s sudden death, chaos threatens to engulf Britain. When the sorcerer Merlin has visions of a dark future, he installs the young and impetuous Arthur, Uther’s unknown son and heir, who has been raised from birth as a commoner. But Arthur’s cold and ambitious half-sister Morgan will fight him to the bitter end, summoning unnatural forces to claim the crown in this epic battle for control."
Excite-o-Meter Says: 5. You have to feel for Camelot, a sword-and-sorcery cable venture debuting just before the fantasy behemoth that is HBO's Game of Thrones. Starz made the first episode available on-demand, and while it was entertaining enough, it didn't leave us clamoring for more.


The Borgias (9PM, SHOWTIME)
Starring: Jeremy Irons, David Oakes, Francois Arnaud, Holliday Granger
The Premise: "Set in 15th-century Italy at the height of the Renaissance, The Borgias chronicles the corrupt rise of patriarch Rodrigo Borgia (Irons) to the papacy, where he proceeds to commit every sin in the book to amass and retain power, influence, and enormous wealth for himself and his family. The unbounded audacity of this original crime family went on to inspire Machiavelli's The Prince and Mario Puzo's The Godfather."
Excite-o-Meter Says: 8. With The Tudors over, Showtime has filled its gaping period-piece hole with The Borgias. The writing is on the wall for this one: Do you like solid historical dramas? Then you will like The Borgias. We'll be watching.

The Killing (9PM, AMC)
Starring: Mireille Enos, Billy Campbell, Joel Kinnaman, Michelle Forbes
The Premise: "The Killing ties together three distinct stories around a single murder including the detectives assigned to the case, the victim's grieving family, and the suspects. Set in Seattle, the story also explores local politics as it follows politicians connected to the case. As the series unfolds, it becomes clear that there are no accidents; everyone has a secret, and while the characters think they've moved on, their past isn't done with them."
Excite-o-Meter Says: 7. AMC is the TV world's current trendsetter, but The Killing doesn't have the pizazz of a drug-dealing chemistry teacher or a zombie apocalypse. Reputation is hard-earned though, so we're expecting a quietly sound crime thriller that may not draw record audiences, but will reward those who tune in.


Relapse (9PM, A&E;)
Starring: Four sobriety coaches and their clients
The Premise: "Relapse follows Gwen Casella, Doug Caine, Patty Powers, and Seth Jaffe, four of the country's leading sober coaches as they work to save the lives of addicts who have hit rock bottom."
Excite-o-Meter Says: 3. What's with the fascination with watching druggies and alcoholics struggle with addiction? Isn't this the same stuff we tried to avoid watching during boring awareness presentations in high school?


Pregnant in Heels (10PM, BRAVO)
Starring: Pregnancy fashion guru Rosie Pope
The Premise: "Pregnant in Heels is a docu-drama that follows maternity concierge, fashion designer, and pregnancy guru Rosie Pope as she guides expecting mothers through the joys and perils of preparing to have a baby. Rosie owns a high-fashion maternity clothing boutique on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and runs MomPrep, the premier training academy for mothers-to-be. With the help of her assistants, Hannah and LT, Rosie runs the store, designs the clothing, and takes on clients on a case-by-case basis to help them with all their bizarre baby needs."
Excite-o-Meter Says: Zero. Despite our bulging belly, we're not pregnant. But even if we were pregnant, would we hire someone to dress us? No way. And would we ever watch a show about someone who dresses pregnant people? No way x 1000.


Breaking In (9:30PM, FOX)
Starring: Bret Harrison, Christian Slater, Alphonso McAuley, Trevor Moore, and Michael Rosenbaum
The Premise: "Breaking In is an offbeat half-hour workplace comedy about a high-tech security firm that takes extreme—and often questionable—measures to sell their protection services."
Excite-o-Meter Says: 8. Capers, computers, and comedy! A solid cast and the potential for wacky hijinks has us looking forward to this one. Then again, it's in the same time slot as another well-cast comedy than didn't cut it: Running Wilde. We're hoping that one was an anomaly.

Workaholics (10:30PM, COMEDY CENTRAL)
Starring: Blake Anderson, Anders Holm, and Adam Devine
The Premise: "Workaholics is a scripted series that follows three friends fresh out of college who live and work together as telemarketers. Dress codes, deadlines, and waking up before noon aren't things these guys are used to. The crew spends their days scheming together to avoid doing any real work and their nights looking for good times."
Excite-o-Meter Says: 3. We've seen the opener, and it's half an hour of frat-boy put-downs, beer-chugging, and pot-smoking. Fun to do, boring to watch.


Gigolos (11PM, SHOWTIME)
Starring: Male escorts in Las Vegas
The Premise: This docudrama follows male escorts in Sin City as they service (we presume) Janes and Johns.
Excite-o-Meter Says: 8. Now this is how you do a docudrama! We've seen the ladies do it in Atlantic City Hookers and other programs, but what about the fellas? Our morbid and perverse curiosity has us looking forward to this.


Human Planet (8PM, DISCOVERY)
Starring: Us
The Premise: "From oceans to jungles to deserts, the new six part series Human Planet is a majestic portrait of people's incredible ability to survive and thrive in our planet's most extreme environments."
Excite-o-Meter Says: 9. Planet Earth is still the benchmark for gorgeous and entertaining nature programs, thanks to its incredible production values and its crew's dedication to getting the shot. This will be no different.

Khloe and Lamar (10PM, E!)
Starring: Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom
The Premise: Cameras follow celebrity couple Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom as they act like Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom.
Excite-o-Meter Says: Can we go negative? No? Fine, Zero.


Law & Order: Los Angeles (9PM, NBC)
Starring: Alfred Molina, Terrence Howard, and Corey Stoll
The Premise: "The newest addition to the Law & Order brand, Law & Order: Los Angeles fuses classic ripped-from-the-headlines storytelling with the distinctive backdrop of LA, delving into the unique attitudes, cultures, and crimes of the West Coast."
Excite-o-Meter Says: 4. Technically this is a re-launch; the show, which debuted in the fall, has undergone a creative overhaul in an attempt to fix early mistakes. We're moderately curious as to what's changed, but suspect it might be too little, too late.


Happy Endings (9:30PM, ABC)
Starring: Zachary Knighton, Elisha Cuthbert, Eliza Coupe, Damon Wayans Jr.
The Premise: "In this modern comedy, a couple's break-up will complicate all of their friends' lives and make everyone question their choices. For years, perfect couple Dave and Alex drew their friends in and held them together. Now that they've split, does this group have the stuff to stay together? Or do Max, Brad, Jane, and Penny have to choose sides?"
Excite-o-Meter Says: 4. Another rom-com relationship show that exists to plug in some scheduling holes? Sigh.


The Paul Reiser Show (8:30PM, NBC)
Starring: Paul Reiser!
The Premise: Loosely based on Reiser's life, this sitcom follows an out-of-work TV actor as he searches for his next step in life with the help of new friends.
Excite-o-Meter Says: 2. What, we're supposed to get excited for Paul Reiser?


Game of Thrones (9PM, HBO)
Starring: Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Lena Headey
The Premise: Based on George R.R. Martin's fantasy novel series, The Song of Fire and Ice, this drama tells the story of a power struggle between the Seven Kingdoms of a land called Westeros from various points of view.
Excite-o-Meter Says: 10. The books are incredible, and HBO appears to be giving the show the respect it deserves.


The Voice (9PM, NBC)
Starring: Carson Daly, Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton
The Premise: "The Voice is a vocal competition series hosted by Carson Daly and featuring four musician coaches who will coach only the most talented vocalists. The show's innovative format features three stages of competition: The first begins with the blind audition, then the competition enters into a battle phase, and finally, the live performance. During the blind auditions, the decisions from the coaches are based solely on voice and not on looks. The coaches hear the contestants perform, but they don't get to see them—thanks to rotating chairs."
Excite-o-Meter Says: 4. The premise of this show is still a bit baffling: So the judges don't watch the contestants sing, but later they do? Does that one gimmick make The Voice that much different from American Idol? Will we ever want another American Idol, ever?


Secret Diary of a Call Girl (APRIL 7, 10:30PM, SHOWTIME)
Starring: Billie Piper, Iddo Goldberg
The Premise: Based on the blog and books of a working call girl in London, this dramedy follows Belle de Jour, an escort who keeps her occupation a secret from her friends and family. This will be the show's fourth and final season

Friday Night Lights (APRIL 15, 8PM, NBC)
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden, Michael B. Jordan, Matt Lauria
The Premise: Now that it's finished airing on DirecTV, the fifth and final season of this critically acclaimed drama set in a high-school-football-obsessed Texas town is finally making its network debut.

Treme (APRIL 24, 10PM, HBO)
Starring: Wendell Pierce, Khandi Alexander, Clarke Peters, Steve Zahn, and Melissa Leo
The Premise: From the creator of The Wire, this drama details about musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans returns for Season 2.

Did anything here catch your eye? Which new shows will you be watching this month?

Follow/heckle TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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