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If you have plans for April, cancel them now. You’ll need to stay home and watch television.

Three big prestige projects make April debuts, which is shaping up as one of the busiest TV months of the year.

TV insiders point out that some April launches are tied to Emmy hopes. Rules require that, to be eligible for Emmy nominations, a show must have aired at least half of its episodes by May 31.

Count back and April is the most logical month for a high-profile premiere. The same is true for returning series that hope to score a nomination.

The spring season isn’t all about April, though. Premieres and returns rev up in March and continue through May, when — you guessed it — TV’s summer season begins.

Hotly anticipated April debuts begin with Season 3 of “Fargo” (9 p.m. April 19 on FX). This time around, the Noah Hawley anthology series (its plot still under wraps) stars Ewan McGregor in a dual role as brothers, with a cast that also includes Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jean Smart.

Fans of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” are eager to get a look at the gorgeous adaptation due April 26 on Hulu. The science-future drama, in which women are subjugated after an overthrow of the U.S. government, stars Elisabeth Moss as Offred and Joseph Fiennes as the Commander.

The biggest of all the April premieres is “American Gods” (8 p.m. April 30 on Starz), adapted by Bryan Fuller from Neil Gaiman’s epic 2001 allegorical fantasy novel about the old gods and the new. The huge cast includes Ricky Whittle as Shadow and Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday.

May showcases the big revival of “Twin Peaks” (8 p.m. May 21 on Showtime), with David Lynch and Mark Frost bringing back their 1990-91 cult hit for 18 new episodes and cast members including Kyle MacLachlan returning.

The broadcast networks aren’t sitting out spring. Fox has “Shots Fired” (7 p.m. March 22), a drama from Gina Price-Blithewood and Reggie Blithewood in which racial tensions erupt after a policeman shoots a young man in North Carolina. The Blithewoods put the gun in a black cop’s hand.

Also on Fox, the 2006-09 action drama “Prison Break” (8 p.m. April 4) is revived as a limited series with original stars Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller and Sarah Wayne Callies all back.

NBC holds “Great News” (8 p.m. April 25), a comedy created by Tracy Wigfield and produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, for spring. Briga Heelan stars as a TV news producer whose enthusiastic mother (Andrea Martin) joins the station as an intern.

The most oddball entry of the spring network season looks like “Trial & Error” (9 p.m. Tuesday on NBC), a serialized comedy starring Nicholas D’Agosto as a young big-city lawyer who heads south to defend an eccentric professor (John Lithgow) accused of killing his wife.

Here are more premieres from now through May, with a list of major returns following.

“Snatch,” Thursday on Crackle • A British-American comedy based on the 2000 movie stars Rupert Grint (Ron in “Harry Potter”), plus Ed Westwick, Luke Pasqualino, Dougray Scott and more.

“Marvel’s Iron Fist,” Friday on Netflix • A martial arts expert (Finn Jones) calls on the “power of the Iron Fist” in another Marvel action drama.

“Julie’s Greenroom,” Friday on Netflix • That’s Julie as in Julie Andrews, who (along with a cast of new Henson puppets) introduces preschoolers to performing arts.

“Striking Out,” Friday on Acorn • An Irish drama follows a lawyer (Amy Huberman) who starts a private practice.

“Tangled: The Series,” 6:30 p.m. March 24 on Disney • The 2010 movie becomes an animated series with Mandy Moore (as Rapunzel) and Zachary Levi returning in their film roles.

“Rebel,” 7 p.m. March 28 on BET • John Singleton created this police drama, with a cast including Giancarlo Esposito, Mykelti Williamson and Method Man.

“Harlots,” March 29 on Hulu • A drama set in an 18th-century London brothel stars Samantha Morton, Lesley Manville and Jessica Brown Findlay.

“Imaginary Mary,” 7:30 p.m. March 29 on ABC • A woman (Jenna Elfman) about to marry and under stress finds that her childhood imaginary friend, Mary (the voice of an animated Rachel Dratch), has returned to advise her.

“Nobodies,” 9 p.m. March 29 on TV Land • Melissa McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone (who also stars) produce this comedy about three friends waiting for their big breaks in show business. TV Land has already picked up the series for a second season.

“13 Reasons Why,” March 31 on Netflix • Via tapes found after her death, a teenage girl explains the reasons she took her own life in an adaptation of the 2007 novel.

“The Kennedys After Camelot,” 8 p.m. April 2 on Reelz • Katie Holmes returns as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in a miniseries with Matthew Perry as Ted Kennedy.

“Brockmire,” 9 p.m. April 5 on IFC • Hank Azaria is a baseball announcer trying for a comeback in a comedy that began as a Funny Or Die video.

“American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story,” April 7 on Amazon • A biographical drama follows Hefner through the founding of Playboy and beyond.

“Talking With Chris Hardwick,” 10 p.m. April 9 on AMC • Hardwick will now talk about other AMC shows and pop culture events, not just “The Walking Dead,” in a weekly series.

“Mystery Science Theater 3000,” April 14 on Netflix • The popular, long-running movie-mocking series is revived.

“Class,” 9 p.m. April 15 on BBC America • A “Doctor Who” spin-off follows students and teachers at Coal Hill Academy.

“The White Princess,” 7 p.m. April 16 on Starz • A sequel to “The White Queen” adapts the 2013 Philippa Gregory novel about Elizabeth of York and Henry VII.

“Guerrilla,” 8 p.m. April 16 on Showtime • Idris Elba stars in a six-episode John Ridley drama about conflict in 1970s London.

“Famous in Love,” 8 p.m. April 18 on Freeform • Bella Thorne stars as a college student who becomes a huge star seemingly overnight.

“Girlboss,” April 21 on Netflix • Britt Robertson builds a vintage clothing empire in a comedy with producers including Charlize Theron.

“Mary Kills People,” 9 p.m. April 23 on Lifetime • A dramedy about euthanasia stars Caroline Dhavernas (“Wonderfalls”).

“Genius,” April 25 on National Geographic • Geoffrey Rush stars as Albert Einstein.

“Dear White People,” April 28 on Netflix • A comedy series is based on Justin Simien’s film of the same name.

“Anne,” May 12 on Netflix • A new adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables” stars Amybeth McNulty as Anne and R.H. Thomson and Geraldine James as Matthew and Marilla.

"Downward Dog," 8:30 p.m. May 17 (sneak peek), then 7 p.m. May 23,  on ABC • AllisonTolman ("Fargo") stars as a woman whose dog, Martin, narrates her life.

“The Wizard of Lies,” 7 p.m. May 20 on HBO • Robert DeNiro is Bernie Madoff in a Barry Levinson look at the crooked financier. Michelle Pfeiffer is Madoff’s wife.

“Dark Angel,” 8 p.m. May 21 on PBS • Joanne Froggatt (Anna on “Downton Abbey”) plays Mary Ann Cotton, considered the first female serial killer.

Returning for spring

• “Spring Baking Championship," 8 p.m. Sunday on Food

• “American Crime,” 9 p.m. Sunday on ABC

• “Hap and Leonard: Mucho Mojo,” 9 p.m. Wednesday on Sundance

• “Greenleaf,” 9 p.m. Wednesday on OWN

• “Review,” 9 p.m. Thursday on Comedy Central

• “The Circus,” 7 p.m. March 19 on Showtime

• “Into the Badlands,” 9 p.m. March 19 on AMC

• “Dancing With the Stars,” 7 p.m. March 20 on ABC

• “Empire,” 8 p.m. March 22 on Fox

• “Grace and Frankie,” March 24 on Netflix

• “Lopez," 9:30 p.m. March 29 on TV Land

• “The Amazing Race,” 7 p.m. March 30 on CBS

• “Call the Midwife,” 7 p.m. April 2 on PBS

• “Home Fires,” 8 p.m. April 2 on PBS

• “iZombie,” 9 p.m. April 4 on the CW

• “Archer,” 9 p.m. April 5 on FXX

• “Better Call Saul,” 9 p.m. April 10 on AMC

• “Angie Tribeca,” 9:30 p.m. April 10 on TBS

• “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” 7 p.m. April 11 on Fox

• “Doctor Who,” 8 p.m. April 15 on BBC America

• “The Leftovers,” 8 p.m. April 16 on HBO

• “Veep,” 9:30 p.m. April 16 on HBO

• “Pretty Little Liars,” 7 p.m. April 18 on Freeform

• “Bosch,” April 21 on Amazon

• “Silicon Valley,” 9 p.m. April 23 on HBO

• “Gotham,” 7 p.m. April 24 on Fox

• “Gomorrah,” 9 p.m. April 26 on Sundance

• “Catastrophe,” April 28 on Amazon

• “Lucifer,” 8 p.m. May 1 on Fox

• “Sense8,” May 5 on Netflix

• "12 Monkeys," May 19 on Syfy

• “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” May 19 on Netflix

• “Casual,” May 23 on Hulu

• “House of Cards,” May 30 on Netflix

• “Animal Kingdom,” 8 p.m. May 30 on TNT

Gail Pennington • 314-340-8136

TV critic

@gailpennington on Twitter

gpennington@post-dispatch.com

This article originally ran on stltoday.com.

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