Watch by Decade! 7 Shows Traveling Back in Time This Spring (PHOTOS)

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Mrs. America Fargo I Know This Much Is True
Hulu; FX; HBO
Penny Dreadful City of Angels
Justin Lubin/SHOWTIME

’30s: Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

In this spinoff of the popular horror show, the Angel of Holy Death (Lorenza Izzo) and her demon sister, Magda (Natalie Dormer), roam 1938 L.A., a city rife with political demagogues, foreign agents and vulnerable communities. (Premieres April 26, 10/9c, Showtime)


’40s: Hollywood

Expect grittiness and glamour as multiple stories unfold in what cocreator Ryan Murphy calls a “love letter to the golden age of Tinseltown.” Per the prolific producer, the stylish drama — starring Darren Criss, Jim Parsons, Holland Taylor, Patti LuPone and Jake Picking (as film legend Rock Hudson) — will also explore the sex industry and “how absolutely everything has changed and nothing has changed.” (Premieres May 1, Netflix)


’50s: Fargo

For nearly three years, we’ve been missing Fargos darkly quirky brand of Midwestern lawlessness. No longer! Season 4 follows the conflict between an African American gang on the rise and the more established Italian mob as they vie for control of the Kansas City, Missouri, underworld. Creator Noah Hawley says he wanted to puncture some of the nostalgia for post-WWII America, a time when immigrants arrived from Europe and African Americans from Southern states moved north. “To neither of these groups was the mainstream economy available,” he explains. “So they invented an alternative economy, which was crime.”

While the setting is midcentury America, the tale is straight out of Game of Thrones: In an attempt to make peace, the bosses of the organizations (Chris Rock’s Loy Cannon and Tommaso Ragno’s Donatello Fadda) swap their youngest sons to be raised by their rivals. “It feels like something you might do as a sort of last-ditch insurance policy to keep your enemy from betraying you,” Hawley says. “It doesn’t work very well.” But it makes for good comedy. Says Rock, “Fargo is funny, like a Scorsese movie — it’s always within the story.” (Premieres April 19, 10/9c, FX)

Jane Goodall
Ian Waldie/Getty Images

’60s: She Walks With Apes

This doc profiles pioneering primatologists Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas, dubbed the Trimates. They went to live among, respectively, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans to better understand our closest genetic relatives — and witness a different kind of swingin’ ’60s. (Premieres April 22, 9/8c, BBC America)

Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlaflyin in Mrs. America
Sabrina Lantos/FX

’70s: Mrs. America

Cate Blanchett and Rose Byrne head a powerhouse cast replaying a seminal debate: Should women’s rights be enshrined in an Equal Rights Amendment? Blanchett portrays anti–”women’s lib” activist Phyllis Schlafly, and Byrne is feminist leader Gloria Steinem in the carefully neutral nine-episode series, which creator Dahvi Waller describes as “an origin story of today’s culture wars.” (Premieres April 15, FX on Hulu)

Karrah Kobus/NPG Records via Getty Images

’80s: Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute To Prince

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate this thing called Prince‘s life — including the towering achievement that is 1984’s Purple Rain. Among this tribute concert’s performers: Chris Martin, Morris Day and the Time, Earth, Wind & Fire, and the Revolution. (Premieres Spring, CBS)


’90s: I Know This Much Is True

The twin brothers played by Mark Ruffalo in this six-episode adaptation of Wally Lamb’s probing bestseller have each suffered profound losses. For Dominick, it’s his marriage and infant child; for paranoid schizophrenic Thomas, his sanity and the hand he hacks off to protest the looming Persian Gulf War. In bringing their complex relationship to life, the three-time Oscar nominee shot his scenes as Dominick first, then came back five weeks later (and 30 pounds heavier) to play Thomas. “The crew was in a state of shock. He was a completely different guy, and it felt weird talking to him,” says exec producer Derek Cianfrance. “It’s an astounding performance.” (Premieres April, HBO)

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Take a trip back to the booming ’50s, the radical ’70s and more memorable eras, thanks to television this spring.

From showtime’s Penny Dreadful: City of Angels to Netflix’s Hollywood and FX’s Fargo, we’re walking you through the new shows, decade by decade.

Click through the gallery above to find your new favorite show by era!