Spring is in the air. That sense of rebirth is especially alive and well in the world of entertainment, as many of our favorite shows are back and there’s suddenly optimism about buds of pop-cultural excellence ready to flower. Mad Men is already humming. The Hunger Games is a huge smash. Game of Thrones and The Killing kick off tonight, further complicating your Sunday-night DVR dilemma — especially if you’ve been banking Frozen Planet for the kids. Discovery’s cool-climate nature documentary doesn’t follow the birds or the bees, but perhaps Tuesday’s paperback release of Fifty Shades of Grey will address those details in a different but equally enlightening manner.
Seasons change in the world of sports, too, from Monday night’s NCAA men’s basketball final between Kentucky and Kansas, to the opening pitches of baseball season — the St. Louis Cardinals begin their title defense on Wednesday night in Miami — to the blooming azaleas and dogwoods of Augusta National during the Masters golf tournament.
It’s time to look ahead at the juicy fruit just waiting to be plucked from the entertainment tree. This week has something for everyone. Enjoy.
SUNDAY, April 1
Game of Thrones season premiere — 9 p.m., HBO
When the trailer for the second season of Game of Thrones appeared earlier this year, nearly four million people viewed it in just the first three days, so it’s fair to say that anticipation for the next chapter of George R.R. Martin’s epic adventure is about to burst. Take everything you loved about last season and add some dragons.
MONDAY, April 2
Bones series return — 8 p.m., FOX
Yes, the bars will be packed for the college basketball championship, but they’ll be plenty of folks just as riveted by the return of Bones (which, by the way, will end 23 minutes before the hoop teams tip off in New Orleans). This is the birth episode “fans have been waiting seven years for,” says exec producer Stephen Nathan. Turns out the couple’s baby already has a mind of its own, beginning with where it decides to make its entrance.
TUESDAY, April 3
Fifty Shades of Grey available in new paperback
Finding a hard copy of E L James’ book is about to get a whole lot easier. Vintage Books has 500,000 paperback copies of the ebook bestseller ready for readers — though you’ll have to supply your own phony book cover to disguise your reading material on the subway commute. My suggestion: Jonah Leher’s Imagine.
WEDNESDAY, April 4
Titanic 3-D sails back into theaters
Kate Winslet says Celine Dion’s hit song now makes her want to throw up. James Cameron told EW that Leo cracked up throughout a recent screening of the 1997 smash, amused at being so young and “such a punk.” I’m guessing, though, that many of the thousands of teenage fans who saw the film over and over and over again when it was initially released might return for another cruise.
THURSDAY, April 5
Tiger Woods tees off at the Masters — ESPN and Masters.com
After nearly three years of on and off the course struggles, Woods finally won last week, re-establishing himself as the odds-on favorite to win another green jacket. He tees off Thursday, and if he plays well enough, he’ll be in the hunt on Easter Sunday. Fans can sneak in some golf at work, where nearly nine hours of live coverage will be streaming each day on the tournament’s website.
FRIDAY, April 6
American Reunion opens in theaters
Can you believe it’s been 13 years since the original American Pie? (And just three years since the straight-to-video classic, American Pie Presents The Book of Love.) The gang returns for a class reunion in the first real sequel in nine years. Count on more band-camp references, less Chris Klein singing, and plenty of Stifler’s Mom.
SATURDAY, April 7
The Ten Commandments — 7 p.m., ABC
What better way to celebrate the Judeo-Christian religious holidays than by watching Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner go toe-to-toe in ancient Egypt. ABC’s traditional telecast of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic is just slightly shorter (four hours and 44 minutes, all told) than Moses’ 40 years in the wilderness, but how can you not stay up late to see the Red Sea part and butterfingered Moses drop five of the 15 commandments — wait, I might be confusing DeMille with Mel Brooks.
SUNDAY, April 8
The Big C season premiere — 9:30 p.m., Showtime
Another plum Sunday night series returns: Laura Linney’s cancer-stricken character is back for a third season. The big question tonight? What about her husband, Paul (Oliver Platt), who suffered a heart attack in the season 2 finale?