Spring has most definitely sprung my friends, which means gorgeous weather and more time outside in vitamin-D-land, and that’s a glorious thing. Why, then, are the masters of television throwing all these cool new series in our faces; do they not know how very ready we are to throw off our quarantine chains and roam the wild world? Of course they do, but being the clever creatives they are, they also know there are rainy days, and times we want to cuddle up on the couch with our families and fur-friends to relax and be effortlessly entertained. So for the month of May, after you’ve played all the frisbee, barbecued the crap out of every last hunk of meat, and washed off the five layers of sunscreen accumulated throughout your day, settle back in your seat and watch whatever tickles your fancy (a saying which, btw, is quite the double entendre). Here’s the best of what’s coming this month:
Star Wars: The Bad Batch
May 4, 2021 (Disney+)
This new outing from prolific, self-described nerd Dave Filoni (The Mandalorian, Star Wars: The Clone Wars/Rebels/Forces of Destiny) is written by Jennifer Corbett (Star Wars: Resistance, NCIS, Breakout Kings) and stars Ming-Na Wen, Dee Bradley Baker, Andrew Kishino aka Big Kish, and Stephen Stanton. An elite group of genetically modified clone troopers introduced in The Clone Wars continues their daring missions. Filoni’s proven that he knows how to keep things in the galaxies fresh and exciting and with this specialized group of clones, expect the action to be dialed way up.
May 7, 2021 (Netflix)
Directed by Charlotte Brändström (The Witcher, The Man in High Castle), Christopher J. Byrne (Hannibal, American Gods), Mark Jobst (The Witcher, Berlin Station, Daredevil, The Punisher, Luke Cage, Hannibal), and series creator Steven S. DeKnight (Pacific Rim: Uprising, Daredevil, Dollhouse, Smallville); written by DeKnight (pilot); starring Josh Duhamel, Ben Daniels, Leslie Bibb, Elena Kampouris, and Matt Lanter. Superhero outing based on the Mark Millar/Frank Quitely Image Comics about the generation gap between older heroes who attained their powers during the 1930s and their super kids. Millar describes the series as “part-2001, part-Avengers, part-Godfather II” and that sounds like everything we ever wanted in a show.
May 8, 2021 (Netflix)
Directed by Lee Na-Jeong (Love Alarm, Snowy Road); written by Baek Mi-kyeong (The Lady in Dignity); starring Lee Bo-young, Kim Seo-hyung, Cha Hak-yeon and Park Hyuk-kwon. This Korean drama/thriller follows a group of high-society women trying to shed prejudice, as they figure out who they really are. The trailer would seem to indicate there’s a little something more mysterious going on and has a bit of a The Handmaiden/Parasite feel to it, which means it’s definitely worth checking out.
May 13, 2021 (HBO Max)
Directed by Lucia Aniello (The Babysitters Club, Broad City); written by Aniello and co-showrunners Paul W. Downs (Broad City, Rough Night) and Jen Statsky (The Good Place, Broad City); starring Jean Smart — who’s been showing off her incredible range all over the place (Mare of Easttown, Watchmen, Fargo, Legion) — as legendary Las Vegas comedian Deborah Vance, and Hannah Einbinder as her equally snarky, twenty-something mentee, Ava. Their oil and water might not mix, but a little emulsification could result in some great comedy.
May 14, 2021 (Netflix)
Pilot directed by Daniel Minahan (Game of Thrones, American Crime Story, Ratched, House of Cards); written by Ryan Murphy (American Crime Story, American Horror Story, Pose, Ratched), Sharr White (Generation, The Affair), and Ian Brennan (Glee, Scream Queens); starring Ewan McGregor, Vera Farmiga, Bill Pullman, Krysta Rodriguez, and Succession favorite, Rory Culkin. Miniseries with McGregor morphing into the famed designer who created his own fashion empire. Murphy is one of television’s best masters-of-aesthetics and Ewan is a brilliant, beautiful actor — what more could we ask for?
The Underground Railroad
May 14, 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Directed by Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk); written by Jenkins, Jihan Crowther (The Man in the High Castle, Here and Now); starring Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon, Aaron Pierre, Joel Edgerton, William Jackson Harper, Peter Mullan, and Lily Rabe. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Colson Whitehead novel, this reimagining of the historical escape network features an actual railroad that transports African American slaves to freedom. With Jenkins at the helm and an excellent cast, this is sure to be moving and memorable. Bring tissues.
Run the World
May 16, 2021 (Starz)
Directed by Jenée LaMarque (Room 104, Vida) and Justin Tipping (Twenties, Dear White People, The Chi); written by Leigh Davenport (Boomerang); starring Amber Stevens West, Andrea Bordeaux, Bresha Webb, Stephen Bishop, Corbin Reid, Tosin Morohunfola. From the creator of Living Single, who describes the series as “a love letter to Black women and a love letter to Harlem,” this dramedy follows a group of women friends living in Harlem, navigating their lives and relationships together.
May 20, 2021 (AMC+)
Directed by Susan Tully (Line of Duty, Britannia); written by Clara Salaman (Shame on You, The Boat); starring Emily Watson, Denise Gough, and Thalissa Teixeira. Three-part British miniseries with Watson as a forensic psychiatrist who tries to ascertain the truth about a terrible crime. Watson is riveting in absolutely everything she does, so just surrender to the darkness surrounding her now.
May 21, 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Created, directed, and written by David Weil (Hunters); starring Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, Uzo Aduba, Helen Mirren, Anthony Mackie, Constance Wu, Dan Stevens, and Nicole Beharie. Science fiction anthology series exploring humanity and connection, with each episode focusing on a single character. It’s an interesting premise and what a fantastic group of actors. With details very hush-hush and no trailer available, we’ll have to play the wait-and-see game.
May 21, 2021 (Hulu)
Directed by Alex Kamer and Eric Towner (Robot Chicken, Supermansion); written by Patton Oswalt (and others); starring Oswalt, Nathan Fillion, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Hader, Jon Hamm, Aimee Garcia, Melissa Fumero, Ben Schwartz, and Beck Bennett. Based on the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby comic about supervillain George Tarlton, aka M.O.D.O.K. (Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing), who’s dealing with a mid-life crisis as his evil, anti-superhero company goes bankrupt and is taken over by a competitor. So… a wickedly fun Marvel show on a different network and with a different slant on Tony Stark/Iron Man (Hamm)? Count us in.