Had your fill of regularly scheduled, weekly TV shows? Good, because May belongs to streaming shows eager for Emmy consideration!
Let’s bitch it out…
Top Pick: New
Let’s put “new” in quotations marks, shall we? Twin Peaks (May 21) is hardly a new series, but it has been off the air for 25 (!) years so for a lot of people this will be the first time they’ve seen it on television. Twin Peaks is arguably one of – if not the – cult-iest series ever made, capturing the popular zeitgeist back in 1991 like virtually no other show before it. The mystery of who killed Laura Palmer was one of the definitive water cooler conversations, making the series “must see” TV when it was airing its first season. Although the series burned fast and bright, its cultural impact is undeniable, even today (look no further than the marketing of The CW’s Riverdale).
There’s no question if this new series will be successful (expect at least the first few episodes to break Showtime records as fans old and new turn in). The real question is whether Twin Peaks 2017 can retain its sense of cool after so many years (and imitators). Expectations are sky high, despite the fact that most fans probably haven’t seen any of David Lynch’s output in well over a decade and that could make for some very confused audiences who are expecting the same man from 25 years ago. No one remains the same, and this new Twin Peaks will undoubtedly reflect that. It’s going to be a wild – and polarizing – ride, folks!
Top Pick: Returning
Conventional wisdom would suggest putting something like critical darling Master of None in this slot (it’s below, in the runner up category), but I would be lying if I said anything other than the third (and final – sob!) season of Kingdom (May 31) is my most anticipated returning show for the month. This is a perennial “under the radar” series, often dismissed by people claiming they don’t like MMA fighting who fail to see that Kingdom is actually more about the dysfunctional family than the fighting gym they own (the best comparison I can make is that MMA fighting in Kingdom is what football was to Friday Night Lights).
This is my favourite “hot mess” series because the characters are losers/failures who consistently make poor decisions, but you love them all of the same. Audience Network unceremoniously killed the series in advance of this third season debut, so this is the last we will see of these characters. Now is a great time to jump onboard and find out what you’re missing, especially Jonathan Tucker’s criminally-overlooked award-worthy performance as middle son, Jay.
- Runner Up: Emmy winning Netflix series Master of None (May 12) returns after a year off while network stablemate Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt hopes to mine comedy gold following its titular character to college (May 19). Elsewhere Syfy adopts an unconventional strategy for 12 Monkeys‘ third season: the entire season will debut over three consecutive nights from May 19-21.
Top Pick: Wildcard
Sense8 (May 5)’s first season was a mix of highs (anytime the sensates came together) and lows (epic tangents, a few dull characters). At this point it’s unclear what expectations are for season two or where the story will go, which is why the series falls firmly into Wildcard territory. Advance reviews are just cropping up, declaring it mostly good (if you liked the first season), so that’s encouraging. Expect some differences: in addition to fun story lines like he crew will party on a Pride float in Sao Paulo, the season will be steered entirely by Lana Wachowski after her sister Lilly’s departure.
- Runner Up: Jill Solloway’s I Love Dick (May 12) is not a sex show, but it is divisive among critics and may test audiences expecting a Transparent companion series. Downward Dog (May 17) is one of the few network shows debuting this month and it will be interesting to see if audiences embark its traditional format. Finally, will Canadian/Netflix co-production Anne (May 12) recapture that Anne of Green Gables magic?
Full List of New and Returning Series – May 2017
Monday, May 1
- Lucifer S2B (FOX – 9pm EST): Lucifer has gone off the grid and cut off all contact from his family and the police department, following Chloe’s near-death. But the murder of an up-and-coming guitarist causes him to resurface – with a new mystery woman. Meanwhile, Lucifer’s mom realizes she may have found a way to finally get them back to Heaven.
Friday, May 5
- Sense8 S2* (Netflix – 3am EST): In Season 2, dark forces continue to track the cluster of eight connected characters. The sensates will learn more about BPO, the secret organization searching for their cluster and others like them, and will work to protect themselves from this organization that is out to hunt and kill them. All episodes available today
- The Last Kingdom S2 (Netflix – 3am EST): The adaptation of The Saxon Stories jumps from BBC America to Netflix for S2.
Friday, May 12
- Anne S1 (Netflix – 3am EST): Anne is a coming-of-age story about an outsider who, against all odds and many challenges, fights for love and acceptance and her place in the world. Set in Prince Edward Island in the late 1890s, the series centers on Anne Shirley (Amybeth McNulty), a young orphaned girl who, after an abusive childhood spent in orphanages and the homes of strangers, is mistakenly sent to live with an aging sister and brother. Over time, 13-year-old Anne will transform the lives of Marilla (Geraldine James) and Matthew Cuthbert (R.H. Thomson) and eventually the entire small town in which they live with her unique spirit, fierce intellect and brilliant imagination. Anne’s adventures will reflect timeless and topical issues including themes of identity, feminism, bullying and prejudice. All episodes available today
- Master of None S2* (Netflix – 3am EST): After traveling abroad, Dev (Aziz Ansari) returns to New York to take on challenges in his personal and family life, a new career opportunity, and a complex, developing relationship with someone very meaningful to him. All episodes available today
- I Love Dick S1* (Amazon): The second Amazon series from Transparent creator Jill Soloway is an adaptation of Chris Kraus’s experimental, genre-blending 1997 novel/memoir, acclaimed for its intelligent and intimate exploration of male/female relationships.
Wednesday, May 17
- Downward Dog S1 (ABC – 9:30pm EST): Based on the web series, Downward Dog is about a struggling millennial, Nan (Allison Tolman), from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog, Martin. One session at obedience school makes them realize that even at their worst, they may be the best thing for each other.
Monday, May 15
- Decline and Fall (Acorn TV): This BBC miniseries stars Eva Longoria, Jack Whitehall, and David Suchet in the 1920s-set story about a divinity student who is forced to take a teaching position at an obscure Welsh school after being expelled as the result of a prank gone awry.
Friday, May 19
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt S3* (Netflix – 3am EST): Kimmy goes to College! Season 3 guest stars include Laura Dern, Rachel Dratch, Ray Liotta, Daveed Diggs, Andrea Martin and Maya Rudolph, plus returning guests Fred Armisen, Tina Fey, David Cross, Jon Hamm, and Amy Sedaris. All episodes available today
- The Keepers S1* (Netflix – 3am EST): Seven-part series looks at a five-decade-old cold case: the unsolved murder of a nun named Sister Cathy. All episodes available today
- 12 Monkeys S3* (Syfy – 8pm EST): In an unconventional rollout, all 10 episodes of season 3 will air this weekend, with four episodes tonight and three each on Saturday and Sunday (starting at 8p each night)
Saturday, May 20
- The Wizard of Lies (HBO – 8pm EST): The story of Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme. Robert De Niro stars as Bernie Madoff in a biopic directed by Barry Levinson. Michelle Pfeiffer, Lily Rabe, and Hank Azaria also star.
Sunday, May 21
- Dark Angel (PBS – 9pm EST): Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey) portrays the mother, wife, and infamous Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton.
- Twin Peaks S3* (Showtime – 9pm EST): Widely considered one of the most groundbreaking and influential broadcast series of all time, Twin Peaks followed the inhabitants of a quaint northwestern town who were stunned after their homecoming queen Laura Palmer was shockingly murdered. The town’s sheriff welcomed the help of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), who came to town to investigate the case. As Cooper conducted his search for Laura’s killer, the town’s secrets were gradually exposed. The mystery that ensued set off an eerie chain of events that plunged the inhabitants of Twin Peaks into a darker examination of their very existence. Twenty-five years later, the story continues…2 hour premiere, 2 new eps available to stream at 11pm
Tuesday, May 23
- Casual S3* (Hulu): The continued adventures of a bachelor brother and his divorced sister living under one roof, coaching each other through the crazy world of dating while raising her teenage daughter.
Friday, May 26
- Bloodline S3 (Netflix – 3am EST): The Rayburns have one final season to work out their family issues. All episodes available today.
- War Machine (Netflix – 3am EST): In a film for our times, writer-director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) recreates a U.S. General’s roller-coaster rise and fall as part reality, part savage parody – raising the specter of just where the line between them lies today. His is an anti-establishment, pro-soldier exploration in the form of an absurdist war story of a born leader’s ultra-confident march right into the dark heart of folly.
Monday, May 29
- Still Star-Crossed S1 (ABC – 10pm EST): Based on the book by Melinda Tauba, this period drama from Shondaland picks up where the famous story of Romeo and Juliet ends, charting the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate.
Tuesday, May 30
- House of Cards S5 (Netflix – 3am EST): When we last saw Frank (Kevin Spacey) and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), the morally corrupt president and first lady were plotting to declare war on ICO in an effort to distract from an article revealing their deep, dark secrets. All episodes available today
- Animal Kingdom S2 (TNT – 9pm EST): Animal Kingdom is an adrenaline-charged drama starring Emmy and Tony winner Ellen Barkin as the matriarch of a Southern California family whose excessive lifestyle is fueled by their criminal activities, with Scott Speedman as her second in command. Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, Jake Weary and Finn Cole also star.
Wednesday, May 31
- The Carmichael Show S3 (NBC – 9pm EST): From the comedy of Jerrod Carmichael and Nick Stoller comes an irreverent sitcom inspired by Jerrod’s relationships with his say-anything, contrarian father, his therapist-in-training girlfriend, his ever-hustling brother and his mother who is always, always, always right with Jesus.
- Kingdom S3* (DirecTV’s Audience Network – 8pm EST): At the end of Kingdom‘s second season, we left Jay Kulina heartbroken after losing Ava (not to mention physically beaten down after losing his belt to Ryan), Lisa trying to rediscover her place in the world, and Nate finally coming out to his brother. Final season
And that is it for May. Not so bad aside from all of the Netflix shows, right? June brings a smattering of very different shows, including Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black S6 (if you haven’t already watched the leaked episodes) and new lady wrestling series GLOW, S2 of Comedy Central’s insane Idiotsitter, TNT’s fun / bizarre-looking Claws and Syfy’s insane looking Blood Drive, as well as AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead S3 and Preacher S2. Plus: Zoo S3, one of the worst shows on TV!