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May TV has a long tradition of times when people who kept their show queues neat and orderly suddenly give up and falter under the weight of an impossible amount of new shows that overwhelm people with options.
Blame it on Emmy eligibility, the drive for new subscribers, the production schedule, or some likely combination of the above, but there's an embarrassment of television riches about to enter living rooms everywhere over the next few weeks. There is a regular line-up of series that expand existing stories into a new medium, from origins in the US, the UK and across the universe. This month we have adaptations of everything from books to billboards.
We would say that the coming summer promises a little respite from all these overwhelming options, buthistory points tothat's not the case either. Meanwhile, as awards talk begins to reach its boiling point, here are plenty of shows from across the TV landscape that will be vying for attention (or at least simmering carefully in the background).
(If you happened to miss any of our past previews, you can check out the premieresJanuary,February,March,April, ili topast era 2021.)
"I Love It For You" (May 1, show time)
In the rut of her adult life, Joanna (Vanessa Bayer) still harbors her lifelong dream of appearing as a host on a popular cable shopping channel. Her dream becomes a little closer to reality when she strikes up an unlikely friendship with one of the network's longtime stars (Molly Shannon) and begins spending more time with the hard-to-break-through founder and CEO (Jenifer Lewis). When her plans get in the way, she may have to resort to drastic measures to stay in the SVN loop. Michael Showalter adds this to his growing list of pilot directing efforts, for an episode written by series co-creators Bayer and Jeremy Beilen.
“Ridley Road” (May 1, PBS)
Drawn from true events, this four-part series follows the experience of a young woman (Agnes O'Casey) living in London and trying to balance her life between the excitement of the city's growing cultural scene and her commitment to helping take down a local neo-Nazi cell from within. Rory Kinnear, Tom Carey and Eddie Marsan star in this series directed by Lisa Mulcahy and written by Sarah Solemani, which originally aired on BBC One last autumn.
"Ten Percent" (May 1, BBC America)
One of the first remakes of the hit Netflix series “Call My Agent!” and certainly not the last, this version features an ensemble cast that includes Jack Davenport and Jim Broadbent as employees of a weak British talent agency just trying to survive in a busy market. Like its predecessor, expect a host of famous Brits playing themselves, including Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Corrin, Kelly Macdonald, Dominic West and Phoebe Dyvenor.
“The Porter” (May 5, BET+)
Aml Ameen and Ronnie Rowe Jr. stars a pair of porters working on the railroad system in the early 1920s whose destinies diverge — one finds himself deep in the underworld, while the other works to unite his colleagues. These different paths soon put them in opposition, putting their friendship and the lives of those around them to the test. Mouna Traoré, Loren Lott, Olunike Adeliyi and Alfre Woodard also star in the eight-part series.
“The Staircase” (May 5, HBO Max)
Another in a growing list of documentary-based series, this latest tackles one of the totemic stories in all of true crime television. Many figures from the decades-spanning original series are here in dramatized form, including Michael Peterson (Colin Firth), his late wife Kathleen (Toni Collette) and the unforgettable defense attorney David Rudolf (Michael Stuhlbarg). The series was directed by Antonio Campos (co-creator of the series with Maggie Cohn) and Leigh Janiak.
“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” (May 5, Paramount+)
Building on their appearances on "Star Trek: Discovery," Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and Spock (Ethan Peck) lead this collection of voyages for the USS Enterprise that serve as a bridge to the events of the original TV series. New episodes will premiere each week — starting with a pilot written and directed by co-showrunner Akiva Goldsman — with a second season already on the way.
“Bosch: The Legacy” (May 6, Freevee)
It took a lot more than the end of a Prime Video show to keep Bosch from appearing on television. Staying in the Amazon family as one of the first originals on the newly-branded Freevee, this new series finds Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) flexing his new muscles as a private investigator, looking at the world of Los Angeles in a slightly different way.
“Candies” (May 9, Hulu)
In the early 1980s in suburban Texas, a local woman was found murdered in her own home. The prime suspect? Her best friend. Jessica Biel and Melanie Lynskey star as Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore, the two central figures in a disturbing true crime that still baffles people nearly half a century later. "Mad Men" vet Robin Veith is writing the series, which Hulu will release nightly in a five-part weekly event. Pablo Schreiber, Timothy Simons and Raúl Esparza also appear in the series created by Veith and former "Channel Zero" boss Nick Antosca.
“The Essex Serpent” (May 13, Apple TV+)
Clio Bernard, the director behind such films as "The Arbor" and "The Selfish Giant," makes her first foray into TV with a period drama with a paranormal twist. Adapted from Sarah Perry's novel, Claire Danes stars as a woman who moves to Essex after hearing a local legend. Her arrival brings her into the orbit of a pastor (Tom Hiddleston), who she hopes will help her understand the scientific and emotional truths of what's going on once she gets there. Clémence Poésy, Hayley Squires and Frank Dillane star in the series which will premiere with two episodes before new ones air each week.
"Children in the Hall" (May 13, Prime Video)
Returning to TV for their first extended visit since the mid-'90s — Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson last appeared together as part of a regular TV venture in 1995, when the original "Kids in the Hall ” airing on CBS and CBC — the boys from the North reunite for an all-new eight-episode collection of sketch comedy, bringing a host of famous friends along for the ride. A week after the release of the new episodes, Prime Video will also have a two-part documentary looking at the group's career and influence since their origins in the 80s.
“Conversations with Friends” (May 15, Hulu)
Hulu's growing Rooneyverse expands with this new limited series based on another of the beloved Irish author's novels. Much of the creative team behind "Normal People" also returns, including director Lenny Abrahamson, DP Suzie Lavelle and Sally Rooney who is adapting her work. This time the action turns to Dublin as student Frances (Alison Oliver) becomes the central figure in a web of friendship, love, marriage, jealousy and everything in between. Joe Alwyn, Sasha Lane and Jemima Kirke round out the show's central quartet.
“The Time Traveler's Wife” (May 15, HBO)
Turns out every decade has its own Audrey Niffenegger adaptation (I guess you were unlucky, 2010). This time, Theo James and Rose Leslie make an impact in the roles of the lover who jumps through time and the woman he leaves behind when he periodically disappears from the temporal plane. The six episodes will follow Clare and Henry in their young days and through their eventual, logistically fraught marriage. Former “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” boss Steven Moffat helms this latest version, with “Game of Thrones” veteran David Nutter in the director's chair.
“Angelyne” (May 19, Peacock)
One of LA's first viral stars, Angelyne was the city's main billboard for decades after launching a campaign in 1984 that made her a touchstone of pop culture. Her identity and backstory were a mystery for nearly 35 years, before a 2017 Hollywood Reporter article revealed some of those details. This series exploring the origins of the legend, starring Emmy Rossum, comes from "Lars and the Real Girls" creator and writer Nancy Oliver and showrunner Allison Miller.
“The Ipcress File” (May 19, AMC+)
Stepping into the role (and turtleneck) made famous by Michael Caine in the trio of 1960s film adaptations of Len Deighton's spy novels, Joe Cole stars as Harry Palmer, a criminal-turned-intelligence officer pressed into service at the height of the cold. War. "Black Mirror" and "McMafia" director James Watkins helms this series written by John Hodge, frequent collaborator of Danny Boyle. Originally premiering on ITV earlier this spring, this update of "Ipcress" also stars Lucy Boynton, Tom Hollander and David Dencik.
“Night Sky” (May 20, Prime Video)
No word if there will beconducted through a time machineagain, but this series brings Sissy Spacek back into the realm of science fiction. Here, along with JK Simmons, the two play a couple trying to keep the secret of an interplanetary portal that has been under their possession for years. When their closely guarded existence threatens to be disrupted by a newcomer, they are forced to consider how far they will go to protect it.
"Now and Then" (May 20, Apple TV+)
The latest bilingual TV series with Apple TV+ — and they havepretty good performancegoes that far — this generational series about a group of friends still bonded by a tragic event that shaped their childhood. The series moves between their teenage years and their mature years as events from the past play out through their choices as they grow older. The award-winning cast includes Rosie Perez, Marina de Tavira, Maribel Verdú, José María Yazpik, Manolo Cardona, Soledad Villamil, Željko Ivanek, Jorge López, Alicia Jaziz, Dario Yazbek Bernal, Alicia Sanz, Jack Duarte and Miranda de la Serna.
“Too Much” (May 20, Freevee)
Based on Candice Fox's bestselling novels set in Queensland, this Australian crime series stars Thomas Jane as an ex-cop on the run after being accused of a harrowing crime he didn't commit. While in hiding, he is drawn into a chilling murder investigation along with Amanda (Nicole Chamoun), a local woman who also has something to hide.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” (May 27, Disney+)
For the latest addition to the Star Wars TV series collection, Disney+ decided to focus on a small, obscure character from the franchise's canon. Who is the strange bearded man haunted by the belief that he helped create Darth Vader? Why does he go to the same desert planet that everyone else seems to be fixated on? And why is he of all people being played by Ewan McGregor? It is likely that at least one of these questions will be answered. (Oh, and Hayden Christensen, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Moses Ingram, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend and Sung Kang also appear here.)
“Gun” (May 31, FX/Hulu)
This Sex Pistols biopic, courtesy of director Danny Boyle, debuts just under the wire, just before the Emmy calendar closes. Chronicling the formation of the group, their early support under manager Malcolm McLaren (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and following them through their rise as one of the seminal bands of the new British punk scene, series creator Craig Pearce helps bring to life the stories of the antics and times of Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious and the whole team. Rounding out the series' main ensemble cast are Toby Wallace, Anson Boon, Christian Lees, Louis Partridge, Jacob Slater, Sydney Chandler, Talulah Riley, Maisie Williams and Emma Appleton.