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May is a month of returns, featuring new adventures with familiar faces that involve everyone from the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise to Doctor Strange to the Kids in the Hall to the members of Girls5eva.
But it’s also a month filled with some promising-looking premieres, including a true crime drama, a movie featuring creepy Norwegian kids, and an intriguing new comedy featuring two former SNL cast members. That kicks off the month, so let’s start there.
I Love that For You (Showtime, May 1)
It’s about time Vanessa Bayer got a show of her own. Bayer’s first big project since leaving SNL, I Love that For You casts her as a survivor of childhood leukemia who, on the verge of losing her dream job at a home shopping network, fakes a recurrence to evoke sympathy. Bayer, who co-created the show with Jeremy Beiler drawing on her own experiences with having cancer, always excelled at playing characters whose beaming smiles never quite hid that there was something off about them, so this sounds like a dream role. Fellow SNL vet Molly Shannon co-stars. Watch with a 30-day free trial to Showtime here.
Girls5eva (Season 2 Premiere, Peacock, May 5)
One of last year’s best comedy series returns with a second season following the surviving members (Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Busy Philipps, Paula Pell) of a briefly popular Nineties girl group as they attempt an unlikely comeback in middle age. Watch on Peacock here.
The Staircase (HBO Max, May 5)
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s 2004 documentary miniseries The Staircase reopened the case of novelist Michael Peterson who was convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen in 2001. But did he? Lestrade’s film (and its two follow-ups) raised a bunch of questions about several aspects of the case. This new dramatic miniseries of the same name, co-created by Maggie Cohn (American Crime Story) and Antonio Campos (Christine) revisits it once again, with Colin Firth and Toni Collette playing the Petersons. Watch on HBO Max here.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+, May 5)
Paramount+’s wave of Star Trek shows have had their ups and downs but they’ve always benefitted from fine casting. That includes bringing in Anson Mount to play the young Christopher Pike — James T. Kirk’s predecessor at the helm of the Enterprise — in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. His charismatic work proved to be that season’s highlight and now Pike and the Enterprise are getting a spin-off of their own, complete with Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck, who did a fine job playing the young Spock alongside Mount in that same Discovery season. Watch with a free trial to Paramount+ here.
Candy (Hulu, May 9)
The Petersons’ saga isn’t the only true crime story to be turned into a dramatic miniseries this month. In Candy, Jessica Biel stars as Candy Montgomery, a Texas woman who stood trial for murder after killing her best friend Betty Gore (Melanie Lynskey) with an axe. But is the truth more complicated than it first appears? Watch with a free trial to Hulu here.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Theaters, May 6)
In this sequel to Doctor Strange (and, in some ways, a bunch of other MCU movies), Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has to deal with the consequences of tampering with the multiverse in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Elizabeth Olsen returns as the Scarlet Witch, alongside a host of other MCU actors past and present in a film sure to be filled with twists directed by Sam Raimi, making a return to movies after a too-long absence of nine years. See tickets and showtimes here.
Hacks (Season 2 Premiere, HBO Max, May 12)
The first season of this outstanding series found veteran Las Vegas stand-up Deborah (Jean Smart) and Ava (Hannah Einbinder), the millennial comedy writer Deborah hires to punch up her act, developing mutual respect reaching an uneasy accord as Deborah reluctantly agrees to try out a different sort of material. If the first season suggests anything, however, it’s that accord will likely prove short-lived. Watch on HBO Max here.
The Essex Serpent (Apple TV+, May 13)
In the final decade of the Victorian era, a wealthy widow named Cora (Keira Knightley) decides to take up paleontology and investigate rumors of a dread sea serpent called the Blackwater Beast. Her investigation leads to a complicated relationship with a local pastor (Tom Hiddleston), in this adaptation of a bestselling novel by Sarah Perry. Watch on Apple TV here.
The Kids in the Hall (Amazon Prime, May 13)
The beloved Canadian sketch comedy series The Kids in the Hall ran for five seasons between 1988 and 1995 and that was that (apart from a movie, a couple of tours, and the occasional reunion project). Until now: reuniting all five cast members, Amazon Prime has brought back Kids for a sixth season, giving old fans a reason to celebrate and the curious a reason to see what all the fuss was about. Those wanting to go even deeper can check out the companion documentary Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks. Watch with a 30-day free trial to Amazon Prime here.
The Innocents (Theaters, May 13)
Norwegian writer and director Eskil Vogt is best known outside his home country as the co-writer of Joachim Trier films like the recent The Worst Person in the World. But that could change with this well-received (and super creepy-looking) supernatural thriller in which a bunch of kids with supernatural powers don’t always put them to good use.
Conversations with Friends (Hulu, May 15)
Hulu’s Normal People, an adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel of the same name, was a big hit so it’s no surprise to see the service going deeper into Rooney’s bibliography with this adaptation of her debut novel. Alison Oliver, Sasha Lane, Joe Always, and Jemima Kirke co-star as a quartet of friends whose lives get tangled together. Watch with a free trial to Hulu here.
Angelyne (Peacock, May 19)
Starting in 1984, Los Angeles found itself playing host to a series of billboards promoting a suggestively posed blonde woman named Angelyne. Who was she? What did she do? Mostly she was famous for being famous. But was there something else going on there? Based on a 2017 Hollywood Reporter investigation, this new miniseries attempts to tell the story behind the image. Emmy Rossum stars. Watch on Peacock here.
Night Sky (Amazon Prime, May 20)
With this new series and last month’s Outer Range, Prime seems to be developing a specialty in science fiction set in the American heartland. J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek co-star as a married couple with a backyard shed that doubles as a portal to a faraway planet. But can they keep the secret to themselves when a new arrival (Chai Hansen) turns up? Watch with a 30-day free trial to Amazon Prime here.
Chip’n Dale: Rescue Rangers (Disney+, May 20)
In the need to keep new shows and movies arriving at a steady pace, Disney+ has revived everything from Doogie Howser, M.D. to The Proud Family. Now it’s this Nineties after-school staple’s turn, but there’s a twist: directed by Akiva Schaffer (Lonely Island member and director of Popstar), the film finds former partners Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg) as now-estranged ex-stars in a meta comedy filled with jokes about animation and Hollywood stardom that appears to be in the tradition of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Watch on Disney+ here.
Men (Theaters, May 20)
A new film from Alex Garland is always a reason to sit up and pay attention and this disturbing-looking new thriller looks rich in the disquieting spirit Garland brought to Ex Machina and Annihilation. Jessie Buckley stars as a recent widow who tries to use a weekend in the English countryside to find some peace. Rory Kinnear co-stars as, well, that’s a little unclear at the moment but it will probably be unsettling when we do find out.
Stranger Things (Season 4, Netflix, May 27)
It’s 1986 and Hawkins, Indiana and its residents find themselves threatened, once again, by supernatural forces that do not have their best interests in mind. Will they prevail once again? Probably, but doing so will mean dealing with the aftershocks of the season three’s finale, which found several characters scattered far from Hawkins and one another. Watch on Netflix here.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+, May 27)
In Disney+’s latest TV addition to the Star Wars universe, Ewan McGregor reprises his role as the famed Jedi Master, now living a life of seclusion as he looks after (from a distance) a young Luke Skywalker as he grows up on Tatooine. But it’s not all peace and quiet on the desert planet (is it ever?) thanks to potential threats like the Empire’s Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) and none other than Obi-Wan’s former apprentice Annakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), now going by a different name and sporting a different wardrobe. Watch on Disney+ here.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie (Theaters, May 27)
While Star Wars makes another venture to the small screen a long-running TV series is moving up to the big one. This feature-length film finds the Belcher family dealing with troubles both familiar and new as they struggle to make ends meet while dealing with a sinkhole that may hold some hidden secrets. The cast of the beloved show reprise their roles (as if anyone else could) and they’re joined by a bunch of guest stars, many of them returning to characters they’ve played on the series over the years.
Top Gun: Maverick (Theaters, May 27)
A sequel to Top Gun seemed unlikely for years in part because it didn’t seem like there was much more story to tell. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell developed skills to match his hotshot attitude in the first movie. Where do you go from there? How about back?t This sequel finds Maverick put in charge of a bunch of promising new pilots though not all of them revere him. Miles Teller co-stars as the son of Goose, the best friend Maverick lost in the first film back in 1986.
Pistol (Hulu, May 31)
Steve Jones’ memoir Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol serves as the basis for this six-part miniseries starring Toby Wallace as Jones, the guitarist that gave the Sex Pistols its slashing sound. Danny Boyle directs a cast that includes Maisie Williams as influential London punk scenester Jordan.