Another month, another marvelous calendar packed with grade-A television. Below, we break down our favorite returning series to catch you up on what you should be watching between now and June.
What it is: After his mother dies of a heroin overdose, Joshua “J” Cody (Finn Cole) moves in with his extended family in Southern California, where the family business is as quickly run with an iron fist as it is a bullet.
Why you should watch it: Come for the devilishly good (and Emmy-winning) Ellen Barkin as matriarch and boss Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody, stay for the gripping crime family turmoil and fine, fleshed-out ensemble work from the young breakout Cole, Scott Speedman, and others.
Commitment: Approx. 7.5 hours
What it is: The thickness of blood is put to the test in this Netflix original drama when Danny Rayburn returns to his Florida-dwelling family’s home in hopes of helping his estranged mother and father run their beachfront inn, all to the ire of his two brothers and sister.
Why you should watch it: Ensembles don’t get much better than these Rayburns: Kyle Chandler as John, Ben Mendelsohn as Danny, Norbert Leo Butz as Kevin, Linda Cardellini as Sally, Sam Shepard as patriarch Robert, and Sissy Spacek as matriarch Sally. The interfamilial dramas and uncovered sordid histories seep out over the course of its two seasons and provide the cast with plenty of first-rate material to chew on.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 23 hours
What it is: Stand-up comedian Jerrod Carmichael stars in this semi-autobiographical single-cam comedy about a working-class black family living in North Carolina and their of-the-moment living room debates.
Why you should watch it: The Norman Lear–style sitcom isn’t exactly typical fare in today’s primetime comedy lineup, but The Carmichael Show feels right at home at NBC. Unexpectedly provocative in tackling hot-button social issues from Black Lives Matter to Donald Trump, the series may get you thinking about the conversations had around your own dinner table (while making you laugh silly, too).
Commitment: Approx. 6.5 hours
What it is: A midlife divorce turns into a series of midlife crises for Michaela Watkins’ Valerie and her bachelor brother, Alex (Tommy Dewey). Her sexually enlivened teenage daughter, Laura (Tara Lynne Barr), is forced along for the ride when she and Val move in with Alex.
Why you should watch it: This warm, naturalistic Hulu dramedy from executive producer Jason Reitman quietly hits all the right notes while bringing life’s charming awkwardness and prevailing insecurities to the streaming screen.
Commitment: Approx. 9.5 hours
What it is: This decorated ensemble-driven political drama showcases the boundless ways in which Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife, Claire (Robin Wright), will manipulate, deceive, and even murder to gain power on Capitol Hill.
Why you should watch it: The behind-the-curtain wheeling and dealing that makes our nation’s capitol go ’round has never before been as tantalizingly imagined as it is in this hit political drama. The series, which counts David Fincher as an EP, has racked up some serious accolades through a four-year run and helped establish Netflix as a major player in original programming. Find out why before Season 5’s premiere on May 30.
Commitment: Approx. 52 hours
What it is: Based on Bernard Cornwell’s bestselling historical The Last Kingdom novels, this series from BBC and now Netflix charts the fictional life of Uhtred of Bebbanburg, an orphan by the hands of the invading vikings in 9th century England.
Why you should watch it: With series like The Last Kingdom, you know what you’re getting, and if Viking violence and pulsing testosterone are your cup of tea, you’ll love it; Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred serves it up just right.
Commitment: Approx. 8 hours
What it is: Aziz Ansari launched off from Parks and Recreation into full-on auteur territory as creator and star of Master of None, which premieres the follow-up to its acclaimed first season May 12. He stars as Dev, a working commercial actor living in New York City.
Why you should watch it: When Ansari’s Netflix comedy isn’t bridging cultural divides through diverse onscreen representation and storytelling, Master of None stands on its own as a fine-tuned romantic comedy about the struggles of living and loving in the big city. Loveable, relatable characters and circumstances ensure that you’ll be laughing in knowing acknowledgement of Dev’s struggles, no matter your background.
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 5 hours
What it is: This sci-fi adventure series from the minds that brought you The Matrix follows eight strangers from around the world who are inexplicably linked mentally and emotionally as “sensates.”
Why you should watch it: While this series is inherently escapist entertainment, there’s a pronounced depth to the social themes it explores across politics, identity, religion, race, sexuality, and more, and much of its adventure can ultimately be seen as allegorical to real-world issues today. Grab the popcorn and get to binging!
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 12 hours
What it is: Loosely based on the 1995 film of the same name, 12 Monkeys stars Aaron Stanford as James Cole, a man from the future who’s traveled back in time to save humanity from a global plague, and Amanda Schull as Cassie Railly, a doctor who has seen the warning signs of the plague and joins James to stop it.
Why you should watch it: The series doesn’t take itself too seriously and has as much fun along the way as you do. Plus killer chemistry and performances from Schull and Stanford have made them a standout TV duo over the show’s first two seasons.
Commitment: Approx. 19.5 hours
What it is: This mind-bending psychological thriller from David Lynch is at its base about a young detective who settles down in a fictional town called Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of one Laura Palmer.
Why you should watch it: Though nearly impossible to define, Twin Peaks is one of those rare series that benefit from viewers knowing as little as possible going in. Rife with surreal visual metaphors and Easter eggs for the investigative viewer, the series has garnered an incredible cult following since its 1990 debut and amassed enough popularity to return with a Showtime reboot after nearly 30 years. Isn’t that alone reason enough to tune in?
Commitment: Approx. 22.5 hours
What it is: After Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) is rescued from an underground bunker where she was being held captive by a brainwashing cult leader, she does what any young woman who wants to see the world would do: She moves to New York City!
Why you should watch it: Kimmy, her new roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), her new boss Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski), and her landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane) are sure to put a little pep in your step (and for more reasons than the titular hero’s incessant optimism) through their New York misadventures (and misunderstandings).
Where to watch: Netflix
Commitment: Approx. 13 hours