From fictionalized takes on queens of yore with Netflix Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story and Hulu’s The Great to a wickedly uncomfortable sketch show (Netflix’s I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson) and a dark comedy with heart (HBO Max’s The Other Two), here’s a taste of what’s new on TV and streaming in May.
What it is: Inspired by Julia Quinn’s romance book series and brought to life with the help of executive producer Shonda Rhimes and creator Chris Van Dusen, Bridgerton explores the high society lives (and juicy drama) of the expansive Bridgerton family and their neighbors during London’s Regency era. Its prequel series, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, is created by Rhimes and explores the royal beginnings of Bridgerton’s queen, Charlotte, as she comes to England as a teen and marries King George III. It premiered on May 4.
Why you should watch it: Like a lot of Rhimes’ vehicles, Bridgerton is a soapy drama with substance. The strong performances by its diverse cast, witty writing, lush set design and beautiful wardrobe helped elevate the series above others of its ilk. The prequel does all this while also discussing issues of today like race and mental health.
Where to watch: Netflix (Subscription, Bridgerton seasons 1-2).
Commitment: Approx. 16 hours (for two seasons)
What it is: A collection of cutting-edge Star Wars animated shorts brought to life by innovative Japanese animation studios.
Why you should watch it: The Star Wars properties are now as vast as an actual galaxy. The hard sci-fi of Andor and galaxy-hopping adventures of The Mandalorian may deliver the live-action entertaining goods, but sometimes it’s nice to take a detour. Filled with dropping animation of various styles, all presented with a unique Japanese perspective, Star Wars: Visions is a quick-yet-delightful binge. The second season premiered May 4.
Where to watch: Disney+ (Subscription, season 1 )
Commitment: Approx. three hours (for one season)
What it is: A comedy from SNL alums Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, it follows two grown siblings struggling to adult (never mind find career success) just as their younger brother becomes a viral sensation. And then fame came for their mom … Season 3 premiered May 4.
Why you should watch it: A dark skewering of Hollywood (or at least the notion of fame) as much as it is a sweet show about a supportive family, The Other Two is an island in an abyss of cynical comedies and gritty crime dramas.
Where to watch: HBO Max (Subscription, seasons 1-2).
Commitment: Approx. 10 hours (for two seasons)
What it is: A comedy, a relationship drama and a historical series that basically throws historical fact out the window, The Great follows the rise of Catherine the Great as the iconic empress of Russia. Season 3 premieres May 12.
Why you should watch it: Creator Tony McNamara brings the edgy history-minded flair of his film The Favourite to this series that’s inspired by the complicated marriage of Catherine (Elle Fanning) and her husband Peter III (Nicholas Hoult). It fills in the blanks behind her decision to overthrow her significant other for what she believes to be the good of her country.
Commitment: Approx. 18 hours (for two seasons)
What it is: Netflix’s reboot of the popular Bravo show of the aughts brought together a new Fab Five (food and wine specialist Antoni Porowski, interior designer Bobby Berk, grooming consultant Jonathan Van Ness, fashion designer Tan France, and culture expert Karamo Brown) to do more than just overhaul a straight man’s wardrobe — they’re here to heal hearts and minds, as well. Season 7 premieres May 12.
Why you should watch it: Queer Eye updates the antiquated formula of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy by scrapping the gendered limitations of the original and venturing into communities that may have conflicting ideologies with the team. Balancing societal pains with unabashed joy, each episode packs a satisfying whollop and teaches everyone about acceptance.
Where to watch: Netflix (Subscription, seasons 1-6).
Commitment: Approx. 42 hours (for six seasons)
What it is: The first spin-off series spawned from AMC’s flagship The Walking Dead was originally led by Kim Dickens’ high school guidance counselor Madison Clark as she strived to keep her family in tact when the world began to crumble and the dead started to rise. Eventually, Lennie James’ Morgan Jones from the first series became the focus. The eighth, and final, season premieres May 14.
Why you should watch it: Like a mutating virus, the series has evolved into its own compelling drama over its run. And while Dickens left the program for a time, the show has regularly sported riveting performances by other cast-mates like Colman Domingo, Ruben Blades, and Jenna Elfman.
Commitment: Approx. 93 hours (for seven seasons)
What it is: A gritty crime drama that follows a Yorkshire police sergeant who investigates cases in her community while doing her best to reconcile her own tragedies. Season 3 premieres May 22.
Why you should watch it: While Sarah Lancashire is a force to be reckoned with as police sergeant Catherine Cawood, solid performances from other cast members — including break-out James Norton — and strong writing result in a gut-punch of a show that takes on topics like sexual abuse, addiction and the decimation of small towns. It’s no wonder the series has won five BAFTA Awards.
Commitment: Approx. 12 hours (for two seasons)
What it is: An offbeat sketch comedy series created by, and starring, Tim Robinson that strives to make you either laugh or feel very, very uncomfortable. Season 3 premieres May 30.
Why you should watch it: The show pushes the comedic envelope into wonderfully weird territory (who knew pouring water on steaks could be so funny?). Bob Odenkirk, Sam Richardson, Will Forte, Andy Samberg and Cecily Strong are among the guest stars who appear in the series, making it for a hilariously strange viewing experience.
Where to watch: Netflix (Subscription, seasons 1-2).
Commitment: Approx. 3 hours (for two seasons)
Thumbnail image by Netflix.