May 2, 2022 8:41 am
“The Essex Serpent”
Dean Rogers/Apple TV+
May TV has a long tradition of being a time when people who’ve kept a neat and tidy hold on their show queues suddenly give up and relent under the weight of an impossible amount of new shows flooding people’s options.
Blame it on Emmy eligibility, the push for new subscribers, the timing of production schedules, or some likely combination of all of the above, but there’s an embarrassment of television riches cresting into living rooms everywhere over the next few weeks. There’s the usual batch of series extending existing stories to a new medium, from origins in the US, the UK, and across outer space. This month, we’ve got adaptations of everything from books to billboards.
We would say that the impending summer promises a bit of a respite from all of these overwhelming options, but history points to that not being the case either. In the meantime, as the awards conversation starts to reach its boiling point, here are plenty of series 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 overviews, you can peruse the premieres of January, February, March, April, or that bygone era of 2021.)
In a rut in her adult life, Joanna (Vanessa Bayer) still harbors a lifelong dream of appearing as a host on a popular cable shopping channel. Her dream gets a tiny bit closer to reality when she stumbles into an unlikely friendship with one of the network’s longtime stars (Molly Shannon) and starts to spend more time around the tough-to-crack founder and CEO (Jenifer Lewis). When her plans hit a snag, she may have to resort to drastic measures to keep her in the SVN loop. Michael Showalter adds this to his growing list of pilot directorial efforts, for an episode written by series co-creators Bayer and Jeremy Beilen.
Drawn from true events, this four-part series tracks the experience of a young woman (Agnes O’Casey) living in London who tries to balance her life between the excitement of the city’s growing cultural scene and her commitment to helping bring down a local neo-Nazi cell from the inside. Rory Kinnear, Tom Carey, and Eddie Marsan co-star in this series directed by Lisa Mulcahy and written by Sarah Solemani, which originally aired on BBC One last fall.
One of the first remakes of the smash hit Netflix series “Call My Agent!” and certainly not the last, this version features an ensemble including Jack Davenport and Jim Broadbent as employees of an underdog British talent agency just trying to survive in a busy market. Like its predecessor, expect plenty of drop-ins from famous Brits playing themselves, including Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Corrin, Kelly Macdonald, Dominic West, and Phoebe Dyvenor.
Aml Ameen and Ronnie Rowe Jr. star as a pair of porters working in the railroad system in the early 1920s whose fates diverge — one finds himself deep in the world of underground crime while the other works to unionize his coworkers. Those different paths soon set them in opposition, testing their friendship and the lives of those around them. Mouna Traoré, Loren Lott, Olunike Adeliyi and Alfre Woodard also co-star in the eight-part series.
Another in a growing list of series based on documentaries, this latest one tackles one of the totemic stories in all of TV true crimedom. Many of the figures from the original, decade-spanning series are here in dramatized form, including Michael Peterson (Colin Firth), his late wife Kathleen (Toni Collette), and memorable defense attorney David Rudolf (Michael Stuhlbarg). The series is directed by Antonio Campos (a co-creator on the series with Maggie Cohn) and Leigh Janiak.
Branching off from their appearances in “Star Trek: Discovery,” Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Number One (Rebecca Romijn), and Spock (Ethan Peck) lead this collection of journeys for the USS Enterprise that serves as a bridge to the events of the original TV series. New episodes will premiere weekly — beginning with a pilot written and directed by co-showrunner Akiva Goldsman — with a second season already on the way.
It was going to take a lot more than the Prime Video show ending to keep Bosch off TV. Staying in the Amazon family as one of the first originals on the newly branded Freevee, this new series finds Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) stretching his new muscles as a private investigator, seeing the world of Los Angeles in a slightly different way.
In the early ‘80s in a Texas suburb, a local woman is found murdered in her own house. The prime suspect? Her best friend. Jessica Biel and Melanie Lynskey star as Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore, the two central figures in an unsettling real-life crime still confounding people almost a half-century later. “Mad Men” vet Robin Veith writes the series, which Hulu will release nightly in a five-part weeklong event. Pablo Schreiber, Timothy Simons, and Raúl Esparza also appear in the series co-created by Veith and former “Channel Zero” boss Nick Antosca.
Clio Bernard, the director behind films like “The Arbor” and “The Selfish Giant,” makes her first foray into TV with this period drama with a hint of the paranormal. Adapted from the Sarah Perry novel, Claire Danes stars a woman who moves to Essex after hearing of a local legend. Her arrival brings her into the orbit of a pastor (Tom Hiddleston), who she hopes will help her make sense of the scientific and emotional truths of what happens after she gets there. Clémence Poésy, Hayley Squires, and Frank Dillane co-star in the series, which will premiere with two episodes before airing new ones weekly.
Returning to TV for their first extended visit since the mid-‘90s — Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson were last appeared together as part of a regular TV venture in 1995, when the original “Kids in the Hall” show aired on CBS and the CBC — the boys from up north are reuniting for a brand new eight-episode collection of comedy sketches, bringing plenty of celebrity friends along for the ride. The week following the release of the new episodes, Prime Video will also have a two-part documentary looking at the career and influence of the group since their ‘80s origins.
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” is also returning, including director Lenny Abrahamson, DP Suzie Lavelle, and Sally Rooney adapting her own work. This time, the setting turns to Dublin as college 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.
Turns out, every decade gets its own Audrey Niffenegger adaptation (guess you were just out of luck, 2010s). This time around, Theo James and Rose Leslie step into the roles of a time-hopping romancer and the woman who he leaves behind when he occasionally disappears from the temporal plane. The six episodes will track Clare and Henry in their younger days and through their eventual, logistically fraught marriage. Former “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” boss Steven Moffat heads up this latest version, with “Game of Thrones” vet David Nutter in the director’s chair.
One of LA‘s first viral stars, Angelyne was a billboard staple in the city for decades after the launch of the 1984 campaign that made her a pop culture touchstone. Her identity and backstory was a mystery for nearly 35 years, before a 2017 Hollywood Reporter article made some of those details public. This series digging into the origins of the legend, starring Emmy Rossum as the title figure, comes from creator and “Lars and the Real Girl” writer Nancy Oliver and showrunner Allison Miller.
Stepping into a role (and a turtleneck) made famous by Michael Caine in a trio of 1960s films adapted from Len Deighton’s spy novels, Joe Cole stars as Harry Palmer, a criminal-turned-intelligence officer pressed into service during the height of the Cold War. “Black Mirror” and “McMafia” director James Watkins heads up this series, written by frequent Danny Boyle collaborator John Hodge. Originally premiering on ITV earlier this spring, this “Ipcress” update also co-stars Lucy Boynton, Tom Hollander, and David Dencik.
No word if she’ll be carried through a time machine again, but this series finds Sissy Spacek back in the sci-fi realm. Here, alongside JK Simmons, the two star as a couple trying to keep the secret of an interplanetary portal that’s been underneath their property for years. When their closely-guarded existence threatens to be upended by a new arrival, they’re forced to consider how far they’ll go to protect it.
The latest bilingual TV series from Apple TV+ — and they have a pretty good track record going so far — is this generation-spanning series about a group of friends still bonded by a tragic event that shaped their childhoods. The series moves between their teenage years in their adult years as the events of the past ripple through their choices as they get 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.
Based on Candice Fox’s bestselling Queensland-set novels, this Australian crime show stars Thomas Jane as a former police officer on the run after being accused of a harrowing crime he didn’t commit. While laying low, he gets drawn into a grisly murder investigation alongside Amanda (Nicole Chamoun), a local woman who also has something to hide.
For the latest addition to the Star Wars TV series collection, Disney+ is choosing to focus on a small, obscure character from the franchise 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 fixated on? And why is he being played by Ewan McGregor, of all people? Presumably 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 are showing up here, too.)
Debuting just under the wire, right before the close of the Emmy eligibility calendar is this Sex Pistols biopic series, courtesy of director Danny Boyle. Charting the creation 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 in the nascent British punk scene, series creator Craig Pearce helps bring to life the stories about the antics and times of Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, and the whole crew. Rounding out the show’s main ensemble are Toby Wallace, Anson Boon, Christian Lees, Louis Partridge, Jacob Slater, Sydney Chandler, Talulah Riley, Maisie Williams, and Emma Appleton.
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This Article is related to: Television and tagged Candy, Conversations with Friends, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Essex Serpent
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New Shows in May 2022: TV Premieres for Amazon, Hulu, and HBO – IndieWire