Netflix's slate of original shows in May includes a lavish take on fame and Old Hollywood, an interactive comedy adventure, and an array of international dramas. While film and TV production has been halted since mid-March, the streamer shows no signs of slowing down, with plenty of new content on the way to keep audiences entertained.
Here are the new releases we're most looking forward to on Netflix in the coming month::
Taking a "What If?" approach, Ryan Murphy's new Netflix series is a grand affair tackling entertainment industry power dynamics in 1940s Los Angeles. Rather than a simple Tinseltown retelling — as he did with Feud: Bette and Joan — Hollywood imagines a world in which different choices were made during this period of great prosperity and prejudice. What would the current landscape look like if Rock Hudson had walked the red carpet with his boyfriend or studio heads hadn't whitewashed roles? Playing a mix of fictitious and real figures, the series boasts a sprawling cast that includes Murphy regulars Patti LuPone, Darren Criss, Jim Parsons, and Dylan McDermott. TV newcomer (and Tony nominee) Jeremy Pope scored a role on the next season of Pose after apparently impressing as screenwriter Archie Coleman, and Holland Taylor, Mira Sorvino and Samara Weaving also join Murphy's ever-expanding Murphy acting troupe.
Available May 1
Accidentally killing someone's husband makes for a strange BFF foundation, but Judy (Linda Cardellini) and Jen's (Applegate) friendship is one of the best on TV in recent years. Everything fell apart after Jen learned the truth about her houseguest, but the last moments of Season 1 bound them together after an irreversible act of violence. Picking up as the pair deal with the consequences of that divisive cliffhanger, Jen and Judy have another crime to cover up. Will they get away with it?
Available May 8
Damien Chazelle makes his television debut with a limited series dedicated to the contemporary jazz scene in Paris. Casting André Holland — who's made his mark on TV in The Knick and Castle Rock — makes this a Moonlight-La La Land crossover of sorts. Holland plays once celebrated jazz-pianist Elliot Udo, a co-owner of the struggling Parisian club The Eddy, as he experiences personal and professional turmoil. His troubled teen daughter, Julie (Amandla Stenberg), shows up unannounced to live with him, his on-again-off-again girlfriend is the lead singer of The Eddy's house band, and unbeknownst to Elliot, his business partner Farid (Tahar Rahim) has become embroiled in some dodgy dealings. Expect some explosive drama and a solid soundtrack.
Available May 8
Finnish detective series Sorjonen — aka Bordertown — ticks off a number of the Nordic Noir boxes that led to the popularity of crime shows like Forbrydelsen, Bron/Broen, and recent Netflix addition The Valhalla Murders. Entering its third season, a tragedy forces Detective Inspector Kari Sorjonen (Ville Virtanen) to rethink the move he made from Helsinki to the small border town Lappeenranta in the first season. This series further proves that a cop leaving the city in search of a simpler life never pays off.
Available May 11
This six-part docuseries from George Clooney and his producing partner Grant Heslov offers a unique look at high profile cases that have been shaped by media coverage. Subjects cover an array of legal proceedings from the Jenny Jones talk show murder controversy, to the political downfall of Rod Blagojevich, and the case of unarmed Amadou Diallo, who was shot 41 times by the NYPD and subsequently immortalized by Bruce Springsteen in the song "American Skin (41 Shots)". The show's creative team includes directors Skye Borgman (Abducted in Plain Sight), Brian McGinn (Amanda Knox), and Tony Yacenda (American Vandal), with New Yorker staff writer, lawyer, and trial-by-media expert Jeffrey Toobin serving as an executive producer.
Available May 11
First came Black Mirror: Bandersnatch's "Choose Your Own Adventure" TV experiment. Nect came Bear Grylls in You vs. Wild. Now, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt gets the Netflix interactive treatment as it wraps up its series run. Joining series regulars Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, and Carol Kane is Daniel Radcliffe, who guest stars as Kimmy's new love interest Prince Frederick Windsor. Taking the show full circle, Jon Hamm also appears as The Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, who held Kimmy captive for 15 years. Now you have a chance to help her vanquish him, or you can enable him to stop her magical day.
Available May 12
Creator of Money Heist Álex Pina is swapping out bank thefts for the sun-soaked clubbing scene in Ibiza. After the body of a famous Mancunian DJ is found, his sister Zoe (Laura Haddock) travels to the popular location to find out what really happened before he went missing 20 years ago. The 10-part drama features a mostly British cast, dishing out a mix of hedonistic partying, copious amounts of drugs, and car chases. Zoe must also contend with her own past in this island-set thriller.
Available May 15
A romantic drama following three lifelong best friends, Sweet Magnolias is based on the popular series of books by Sherryl Woods. Set against the charming small-town backdrop of Serenity, South Carolina, Maddie (Joanna Garcia Swisher), Helen (Heather Headley), and Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott) deal with the complexities of juggling family, relationships, and careers. Making her return to TV as a series regular is none other than Jamie Lynn Spears, playing new Serenity resident Norreen Fitzgibbons. It's been over a decade since Spears headlined the Nickelodeon series Zoey 101.
Available May 19
Looking for something to fill the scandalous teen gap left by Élite? Look no further than the new Mexican adolescent drama, Control Z. After a hacker unleashes the secrets of students at El Colegio Nacional, social order is turned upside down as the popular kids become the outcasts while those who had been bullied gain status. Sofia (Ana Valeria Becerril) takes it upon herself to track down the hacker before the next batch of sordid material is released.
Available May 22
Ending the month strong, Netflix reunites Steve Carell with his old Office boss, Greg Daniels. In a role that couldn't be further from Michael Scott, Carell plays four-star general Mark R. Naird who is tasked with running Space Force, the newly formed sixth branch of the US Armed Forces. The White House wants space domination, so dedicated but skeptical Naird will have to deliver. The workplace comedy is an area of expertise for Carell and Daniels, while the cast is bolstered by Lisa Kudrow, Ben Schwartz, John Malkovich, Noah Emmerich, and Jessica St. Clair (who was also in the other 2020 space sitcom, Avenue 5). Highly anticipated, Space Force may be the closest we'll get to an Office reunion outside of John Krasinski's YouTube show.
Available May 29
Emma Fraser has wanted to write about TV since she first watched My So-Called Life in the mid-90s, finally getting her wish over a decade later. Follow her on Twitter at @frazbelina.