Best shows to watch on Netflix in May

Streaming in May: season 2 of 13 Reasons Why. Photograph: Beth Dubber/Netflix

Streaming in May: season 2 of 13 Reasons Why. Photograph: Beth Dubber/Netflix

 A Little Help with Carol Burnett

Netflix
Her much-anticipated Amy Poehler-produced sitcom, Household Name, may have been nixed by meddling ABC executives, but the veteran comedian Carol Burnett still has a home on Netflix. A Little Help is a family-entertainment show that sees Burnett joined by a panel of precocious kids who aim to aid ordinary folks with their daily dilemmas in front of a studio audience. Cutesy but with a dollop of cheek, and with the unfiltered, unpredictable child commentators bringing unintentional shade and saltiness, it’s Kids Say the Funniest Things meets Dr Phil. Celebrity guests will also air their personal problems and brave the judgment of the quick-witted, no-nonsense kid consultants.

Dear White People, season 2
Netflix
Justin Simien’s sharp, searing satire hit some viewers like a slap in the face when it debuted on the streaming service last year. Refreshing and caustic in its depiction of modern racial tensions and exploration of identity politics, it is a cutting comedy that spares no one. Set in an imaginary Ivy League school, it follows a group of black students who are enrolled at the predominantly white college. Whereas season one was mostly a retread of Simien’s 2014 film of the same name, which centred around the radical radio presenter Sam (Logan Browning), season two has new stories to tell and a chance to explore characters more deeply. Expanding its cast to include a turn by the brilliant Lena Waithe as the outrageous rapper P Ninny, Dear White People still serves its biting social commentary with a side of effervescent irreverence.

Streaming in May: season 2 of Dear White People. Photograph: Eddy Chen/Netflix
Streaming in May: season 2 of Dear White People. Photograph: Eddy Chen/Netflix

The Rain, season 1
Netflix
We Irish are painfully aware that our little isle, with its endless EastEnders-style grey skies and soggy atmosphere, can be a dystopian hellscape at the best of times, but what if our weather-related anxiety were warranted? In this brooding Scandi drama (is there any other kind?) rain is the true enemy. When a deluge carrying a mysterious virus wipes out most of the adult population of Scandinavia, two siblings free themselves from a bunker after six years to find that their home has become a ghost town. They join forces with other lost young people but then come up against a host of new problems as they attempt to establish order amid the mounting chaos. It’s a postapocalyptic-teen-soap romp that’s part Lord of the Flies part Flowers in the Attic as the young folk face a meteorological catastrophe that not even Evelyn Cusack could save them from.

Arrested Development, season 4 remix
Netflix
This bizarre concept befits a show as maddeningly brilliant as Arrested Development. Mitch Hurwitz, the show’s creator, has been re-editing the troublesome fourth season, which disappointed fans by focusing on a single character per episode. All the footage from the season’s 15 episodes has been recut into 22 new episodes, to restore the show’s famed interaction between the entire Bluth family. Could this re-edit transform the lumpen, legacy-spoiling fourth series into something great? Will it inspire other showrunners to tinker with their old programmes? Could the second series of True Detective come close to coherence? Will RuPaul re-edit season seven of Drag Race to just feature all the Katya, all the time? Messing around with Star Wars or Indiana Jones didn’t always work – step away, George Lucas! – but it will be fascinating to see if Hurwitz can snatch victory from the tired jaws of mediocrity for his beloved show.

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