Every month, streaming services in Australia add a new batch of movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for May.
In the writer-producer Ryan Murphy’s latest mini-series — set in the olden days of showbiz — there are actors playing Rock Hudson (Jake Picking), Hattie McDaniel (Queen Latifah) and Vivien Leigh (Katie McGuinness). But “Hollywood” isn’t really a historical drama. Instead, Murphy and his co-creator Ian Brennan reshape the 1940s studio era, imagining what might have happened if movie actors then were openly gay, and if women and people of color were allowed into positions of power. Darren Criss, Patti LuPone, Jim Parsons, Dylan McDermott and Samara Weaving help flesh out this fantasy, which shifts the controversies and conflicts of the 21st century back into the middle of the 20th.
Set in a struggling Parisian nightclub, “The Eddy” stars André Holland as Elliot Udo, a once-popular jazz musician who stepped away from his piano and is now channeling his creative ambitions into micromanaging his club’s house band. Though this mini-series was created and written by Jack Thorne, the dynamic visual style is clearly the work of the executive producer Damien Chazelle, who directed the first two episodes and gave them a restless energy that recalls his films “Whiplash” and “La La Land.” In “The Eddy,” the tensions involved in making music, managing a business and maintaining relationships are as nail-biting as any thriller.
‘Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill’
For the past few years, Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix shows have been fairly meta. He’s commented on the craft of comedy in the interview series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” and in the retrospective experiment “Jerry Before Seinfeld.” Now the comedian puts theory into practice with his stand-up special “23 Hours to Kill.” Though Seinfeld’s been doing club dates and concerts steadily for decades, this will be his first recorded set with new material in over 20 years.
‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt vs. The Reverend’
Netflix’s latest adventure in interactive TV also serves as a coda to one of the subscription service’s most popular sitcoms. In “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt vs. The Reverend,” the eternally upbeat Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) is about to get married, but first needs to be sure her former abductor (played by Jon Hamm) doesn’t have other victims who need rescuing. The show’s co-creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock will undoubtedly have fun with this special’s format, which allows viewers to decide what the characters do at crucial points.
‘Hannah Gadsby: Douglas’
In Hannah Gadsby’s follow-up to the acclaimed and controversial stand-up special “Nanette,” the Australian comedian reflects on what’s happened in her life since that show — much of which has involved spending time in America and learning more about her self-identity. “Douglas” isn’t as confrontational as “Nanette,” in which Gadsby declared she was done with telling jokes forever. But it’s smart and challenging, with some genuinely funny punch lines woven into the self-analysis and social commentary.
“The Big Sick” star Kumail Nanjiani reunites with that film’s director Michael Showalter for “The Lovebirds,” a screwball comedy about a happy couple whose relationship gets tested when they’re implicated in a murder. Nanjiani and Issa Rae play the fugitives, who try to dig themselves out of trouble by finding the real killer. Over the course of one strange night, they discover a creepy criminal underworld and they find out whether their passion for each other can survive extreme pressure .
Two of the main creative talents behind “The Office” — the writer-producer Greg Daniels and the producer-star Steve Carell — re-team for the offbeat workplace sitcom “Space Force,” about a U.S. Army officer who takes a prestigious assignment he quickly regrets. The show’s satire is rooted in reality, imagining what might be going on behind the scenes of the United States Armed Forces’ newest branch. More specifically, it’s about the widespread confusion and conflicting signals regarding what Space Force is actually supposed to do. A top-shelf comedy cast includes John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Lisa Kudrow and Fred Willard.
Also arriving: “All Day and Night” (May 1), “The Half of It” (May 1), “Into the Night” (May 1), “Mrs. Serial Killer” (May 1), “Reckoning” (May 1), “Rick & Morty” Season 4 part 2, “Workin’ Mons” Season 4 (May 6), “Scissor Seven” Season 2 (May 7), “Dead to Me” Season 2 (May 8), “The Hollow” Season 2 (May 8), “Restaurants on the Edge” Season 2 (May 8), “Rust Valley Restorers” Season 2 (May 8) “Valeria” (May 8), “Bordertown” Season 3 (May 11), “Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics” (May 11), “Trial By Media” (May 11), “True: Terrific Tales” (May 12), “The Wrong Missy” (May 13), “Magic for Humans” Season 3 (May 15), “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” Season 5 (May 15), “White Lines” (May 15), “The Big Flower Fight” (May 18), “Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything” (May 19), “Sweet Magnolias” (May 19), “Ben Platt: Live from Radio City Music Hall” (May 20), “Control Z” (May 22), “History 101” (May 22), “I’m No Longer Here” (May 27), “Somebody Feed Phil” Season 3 (May 29).
It probably says something about our stressful modern times that two of the main writers and producers behind “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” — Michael Schur and Greg Daniels — both recently made comedies imagining life after death. Schur just finished “The Good Place,” and now Daniels is debuting the somewhat more cynical “Upload,” about a near-future in which the rich store their consciousness in a virtual reality simulator that resembles a luxury resort. Daniels explores the enduring class divisions of our modern age, in a story where Robbie Amell plays a newly dead tech whiz who has enough money to get into heaven (thanks to his wealthy girlfriend) but not enough to spend eternity as a VIP.
‘Dispatches from Elsewhere’
The fiction series “Dispatches from Elsewhere” — created by its lead actor, Jason Segel — adapts the 2013 documentary “The Institute” into a whimsical and thoughtful drama, about four lost souls who find a renewed purpose as they play a complex alternate reality game. Segel takes some big chances with the storytelling, making something both sincere and self-referential. That’s a tricky balancing act to pull off, but a strong cast (including Sally Field, Andre Benjamin, Eve Lindley and Richard E. Grant) helps make this show into a touching meditation on community-building and the importance of seeing the magic in the commonplace.
‘Homecoming’ Season 2
The start of this conspiracy thriller’s second season is a complete reset. It begins with an amnesiac woman in a boat, adrift in a lake and unsure how she got there. While season one of “Homecoming” was based on a podcast — and directed with visual flair by the “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail — the Kyle Patrick Alvarez-directed second season is wholly original, with a new memory-challenged heroine played by Janelle Monáe. Some characters return, and the primary antagonist remains the same: a shadowy military contractor whose employees and clients often wind up addled and traumatized.
‘The Vast of Night’
In the immensely likable and family-friendly science-fiction film “The Vast of Night,” two plucky teens in 1950s New Mexico race to figure out whether their small town is in danger of a hostile invasion after noticing strange audio signals that seem alien in origin. The director Andrew Patterson plays around with his movie’s style in clever ways: sometimes choreographing complicated camera moves, and sometimes going for something more static and classic, like an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
Also arriving: “The Good Doctor” Seasons 1 & 2 (May 5), “The Goldbergs” Seasons 1-6 (May 5), “Late Night” (May 6), “Midsommar” (May 6), “Timeless” Seasons 1 & 2 (May 5), “Jimmy O. Yang: Good Deal” (May 8), “The Last Narc” (May 15), “Angel Has Fallen” (May 20), “Zombieland: Double Tap” (May 25).
‘Billions’ Season 5
It may seem odd to call a show about meanspirited New York power-brokers “escapist,” but given how many people around the world right now are stuck at home and coping with austerity, “Billions” feels like a much-needed TV vacation. At the end of last season, old alliances were shattered and new battle lines were drawn, as U.S. attorney Chuck Rhodes (Paul Giamatti) enlisted brilliant financial analyst Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) in a scheme to help him bring down venture capitalist Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), who employs Chuck’s now-estranged wife Wendy (Maggie Siff). In season five, expect more betrayals and switcheroos, played out in upscale homes and stunning skyscrapers.
‘The Great’ Season 1
The Australian writer-producer Tony McNamara may not be a household name, but he’s at least partially responsible for some very popular recent movies and TV shows, including the Oscar-nominated “The Favourite” and the medical drama “Doctor Doctor.” McNamara’s new series “The Great” is in the spirit of “The Favourite” — a skewed historical dramedy that turns the love affairs of royalty into fodder for soap opera. Elle Fanning stars as Catherine the Great, who navigates the complicated politics of 18th century Russia, using her wits to get what she wants in the bedroom and the throne room.
‘Hightown’ Season 1
The pulpy crime series “Hightown” has a classic film noir premise: A young Massachusetts woman named Jackie (Monica Raymund) stumbles across a dead body on a Cape Cod beach, and quickly realizes her hard-living lifestyle is going to make it hard for the authorities to trust her. James Badge Dale plays a cop who needs Jackie’s help, but is wary of her propensity for decadent self-indulgence. The moody New England oceanfront atmosphere adds to this show’s old-fashioned B-picture appeal.
‘Ramy’ Season 2
The first season of the stand-up comedian Ramy Youssef’s semi-autobiographical sitcom was a fine illustration of how giving different kinds of creators a platform can lead to uniquely entertaining and moving TV. After last year’s 10 excellent “Ramy” episodes, there’s every reason to expect that Youssef and his creative team will keep telling finely crafted short stories about American Muslims with diverse values and goals, in a country that doesn’t always make them feel welcome.
Also arriving: “Line of Duty” Season 5 (May 1), “Memory: The Origins of Alien” (May 1), “Ray Donovan” Season 6 (May 1), “MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A.” (May 4), “Hail Satan?” (May 11), “Very Small Business” (May 12), “Back in Very Small Business” (May 12), “Bay of Angels” (May 14), “Lola” (May 14), “Hannah Gadsby’s OZ” (May 15), “Everyone Else” (May 24), “Aguirre, Wrath of God” (May 25), “Rake” Season 5 (May 26), “High Life” (May 28), “Judy & Punch” (May 30).