Binge Guide

8 TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch This May

This month, catch up on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ramy, Homecoming, The 100, Dead to Me, Billions, and more.

by | May 1, 2020 | Comments

Between long-running series giving their last bow and sophomore efforts from acclaimed freshmen half-hours, you have nothing to worry about: May will give you plenty to catch up on while social distancing.   

Billions 89% (Showtime)

What it is: Showtime’s Billions dramatizes the high-stakes world of Wall Street when Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), a U.S. attorney, sets his sights on bringing down hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Homeland‘s Damian Lewis) for insider trading and other illegal proclivities. In other words, all this real-world talk about one-percenters is rejiggered for some A-grade entertainment with some of the best actors working today.

Why you should watch it: Giamatti has built a career on playing the everyman, and here, he’s fighting for him. The actor’s turn as the hard-hitting U.S. attorney would be reason alone to watch (scenes of surprise BDSM and all), but Billions also boasts a timely, engrossing premise and firecracker performances from Lewis, Maggie Siff, Condola Rashad, Asia Kate Dillon, and a bevy of other supporters that meet Giamatti mark for mark. Season 5 premieres May 3 on Showtime.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNow, Google Play, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 48 hours (for the first four seasons)

RENO 911! 86% (Quibi)

What it is: The hapless and hopeless crew at the Reno, Nevada sheriff’s department are the befuddling subject of this mockumentary series as improv comedians at the top of their game run around the biggest little city in the world stopping crime in its tracks — to less than satisfactory results.

Why you should watch it: “Reno 911!” was one of the first of its mockumentary, workplace comedy kinds upon its Comedy Central premiere in 2003. Plus, it launched the comedy careers of by-this-point industry vets, including Niecy Nash, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Thomas Lennon, and Cedric Yarbrough. The season 7 reboot premieres May 4 on Quibi.

Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft

Commitment: Approx. 32 hours (for the first six seasons)

Dead to Me 89% (Netflix)

What it is: Christina Applegate stars as Jen with Linda Cardellini as Judy, two widows who bond in a group therapy session through their opposing outlooks on life (the former hardened and angry, the latter new-agey and optimistic). Things in their friendship take a turn, however, when it’s learned that Judy isn’t exactly who she says she is — and she might know something about Jen’s husband’s hit-and-run death.

Why you should watch it: From creator Liz Feldman and co-producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Jessica Elbaum, Dead to Me was the must-watch, pitch-black comedy of last summer and went on to earn industry vet Applegate a surprise (and well-deserved) Emmy nomination later that year. Plus, with 30-minute episodes, it’s a binge that goes down easy. Season 2 premieres May 8 on Netflix.

Where to watch:  Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first season)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 96% (Netflix)

What it is: After Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) is rescued from an underground bunker where she was being held captive by a brainwashing cult leader, she does what any young woman who wants to see the world would do: She moves to New York City! The Netflix comedy is from creators Robert Carlock and Tina Fey, and though it wrapped its acclaimed four-season run early last year, this interactive special is sure to pass the time while in quarantine. Think of it as Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, but funnier.

Why you should watch it: Kimmy, her new roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), her new boss Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski), and her landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane) are sure to put a little pep in your step (and for more reasons than the titular hero’s incessant optimism) through their New York misadventures (and misunderstandings). Catch up on the whole thing before the special, which sees our hero face off with her arch nemesis in lead-up to her wedding, drops May 12 on Netflix.

Where to watch: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 25 hours (for all four seasons)

The 100 93% (The CW)

What it is: Here’s another intelligent, original take on the post-nuclear apocalypse from Jason Rothenberg for the CW. Set 97 years after nuclear war wiped out humanity, the mere thousands remaining survived by escaping on an ark-like spaceship that remained within Earth’s orbit. The twisty caveat? The series’ title represents the 100 juvenile prisoners who, against their will, are forced out of the Ark and back to Earth to learn if it’s habitable. To their surprise, it turns out that some humans lived through the nuclear war from the century prior — and not all of them are ready to befriend the young visitors.

Why you should watch it: As is the case with much of the CW’s slate of programming, The 100 is led by an impressive ensemble of young, breakout actors who are made all the more impressive by their series’ meatier material. Plus with an air-tight, high-concept foundation, there’s a reason we’ve been coming back for six seasons and counting. Season 7, its final outing, premieres May 20 on the CW.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNow, Google Play, Netflix, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 60 hours (for the first six seasons)

Homecoming 78% (Amazon Prime)

What it is: Based on the original podcast of the same name and from creators Micah Bloomberg, Eli Horowitz, and Mr. Robot mastermind Sam Esmail, Homecoming stars Julia Roberts as Heidi, an employee at the titular government facility meant to transition soldiers back into daily life post-combat. Told partially through flashback memory, the action of the series picks up when the Department of Defense comes knocking, asking why she left.

Why you should watch it: Craftily told and featuring a behemoth performance from Roberts and If Beale Street Could Talk breakout Stephan James, Homecoming is for anyone who likes their conspiracy dramas served with a twist. Season 2, which stars James and Janelle Monáe, premieres May 22 on Amazon Prime.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first season)

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 95% (ABC)

What it is: S.H.I.E.L.D. is the kind of agency you want at your back. Led by fan-favorite Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg, who caused uproar upon his character’s death in 2012’s The Avengers), Marvel Comics’ fictional Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division fights the behind-the-scenes battles that the average human wouldn’t dare face (see: Project Centipede and more). It’s wild, it’s crazy, and it’s been a heck of a fun time for Marvel superfans going for seven seasons strong.

Why you should watch it: Sure, this puzzle piece within the Marvel Cinematic Universe maintains the franchise call-backs and tonally checks all the boxes of what we look for in a Marvel romp, but you don’t have to be a die-hard lover of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and company to fall for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s extraterrestrial adventures and the now-beloved ensemble of characters it has built throughout its 100-plus episodes. Season 7, it’s final installment, premieres May 27 on ABC.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNow, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, Netflix, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 92 hours (for the first six seasons)

Ramy 96% (Hulu)

What it is: “Ramy” tells the story of a millennial Muslim trying to balance the expectations of his culture and family with his innate desires for something different.

Why you should watch it: This semi-autobiographical dramedy series from comedian Ramy Youssef (who took home a surprise Golden Globe award for his performance on the first season) is a coming-of-ager unlike any other. Drenched in the cultural and religious implications of a Muslim 20-something trying to find his way, it intelligently cuts to the heart of contemporary life in the city (including religion- and race-based prejudice) while still landing a joke. Season 2 premieres May 29 on Hulu.

Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNow, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, Vudu

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first season)

Thumbnail image: Hulu; Sergei Bachlakov/The CW; ABC/Matthias Clamer

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