10 of the best new TV shows to watch in May

Meltdown: Three Mile Island

Wednesday, May 4th

From the producers of Erin Brockovich and acclaimed documentarian Kief Davidson (The Ivory Game) comes a sensational four-part series exploring the disaster at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania in 1979. This near-catastrophe and its effects were originally minimised by the plants’ parent company Metropolitan Edison but with growing safety concerns, mass panic erupted as Governor Richard Thornburgh advised a partial shutdown of the surrounding towns with terrified citizens worrying about water contamination and dangerous levels of radiation. 

Meltdown investigates this accident from all sides, looking at the systemic failures that could have caused the situation and whether it could have been prevented. It delves into the anti-nuclear movement and the story of whistleblower, chief engineer Richard Parks. It also looks at the effect that the incident had on the health and wellbeing of the community and sends a clear message to viewers about the lessons that need to be learned from Three Mile Island that relate to the climate change crisis .

Bill Skarsgard stars as Clark Olofsson. Photograph: Eric Broms / Netflix
Bill Skarsgard stars as Clark Olofsson. Photograph: Eric Broms / Netflix

Clark

Thursday, May 5th

The colourful Swedish director Jonas Akerlund best known for his eye-catching and often controversial music videos for the likes of Beyoncé and Madonna, applies his frenetic style and pop-art sensibilities to the story of Clark Olofsson. Olofsson was a notorious bank robber – the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ was created to describe his antics during the famous Norrmalmstorg robbery where his hostages allegedly developed a bond with him. Charismatic, witty and debonair, Olofsson became a sort of Swedish folk hero, a ‘celebrity’ outlaw who spent most of his days bouncing from one correctional institution to the next. Starring the striking Bill Skarsgard (It, Eternals), it’s a flash, ultra-violent, surreal take on the eccentric gangster’s life and crimes. 

Mike Myers, Lydia West and Mike Myers (again) in The Pentaverate. Photograph: Netflix
Mike Myers, Lydia West and Mike Myers (again) in The Pentaverate. Photograph: Netflix

The Pentaverate 

Thursday, May 5th

Mike Myers is back, the comedian has been coaxed out of semi-retirement by Netflix to helm and star in (as multiple characters, of course) The Pentaverate. The series is about a secret society that has been working to control world events since 1347. Seasoned Myers fans will recognise the name from his 1993 film So I Married An Axe Murderer, where Stuart Mackenzie, father of Charlie Mackenzie, (both of whom were played by Myers)regales everyone with his theory about this clandestine group made up of the world’s wealthiest : the Queen, the Vatican, the Gettys, the Rothschilds and Colonel Sanders from KFC.  This new show expands on this tale as a wily Canadian investigative journalist goes on a mission to expose the organisation. Tapping into the current obsession with conspiracy theories from QAnon to the Illuminati it’s an outrageously silly take on the idea of shadowy cabals, mind control and the ignorant sheeple who remain unaware and under the influence. Featuring Jennifer Saunders, Ken Jeong and Lydia West and with a soundtrack courtesy of Orbital it’s an intriguing prospect. Mixing the over the top tone of Austin Powers with the half-baked horror of cult classic Garth Marenghi’s DarkPlace, The Pentaverate may be a conspiracy worth believing in. 

Welcome to Eden 

Friday, May 6th

It’s Love Island meets Lord of the Flies in this new Spanish sci-fi thriller as a group of oblivious social media influencers are flown to a remote, exotic location under the guise of sampling a new drink at the brand’s exclusive party. After downing their cocktails, the event turns into an immersive, hypnagogic trip and what looks like paradise on the surface becomes anything but for the island’s newest inhabitants. With a cast that includes Gran Hotel’s Amaia Salamanca and the Spanish-Mexican singer Belinda Peregrín, it’s a glossy look at the seductive nature of advertising and the dangerous exploitation of our desires. 

Our Father 

Wednesday, May 11th

The Blumhouse-produced documentary series follows the sinister story of fertility doctor Donald Cline. In the 1970s and 1980s the Indianapolis specialist repeatedly replaced donor sperm with his own, managing to spawn over 50 children who were completely unaware of this information until 2014. The harrowing details of the scandal are recounted by Jacoba Ballard who discovered the truth upon testing her DNA, tracking down a myriad of half siblings and informing them of their true parentage. As they begin to piece together this tragedy they learn that not only did Cline substitute the samples of anonymous donors but also couples and that most of them lived within a 25 mile radius of each other. A story of power, control and manipulation, Our Father tries to establish Cline’s motives whilst giving a voice to his countless victims. 

Claudia Di Girolamo and Pablo Macaya in 42 Days of Darkness. Photograph: Netflix
Claudia Di Girolamo and Pablo Macaya in 42 Days of Darkness. Photograph: Netflix

42 Days of Darkness 

Wednesday, May 11th

Based on a true story this gritty Chilean detective series centres around the case of missing woman Verónica whose sister Cecilia is determined to find her as quickly as possible. In this frantic race against time Cecilia deals with the white hot attention of the media who make the disappearance headline news looking for a lurid angle on the story. She also must fight against the authorities, their prejudices and their apathetic response to her family’s plight. Through her search she discovers more about her sister’s past and the problems she was facing. A tough look at societal issues around gender based violence, 42 Days of Darkness brings a sobering realism to an often dispassionate genre.

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Becki Newton in Lincoln Lawyer. Photograph: Lara Solanki/Netflix
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Becki Newton in Lincoln Lawyer. Photograph: Lara Solanki/Netflix

The Lincoln Lawyer 

Friday, May 13th

As Better Call Saul comes to a close, another scrappy, unconventional lawyer is ready to take his place on Netflix. Based on the best-selling novels by Michael Connelly, the series follows Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) a salty, down ‘n dirty defence attorney who works out of his Lincoln car. The ten-part series is an adaptation of Connelly’s second novel featuring Haller, The Brass Verdict. The first book was the basis for Brad Furman’s thrilling 2011 neo-noir film starring Matthew McConaughey.

Returning to LA unsure of his future, Haller becomes embroiled in a case surrounding a murdered colleague, dragging him into the orbit of another high-profile murder and the covert world of the city’s most influential power players. Typically, his private life is just as complicated with the lawyer trying to rebuild his relationships with his two ex-wives, newly divorced Lorna (Becki Newton), and his first, Maggie (Neve Campbell) the mother of his daughter. 

New Heights 

Friday, May 13th

Acclaimed Swiss director Petra Volpe (The Divine Order) focuses on family strife in this complex eight-part drama. When Michi (Julian Koechlin) a financial assistant in Zurich is called back to the family farm after the sudden death of his father, the weight of responsibility lies with him as the eldest son to decide to continue his father’s legacy or abandon his roots. He must contend with the feelings of his younger brother Lorenz (Jérôme Humm) who wants to keep the ailing farm that he has worked on all his life and who resents Michi’s cosmopolitan lifestyle and his sister Sarah (Sophie Hutter) who longs to escape her rural background. An emotional, intense look at the rigours of modern existence, the isolation of life on the farm and equally life in the city, it’s a moving portrait of a family thrown into disarray and the underlying animosity and unspoken ambitions that trauma can bring to the surface. 

Cyber Hell: Exposing an Internet Horror 

Wednesday, May 18th

This disturbing South Korean true-crime docu-series investigates the infamous “Nth Room” case which exposed the intricate network of chat rooms where young teens were blackmailed into sexual exploitation. The sophisticated cyber-criminals used methods such as dealing in cryptocurrency, hacking and doxxing to retain their anonymity and taunt their victims and the authorities. The series combines news footage with the testimonies of journalists, lawmakers and detectives who doggedly pursued the perpetrators until they were finally convicted.

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in Stranger Things. Photograph: Netflix
Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in Stranger Things. Photograph: Netflix

Stranger Things – Season 4 

Friday, May 27th

Perhaps the real riddle of Stranger Things is the rapid ageing of its teen population, still stuck in school when they look like they could be teaching the class. No amount of tragic bowl-haircuts and bubble perms can stop the march of time (Steve’s mullet aside) so before the show reaches Grease-levels of incredulity this season will be its last bout of youthful hi-jinks. Like Ozark and Better Call Saul, Stranger Things, another flagship Netflix original will be split into two parts for its swansong with the second half arriving in July. 

Set six months after the Battle of Starcourt, the kids are struggling with its aftermath whilst dealing with raging hormones and the usual trials of school life which make tackling the Demogorgon seem like a more pleasant prospect. Eleven is ensconced in California having not only lost her friends but her powers too leaving her in a paranoid state. As the rest of the gang try to adapt to normal life Hawkins belches up another bogey man to be faced, with Hopper trying to escape from Russia to warn them of this new threat to humanity. As unwieldy and bloated as the series has become, this finale may tie up those frustrating loose ends and remind viewers why the sci-fi nostalgia-fest was such a worldwide sensation in the first place.

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