The Underground Railroad
What if The Underground Railroad – the common term for the network of people and safe houses which helped enslaved people in pre-Civil war US escape to freedom – was no mere metaphor? Not people, nor safe houses – but a literal railroad of secret tracks and tunnels operating under the soil in the deep South? That’s the intriguing premise of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winning novel, adapted for this Amazon series by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins. Enslaved on a Georgia cotton plantation, Cora Randall (Thuso Mbedu), makes the amazing discovery of the transport system when, in a desperate bid for freedom, she runs away with plantation newcomer Caesar (Aaron Pierre). Not everything goes to plan though, and Cora is always looking over her shoulder as she is pursued by bounty-hunter Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), who is hellbent on bringing Cora back – especially since her mother Mabel is the only one he has never caught. Watch the trailer here. Premieres 14 May on Amazon Prime Video.
It’s time to say farewell to Hulu’s body-positive comedy starring SNL comedian Aidy Bryant as Annie Easton, a journalist who’s on a mission to change her life, not her body. As this third and final series begins, we find Annie this series in good spirits – energised after demanding better for herself by breaking up with loser boyfriend Ryan (Luka Jones) and her newfound momentum at work. She’s juggling a lot of “nasty boys”, has secured new writing assignments, and seems to care less than ever before what people think of her – even confronting a fat-shaming gynaecologist. But with everything seemingly falling into place for Annie, does she actually know how to get what she wants? Then comes the downsizing at work, and the small matter of getting cancelled because of an article she has written. At least there’s the girl’s big night out to look forward to, with bestie Fran (Lolly Adefope) and co-workers Ruthie (Patti Harrison) and Maureen (Jo Firestone). Watch the trailer here. Premieres 7 May on Hulu.
Master of None
After a break of four years, Aziz Ansari returns with a new season of this dramedy as its director, and co-writer with Lena Waithe. But on-screen, the spotlight has shifted away from his character Dev and onto Waithe’s Denise – who was the focus of season two’s Emmy Award-winning standalone Thanksgiving episode. Promising to offer an intimate exploration of a queer relationship, it will follow Denise (Waithe) and her partner Alicia (Naomi Ackie), as they grapple with doubts and heartache when a rift emerges in their otherwise happy marriage. Their struggles with fertility, and personal growth – both together and apart – raise existential questions about love and living. Meanwhile there’s no word yet on whether this series will definitively answer what really happened at the end of the last season between Francesca and Dev, though Ansari does appear in the trailer for a fleeting moment. Watch the trailer here. Premieres 23 May on Netflix.
Blinded: Those Who Kill (Credit: BBC Four)
Blinded: Those Who Kill
A spin-off to the Danish crime drama Darkness: Those Who Kill, this slow-burn Scandi-noir continues the story of criminal profiler Louise Bergstein (The Rain’s Natalie Madueño) as she looks for a serial killer who has eluded the authorities. Five years ago, on the Danish island of Funen, Alice Ejbye’s 18-year-old son Markus was murdered by a killer who was never found. Now sick with cancer, Alice asks her daughter’s best friend Bergstein if she will help crack the cold case. Events soon compel Louise and the head of the investigation Karina Horup (Helle Fagralid) to search for evidence as to whether the killer, after a long hiatus, may now have become active again on the Danish island. Watch the trailer here. Premieres 8 May on BBC Four in the UK and 10 May on Acorn TV in the US.
The Pursuit of Love
An adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel set in Europe between world wars, the romantic comedy-drama follows the adventures of the charismatic and fearless aristocrat Linda Radlett (Lily James) and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan (Emily Beecham). As they both hunt for the ideal husband, their friendship is put to the test. Fanny wants to settle for a steady life, while Linda decides to follow her heart, taking her to increasingly outrageous places – and just as social and political divisions split the nation, their diverging choices raise personal questions about freedom, love and sex which are still relevant today. Written and directed by Emily Mortimer, the series’ glittering cast includes Dominic West and Dolly Wells as Linda’s parents, and Fleabag’s sexy priest Andrew Scott as Lord Merlin, the Radlett’s wealthy and eccentric neighbour. Watch the trailer here. Premieres 9 May on BBC One/BBC iPlayer in the UK and is coming soon to Amazon Prime Video in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Pleasure Principle (Credit: All4/Walter Presents)
The Pleasure Principle
Looking for your next Euro TV binge-watch? Billed as an Eastern European take on The Bridge, the series connects police departments in Poland, Czech Republic and Ukraine with an unusual case. The bodies of three young women are found within days in separate cities, Odessa, Warsaw and Prague. All aspiring models or actors, the bodies show the same brutal signs of violence. One thing about the murders is clear: they are somehow connected. So it is that three detectives from different countries find themselves having to work together to catch the culprit: Ukrainian militia captain Serhij (Sergey Strelnikov), who has a troubled past; Polish superintendent Maria (Malgorzata Buczkowska), who fights for her position in a male-dominated department; and experienced Czech detective Viktor (Karel Roden), who has to put off early retirement. But what is it exactly that connects the three cities? Premieres 28 May on All4/Walter Presents.
Domina (Credit: Sky Atlantic)
An epic family saga that takes us back to ancient Rome, this Sky drama by Fortitude writer Simon Burke brings to life the power politics that dominated the era by telling the real-life story of Livia Drusilla (Kasia Smutniak), the wife and advisor to the first Roman emperor, Augustus Caesar. Charting the first Empress’ extraordinary rise to power, it begins with young Livia’s world crumbling following the assassination of Julius Caesar. In the years that follow, Livia must traverse her way through a brutal society to seek out revenge, secure power for her sons and eventually become Rome’s most influential woman. An international cast includes Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) as Livia’s father Livius, and Colette Tchantcho (The Witcher) as Antigone, Livia’s best friend, ex-slave and closest ally. Watch the trailer here. Premieres 14 May on Sky Atlantic/Now TV.
The Kominsky Method (Credit: Netflix)
The Kominsky Method
The Michael Douglas-led comedy-drama, in which the star plays ageing-actor-turned-acting-coach Sandy, returns for a third and final season – this time without Alan Arkin, who played his long-time friend Norman Newlander in previous series. This final chapter finds Sandy dealing with the trials of ageing without his buddy Norman by his side – and to complicate things further, Sandy’s been left in charge of Norman’s estate. Meanwhile there’s yet more difficulties when Sandy’s ex-wife Roz (Kathleen Turner) turns up in Los Angeles to spend time with their daughter Mindy (Sarah Baker), and her boyfriend Martin (Paul Reiser). Special guest stars Morgan Freeman and Barry Levinson drop in to play fictionalised versions of themselves. Watch the trailer here. Premieres 28 May on Netflix.