Series to Watch: May 2021
DQ checks out the upcoming schedules to pick out 10 new dramas to watch this May, from Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and a British revenge thriller to a starry anthology series fronted by Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman.
Original broadcaster: Viaplay
Starring: Henriette Steenstrup, Nils Ole Oftebro, Henrik Mestad, Ulrikke Døvigen, Agnes Kittelsen, Jan Gunnar Røise, Gunnar Eiriksson, Deniz Kaya, Vivild Marie Falk Berg, Ebba Jacobsen Öberg and Jon Ranes
Air date: May 2
This show is written by and stars Steenstrup, who plays the titular Pørni, an everyday hero juggling the demands of her family with those of her social services job and a constant feeling that she isn’t doing enough for those around her.
Hvide Sande (White Sands)
Original broadcaster: TV2
Starring: Marie Bach Hansen, Carsten Bjørnlund, Bodil Jørgensen, Jesper Asholt, Camilla Bendix and Bjarne Henriksen
Air date: May 3
The brutal murder of a young German surfer rocks the community of beautiful tourist paradise Hvide Sande. A year later, with the police investigation ongoing, Danish undercover cop Helene (Hansen) and Danish-German homicide investigator Thomas (Bjørnlund) are called on to live together covertly as a couple and embed themselves within the small town. As they struggle to play husband and wife, they discover the hidden connections and old wounds buried beneath the town’s surface.
The Pursuit of Love
Original broadcaster: BBC (UK), Amazon Prime Video (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand)
Starring: Lily James, Emily Beecham, Dominic West, Dolly Wells, Andrew Scott, Emily Mortimer, John Heffernan, Annabel Mullion and Beattie Edmondson
Air date: May 9 in the UK
Written and directed by Mortimer, based on Nancy Mitford’s novel, this three-part romantic comedy-drama is set in Europe between the two World Wars. It follows the adventures and misadventures of the charismatic and fearless Linda Radlett (James) and her best friend and cousin Fanny Logan (Beecham).
The Underground Railroad
Original broadcaster: Amazon Prime Video
Starring: Thuso Mbedu, Chase W Dillon and Joel Edgerton
Air date: May 14
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) directs all 10 episodes of this adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, which chronicles Cora Randall (Mbedu)’s desperate bid for freedom in the pre-Civil War American South. After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumoured Underground Railroad, Cora discovers a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil, but she is pursued by a bounty hunter, Ridgeway (Edgerton), who is desperate to bring her back.
Original broadcaster: Sky Atlantic
Starring: Kasia Smutniak, Liam Cunningham, Colette Tchantcho, Matthew McNulty, Christine Bottomley, Ben Batt, Enzo Cilenti, Claire Forlani, Alex Lanipekun and Isabella Rossellini
Air date: May 14
Described as an epic historical drama, the series brings to life the power struggles of Ancient Rome from the perspective of Livia Drusilla (Smutniak), who overcame adversity to become the most powerful woman in the world.
Original broadcaster: Amazon Prime Video
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway (pictured top), Helen Mirren, Uzo Abuda, Nicole Beharie, Anthony Mackie, Dan Stevens and Constance Wu
Air date: May 21
An all-star cast lines up for this anthology series, which explores the strange, beautiful, heart-breaking, hilarious and wondrous truths of what it means to be human. The seven character-driven stories suggest that even in our most isolated moments, we are all connected through the human experience.
Original broadcaster: HBO
Starring: Uzo Aduba
Air date: May 23
More than 10 years after it last aired, HBO’s remake of the original Israeli series, BeTipul, returns for a fourth season, with Orange is the New Black star Aduba taking the lead in place of former star Gabriel Byrne. Aduba plays the observant and empathetic Dr Brooke Taylor, who meets patients to help them discuss a variety of modern concerns, set against the backdrop of the global pandemic, social and cultural shifts and the complications in Brooke’s own life.
Original broadcaster: Acorn TV (US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand)
Starring: Kerry Godliman, Howard Charles
Air date: May 24
Set in the English seaside town of Whitstable, this adaptation of Julie Wassmer’s novels sees Pearl Nolan (Godliman) divide her time between serving up seafood delicacies in her restaurant and investigating the debauchery and murder regularly brought in by the tide.
The Beast Must Die
Original broadcaster: Britbox UK
Starring: Cush Jumbo, Billy Howle, Jare Harris, Geraldine James, Nathaniel Parker, Maeve Dermody and Mia Tomlinson
Air date: May 27
This five-part revenge thriller marks Britbox UK’s first scripted original drama. Set on the Isle of Wight, it opens with the hit-and-run death of a six-year-old boy that leaves his mother (Jumbo) intent on avenging him by hunting down and killing the man she believes is responsible. The troubled-yet-brilliant Detective Strangeways (Howle) must unpick this tragedy and ensure justice is served.
Original broadcaster: Disney+
Starring: Katey Sagal, John Corbett, James Lesure, Lex Scott David, Tamala Jones, Ariela Barer, Kevin Zegers, Sam Palladio and Andy Garcia
Air date: May 28
Following in the footsteps of Oscar-winning film Erin Brokovitch, this new series from Krista Vernoff (Grey’s Anatomy) also takes its inspiration from the real-life social, legal and environmental campaigner. Sagal plays Annie ‘Rebel’ Bello, a blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves.