May brings movie stars tearing up the small screen, a killer role for a former teen heart-throb and the end of the world, but not as we know it.
Dead to Me (Netflix, May 3)
TV veterans Christina Applegate (Married With Children, Jesse) and Linda Cardellini (Freaks and Geeks) star as recent widows turned best friends who meet at a grief support group. Like Ricky Gervais’s After Life – Netflix’s other dramedy that mines bleak subject matter for unexpected laughs – the scenes zip along with black humour anchored by moments of genuine emotion. Bonus? A twist-heavy plot makes for easy bingeing.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (Netflix, May 3)
High School Musical alum Zac Efron rises above his six-pack rep to nail his role as slick 1970s serial killer Ted Bundy. The biopic is told from the perspective of Bundy’s long-time girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins) who refused to believe the truth about him for years.
Waco: Madman or Messiah (SBS, May 5)
Twenty-five years after a 51-day stand-off between Branch Davidians and US law enforcement ended with a siege killing 76 people including cult leader David Koresh, this two-part documentary combines interviews with survivors on location at Mt Carmel Ranch as well as family, friends, FBI officers, plus cinematic reconstructions.
Wentworth, (Fox Showcase, May 28)
Returning for a seventh season, the much-loved prison drama is picking up right where things left off after season six’s bloody finale, with a confrontation between emerging titans Rita (Leah Purcell) and Marie (Susie Porter) imminent.
When They See Us (Netflix, May 31)
A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay’s four-parter about the Central Park Five (a group of young black men arrested and later exonerated for raping a jogger in New York in 1989) co-stars Felicity Huffman as prosecutor Linda Fairstein. After Huffman’s guilty plea in the US college admissions scandal, Netflix delayed the Desperate Housewives star’s film Otherhood until August, but have gone ahead with this series.
Medicine or Myth (SBS, May 20)
Like a Shark Tank for wellness, punters pitch unusual health remedies — from earwax for cold sores to sauerkraut for acne — to a panel of medical experts, including Sydney brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo.
Fosse/Verdon (Showcase, May 26)
The eight-part miniseries follows the unconventional romantic and creative entanglements of legendary director and choreographer Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and his Broadway muse, Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams). Their daughter Nicole consulted on the series, which is co-produced by Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Catch-22 (Stan, May 18)
George Clooney executive produces, directs and co-stars in the six-part miniseries based on Joseph Heller’s satirical World War II novel. In his first TV acting gig since ER in 1999, Clooney plays “the barking mad, parade-obsessed Scheisskopf” alongside Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) and Hugh Laurie (House).
Good Omens (Amazon Prime Video, May 31)
As humanity prepares for an apocalypse, an Earth-dwelling angel (Michael Sheen) and demon (Dr Who’s David Tennant) team up to sabotage the end of the world. The six-part series is based on the fantasy novel of the same name co-written by the late Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and also stars Jon Hamm and Benedict Cumberbatch.
What/If (Netflix, May 24)
In her first significant TV role, Renée Zellweger stars in this 10-part anthology series about the ripple effect of dubious decisions. Executive producer Mike Kelley (Revenge) described the series, with shades of Basic Instinct and Indecent Proposal, as a “neo-noir thriller with a tone that harkens back to the high-octane Adrian Lyne/Joe Eszterhas filmic brand of sex, murder, and deceit”.
Mr Black (Network 10, May 7)
The Castle favourite Stephen Curry stars as an ailing and cynical sports journalist forced to move in with his adult daughter and her sensitive boyfriend. Intergenerational jabs ensue in the comedy series co-starring Nadine Garner, Nick Russell and Paul Denny.
Five Bedrooms (Network 10, May 15)
A group of strangers seated at the singles table of yet another wedding (including the always ace Kat Stewart, Stephen Peacocke and Hugh Sheridan) drunkenly decide pooling their resources to buy a big house together could solve their problems. The Secret Life of Singles?