1. “Master of None” (available May 12)
Why Should I Watch It? Aziz Ansari’s debut original series arrived in its first season as a progressive-minded, discussion-oriented, diverse, smart, cinematic, and very, very funny comedy. It’s honestly hard to imagine what more you could ask for a new television show these days, if only considering how many shows are begging for your attention. “Master of None” earns it, and quickly. Season 2 looks to be more of the same — meaning different, which is what we need.
Best Episode: Netflix has a tight lid on Season 2 episodes, but the embargo on reviews lifts Wednesday, May 3, so expect to hear a lot more in a few days.
Best Episode of Season 1: Episode 2, “Parents”
2. “House of Cards” Season 5 (available May 30)
Why Should I Watch It? It’s “House of Cards”! The series has developed gracefully since its shocking first few seasons, and the last year under showrunner Beau Willimon was one of the best, if not the best yet. Season 5 was handed off to two long-term writers on the series, Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson, meaning the show is still in good hands, still what it was, and it’s perhaps more fit than ever to mirror modern politics — if President Underwood’s evil machinations can compare to what’s going on in the real West Wing.
Best Episode: What, you think Netflix would sneak a peek of its prized pig a month before its released? You’re crazy. “House of Cards” remains one of the highest priority shows at the streaming giant, and it needs to protect the many, juicy twists of the new season. Let the mystery be, as they say.
Best Episode of Season 4: Episode 9, “Chapter 48”
3. “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” Season 3 (available May 19)
Why Should I Watch It? I mean, there are 1,000 reasons, and the first and foremost is Tina G.D. Fey, but we cannot forget this:
Best Episode: Seriously. Get excited.
4. “Bloodline” Season 3 (available May 26)
Why Should I Watch It? Listen, sometimes shows need a little time to figure things out. “Bloodline” entered the scene with an extraordinarily ambitious first season, and its big league cast, intricate structuring, and dark story…well, they didn’t gel quite as perfectly as they did in our dreams. But Season 2 was a marked improvement, as the KZK crew ditched the blunt flashback structure in favor of letting the excitement build more naturally. It was a great season, and there’s no reason to expect anything less for the final season.
Best Episode: In case you haven’t noticed a pattern, we aren’t allowed to talk about a lot of these seasons. My deepest apologies for the slightly misleading headline, but hopefully including the best episodes of past seasons will suffice. For “Bloodline,” we’re partial to Episode 9, “Part 22,” thanks to the long-awaited showdown between Marco (Enrique Murciano) and John (Kyle Chandler).
5. “F is For Family” Season 2 (available May 30)
Why Should I Watch It? “F is for Family” isn’t that unlike the Netflix classic “BoJack Horseman”: No, it’s not about Hollywood. Nor is it a satiric examination of the entertainment industry. And no, there aren’t any talking animals. But Bill Burr’s animated series is a unique mix of comedy and drama, with extreme highs and extremes lows as we examine a family’s development during the 1970s. There are some truly haunting moments in Season 1, mixed in among the laughs. Season 2 will undoubtedly be interesting TV, no matter what happens.
Best Episode: Please, just don’t let there be another scene where a child comes face-to-face with multiple men urinating in a public restroom. On paper, it may not sound as disturbing as it comes across in the episode, but oh boy was that one memorably horrific moment we don’t want repeated.
6. “The Keepers” Season 1 (available May 19)
Why Should I Watch It? Honestly, I don’t know if I can say it any better than the official synopsis:
From director Ryan White (“The Case Against 8”) comes “The Keepers,” a riveting seven-part documentary series about the unsolved murder of a Baltimore nun and the horrific secrets and pain that linger nearly five decades after her death.
The series opens with the story of Sister Cathy Cesnik, a beloved nun and Catholic high school teacher in Baltimore who went missing on Nov. 7, 1969. Nearly two months later, her body was found – and, to this day, her murder remains unsolved.
The case returned to the spotlight in the 1990s when one of Sister Cathy’s former students – a woman only known as “Jane Doe” – came forward to share her experience of horrendous sexual abuse by the high school’s chaplain. Incredibly, “Jane Doe” revealed she was also taken to Sister Cathy’s undiscovered body and told, “See what happens when you say bad things about people.” Despite this and testimony from other victims and witnesses of abuse, no one was held accountable, and the story was largely unreported outside of Baltimore.
Through conversations with dozens of friends, relatives, journalists, government officials and Baltimore citizens determined to uncover the truth, White pieces together a story that goes beyond the death of a beloved Catholic schoolteacher to encompass clergy abuse, repressed memories and government and religious institutions that he says “at best, dropped the ball over the last 45 years – and, at worst, covered it up.
7. “Sense8” Season 2 (available May 5)
Why Should I Watch It? Mainly because the Wachowskis are batshit crazy writers and directors who create batshit crazy entertainment. Sure, some of it flops (hard), like “Speed Racer” and “Jupiter Ascending,” but their minds are fascinating and what they put on screen is never boring. Let these storytellers (led by Lana) show you what they can do for a bit. You will, at the very least, be surprised.
Best Episode: IndieWire’s resident “Sense8” expert Liz Shannon Miller (who splits her time 60/40 between “bonkers” TV, like “Sense8,” and the rest of television), says Episode 6 of Season 2 is the best of the lot, pointing to the below behind-the-scenes video of Lana Wachowski shooting footage during the San Paolo gay pride parade as evidence:
The Rest of Incoming TV
“Under Arrest” Season 5 (available May 1)
“Chelsea” Season 2 (available May 5, with new episodes every Friday)
“Kazoops!” Season 3 (available May 5)
“Spirit: Riding Free” Season 1 (available May 5)
“The Last Kingdom” Season 2 (available May 5)
“Queen of the South” Season 1 (available May 9)
“Switched at Birth” Season 5 (available May 11)
“The Fosters” Season 4 (available May 11)
“All Hail King Julien: Exiled” Season 1 (available May 12)
“Anne with an E” Season 1 (available May 12)
“Sherlock” Season 4 (available May 15)
“Royal Pains” Season 8 (available May 18)
“Riverdale” Season 1 (available May 18)
“Bunk’d” Season 2 (available May 28)
“Supergirl” Season 2 (undated)
“Supernatural” Season 2 (undated)
“The Flash” Season 3 (undated)