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May TV Premieres: 12 New Shows to Look Out for This Month

A new month brings new series starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Maggie Haberman, Angela Lansbury, Natalie Dormer, and Dennis Haysbert.

New Shows May 2018

And so, we reach the final month before Emmys eligibility closes once more. As the mad rush intensifies before the official start of summer, a number of returning TV shows will definitely be vying for your attention.

But amidst all the chaos of those shows making their way back into living rooms, some new series will also be vying for your attention. As is our custom at the beginning of each month, we’ve collected a rundown of the shows that might just be worth your time across broadcast, cable, and streaming.

(Missed our picks of what the first part of the year had to offer? Here are some notable TV premieres from FebruaryMarch, and April.)

“Being Serena” (May 2, HBO)

Being Serena HBO

“Being Serena”

HBO

As one of the great athletes of her generation embarks on the new quest of being a mother, this five-part HBO series tracks her life on and off the tennis court. Beginning with last year’s Australian Open win, the show will also chronicle her return to the sport after being away for most of 2017.

“Cobra Kai” (May 2, YouTube Red)

Cobra Kai YouTube

“Cobra Kai”

YouTube

If for no other reason than the fact this YouTube Red show pulled a Terminator and made its old villain into something of a sympathetic hero, “Cobra Kai” is on our radar. Reuniting a handful of characters from the ’80s classic “The Karate Kid,” this new show brings back a decades-old rivalry while tossing in plenty of training montages for good measure.

“Vida” (May 6, Starz)

Vida Season 1 2018 Melissa Barrera Mishel Prada

Tanya Saracho’s genre-defying series about sisters living in East LA is another show in Starz’s creator-driven lineup. Part drama, part comedy, “Vida” blends views on family, activism, and relationships for a series that drew positive reviews out of its SXSW premiere. It’ll pair with “Sweetbitter” for the network’s new post-“Howards End” spring Sunday slate.

“Motherland” (May 10, Sundance Now)

Paul Ready as Kevin, Diane Morgan as Liz, Anna Maxwell Martin as Julia - Motherland _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Colin Hutton/SundanceNow/Merman/Delightful/Lionsgate/BBC

“Motherland”

Colin Hutton/SundanceNow/Merman/Delightful/Lionsgate/BBC

Written by Sharon Horgan, directed by “The IT Crowd” and “Father Ted” creator Graham Linehan, and starring Lucy Punch and Paul Ready (watch him on “The Terror” posthaste), “Motherland” certainly has all the pieces in place for a great comedy. After premiering in the UK last fall, the show about a single mother making her way through the highs and pitfalls of being a parent will be available on Sundance Now, where series like “This Close,” “Back,” and the lovely “Rosehaven” can also be found.

“All Night” (May 11, Hulu)

ALL NIGHT -- Karaoke - Episode 103 - As karaoke commences, Roni makes a huge announcement only to be topped by the revelation of an even bigger secret. Bryce begins to lay the groundwork for his seduction of the gym teacherís wife. Christian urges Melinda to come out of her shell. Christian Christian (Tequan Richmond), Melinda Weems (Allie Grant) shown. Photo by: Jake Thomas/Hulu)

“All Night”

Jake Thomas/Hulu

This 10-part Hulu comedy follows a group of high school seniors through their grad night festivities. Between sundown and sunup, the just-graduated class sorts through lingering feelings and their anxieties about the future. The series comes from the team at AwesomenessTV.

“Patrick Melrose” (May 12, Showtime)

Patrick Melrose Showtime

“Patrick Melrose”

Ollie Upton/Showtime

Fresh off trying to save the universe, Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play an alcoholic across the decades in this limited series. Each of the five installments centers on a different novel in Edward St. Aubyn’s internationally acclaimed series, tracking the title character as he travels through various stages of his life, from various addictions through trying to correct the sins of past generations.

“Little Women” (May 13, PBS)

Little Women MASTERPIECE on PBSShown (Left-Right): Kathryn Newton as Amy, Willa Fitzgerald as Meg, Maya Hawke as Jo, and Annes Elwy as Beth.Little Women has been commissioned by Piers Wenger and Charlotte Moore at the BBC, and is produced by Playground (Wolf Hall, Howards End) for BBC One. The series is a co-production with MASTERPIECE on PBS. The producer is Susie Liggat. Executive producers are Colin Callender and Sophie Gardiner for Playground, Heidi Thomas, Lucy Richer for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. Lionsgate will manage worldwide distribution excluding US and UK.Photo courtesy of MASTERPIECE on PBS, BBC and Playground.

“Little Women”

Masterpiece on PBS/BBC/Playground

Louisa May Alcott’s classic gets another adaptation, this time courtesy of “Call the Midwife” creator Heidi Thomas. Aside from impending “Stranger Things” newcomer Maya Hawke as Jo, this series also co-stars Emily Watson, Michael Gambon, Dylan Baker, and the incomparable Angela Lansbury. The series will air in three parts on Sunday nights.

“The Great American Read” (May 22, PBS)

The Great American Read PBS

“The Great American Read”

Nutopia/PBS

Part of an ongoing search to identify and celebrate the 100 most-beloved books in the country, “The Great American Read” will highlight some of the biggest titles on the network’s cultivated lists. Over its eight parts, the show will get input from authors, notable fans, and avid readers all across the US, each explaining why they’re favorites deserved to be included.

“Picnic at Hanging Rock” (May 25, Amazon)

Picnic at Hanging Rock Amazon

“Picnic at Hanging Rock”

Peter Weir’s 1975 drama might not be the obvious film to make the jump to the small screen. But working from the 1967 Joan Lindsay novel, this new TV adaptation will once again look to understand the reasons behind the mysterious disappearance of a group of students on a field trip at the Australian landmark. Natalie Dormer stars in the six-part series, alongside Yael Stone and Samara Weaving.

“Phenoms” (May 25, Fox)

A still from PHENOMS: GOALKEEPERS. Photo credit: Apple Via.

“Phenoms”

In anticipation of this summer’s World Cup, Fox is profiling a number of the young, up-and-coming football stars that are vying for a spot on their national team’s roster. Featuring players in England, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Nigeria, Mexico, France, Germany, and Colombia, it’s a way to learn the stories behind a handful of athletes who could end up making headlines all across the globe.

“The Fourth Estate” (May 27, Showtime)

The Fourth Estate Showtime

“The Fourth Estate”

Showtime

After this weekend’s renewed debate over what we should/shouldn’t expect from journalists, Liz Garbus’ documentary series on the inner workings of the New York Times seems to be coming at about the right time. Profiling reporters and staff members as they tackle matters from inside the White House and beyond, it gives the network another angle to examine the press beyond “The Circus.”

“Reverie” (May 30, NBC)

REVERIE -- Pilot -- Pictured: (l-r) Sarah Shahi as Mara Knit, Dennis Haysbert as Charlie Ventana -- (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)

“Reverie”

Sergei Bachlakov/NBC

Ready for some Ready Player Fun???? To be honest, the only reason for joking is that virtual reality is terrifying and the concept of getting lost inside a simulation is the stuff of actual nightmares. But this NBC series will finally air the first of its ten-episode debut season at the end of this month, giving a grateful TV audience another chance to be reunited with Dennis Haysbert.

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