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Netflix. Amazon Prime Video. BBC iPlayer. NOW TV. Walter Presents. There’s so much TV to watch these days that it can be hard to keep up. Every month, we boil down what’s on to the essentials you need in your streaming queue.
From the return of The Handmaid’s Tale and 13 Reasons Why to Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw together at last, this is your TV watchlist – what’s worth watching, why and where you can find it online.
The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2
Hulu’s TV series – based on Margaret Atwood’s seminal novel of the same name – is set in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalism in its militarised ‘return to traditional values’. As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a desperate attempt to repopulate the world. Gripping, stylish and horrifyingly topical, Season 1 was the best TV show of 2017. Season 2 is confidently expected to meet that high bar.
The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2 UK air date:
When? Sunday 20th May (9pm) What channel? Channel 4
Based on the film by Justin Simien, Netflix’s series explores post-racial America with satirical wit, with Season 1 following Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Bell), the son of the dean of students, who is campaigning to become Winchester University’s first black student president. Navigating a predominantly white Ivy League college, where racial tensions are often swept under the rug, the series wove a universal story about forging one’s own unique path among a diverse group of students, all held together by Samantha White (Logan Browning), whose titular radio show gives her a post in the campus’ political movement. “Sometimes uncomfortable, often laugh-out-loud funny, Dear White People is a richly formed mosaic of socio-political issues faced by modern American millennials.” Read our review of Season 1.
After two superb seasons, AMC and Channel 4’s returns for a third run, as we follow the brewing tensions between humans and “Synths”, the robots which look like humans that have become must-have household gadgets – including for the Hawkins family, who have become inextricably tied to the upcoming uprising. With grey areas everywhere and loyalties split across man and machine, it’s hard to imagine a season of Humans that descends into Westworld-style action. But that’s exactly why Channel 4’s series is so compelling.
Humans: Season 3 UK air date:
When? 17th May What channel? Channel 4
Watch Humans online in the UK:
Available live and on-demand weekly from 9pm
Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this drama based on the semi-autobiographical novels by Edward St Aubyn. It follows the harrowing yet hilarious life of Melrose, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, in a saga that sweeps through the South of France in the 60s, New York in the 80s and Britain in the early 2000s. All five episodes will simulcast weekly at 2am on Monday mornings, before being repeated at 9pm on Sky Atlantic. With Hugo Weaving, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Holliday Grainger in the cast, and David Nicholls penning the script, expect something special.
Jeremy Clarkson replaces Chris Tarrant in the host’s chair for this 20th anniversary revival of the popular quiz show. It’s a divisive choice for a quizmaster, but one that pays off, as the former Top Gear presenter brings a personality and bluntness to the format that adds a welcome note of humour. For those who aren’t fans, this limited reboot will only run for one week, with episodes airing nightly – until, of course, the inevitable commission of a full new series.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? air date:
When? 5th May (9pm) What channel? ITV 1
Watch online in the UK:
Available live and on-demand daily from 9pm
Netflix takes a leaf out of Nordic noir’s book with its first Danish original series, but rather than a Scandi crime series, this is a dystopian survival horror, set in a world where a brutal virus has wiped out most of the population. As two young siblings set out from shelter to see whether a world has begun anew, and maybe find their father, expect slick visuals, an ominous atmosphere and gripping plot twists.
Arrested Development Season 4 Remix: Fateful Consequences
Netflix celebrates the Bluth family’s classic holiday Cinco de Cuatro with a recut version of Arrested Development Season 4, with each individual character’s episode chopped together in the classic Arrested Development format of the older (better) seasons. Creator Mitch Hurwitz describes the result as “funny in a whole new way”.
After his teenage daughter goes missing, a widowed surgeon in an affluent neighborhood begins unearthing dark secrets about the people closest to him. Michael C Hall stars in Netflix’s new drama, from the mind of Harlan Coben and pen of Danny Brocklehurst.
Netflix’s teen drama, based on the 2007 novel by Jay Asher, picks up in the aftermath of high schooler Hannah’s death and the start of our characters’ complicated journeys toward healing and recovery. Liberty High prepares to go on trial, but someone will stop at nothing to keep the truth surrounding Hannah’s death concealed. A series of ominous polaroids lead Clay and his classmates to uncover a sickening secret and a conspiracy to cover it up.
Written by and starring Marc Wootton, High & Dry centres around survivors of a plane crash who have washed up on a remote island in the Pacific. Led by overbearing, sociopath air steward Brett Sullivan, also self-proclaimed “King of the Island”, the survivors assemble together in the belief they are each other’s best chance of survival, or so they think. Will people show their true colours when survival instincts kick in and will they ever stand a chance of being rescued?
High & Dry UK air date:
When? 4th May (10pm) What channel? Channel 4
Watch High & Dry online in the UK:
Available live and on-demand weekly from 10pm
The Break with Michelle Wolf
After working on The Daily Show and Late Night with Seth Meyers, comedian Michelle Wolf takes a deserved centre stage in her own weekly talk show that pokes fun at everything and everyone.
Sofia Helin and Thure Lindhart reprise their roles as the iconic Saga and her innately talented Danish partner, Henrik, in the heart-stopping concluding case to this hit Scandi series, which tests the detectives’ very special relationship to its limits, both professionally and personally.
The Bridge: Season 4 UK air date:
When? 11th May (9pm) What channel? BBC Two
Watch online in the UK:
Available live and on-demand weekly from 9pm
These two would probably die for each other, and in this game, it could come to that. Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters star as Bishop and Pike, two streetwise London cops who strap up, strap in and speed around the city crushing crime, from robbery and kidnap to murder. But work occasionally has to take a back seat as family man Pike tries to escape his father’s shadow, and brooding bad boy Bishop smashes headlong into a personal crisis he never saw coming.
After leaving viewers hanging when it came to John (Peter Kay) and Sian’s (Sian Gibson) relationship, Peter Kay’s BAFTA-winning comedy will return for one final episode this year – but before then, we get an improvised special, which follows John and Kayleigh home on their daily commute, as they react to whatever comes on the radio.
Anthony Hopkins, Florence Pugh and Richard Eyre are teaming up for this new adaptation of King Lear, which is set in the fictional present, as King Lear (Hopkins) presides over a totalitarian military dictatorship in England. Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility) stars as his oldest daughter Goneril, alongside Emily Watson (Theory of Everything, Genius) as his middle daughter Regan, and Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth, Marcella) as Cordelia, the youngest of Lear’s children.
King Lear UK air date:
When? Monday 28th May (9.30pm) What channel? BBC Two
Russell T Davies’ three-part drama tells the shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder. Hugh Grant will play disgraced MP Jeremy Thorpe, who in 1979 was tried but acquitted of conspiring to murder his ex-lover Norman Scott, played by Ben Whishaw. Academy Award nominee and BAFTA winner Stephen Frears is at the helm.
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