This month, Netflix hauls out some comedy-special big guns: the return of Carol Burnett to TV; a new special by recent SNLhost/current it-funnyman John Mulaney; and a variety-hour-style showcase for the double act of Steve Martin and Martin Short (who, in the spirit of celebrity couples a la Brangelina, we’re dubbing Steve Martin-Short.) All this, plus a new season of Dear White People and the return of action-movie godhead John Woo! Also: Amazon will debut two new series about young women not to be trifled with; and Hulu moves to lock down the youth viewership with a gambit fueled by social media. Here’s what you’ll be streaming this May.
All Night (Hulu, May 11th)
In an effort to insulate students from drugs and the demon liquor, high schools hold all-night lock-in parties after graduation. (So you think this has stopped teens from smuggling in Zip-Loc baggies full of gutter vodka, huh? Riiiiight.) During one such shindig, a group of friends sort through their assorted crushes before college scatters them to the four winds. As a coproduction between Hulu and AwesomenessTV, the cast list has been well-stocked with “digital influencers,” i.e. YouTube stars and other social-media hotshots. To anyone over 35, it’s a sign of the end times. For the millennial demo, here’s that next-gen Can’t Hardly Wait you ordered.
Cargo (Netflix, May 18th)
The producers of Aussie horror hit The Babadook give us another Down Under tale of survival at all costs – only this time, instead of a fairy-tale creature/rising gay icon, they’ve got zombies on deck. Martin Freeman wanders the post-apocalyptic desert, his infant daughter in two. After he’s bitten by an infected ghoul, however, he’s left with 48 hours to get her to safety before the hunger takes over. Forget Bilbo Baggins and his run on the British version of The Office; this is where Freeman makes a bid for a kinder, gentler, in-danger-of-going-full-Romero Mad Max.
Dear White People, Season 2 (Netflix, May 4th)
The trailer for the sophomore year of this blistering college-set race satire announces its wide-scale ambition through a whirlwind of buzzwords: cultural appropriation, sex and gender norms, nepotism, racist bots, conspiracy theories, the Sunken Place, salty grits, black Scientology and a practice called “pre-bating” that’s soon to be a household term. Justin Simien’s adaptation of his Sundance-winning feature successfully brought the movie’s radio-wave provocateurs, closeted muckrakers, conflicted jocks and screwy sorority sisters to the small screen. Round Two promises new hookups, more meltdowns, and of course, a fresh round of inspired dissing (“Kirkland Signature Ann Coulter” is currently the one to beat) for this semester’s course catalogue.
Diablo Guardián (Amazon Prime, May 5th)
You’re young, hot, and sick of your life in Mexico. What do you do? Steal $100,000 from your parents so you can start anew in La Manzana Grande. This Spanish-language series follows Violetta (Paulina Gaitan) across the border to New York, where she quickly burns through her cash and resorts to drastic measures to make ends meet. Sex work and drugs follow, but Violetta’s major qualm is with a pair of men in her life that insist on trying to control her: a writer who goes by the handle “Pig,” and the sinister Nefastofeles. (Hmm, where have we heard that name before?) She’ll have to keep her wits about her if she wants to escape with her life and her independence.
An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life (Netflix, May 25th)
It’s a comedic clash of the titans as Martin Short and Steve Martin team up for a night of music, laughter, and shameless self-aggrandizement. The masters of faux-smarm toured around America last winter with a live show styled after the variety programs of their youth – now Netflix brings the whole shebang into your living room. Between new jokes, sketches and the occasional number on guitar, the legends reminisce about SNL hijinks and their strangest brushes with fame. They’ve each got enough anecdotes to fill a book, and having already done that, this special confirms that they’re not going to run out any time soon. They are what you might call two wild and crazy … oh, never mind.