Fun summer blockbusters, new series, revealing documentaries, and a slew of old favorites will be hitting streaming services this month. Three of the most popular streaming platforms in Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have released their respective May lineups, and there are plenty of original stories and popular titles from years past to look forward to.
We’ve rounded up everything coming to your home, with plenty of offerings to satisfy the most diverse interests. Here’s what’s available and what’s worth checking out in May.
The titular animated heroes of The Bad Batch made their debut about a year ago as part of the final season of The Clone Wars. This outcast group of soldiers was instantly popular, earning its own spinoff show. We’re excited to see their story continue in a post-Clone Wars world, and we’re curious about what familiar faces may pop in along the way.
It’s a new semester for the High School Musical gang as season 2 debuts with higher stakes, more pressure, and plenty of drama. The whole group from the first season returns as the East High Drama Club is taking to competition this year and putting on Beauty and the Beast. This much-anticipated, highly teased season promises more intimate moments and character growth as well as undeniably catchy songs.
Hitting the streaming services under the Premier Access category — which allows you to own the film for two months for a $30 fee — is the latest in Disney’s live-action remakes, Cruella. This prequel follows the rise of 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil, and an early trailer indicates a darker story than we might have anticipated. Villain prequels have been hit or miss the past few years, but we’re looking forward to Emma Stone in the lead role as well many terrific costumes.
This new series by Disney+ offers a collection of short stories from underrepresented voices, hoping to serve as a foundation — or launchpad — to greater success and more audience interest. Six short films will drop in this iteration, directed by a diverse group of filmmakers: Ann Marie Pace, Aqsa Altaf, Hao Zheng, Jessica Mendez Siqueiros, Moxie Peng, and Stefanie Abel Horowitz. Disney is already underway in preparation for a second collection, with submissions opening on May 10.
For the young ones in the house, the second season of the popular animated Australian kids’ show Bluey makes its way to the service. The show follows the titular dog as he goes on adventures with his family and friends. The show received praise for its honest and charming depictions of social and family issues, as well as the imagination and optimism of its main character. The target audience — preschoolers — were on board as well.
National Geographic continues to make stunning, immersive documentaries about the animal world — and with such a successful track record, we’re all in on their latest title, Kingdom of the Polar Bears. This two-part series follows a group of polar bears as they adapt to evolving lifestyles due to climate change. Photos released ahead of time are stunning, and with 4K cameras capturing new and thrilling footage, this harrowing adventure is sure to be immersive.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out this historical drama from 2015, now is the time. A beautiful and sweeping tale set in 9th century China, The Assassin follows a young woman raised to kill. When she grants mercy on a mission, however, she is sent away to earn back her trust and respect — but her latest quest kindles doubt as well. Though a martial arts epic, this film offers slow pacing and an immersive environment, making it as stunning as it is dramatic.
This Hulu Original is back for its third and final season, with eight episodes of the sharp and funny comedy dropping on May 7. Aidy Bryant stars as Annie Easton who, after earning her journalism dream job, fights back against budget cuts and angry online commentary while contemplating her dating life and staying true to her friends. A blend of absurd humor and warmth, it’s a bittersweet return of this inclusive and insightful series.
We’re quite curious about this sci-fi romance starring two talented young actors. Olivia Cooke and Jack O’Connell play a couple fighting to preserve their relationship amid a spreading virus that destroys memories. It looks to be a heartfelt, compelling tale and one that’s accidentally timely as the couple tries to fight back against a disease that is slowly tearing their lives apart.
This stunning and emotional documentary bowed to rave reviews in January, and it's coming to home streaming services this May. It follows the FBI surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. across five years up to the leader’s assassination in 1968. The documentary draws on secret documents that are to be released later this decade, as well as investigative journalism that chronicles a dedicated campaign to diminish the influence of the civil rights icon.
Now for a different type of Marvel superhero show: a stop-motion animated comedy about a supervillain. Co-created by Patton Oswalt, who voices the titular failing evildoer, this series promises silly entertainment, sharp quips, and some cartoonish gore as our antagonist grapples with failing schemes and a bankrupt business. It’s not part of the MCU, offering a reprieve from complex storytelling and instead providing some mindless fun.
We’re excited about this teenage comedy that has a familiar template with unfamiliar characters. It’s about two best friends on a quest — a common trope in young adult stories. However, the two friends are girls of color, and their quest is to travel out of their home state of South Dakota to get the Plan B pill. Directed by Natalie Morales and made with a dedicated, diverse crew over the last year, this film promises adventure, raunch, and of course, plenty of heart.
This new doc follows Latin superstar J Balvin as he prepares for a hometown concert just as his home country of Colombia descends into political and social turmoil. Those around him want him to speak out, but he’s hesitant to voice his beliefs, despite his massive influence. It’s a familiar story, but one that is timely and compelling all the same.
We surely can’t go a whole list without including something for horror fans. This atmospheric, psychological film follows an evangelical nurse who believes she needs to save the soul of a cancer patient in her care. The chilling film has been scaring audiences since it debuted in late 2019 and earned acclaim for the performances, music, and leadership of Rose Glass in her directorial debut.
Perhaps the most anticipated show on this list, Oscar-winning writer and director Barry Jenkins brings to life a riveting and harrowing story about the Antebellum South. It follows Cora (Thuso Mbedu) as she escapes Georgia in search of the famed safety network that turns out to be a literal railroad ride to freedom. The first trailer promises more of Jenkins’s impressive visuals and compelling storytelling.
The second pop singer documentary on this list, this one promises to be a little more straightforward, offering a look at the life and success of Pink as she begins her 2019 tour. Interviews and intimate conversations as offered up alongside some lively performances.
This limited anthology series has quite the intriguing premise with echoes of Black Mirror, albeit a bit more hopeful, it seems. Seven episodes in this series each star one actor in a story about technology, human connectedness, and what it means to be alone. The talented cast features Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Uzo Adubo, Anthony Mackie, Constance Wu, Dan Stevens, and Nicole Beharie, which makes this series all the more compelling.
Young adult series continue to flourish and gain audiences, and the new series Panic hopes to find its own foothold. Based on the book of the same name, the story has echoes of The Hunger Games, as high school graduates in a poor town compete in a series of challenges to win money and hopefully the chance to escape their destitute future. Confronted with harrowing decisions and fearful circumstances, they must determine what they’re fighting for and what they’re willing to risk.
Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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