April showers bring May… TV premieres? OK, so that’s not exactly how the saying goes, but either way, we’re getting a lot of new and returning television this month. Unfortunately, May is technically the end of the 2013-2014 TV season, so there are a lot of sad finales — New Girl, Revenge, Mad Men, Trophy Wife, etc. — but there’s also more than enough new stuff to keep you busy.
Television has become nostalgic for its own past: giving sitcoms to Sean Hayes and Michael J. Fox, unnecessarily rebooting Heroes, dangerously mentioning a Lost reboot in passing, and, as of May 5, bringing Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) back to our television sets. 24: Live Another Day is a limited event series, 12 episodes total, set four years after the end of the last season. If you want to re-watch it all, the full original series is available on Amazon Instant Video and will only take you six days and two hours.
May 5: Louie Returns to FX
Louie, perhaps the best half-hour show on television and one of FX’s must-watch programs, returns for a fourth season on Monday, May 5 at 10pm. It’s been a long wait — 19 months! — but Louie will make up for it by airing back-to-back episodes every Monday for the duration of its 14-episode season. If you’ve already loved Louie, then trust me, you don’t want to miss this season.
What to make of Penny Dreadful? The individual bits sound promising: It stars former teen heartthrob Josh Hartnett alongside the beautiful and talented Eva Green, Sam Mendes is one of the executive producers, and it’s a “profoundly unsettling” horror series featuring classic literary characters like Dr. Frankenstein and Dorian Gray. Taken together, though, it has the potential to be a mess. You can decide for yourself on May 11 or, if you can’t wait, watch the series premiere online now.
If Penny Dreadful seems a bit much, then you have the option of watching another show inspired by classic horror on Sunday nights — albeit a watered-down-for-NBC version. Zoe Saldana (Avatar) stars opposite Patrick J. Adams (Suits) in the “reimagined” Rosemary’s Baby miniseries event, based on Ira Levin’s novel.
This is, hands down, what I’m most excited for this May. I adore Maya Rudolph and everything she’s ever done — I stuck with Up All Night until the very end — and a variety show is a perfect fit for her talents. The one-hour special will feature Craig Robinson, Andy Samberg, Kristen Bell, Fred Armisen, Sean Hayes, and Chris Parnell as guest stars, and Janelle Monae as musical guest. See? Perfect! Let’s hope this turns into a weekly series.
This May, Last Comic Standing, the stand-up comedy competition show that brought us such household names as Dat Phan and Felipe Esparza, returns for an eighth season. It’s easy to, ahem, joke about, but it’s actually a fun reality show if you love stand-up. Plus, this year’s host is JB Smoove, and the judges are Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans, and Russell Peters.
HBO’s newest original movie is The Normal Heart, based on the play of the same name (Larry Kramer wrote both) and directed by Glee‘s Ryan Murphy. It has an all-star cast including Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jonathan Groff, and Alfred Molina, and you can watch the first trailer here.
Here’s your hate-watch for the month: Fox, a network monster, is once again duping unsuspecting women in a reality dating show. I Wanna Marry “Harry” sends a dozen women to England to compete to marry Prince Harry — except it’s not Harry, of course, but just a random guy with a makeover.
Undateable is the latest from Bill Lawrence’s Doozer production company. It’s a sitcom about a group of hapless guys who have trouble getting dates, so a cooler guy decides to show them the ropes. It doesn’t sound groundbreaking, but Doozer shows have a tendency to come out better than they seem on paper — Cougar Town and Ground Floor are good examples — and it features Ron Funches! I will follow Ron Funches anywhere. Plus, it’s summer, what other sitcoms are there to watch?
Sure, the induction ceremony actually took place in April, but at the end of May, HBO will be showing the whole thing as a concert special. You can watch performances from Nirvana (with Joan Jett, Lorde, St. Vincent, and Kim Gordon), Cat Stevens, and more.