It seems like we say this every month, but seriously, Netflix is lit this month. Okay, maybe we’ve never said lit before, but really, it’s tough to look at the lineup of new releases coming this May and not immediately cancel every single one of our plans. Forget about going out and enjoying the first hint of nice weather all year, because Netflix is determined to shut us in our homes and force us to watch incredible movies and TV shows all month. Not that we’re complaining.
As always, since so much content is hitting Netflix this month, we’re here to help you sift through the clutter and get to what really matters. Keeping in mind that for every BoJack Horseman there’s a Pacific Heat, we’re ranking the best 15 Netflix new releases this May and telling you why each and every one of them deserves your attention. With our help you can skip the garbage and go right to binging on gold.
So take a seat, read our list, and get used to staring at a screen all month. You’re not moving from that computer, and we’re Ranking The 15 Best New Movies and TV Shows on Netflix This May.
15 Doctor Strange (2016) - May 30
We all know about Doctor Strange. Chances are we’ve all seen Doctor Strange. We were dazzled by its LSD-fuelled visuals when we saw it on the big-screen, and we were wowed by a new realm in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But that doesn’t mean we’re not gonna watch the hell out of it when it finally hits the small screen with its Netflix release on May 30th.
Though Netflix isn’t exactly known for housing the newest blockbuster releases right after their debut, their deal with Disney means that we always get the best Marvel movies soon after they hit DVD. So while the non-Netflix-subscribing world will have to pay up to see Benedict Cumberbatch don his red cape from the comfort of their own home, we get the pleasure of doing it as many times as we want for free. Long live Netflix, and may Cumberbatch’s reign as Doctor Strange carry on for many films.
14 Sense8: Season 2 (Netflix Original Series) - May 5
Sense8 isn’t your typical Netflix show... in that almost no one is talking about it. Without the hype of say, House of Cards or Stranger Things, Sense8 has had to rely purely on its good storytelling and small fanbase in order to survive to a second season. But make no mistake, just because you haven’t heard of Sense8 doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching.
Following on the heels of Sense8: A Christmas Special that fixed many of the flaws inherent in the show’s ambitious first season, Sense8 season 2 is hoping to capitalize on the Wachowskis penchant for bold storytelling in order to keep the momentum going. With a broad scope reminiscent of Lost and enough mysteries to give that show a run for its money, Sense8 may be Netflix’s most underrated show, but it also may be your next greatest find.
13 Forrest Gump (1994) - May 1
Forrest Gump may be the most enduring movie of the late 20th century. It may also be the most endearing, despite all the internet film critics popping up in recent years to declare that the 1995 Best Picture winner is a pile of sentimental garbage. It’s not, they’re wrong, and whether you’ve seen the film 100 times or never before you can now declare your love for Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump on Netflix.
Looking back Forrest Gump and you’ll find a movie that is so likable that it’s no wonder almost everyone who’s seen it has declared it their favorite film at one time or another. Sure, it’s funny that Tom Hanks plays a teenager and a ten years older Sally Field plays his elderly mother, but the skill on display in all aspects of the film is still breathtaking. From the script to the directing to the acting, Forrest Gump remains an incredibly well-made movie that will make you laugh and cry, and have you pushing “Play From Beginning” once the end credits roll.
12 Sherlock (Season 4) - May 15
If there’s ever been a show that has become a worldwide phenomenon thanks to Netflix, there’s no doubt that show is Sherlock. While the British series had its fair share of fans during its first two seasons, the painfully long break between seasons helped the show pick up a crazy amount of hype before season 3. That resulted in the whole world talking about and obsessing over Sherlock, and now for the second time this month a relatively new Benedict Cumberbatch starrer is coming to Netflix with Sherlock: Season 4.
Just three episodes – because the British sure do love to tease us – like every season these episodes play out like full-length films, each one of them better made than the last. While the first episode starts off a little slow and tries to play catch-up due to the break between seasons, the next two episodes set up a thrilling mystery that pays off perfectly. After all these years and an astoundingly small number of episodes, Sherlock is still must-see TV, and now it’s all on Netflix for the world to enjoy.
11 Maria Bamford: Old Baby (Netflix Original Special) - May 2
Maria Bamford is slowly becoming a household name, and it’s all thanks to Netflix. After starring in a huge portion of Arrested Development Season 5, Bamford and AD mastermind Mitch Hurwitz teamed up on one of Netflix’s all-time best comedies; Lady Dynamite. Now, riding on her wave of success, Bamford is doing her first Netflix Original Special with Maria Bamford: Old Baby.
If you know anything about Bamford then you know she does the unexpected, and this special is absolutely no different. Set in a variety of weird venues and straddling the line between comedy special and scripted art-house film, Old Baby is Maria Bamford at peak Maria Bamford. With fart noises, deeply personal stories, and the weirdest absurdities you’ll hear or see all year, this is a special you don’t want to miss. It’s also one you don’t want to play unless you’re ready to expect the unexpected.
10 Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie (Netflix Original Film) - May 5
If the idea of a crime solving LA homicide detective named Gene Handsome sounds ridiculous to you, that’s because it is. But Netflix has become home to the world’s most absurdist comedy content, and that trend looks like it’s going to continue with Jeff Garlin’s Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie.
From the title down to the cast, there’s no doubt that Handsome is going to be one of those incredible Netflix gems that caters to a small audience of comedy nerds. But if you are a comedy nerd, there’s a whole lot to love in this release, as it takes the familiar mystery genre and flips it on its head. With an incredible cast featuring Garlin and Orange is the New Black’s Natasha Lyonne, as well as enough cameos from Netflix regulars to make your head spin, Handsome is the type of under the radar find that you keep hyping to your friends until they finally relent, watch it, and thank you.
9 The Mars Generation (Netflix Original Documentary) - May 5
Fascinating, inspiring, uplifting, emotional, and any other adjective you can think of to describe your favorite documentary can be applied to The Mars Generation. Unexpected yet thrilling, Netflix’s newest original documentary takes viewers through interviews and simulations with the youth of today as they all dream of being the first humans to take a step on Mars.
Filled with science and packed with hope, The Mars Generation is the type of documentary that makes you feel good about doing nothing but watching Netflix all day. The Mars Generation launched out of Sundance and will land right in our Netflix Lists, and the documentary allows us a look into the world of a manned space mission we’ve all dreamed of. Featuring Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and more, the brilliant minds on display in this Netflix Original will make you feel idiotic by the time you reach the film’s end destination; but that doesn’t make the journey any less thrilling.
8 Anne with an E: Season 1 (Netflix Original Series) - May 12
If we told you that there was a multi-million dollar property that spawned four films, six radio productions, countless stage plays, 17 TV adaptations, and 2 web series since 1908, what would you guess that property is? Would you guess that it all started with a novel about an orphan named Anne who was sent to live in Prince Edward Island, Canada? Would you guess that this novel, Anne of Green Gables, is a worldwide hit that has sold over 50 million copies and has been translated into 20 different languages? Would you guess that Netflix’s next big hit series will draw from all of this when it debuts as Anne with an E on May 12th? Enough guessing, it’s all true.
Yes, Anne of Green Gables is back, and this time it’s in a glossy Netflix show that will bring all viewers back to a simpler time. Filled with potato farming and cozy farmhouses, Anne with an E isn’t Netflix’s usual high-concept niche programming, but is instead a family affair made with lots of love. Comforting, familiar, and yet weirdly addictive, Anne with an E is all set to be your next Netflix obsession.
7 Bloodline: Season 3 (Netflix Original Series) - May 26
Before we can mourn Bloodline we have to give it a proper send-off by watching its third and final season when it debuts on May 26th. With 10 episodes left in the Rayburn family saga, while we’re gutted to see it go we can’t help but think that a definitive end is the right move for the ambitiously dark Netflix drama. Sure, more seasons could have been stretched out of the series, but chances are they wouldn’t have been very good.
One of the original high profile Netflix dramas, Bloodline debuted three years ago to great acclaim and mesmerizing performances by stars Kyle Chandler and Ben Mendelsohn. Captivating, dark, and beautifully filmed, Bloodline was Peak TV at its peakiest. Though each episode was delightfully slow and meditative, you’d still find yourself watching three or four episodes at a time just to find out what happened next. And what happened next was always the same – amazing storytelling done right. We’re confident that the final season of Bloodline will continue the trend.
6 The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) - May 16
Netflix has a good habit of bringing cult classics to our attention, and that’s exactly what they’re doing on May 16th when they make The Place Beyond the Pines available for streaming. The 2012 movie has become an instant cult hit with its devastatingly shocking plot, and even the big twists take a back seat to just how perfectly constructed the film is from beginning to end. With big name stars like Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Eva Mendes rounding out the cast, there’s no doubt that The Place Beyond the Pines is one of the best movies that you can currently stream on Netflix.
The film’s alternative aesthetic and unique story make it difficult to categorise or explain without revealing too much, but that also makes it very on brand for Netflix – a company known for breaking conventions and being experimental. To avoid any spoilers we won’t say anything else about the film, and instead we’ll leave you to find out more of the details for yourself when you watch it on Netflix. Whether it will be your first time watching or you’ve seen it before, the structure and pacing of The Place Beyond the Pines makes every viewing experience a unique one.
5 House of Cards: Season 5 (Netflix Original Series) - May 30
How far we’ve come since House of Cards was THE reason to subscribe to Netflix. In fact, it’s hard to believe it was only five years ago that Frank Underwood graced our screens as the heart (or lack thereof) of the first Netflix Original Series. So much has changed in the Netflix world. A Netflix Original Series is no longer an event – it’s an everyday occurrence. And, five years on, there’s a lot better things on Netflix than House of Cards.
That’s not to say that the Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey starring TV series isn’t anything short of spectacular. The show is still more captivating and well-written than almost anything else on television. But the quality of Netflix Original Series are just so high now that we’re lucky to say House of Cards isn’t the be all end all of streaming content. There’s about ten series we can think of off the top of our heads better than House of Cards on Netflix, but that doesn’t make House of Cards any less spectacular. And with Season 5 premiering at the end of May, we’re still going to stay up late and binge every episode.
4 War Machine (Netflix Original Film) - May 26
Netflix made a big splash with the March release of its original film The Discovery, but that’s nothing compared to what War Machine is set to do for the streaming service. The fact is, Netflix has been banking on War Machine for a while to make them the go-to home for first-run original films. With Brad Pitt, Topher Grace, Ben Kingsley, Scoot McNairy, and Tilda Swinton starring, Netflix is hoping that War Machine will do for Netflix Original Films what House of Cards did for Netflix Original Series.
Best described as a black comedy, Netflix paid $60 million for the rights to this film, and if you look at the money as your own (what with you being a subscriber and all), you can only hope that the movie ends up being damn good. Absurdist and dark in all the right places, War Machine stars Brad Pitt as an Army General tasked with winning an unwinnable war, only to end up taken down by a journalist’s expose into his tactics. With big name stars and a promising story, look for War Machine to kick off the summer blockbuster box-office, and all from the comfort of your own home.
3 The Keepers: Season 1 (Netflix Original Series) - May 19
The whole world has been looking for the next Making A Murderer since late in 2015. And you’d think, after The Jinx and everything that followed it, we’d have found it by now. But we haven’t, and like everything in life, it’s time for Netflix to bail us out and save our butts from the boring realities of every-day life. That’s why they’re bringing us our next binge-ing obsession: The Keepers.
A serialized true crime docudrama if there ever was one, The Keepers follows the investigation and subsequent mysteries surrounding a murder case in 1969 Baltimore. With a focus on corruption, conspiracy, and the Catholic church, The Keepers uses interviews and slow-reveals to keep us on the edge of our seats regarding the real-life tragedy of Cathy Sesnik’s murder. Despite the case being nearly 50 years old, look for all of your friends and family obsessing over every single detail come the end of May. So you might as well get a jump on the series before then – you know you’ll need to watch it eventually.
2 Master of None: Season 2 (Netflix Original Series) - May 12
Remember Master of None? Yeah, that show you were obsessed about when you binged all of Season 1 in a day. Do you recall telling all your friends to watch it immediately, then texting them hilarious photos of turtles climbing out of briefcases? Yeah, whatever happened to that show? It came, got everyone excited about the future of comedy on Netflix, then totally disappeared forever. Well, now it’s back.
Gone since the day it debuted way back in November 2015, Master of None has been missing from our lives for way too long. We’d almost be mad at the show and hold a grudge if we weren’t so damn excited about Season 2. In fact, with the show picking up from where it left off and following Dev on his trip to Italy, we literally can’t wait to see more Master of None. Literally. So, yeah, we’ll just sleep until then. Or travel around the city looking for some hot new gnocchi spot. Whatever Dev would approve of most.
1 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 3 (Netflix Original Series) - May 19
The only thing more exciting than new episodes of Master of None? New episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Yeah. You hear that? It’s the theme song caught in your head, telling you that “They alive, dammit! It's a miracle!”
And it’s a miracle indeed, because we honestly didn’t think we’d last this long between seasons of what may be the funniest comedy currently on television. Sure, Netflix has brought us some great things in between, but nothing – NOTHING – compares to the highs of watching Kimmy Schmidt. Packed with jokes, steeped in joy, drenched in pop culture references, and flush with absurdities, Kimmy Schmidt is the only cure to a miserable 2016 and a ridiculous 2017. It’s also an elixir for the missing joys of the '90s and a supplement for the early 2000s bliss we’re all missing=. Simply put, it’s everything we need and nothing we don’t, and there’s no show more perfect than Kimmy Schmidt.
So yeah, binge it, love it, and miss the hell out of it immediately. It’s the Netflix Cycle of Joy and Despair, and May looks to be full of 15 great opportunities to experience The Cycle first hand. Happy bingeing!
Which of these new additions to Netflix are you most looking forward to? Are there any Netflix shows that you can’t wait to come back? Let us know in the comments!