The beginning of May means the beginning of the summer season for television, where new shows are … not exactly the greatest, unless you like docu-soaps (The CW definitely has you covered, with both Breaking Pointe and The Catalina) or reality contests (both DesignStar on HGTV and The Next Food Network Star are back this month). That said, this month has some worthwhile debuts — including a show I’ve waited a long time to see back on our screens.
After an agonizing wait — and months of avoiding spoilers on social media, not always successfully — Steven Moffat’s contemporary re-imagining of the classic Arthur Conan Doyle detective finally officially debuts in the U.S., bringing with it Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as the most enjoyably watchable double act in crime television. There’s also the promise of more Moriarty, some Irene Adler and, of course, another sense of frustration when you realize that three episodes is far too little of a good thing each season for this show. Undoubtedly the thing I’m most looking forward to on television this month. (May 6, 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS)
AFI’s Master Class – The Art of Collaboration: David O. Russell and Mark Wahlberg
Consider this relevant to your interests. Wahlberg and Russell, who have made movies like The Fighter, Three Kings and I ♥ Huckabees together, discuss their influences, working relationship and what they expect from working together. Maybe a little wonky for most, but this kind of thing is something that I find fascinating. (May 8, 8 p.m. ET/PT on TCM)
BBC America’s “Dramaville” programming, home to such shows as Luther and The Hour, continues with this new series tracking seven friends from the mid-1960s through the present day, showing not only how their lives have changed, but also how the U.K. changes throughout the nearly 50-year period. This is the kind of thing that British drama tends to do remarkably well — a similar show from the ’90s called Our Friends In The North was compelling viewing — but it all depends on how interesting the central characters are. Come on, BBC, don’t let us down with this one … (May 9, 10 p.m. ET/PT on BBC America)
USA dramas are somewhat like comfort food: Enjoyable, never too challenging, but pretty much made to a familiar recipe. Here’s a new dish to test that theory: Two LA detectives whose constant bickering gets them sent to a couples’ counselor to improve their communication — presumably with hilarious results. (May 11, 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA)
The Half Hour
Comedy Central continues to try to find new ways of making stand-up work on television with this new series that mixes stand-up with behind-the-scenes documentary footage and interview material, as well as a social media component that’ll let viewers tweet with the comedians during the show. It’s something that could be painful to watch, depending on how well (or badly) the stand-up is going down at the time. (May 11, 11 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central)
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