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What to Watch This Week | May 9–15’s consummate viewing recommendations for shows, movies, sports, and more on TV this week.

I preview many, many a new TV series here and out there in the freelance world, so it’s understandable that you might miss a few—hence my patented catchphrase, There’s Too Many Shows™. Check out my latest Content Shifter column for some of the best new shows that might have slipped by you in the overstuffed first quarter of 2022.

This week’s What to Watch picks include the return of HBO Max hit Hacks, Bellator MMA action, new Rebel Wilson comedy Senior Year, a reimagining of Firestarter, and the long-awaited revival of The Kids in the Hall. Better find that remote.

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What’s premiering this week

Hacks | HBO Max | Comedy, drama

Season 2 premiere, Thursday, May 12: Critics and real people alike swooned over the 2021 debut season of Hacks, a dark-ish comedy about veteran Las Vegas comedian Deborah Vance (Emmy-winner Jean Smart) and young comedy writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder). In Season 2, Deborah and Ava are out of Vegas and touring the country, trying out new material in hopes of relaunching Deborah’s comedy career. But there’s still generational friction between the two, which is the hilarious heart of Hacks. Two new episodes drop on May 12.

Bellator 281 | SHOWTIME | Sports, MMA

Coverage begins Friday, May 13, 4 p.m. EST: Live from London, Bellator 281 will feature five main events, including Lyoto Machinda vs. Fabian Edwards (Middleweight division), Denise Kielholtz vs. Kana Watanabe (Women’s Flyweight division), and Michael “Venom” Page vs. Logan Storley (Welterweight division, main event). Bellator 281 will also have nine preliminary bouts, adding up to six hours of face-pummeling action on SHOWTIME Friday—that means at least two bumped repeats of Beverly Hills Cop.

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What to watch on Netflix this week

Operation Mincemeat | Netflix | Drama

Movie premiere, Wednesday, May 11: In 1943 World War II, a pair of British intelligence officers (Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen) launches a plan to protect invading Allies from Hitler’s forces using a fantastical disinformation strategy based on a dead secret agent. This WWII drama, directed by John Madden (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Miss Sloane), is already playing in brick-and-mortar theaters (remember those?) if you want to experience the combat action and Firth’s eyebrows on the big screen.

Senior Year | Netflix | Comedy

Movie premiere, Friday, May 13: When 30-something Stephanie (Rebel Wilson) awakens from a coma after 20 years, the first thing she wants to do is finish her high school senior year—kind of a reverse 17 Again. Even more ambitious, she also wants to captain the cheerleader squad and be crowned prom queen. In a wink and a nod to the classic high school comedies that Senior Year draws from, Alicia Silverstone has a cameo, as does a cleverly placed Clueless poster. Senior Year is rated R, so expect some raunch and salty language.

What to watch on Hulu this week

Candy | Hulu | Drama

Series premiere, Monday, May 9: The true-crime docudramas just keep coming. Candy, starring Jessica Biel, dramatizes the bloody tale of Texas housewife Candy Montgomery (Biel), who brutally murdered her neighbor Betty Gore (Melanie Lynskey) with an ax in 1980. The frumpy ’80s hairstyles and outfits of Candy provide a brief comical distraction from the tense tragedy that’s playing out, with Biel and Lynskey turning in effortlessly excellent performances. Episodes of Candy will be released daily through Friday, May 13.

Breeders | FX, Hulu | Comedy, drama

Season 3 premiere, Monday, May 9: Most family comedies feature precocious children that the parents can’t help but love. In British import Breeders, parents Paul (Martin Freeman) and Ally (Daisy Haggard) are vocal about hating their two kids and how they’ve ruined their lives—in a funny way, that is. Breeders is one of the most honest family TV series ever, refusing to gloss over relationship turmoil, career fears, aged family members, and lingering doubts over parenting choices. But, again, in a funny way.

What to watch on Peacock this week

Firestarter | Peacock | Drama, thriller

Movie premiere, Friday, May 13: Stephen King hated the 1984 adaptation of his book Firestarter, which is remembered mostly as Drew Barrymore’s child-star-making role and little else. Maybe this 2022 do-over will fare better, with young Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) and dad Andy (Zac Efron) on the run from a nefarious federal agency that wants to harness Charlie’s fire-creation powers as a weapon. In a karmic twist, John Carpenter, who was fired from directing the 1984 movie, provides the new Firestarter’s soundtrack.

2022 Billboard Music Awards | NBC, Peacock | Awards, music

Special event, Sunday, May 15: Sure, there are still too many awards shows with superstars congratulating each other for making big corporate money. But, after two years with little live music, we’ll allow it. The 2022 Billboard Music Awards, hosted by Diddy, will feature performances by Burna Boy, Latto, Megan Thee Stallion, Rauw Alejandro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Silk Sonic, Florence + The Machine, Maxwell, and the un-cancelable Morgan Wallen live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

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W2W wildcards of the week

The Kids in the Hall | Prime Video | Comedy

Revival premiere, Friday, May 13: From the late ’80s to the mid-’90s, Canadian sketch comedy troupe Kids in the Hall’s self-titled TV show earned its status as one of the most beloved cult classic series of all time. After a movie (1996’s hysterical Brain Candy) and a handful of reunion tours, original Kids in the Hall members Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson are back with eight new episodes and guest stars like Catherine O’Hara, Fred Armisen, Pete Davidson, and Will Forte. I’m crushing your head!

The Essex Serpent | Apple TV+ | Drama

Series premiere, Friday, May 13: In Victorian England, a recent widow (Claire Danes) moves from London to Aldwinter to search for a mythical serpent that’s been reported by locals in the area. There, she sparks an unlikely friendship with a pastor (Tom Hiddleston)—he tries to explain the creature’s existence from the angle of faith, while she listens to the science. The six-episode series is based on Sarah Perry’s 2016 novel The Essex Serpent, and (spoiler) you’re not likely to ever see the mysterious creature.

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