The best home entertainment: from Little Fires Everywhere to Homecoming
Little Fires Everywhere
Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington headline this glossy family drama, based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller. Washington plays Mia, a mysterious artist who, along with her daughter (Lexi Underwood), upends the seemingly picture-perfect world of Elena (Witherspoon) and her husband Bill. Expect glorious performances from all involved.
Friday 22 May, Amazon Prime Video
What’s the Matter With Tony Slattery?
Formerly ubiquitous TV star Tony Slattery all but disappeared in the mid-90s following a breakdown. Here, supported by his partner of more than 30 years Mark Hutchinson, Slattery aims to have his mental health reassessed.
Thursday 21 May, 9pm, BBC Two
My Mate’s a Muslim
As Muslims around the world celebrate an unusual Ramadan this year, largely marked by lockdown restrictions, two British Muslims, the rapper Krept and vlogger Rumena, challenge their non-Muslim friends to join them in fasting to help shed a light on the month’s meaning.
Sunday 17 May, BBC Three
The critically acclaimed psychological thriller – based on the podcast of the same name – returns for its second season. Replacing Julia Roberts as the show’s perpetually confused protagonist is Janelle Monáe. Crucially, Stephan James returns as Walter Cruz, the military veteran needing help from the nefarious Homecoming Support Center.
Friday 22 May, Amazon Prime Video
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The problem with history is there’s a lot of it. With that in mind, Netflix has made this new series of bite-sized history lessons, utilising archival footage and infographics to educate us on scientific breakthroughs, social shifts and world-changing discoveries.
Friday 22 May, Netflix
Arena: The Changin’ Times of Ike White
Somehow distilled into 78 minutes, this documentary tells the incredible story of Ike White, a man who made the 1976 soul classic Changin’ Times in prison before promptly disappearing under a cloud of false identities. Here he is, finally tracked down.
Monday 18 May, 10pm, BBC Four
The Big Flower Fight
Taunting hay fever sufferers everywhere, this floral reality competition series hosted by Vic Reeves and Natasia Demetriou puts a group of flower enthusiasts to the test in the hopes of getting their own botanical sculpture installed in Kew Gardens. Which green-fingered pair will succeed?
Monday 18 May, Netflix
Chicago Fire star Monica Raymund plays Jackie Quiñones, a free-wheeling hedonist who discovers a dead body, in this pulpy drama about a small town ravaged by the opioid crisis. Inevitably, Jackie gets too close to the case, leading her to re-evaluate her own addictions.
Sunday 17 May, StarzPlay
Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light
The usual live Eurovision ceremony might be cancelled this year but that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on a Europop party from home, as this special screens all 40 entries complete with caustic commentary from Graham Norton. There is no voting but there will be a mass singalong of Ireland’s 1980 winner, Johnny Logan’s What’s Another Year.
Saturday 16 May, 8pm, BBC One
When a hacker starts leaking the secrets of a bunch of tech-addicted students in a Mexican high school, it is left to social outcast Sofia (Ana Valeria Becerril) to try to track them down in this gossip-fuelled teen melodrama. Who is in the shadowy CTRL? And, wait for it, can anyone ESC?
Friday 22 May, Netflix
Alan Cumming takes over from previous co-host Will Young in the fourth season of this podcast with Christopher Sweeney. Each week, the pair welcome a new guest to talk about their lives and LGBTQ+ experiences, reflecting on the current state of affairs in the process. Up first is national treasure Stephen Fry, who waxes lyrical about 90s London’s gay bars and clubs.
Apple Podcasts, available weekly
Miriam and Youssef
This ambitious 10-part drama looks at the decades leading up to the founding of Israel from two adjacent but differing viewpoints. In 1917, Youssef is a street-smart young Palestinian Arab whose life becomes intertwined with the equally youthful Miriam, a Russian-Jewish refugee who resettles in Palestine.
BBC Sounds, available now
Slickly produced and quietly profound, this pod originally launched for International Women’s Day and returns with a second series. Each episode centres on exploring a word: standouts include Bernardine Evaristo on community, Ruby Tandoh on nourishment and Juno Dawson on contentment.
Broccoli, new episodes daily
A truly berserk premise for this podcast by Screen Wipe’s Jake Yapp and the comic Nathaniel Tapley: each day the pair argue over what historical event that date should be associated with. For example, should 7 May be known for being the day Putin became Russian president or macaroni was patented? Each ep is 10 mins, so it doesn’t outstay its welcome.
Widely available, daily
The two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins co-hosts this gloriously geeky film pod with his wife James Ellis Deakins, a long-term collaborator. Each episode starts with the pair attempting to answer one submitted question before inevitably finishing somewhere completely unexpected.
Women Make Film (15)
(Mark Cousins) 840 mins
Resembling a longform TV series more than a documentary, this clip show of films from female directors (including Binka Zhelyazkova, pictured) ranges across 40 themed “chapters” – including Bodies, Sex and Sci-Fi – going back as far as silent pioneer Alice Guy-Blaché. The narrators include Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda and Thandie Newton.
BFI Player, from Monday 18 May
Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall (15)
(Alfred George Bailey) 92 mins
Jim Marshall was the photographer who captured celebrated images of the 1960s and 70s counterculture, including Hendrix and the Beatles. This documentary tells his story with many a distinguished talking head.
Doc’n Roll TV
In the Fog (12)
(Sergei Loznitsa) 125 mins
This bleak, haunting 2012 film set in Nazi-occupied Belarus is free to watch in Kino Klassika’s series of Russian-language classics. Ukrainian director Loznitsa’s work has taken on a new urgency since the start of the country’s civil conflict in 2014.
The Atom: A Love Affair (No cert)
(Vicki Lesley) 89 mins
An intriguing subject for a documentary: the history of nuclear power, and the arguments that have swirled round it for decades. It takes in the glamour of the early years with its promise of limitless energy through to the accident at Three Mile Island in 1979 and growing public opposition.
Curzon Home Cinema
Funeral Parade of Roses (18)
(Toshio Matsumoto) 105 mins
Leading the BFI’s Japan 2020 season, Matsumoto’s cult 1969 film is pitched midway between baroque experimentalism and erotica about a drag hostess in Tokyo’s Roppongi district.
Digital platforms, from Monday 18 May
The Commune (15)
(Thomas Vinterberg) 112 mins
In 70s Copenhagen, university lecturer Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) and his television newsreader wife Anna (Trine Dyrholm) inherit a huge house and make a very 70s decision to turn it into a commune with their friends. But sexual tensions soon start to test the new order. An emotionally charged tale from Thomas Vinterberg, director of Festen and The Hunt.
Saturday 16 May, 12midnight, BBC Two