This time of year was once known as a dead zone for TV, but thanks to Netflix, other streamers and a general uptick in quality TV over the past decade, that’s no longer the case. This week, for example, Netflix releases a second season of one of 2019’s much-hyped debuts, while HBO looks set to steal the show with another expensive-looking and star-filled period drama.
Below, we’ve rounded up a few highlights of what to watch this week on Netflix and other streaming services.
Perry Mason (HBO/Sky)
The obvious highlight from the week is this latest big HBO drama, a new miniseries adaptation of the pulp fiction novel character Perry Mason, a criminal defense attorney. Set amid the Great Depression, Mason is drafted in to help solve a child kidnapping case.
This show has been in the works for years, with executive producer Robert Downey Jr originally set to star when it was announced in 2016. Instead, Mason is played by The Americans’ Matthew Rhys, while Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany, Joker’s Shea Whigham, John Lithgow co-star.
Perry Mason arguably looks a little more HBO drama by-the-numbers than recent hits like Watchmen and I Know This Much is True, but the trailers look enormously promising, and there’s no faulting the cast list.
Streaming on HBO Max from May 21 and Sky/Now TV from May 22 in the UK
The Politician season 2 (Netflix)
TV empire overlord Ryan Murphy’s first Netflix series returns for a second season this week, with Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) now running for senate against an incumbent (played by Judith Light). This season looks like it’ll focus on a bitter, bratty campaign between the two. The first season of this comedy-drama drew mixed reviews, but clearly Netflix saw enough interest for a follow-up. Gwyneth Paltrow co-stars.
Streaming on Netflix from June 19
Mr Iglesias (Netflix)
Starring comedian Gabe ‘Fluffy’ Iglesias as a history teacher, this education-themed sitcom returns for a second season on Netflix this week. Mr Iglesias is a pretty broad-looking laughter track sitcom, with our snooty prestige TV hats on, but critics really liked season one, and praised how inclusive it is. Maybe consider it if your usual comedy favorites are out of action for the time being.
Streaming on Netflix from June 17
Love, Victor (Hulu)
Love, Victor is a spin-off of the highly-praised Greg Berlanti-directed 2018 movie about a young gay man grappling with his feelings, while also contending with the possible threat of a public outing. This sequel series, which was curiously moved from its original home of Disney Plus to Hulu, is about another young man in the same high school who’s coming to terms with his feelings and sexuality. Characters from the original movie reappear here, too, and both projects share the same writer.
Streaming on Hulu from June 17
Yellowstone season 3 (Paramount Network)
Quietly one of the most popular cable series in the US right now, Yellowstone is the creation of talented writer Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water, Wind River). Starring Kevin Costner, this drama returns for a third season this weekend. It’s about the Dutton family, who are owners of the largest ranch in the US and plagued by a murky history. The show’s drama comes from the tensions between the family and surrounding forces in the fight for what they believe is theirs.
Yellowstone can’t be streamed on any services right now, but it is coming to NBC’s Peacock when that launches in July. In the UK, Yellowstone airs on the Paramount Network, but no release date has been announced for it yet.
Airing on Paramount Network from June 21
Bully. Coward. Victim: The Story of Roy Cohn (HBO)
HBO’s latest documentary is about attorney Roy Cohn, who played a key role in Joseph McCarthy’s persecution of suspected communists and communist sympathizers during the Cold War, including the trial and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. A much-despised figure, this documentary will touch upon the ways Cohn apparently influenced at least one key political leader to this day as a power broker.
Streaming on HBO Max from June 18