It’s the 457th day of April and we’re still stuck indoors! Good thing the big streaming services are still dishing out hot and fresh (and hot and classic) content to feed our hungry eyeballs. I’m filling in for Germain this month on Nerd’s Watch, but will try not to let things get too weird around here.
As you no doubt know by now, Nerd’s Watch is io9's monthly guide to the best and/or most noteworthy, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and genre movies (and a few series, too) coming to Amazon, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix in May 2020. Let’s get at ‘er!
Available May 1
The Final Countdown - Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, and Katharine Ross star in this sci-fi thriller that imagines that the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier—which was used as the film’s actual shooting location—somehow beams back in time from the movie’s present (1980) to the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor, offering up a chance to change history.
Friday the 13th Part III (1982) and Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984) - Both are good, but only one is the best. (Also on Hulu)
Giallo movie extravaganza: Amazon’s new offerings include some delightfully sleazy vintage European thrillers, including 1972's Who Saw Her Die?, starring a just-post-James Bond George Lazenby; vampire sagas Daughters of Darkness (1971) and The Blood Spattered Bride (1972); 1973 college-girls-versus-a-blade-wielding-maniac tale Torso; 1973's Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye, starring Jane Birkin and her enviably chic bangs; 1975's Night Train Murders, a title that paints a vivid enough picture. Suggested companion viewing: Eurocrime! The Italian Cop And Gangster Films That Ruled The ‘70s, a very good recent doc on an adjacent genre that’s also coming to Amazon in May.
Inferno - After Suspiria, this is the second of Italian horror master Dario Argento’s entries in his “Three Mothers Trilogy.” Released in 1980, it’s about a music student who travels from Rome to New York City after receiving a strange letter from his sister, only to find her apartment building is full of bizarre, supernatural tenants.
Kung Fu movie extravaganza - All hail whoever shook the 36 chambers loose over at Amazon, surfacing a wealth of titles like 10 Fingers of Steel (1973), Best of Shaolin Kung Fu (1977), Green Dragon Inn (1977), Shaolin Kung Fu Mystagouge (1977), Fearless Young Boxer (1979), and Five Fingers of Steel (1982).
Upload - This new sci-fi comedy series from Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) stars Robbie Amell as a guy who barely survives a car crash and quickly decides to upload his consciousness into a swanky virtual afterlife.
Available May 11
Alias (seasons 1-5) - Jennifer Garner rocks many outfits (and wigs) and kicks major butt in this superspy series from that J.J. Abrams guy. If you somehow missed Alias back in the early 2000s, here’s your chance for a binge.
Available May 22
Homecoming (season 2) - Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail’s mystery thriller returns with a new story and a new star: Janelle Monáe, playing a woman with amnesia who must unravel how she’s connected to a shifty wellness company. Is it sci-fi? Maybe not exactly. But whither Janelle Monáe goes, we will follow.
Available May 29
The Vast of Night - Germain reviewed this sci-fi indie back in September and we’ve been dying to check it out ever since, even with a release date bump along the way. At last, it’s here!
Available May 1
Bride of Boogedy - Considering 1986's Mr. Boogedy has been available since Disney+ launched, it’s high time the sequel—which came out in 1987 and picks up soon after the original—got its chance to shine. You simply can’t keep a villain whose name sounds a lot like “boogeyman” and dwells in a town called “Lucifer Falls” down for long.
George of the Jungle - A post-Encino Man but pre-The Mummy Brendan Fraser stars as the comedic Tarzan.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - I had to double-check for myself but can report that this is the fourth installment, and it’s the one with Ian McShane as Blackbeard and Penélope Cruz as Blackbeard’s daughter.
The Princess Bride - The beloved fairy tale finally lands on Disney+.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (episode 711 - “Shattered”) - “After capturing Maul on Mandalore, Ahsoka’s journey to the Jedi Council is disrupted when Order 66 is declared, turning her world upside down.”
Available May 2
John Carter - Taylor “Tim Riggins” Kitsch stars in this 2012 box-office bust. Was it really that bad? Here’s your chance to revisit it and see. [Editor’s Note: It was actually pretty good! -Jill P.]
Available May 4
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian - The eight-part behind-the-scenes series dedicated to the 2019 hit premieres on May the Fourth, because what better way to celebrate Star Wars Day than by getting bonus Baby Yoda content? Episode one is titled “Directing,” with future eps this month themed around “Legacy” (May 8), the “Cast” (May 15), “Technology” (May 22), and “Practical” special effects (May 29). The rest will air in June, so the Child may yet get his own episode.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (series finale, episode 712 - “Victory and Death”) - “Ahsoka and Rex must use their wit and skills to survive the turbulent end of the Clone Wars.” I’m not crying, you’re crying...OK, we’re all crying.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - We also just learned the last film in the Skywalker Saga would also be dropping early on May 4.
Available May 15
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil - This came and went last year with remarkably little fanfare, but anything starring Angelina Jolie as a “mistress of evil” is worth at least a passing glance.
Available May 22
Fantastic Mr. Fox - Wes Anderson does Roald Dahl in stop-motion, and the results are both bone-dry wry and fuzzily adorable.
Available May 1
A Life Less Ordinary - In this totally ‘90s dark comedy, a pair of angels (Holly Hunter, Delroy Lindo) play matchmaker for a goofy kidnapper (Ewan McGregor) who’s impulsively made off with his boss’ bored daughter (Cameron Diaz). Also known as “the movie Danny Boyle made after Trainspotting.”
Aeon Flux - Karyn Kusama’s 2005 live-action adaptation of the MTV animated series stars Charlize Theron (and her awesome haircut) as a warrior battling for survival in the last city on Earth, 400 years after a plague wiped out almost all of human life.
Batman Begins and The Dark Knight - That’s two out of three Nolans, but completists and Bane fetishists will have to source their own Dark Knight Rises elsewhere.
The Conjuring - A great cast (Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, kid actors who genuinely feel like real kids), great direction (James Wan), and a haunted-house story (based on “true” events) that yields serious frights come together in a movie so good, it sparked its own horror-movie universe.
Demolition Man - Cheesy sci-fi action movie starring Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Taco Bell, and a young Sandra Bullock? Or...eerie predictor of our current times? Demolition Man has layers nobody back in 1993 could see.
The Green Mile - Frank Darabont directed this sentimental 1999 Stephen King adaptation about a 1930s prison guard (Tom Hanks) who meets a death row inmate (Oscar nominee Michael Clarke Duncan) with supernatural healing powers.
Tank Girl - Rachel Talalay (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare) directed Lori Petty, Naomi Watts, Ice-T, and Malcolm McDowell in this cult-favorite 1995 adaptation of the post-apocalyptic comic series. Could a remake be far off?
Universal Soldier - Jean-Claude Van Damme fights Dolph Lundgren (and his collection of severed ears) in this 1992 guilty-pleasure action thriller about supersoldiers, made by future Independence Day director Roland Emmerich.
Available May 8
Solar Opposites - Rick and Morty’s Justin Roiland co-created this animated series (the trailers look hilarious) about a group of aliens who crash-land in suburbia and experience major Earth culture shock.
Into the Dark: Delivered - Blumhouse’s monthly series of holiday-themed horror movies takes on Mother’s Day with Emma Tammi’s tale about a pregnant woman whose life turns upside down “when she realizes someone close to her has darker plans for her and the baby.” Tina Majorino (Napoleon Dynamite) stars.
Spaceship Earth - Matt Wolf’s suddenly rather timely documentary follows “the true, stranger-than-fiction adventure of eight visionaries who in 1991 spent two years quarantined inside of a self-engineered replica of Earth’s ecosystem called BIOSPHERE 2.”
Available May 1
Into the Night - This six-episode Netflix original series hails from Belgium, and it has quite the premise: “When the sun suddenly starts killing everything in its path, passengers on an overnight flight from Brussels attempt to survive by any means necessary.”
Back to the Future and Back to the Future Part II - But not part three?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory - Netflix dares to pair the ghastly Tim Burton remake with the beloved Gene Wilder original. Your choice is clear.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Brad Pitt ages in reverse in what may very well be David Fincher’s weirdest movie (reminder: He also made Alien 3).
I Am Divine - This 2013 documentary focuses on the legendary actor and drag performer Divine, a favorite collaborator of cult filmmaker John Waters.
Sinister - Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange) directed and co-wrote this unnerving tale of a crime writer (Ethan Hawke) who moves his family into a house where Bad Things Happened, only to realize too late that history is repeating itself.
Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans - Vampires! Werewolves! Skintight catsuits! The first three movies in the Underworld series have all of these things, but only the Kate Beckinsale-less prequel Rise of the Lycans focuses solely on Michael Sheen’s distractingly buff wolfman revolutionary.
Available May 12
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy Vs. the Reverend - The series may have ended last year, but Kimmy and her friends make a special return for this Bandersnatch-style “interactive adventure.”
Available May 15
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (season 5) - This is the end. “As the princesses prepare to face Horde Prime and his hive mind army in one final battle, Adora must confront her most elusive adversary yet: herself.”
Avatar: The Last Airbender - At last, your chance to catch up on (or revisit) the beloved animated series.
District 9 - Neill Blomkamp’s thrilling, poignant, South Africa-set alien-invasion satire is just as potent today as it was back in 2009, and is definitely worth a rewatch.
Available May 29
Space Force - This new Netflix original is “a comedy series about the people tasked with creating Space Force, a new branch of the U.S. military,” from Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) and star Steve Carell.
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