The next couple of weeks are relatively quiet on TV in terms of premieres. So here’s my chance to mention a few recent series I’ve enjoyed, in case you’re on the prowl. These days, with the popularity of binge releases, TV series don’t stay in the public eye for as long as they once did. For a week or two before the release of a season, and then for a week or two after, the buzz sounds — and then nothing for a year.
I enjoyed the cheeky and charming “The Great,” a 10-episode period satire that premiered on Hulu on May 15. About the rise of Catherine the Great, it’s written by the co-writer of “The Favourite,” Tony McNamara, and it shares that movie’s bawdy and profane humor. As Catherine and Peter, her bratty, foolish husband, Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult make the most of every bit of dialogue, every divine insult.
The new Netflix series from Greg Daniels of “The Office” — called “Space Force” and co-created with Steve Carell — is a big disappointment. But Daniels created another recent comedy called “Upload,” which premiered on Amazon on May 1, and it’s a light pleasure. It’s set in 2033, when humans nearing death can have their consciousness uploaded to an online afterlife. Along with sci-fi humor, there is a romantic story line between an uploaded man and one of the afterlife company’s programmers.
Released on April 29, “Normal People,” the Hulu adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel, is a melancholy treat set in Ireland. It’s about the ebbs and flows of an intense romantic attraction that doesn’t always work in the real world. At 12 half-hour episodes, it’s a tad overextended, but its two stars — Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal — are consistently compelling.
Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever,” which was released on April 27, is a very sweet coming-of-age story about an Indian-American teen dealing with the high school social hierarchy — and not dealing with the recent death of her father. Created by Mindy Kaling, it features a likable cast led by newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan.
Two other Netflix series impressed me. “Unorthodox,” which was released on March 26, is a stunning four-parter about a woman fleeing her Hasidic Brooklyn home for a new life. And “Feel Good,” from March 19, is a deeply humane six-part comedy-drama about a lesbian who — whoops — keeps falling for women who identify as straight.