What to Watch on Streaming This Week: May 12-18

Including 'The Mother' and 'The Great', as well as several independent films and exciting new shows.

Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great in The Great. Photo by: Christopher Raphael/Hulu

Whether you want to sit in on some 18th century debauchery or watch Jennifer Lopez kick some ass, this week’s list has something for you. Dramas, comedies, and a mystery or two keep streaming interesting this week, so be sure to get scrolling and get watching!

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What to watch on Netflix

The Mother

From the director of the recent live-action Mulan comes an exciting new action film starring Jennifer Lopez. The Mother features the multi-talented star as a former assassin who comes out of hiding to save her daughter from a dangerous band of kidnappers — think Taken but with JLo. It’s an exciting departure from the actress’ recent return to rom coms, and she gets to show off another one of her particular sets of skills. The film gives Lopez a bevy of friends who may very well turn out to be foes, with the cast including Omari Hardwick, Gael García Bernal, and Joseph Fiennes. The Mother premieres Friday, May 12th.

What to watch on Hulu

The Great

Huzzah, for Season 3 of The Great arrives this weekend! Elle Fanning returns as Catherine the Great, Russia’s longest-reigning female ruler, in this razor-sharp period dramedy. Anarchically anachronistic, the show highlights the debauchery and political turmoil of court in 18th century Russia. Nicholas Hoult does wonders as the petulant Emperor Peter, and he and Fanning work to create a delightfully toxic dynamic as their characters vie for the throne and one another’s affections. Last season welcomed a new baby, old mommy issues, and an assassination attempt or two, so anything is possible in the coming episodes. Season 3 of The Great premieres Friday, May 12th.

Saint Omer

This award-winning French legal drama “is so gripping you can barely tear your eyes away from the screen after it ends.” French documentarian Alice Diop turned to narrative filmmaking for the first time with Saint Omer, a movie based on her own experience watching a trial about a mother accused of murdering her child unfold. The story follows a pregnant novelist and literature professor as she hopes to find inspiration in the court proceedings, but instead she becomes enraptured by the mother’s story and struggles. It’s a smart and deeply felt drama, one that emphasizes humanity above all else. Saint Omer streams starting Friday, May 12th.

What to watch on HBO Max

Land of Gold

In this non-traditional road trip movie, a first-generation Punjabi-American truck driver helps a young Latina stowaway and wrestles with his own experiences with the American Dream. Kiran is on the cusp of fatherhood, with a very-pregnant wife all but demanding he not take any more jobs before the baby is born. He goes against her wishes and, be it for the money or the brief period of quasi-freedom, takes a last-minute job that holds more than he bargained for: namely, an undocumented pre-teen girl asking to be taken cross-country. Land of Gold will be available to stream starting Monday, May 15th.

What to watch on Apple TV+

City on Fire

An adaptation of the hit novel of the same name, City on Fire tells the story of a citywide unraveling that occurs after a mysterious murder. When an NYU student is shot in Central Park on the 4th of July, a web of strange connections between the city’s underground music scene, its richest real estate mogul, and an odd series of college crusaders emerges. It all takes place in New York City circa 2003, and the city makes for as much of a character as any of the actors in the mystery’s ensemble. City on Fire premieres Friday, May 12th.

High Desert

For fans of Poker Face who miss the series, High Desert might be the perfect show to fill that Natasha Lyonne mystery solving hole. This new comedy stars Patricia Arquette as Peggy, an addict who decides to become a private investigator after the death of her mother. In her small California desert town, Peggy elbows her way into a failing PI business (run by Brad Garrett), tries to avoid her very charming ex (Matt Dillon), and deals with a newly minted mystic guru (Rupert Friend). Its southwestern setting keeps things delightfully dusty, fringed, and kooky, and that’s all you really need in a show like this. High Desert premieres Wednesday, May 17th.

What to Watch is a regular endorsement of movies and TV worth your streaming time.

What to Watch on Streaming This Week: May 12-18