Have you already burned through the collective libraries of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime like an arsonist vacationing in Alexandria? Never fear, the next generation of streaming services is here. Apple TV+ is Apple’s premium, ad-free streaming platform, built on the promise of quality projects from big-name talent. And we’ve broken down which shows are truly worth watching. Here are our picks for the best shows on Apple TV+.
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The Morning Show
One of the most talked-about original series from the streaming service, the drama received a lot of attention thanks to its star-studded cast, including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell. The story kicks off when Mitch Kessler (Carell), a popular morning news show co-host, is abruptly fired due to sexual misconduct allegations against him. As his long-time co-host and friend Alex Levy (Aniston) tries to deal with the aftermath of the events along with the fear that she might be replaced, she meets a bright, young, and ambitious local news reporter named Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon) who could be a friend or foe. The show touches deeply on a culture of silence surrounding women in the workplace and is a solid choice to watch if you’re looking for something that’s topical and different from your usual TV drama.
After their infant son Jericho dies, Sean (Toby Kebbell) and Dorothy Turner (Lauren Ambrose) are distraught, Dorothy so much that she suffers a psychological breakdown. To help Dorothy recover, the couple gets a lifelike therapy doll, which Dorothy treats as if it’s real. Sean puts up with the act for her sake, but things get even stranger when the couple’s nanny, a young woman named Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), arrives, and she too behaves as if the doll is a real child. As Sean tries to figure out what is going on with the new nanny, he begins to question his own grip on reality. Servant is an eerie thriller, one that moves at a brisk pace and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
For All Mankind
Ronald D. Moore is no stranger to space, having worked on various Star Trek series throughout the ‘90s (including the underrated Deep Space Nine) and created 2004’s superb, heavy reimagining of Battlestar Galactica. Moore’s For All Mankind once again ventures beyond Earth’s atmosphere, telling an alternate-history story in which the Soviet Union beats America to the moon, forcing NASA to lick its wounds and double down on further voyages into space. Rather than mining the familiar stories that astronaut biopics do, For All Mankind talks the fun approach of imagining just how differently history could have played out (Richard Nixon, eager to attract female voters, orders NASA to deploy women to space). It’s not a revolutionary show, but an entertaining one, particularly for fans of Cold War history.
This isn’t your high school literature teacher’s Emily Dickinson. Dickinson follows the iconic poet (played by Hailee Steinfeld) in her younger years, as she strives to develop her talents in a culture where women were expected to be accessories to their family. Although her father (Toby Huss) angrily disapproves of her literary aspirations, Emily has support from friend/lover Sue Gilbert (Ella Hunt) and a magazine editor. Dickinson isn’t a straightforward costume drama, however. The show has modern sensibilities, with dialogue that sounds straight out of teen dramas like Riverdale, a hip-hop soundtrack, and even some 19th century twerking. This is a show without much concern for historical authenticity, instead reinterpreting Emily Dickinson for the TikTok generation. Some might find it goofy, but Dickinson is at least willing to throw caution to the wind — besides, what other show has rapper Wiz Khalifa popping up as the top-hat wearing incarnation of Death.
Home Before Dark
This mystery drama series was just released in early April 2020 and is already getting pretty good reviews, with the Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus describing it as being “more intriguing than its mawkish writing lets on,” and lauding the young Brooklynn Prince for her dedicated performance. The show is about a young girl named Hilde (Prince) who moves to a small lakeside town and comes across a cold murder case she believes everyone is trying to bury, including her own father. It was actually based on the real story of 9-year-old Hilde Lysiak (now 13) who heads up her own local newspaper and once broke the news about a murder case before any other media outlet did.
Renewed for a second season before the first even premiered, this anthology series is perfect if you’re interested in learning more about stories of immigrants in America. Each episode covers a different standalone story of people from all cultures going to America with big dreams. They view obstacles as opportunities, and must try to become American while also not forgetting their roots. Clever but straightforward episode titles include “The Manager,” “The Cowboy,” and “The Baker.” The first season has an impressive 94% critic rating and 87% audience score on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, with the critic consensus referring to it as “joyous, heartfelt, and very human … a thoughtful collection of immigrant tales [that is] as inspirational as it is relatable.”
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet
This comedy looks at the inside world of video game development, telling the story from the perspective of those who work in a development studio. Starring Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as Ian, the creative director, the show has nine episodes to date in the first season, with a second season planned as well. With solid ratings all around, the Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus calls it hilarious, and lauds its ability to explore the gaming industry with “intelligence, thoughtfulness, and sincerity.” It is, however, called out for relying too heavily on the “workplace comedy formula.” Nonetheless, if you’re into that genre as well as video games, it’s worth checking out.
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