November marks the long-anticipated launch of Apple’s new subscription-based streaming service filled with original TV series and films. Here’s everything you need to know about Apple TV+ and the best shows to watch this season.
It’s autumn, the (second) most wonderful time of the year, and aside from the pumpkin-spiced lattes, falling leaves and cosy jumpers coming our way, the new season means one very important thing: TV. Prepare to clear your diary, because this is the time when our favourite streaming platforms officially prepare for battle with a spectrum of new shows for our viewing pleasure.
Alongside the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, Apple have now thrown their hat into the ring with the development of Apple TV+, a new subscription-based streaming service that is now live (November 2019). On the Apple TV+ app, there’s a whole array of original content to feast our eyes upon. Whether you’re a TV lover or prefer back-to-back films at the weekend, these are the best shows to fill your boots with this autumn.
Oprah’s Book Club
Oprah Winfrey’s much-loved book club started life as a book discussion segment on The Oprah Winfrey Show back in 1996. Each book was personally chosen by Oprah herself, and many went on to become worldwide bestsellers thanks to her thought-provoking conversations with the authors.
This year, Oprah’s Book Club is starting a new chapter with Apple TV+ in a brand new series which will sees the entertainment mogul interview award-winning writers in a bid to “connect a community of readers worldwide.”
“I am who I am today because of the experience of learning to read at an early age. Reading opened up a whole world for me beyond the red dirt road and my grandmother’s porch in Mississippi,” Winfrey said in a statement.
“I want to do that for everybody. And the opportunity to do this with Apple, to speak to people all over the world about the pleasures, the excitement, the tension, the drama that a good book can bring you … I don’t know what’s better than that.”
The first instalment in the series will kick off with The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who Winfrey will interview in front of a live audience at Apple Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C. next month. A new episode of the show will be released every two months.
The Morning Show
One of the jewels in Apple’s crown is The Morning Show, a drama about the lives of the news presenters that wake America up every day. Inspired by Brian Stelter’s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV, the drama explores how the world of morning news deals with the complicated power dynamics between men and women.
The series is led by Jennifer Aniston as veteran news anchor Alex Levy, with Steve Carell plays Mitch Kessler, her co-anchor of 15 years who is fired for sexual misconduct allegations.
Reese Witherspoon, meanwhile, plays ambitious West Virginia local news reporter Bradley Jackson, whose plans to climb the ranks of mornings news by taking Alex’s place sparks a fierce rivalry between the pair.
At a press event, Witherspoon explained the show looks to “pull back the curtain on the power dynamic between men and women in the high-stakes world of a morning news show,” while Aniston added: “Through the prism of those under-slept and over-adrenalined people behind and in front of the camera, we take an honest look at relationships between women and men in the workplace.”
The traditional coming-of-age story gets a thoroughly modern twist in the new comedy series, Dickinson, about the early life of the acclaimed 19th century poet Emily Dickinson.
Starring Oscar-nominated actor and singer Hailee Steinfeld, the biopic will chronicle the poet’s formative years in a series of half-hour episodes, although we don’t know how many Apple have ordered for the single season just yet.
According to Variety, the show is “a comedic look into Dickinson’s world, exploring the constraints of society, gender, and family from the perspective of a budding writer who doesn’t fit in to her own time through her imaginative point of view,” and will be set in the mid-19th century with a “modern sensibility and tone”.
Every network needs a creepy psychological thriller to its name; and Apple TV+ comes up trumps on this front with Servant. The drama series follows a couple in mourning after a tragedy rocks their lives, pushing their marriage to breaking point and opening the door to mysterious forces.
Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan of The Sixth Sense promises chills aplenty in a tale that centres around paranoia and a mounting sense of tension and dread. Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint stars, and his on-screen wife is played by Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under fame. The couple hire help, in the form of Nell Tiger Free (Game of Thrones), but any other plot details remain sketchy at this point – save for the ominous baby feet motif.
Truth Be Told
Truth Be Told is based on the bestselling novel by Kathleen Barber. It delves into the consequences of our obsession with true crime, and what happens when a quest for justice is thrown open to a public arena. Octavia Spencer (The Help) takes the lead as a true-crime podcaster who comes face-to-face with the man she may have inadvertently put behind bars (Aaron Paul).
For All Mankind
This beautifully produced drama series throws it back to the glory years of space exploration between America and Russia in the 1960s/70s, posing the question: “What would have happened if the global space race had never ended?”
Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore, who has a fair share of awards to his name, steps into the producer’s seat for this lavish reimagining of history. The role of real-life astronauts such as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are revived alongside fictional characters.
See introduces an element of futuristic fantasy to Apple TV+’s roster of original drama. Set in the distant future, it charts the survivors of a deadly virus who have been rendered blind by the outbreak. The only exception is infant twins born centuries after the epidemic with the miraculous ability to see. Their father, played by Jason Momoa, must protect them from a powerful and destructive queen intent on finishing them off.
This far-reaching dystopian drama is already being touted as the new Game of Thrones, and Momoa has described it as the greatest show he’s ever worked on. It’s created and written by Steven Knight, the man behind Peaky Blinders. The show features cast and crew who are blind or have low vision, for authenticity in the world of blindness that it portrays.
Little Voice is touted as “a love letter to the diverse musicality of New York” and features original music by Sara Bareilles, who created the soundtrack to the musical Waitress. The rom-com series is produced by J.J. Abrams, and follows the universal search to find your true voice in your 20s. Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam, Stepmom) will write and direct the first episode, along with serving as showrunner. Expect feel-good vibes all round.
This acclaimed coming-of-age drama arrives fresh from its buzz at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It examines the struggles of a Muslim teenager balancing the challenges of High School with her traditional upbringing; and what happens when poetry, skateboarding and a schoolroom crush come head-to-head with her family’s plans for an arranged marriage.
Hala is written and directed by Minhal Baig and produced by actress Jada Pinkett Smith. It’s one in a growing set of thought-provoking new films Apple TV + is expected to add to its repertoire.
The Elephant Queen
David Attenborough gets a run for his money in this sweeping wildlife documentary. The Elephant Queen tells the story of an elephant matriarch who leads her family across the savannah on a treacherous journey ahead of the impending dry season.
Breathing life into the animal kingdom with his stellar narration skills is Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, of 12 Years a Slave and The Lion King. Filmmakers Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone bring a rich pedigree of wildlife storytelling to bear in producing the epic tale.
Images: Getty, Apple TV