Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Eye Candy from Apple TV+: The Morning Show & More

Morning Show
AppleTV+ really is "candylicious".  If you're looking for a sweet way to spend your Saturday afternoon, it fits the bill.  
Yes, I do have a life.

And lately it's been spent binge-watching everything on AppleTV+. 

Not a lot of reading, current events, eating, socializing, errands, or leaving the house going on.  There’s new content to be consumed, after all!  Everything else can resume later. 

AppleTV+ is the new streaming service from Apple that debuted on November 1st.  It’s the first in a long line of streaming services slated to launch over the next several months, as I blogged about here.  The first seven days of AppleTV+ are free, and after that it costs $5 a month or $50 for the year.   

Overall, I've had two impressions of Apple TV+: 
First, it's super high-quality.  Apple clearly has spared no expense hiring the best and the brightest to write, direct, and act in its movies and series. 

Secondly, the catalog is TINY.  You really can binge-watch everything in the seven-day trial.  (They're adding more content all the time.)  

If you’re familiar with Netflix and their abyss of movies, series and documentaries, AppleTV+ feels shockingly skimpy--kinda like grocery shopping at the corner store when you're accustomed to Wallmart.

Here are impressions of what I’ve seen so far.

The Morning Show

This, by far, is my favorite program on AppleTV+.  Starring Steve Carell, Mark Duplass, Jennifer Aniston, Billy Crudup, and (best for last) Reese Witherspoon, it's hard not to be roped in with the cast alone.  Can you find a more likeable ensemble?

The MeToo movement is fodder for a dramatic storyline and The Morning Show feels like something we've seen over and over IRL, e.g. in the firing of Charlie Rose from PBS, or Matt Lauer from NBC.  

In the show, a morning show fires its anchor, Mitch Kessler (Carell), when sexual allegations emerge, leaving co-host Alex Levy (Aniston) in the lurch.  Chaos ensues as the executives scramble to find Kessler's replacement, handle the PR backlash, and wrestle with the demands of "Ice Queen" Alex.

The Morning Show has ten one-hour episodes.  AppleTV+ dropped three at premiere, and will drop one more each Friday over the next seven weeks. 

Shifting the Needle
Two years after the Weinstein scandal and the ensuing shit-show, The Morning Show makes a promising stab at having a nuanced conversation about the MeToo movement. 

Here are lines from Mitch Kessler: 
This whole MeToo thing--it is so fucking puritanical and myopic.  A woman can say one thing about you, and everything you’ve done in your life, gone--your career erased. 
We should talk about the specificity of the MeToo movement; there was the first wave of guys who were accused and there was the second wave, and we could talk about the nuance between the two...the first wave was really bad, and then the guys accused in the second wave was...just...different.
I haven't seen this kind of dispassionate discussion of the MeToo movement anywhere else.  It is a wonderful antidote to what's felt like a mad roller coaster ride.   

The Bradley Jackson Character
Creators Jay Caron and Kerry Ehrin have taken other cues from the MeToo movement.  In Reese Witherspoon's character, Bradley Jackson, they've created a strong woman who "fits the narrative real women are living".  

(Spoiler Alert!) Bradley Jackson is a local news correspondent from West Virginia who's circuitously snatched up to co-anchor The Morning Show.  

Jackson describes herself as a “40-year-old single, childless woman who’s a political independent.”  Although statistically a LOT of woman fit this description, they aren't often reflected in fictional characters.

Her new boss and network head, Cory Ellison (Crudup) is enthused at her unconventionality; “We need the women….who don’t see themselves reflected in ice queens," he tells her.  "Be messy.  Do segments on the ways you haven’t lived up.  Be the narrative real women are living” 

It really is true: most 35-45 year old women streaming this show are not reflected in SAHMs or affluent, career-driven ice queens. 

In so many respects, The Morning Show is current and thoughtful and sophisticated and “in touch”.  If you're like me, you'll find yourself watching and re-watching the episodes all weekend long.  

A Few More Bites from the Candy Apple

In addition to The Morning Show, here are other movies and series I've watched. 

Snoopy in Space
In these 8-minute cartoons, Snoopy attempts to join NASA to live out his dream of exploring space.

The characters are very authentic to the comic strip, and it's wonderful to see Charlie Brown, Lucy, Woodstock, et al. on television--as well as listen to some great piano while the credits roll. 

Dickinson is a strange blend of 17th Century period piece and modern coming-of-age story. 

In this show, poet Emily Dickinson struggles with her desire to write and remain single while society pressures her to do the opposite.

The characters say things such as: “We hang out like all the time.” and “Alright ladies time to clear out.”  And it caricatures the lifestyle of early Americans; in one scene Dickinson's sister knits all day long.  

Juxtaposing woke sensibilities with 17th Century Amherst didn't sell me entirely.  Maybe it's just not for me.  

Oprah Book Club
Yes, Oprah herself appears on AppleTV+!  In her first interview, she sits down with Ta-nehisi Coates and discuss his book, The Water Dancer.

These two have a stimulating conversation about a difficult subject: slavery and its aftermath.  It's a promising beginning to her show on Apple TV+.

The Elephant Queen
Narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor, The Elephant Queen follows a sometimes tragic storyline of a female elephant herd through Kenya.

I hadn't watched anything like this in years, but really enjoyed following geese, frogs, bugs, and mostly elephants through their circle of life.

Hope You Have a Nice Couch

If this trend of high-quality streaming continues, none of us need to leave our homes for entertainment anymore! 

Have you been watching AppleTV+? What are your impressions? 


  1. Oh wow! There are so many different streaming services out there now. I didn't even know about AppleTV+!!! I like that there are a lot of different shows to check out. It is great that you get to catch up wtih current events. Glad you found a lot of different shows to watch! I'm trying to finish my Netflix stack before going to Disney+.

    Nancy ♥

    1. I know, there's a real explosion of content with all of the new streaming services. From what I've heard, Disney+ sounds great. I bet you'll really enjoy it.


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