New Shows on Apple TV+


Since Apple TV+ launched in late 2019, the maker of iPhones, iPads and the MacBook Pro I’m typing on has delivered more than 70 TV shows and docuseries—with nearly that many more already in the works. Some have been fantastic (looking at you Ted Lasso) and some forgettable, but the speed of new TV series releases can be tough to keep up with. Below you’ll find our guide to eight of the latest scripted TV shows from Apple TV+, and we’ll keep this updated regularly.


essex-serpent.jpg
Apple TV+ Release Date: May 13, 2022
Creators: Sarah Perry, Anna Symon, Clio Barnard
Stars: Claire Danes, Tom Hiddleston, Frank Dillane, Hayley Squires, Clémence Poésy, Jamael Westman
Genre: Period drama


Watch on Apple TV+

The obvious reason to check out The Essex Serpent, the new limited series based on the 2016 novel of the same name, is Tom Hiddleston. More specifically, it is Tom Hiddleston’s excellent scarves and cute sweaters. But there’s more to the show than a hunky British actor dressed for cool temperatures. Set in Victorian England, the series spends most of its time in a tiny waterfront village plagued by rumored sightings of a mysterious and deadly serpent. Hiddleston portrays the local vicar, a skeptic who denies any such serpent exists beyond a carving in a church pew. When Claire Danes’ Cora, a wealthy widow and woman of science, learns of the mythical beast, she becomes enamored by the story and sets out from London with her young son to investigate it for herself. This inevitably puts her on a collision course with Hiddleston’s vicar, sparking a unique conflict driven by science, love, faith, and superstition. — Kaitlin Thomas



shining-girls-210.jpg
Apple TV+ Release Date: April 29, 2022
Creator: Silka Luisa
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Wagner Moura, Jamie Bell, Phillipa Soo
Genre: Supernatural thriller


Watch on Apple TV+

Based on Lauren Beukes’ best-selling novel of the same name, the eight-episode limited series Shining Girls is set in the 1990s and stars Emmy Award winner Elisabeth Moss as Kirby Mazrachi, a promising journalist whose career is cut short after a brutal attack leaves her with lingering trauma and a frequently shifting reality. Upon discovering that a recent murder shares similarities to her own attack, Kirby—now working as a newspaper archivist for The Chicago Sun-Times—partners with troubled alcoholic reporter Dan Velazquez (Wagner Moura) to find the perpetrator and hopefully piece together what’s happening to her. What ensues is a compelling (though often confusing) meditation on trauma and the disorienting and terrifying way it can change one’s life and warp one’s reality. Only in this case, it’s not just a metaphor; Kirby’s reality really has been warped in the wake of her assault. Sometimes the shifts in her life are small—a new hairstyle, different clothes—but sometimes they’re much larger, like a different apartment or a husband who didn’t previously exist. If this all sounds a bit strange, it’s because it is. Shining Girls is a mind-bending series that attempts to merge a story about trauma and the failings of law enforcement and the press in relation to victims of assault with the narrative beats of science-fiction as a means of making sense of a situation that rarely, if ever, has a logical explanation. It’s not always successful in this attempt to blend genres, but it’s a well-acted, intriguing series that separates itself from the traditional crime dramas and serial killer-themed series we are used to seeing across popular culture. —Kaitlin Thomas



roar-210.jpg
Apple TV+ Release Date: April 15, 2022
Creator: Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch
Stars: Issa Rae, Nicole Kidman, Betty Gilpin, Cynthia Erivo, Merritt Weaver, Alison Brie
Genre: Drama


Watch on Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s feminist anthology series Roar is based on the Cecelia Ahern short-story collection and takes on a surrealist tone: think a female-focused Black Mirror. Ahern’s book featured 30 stories, while the anthology series adapted by Glow creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch only features eight of them on screen. Each episode includes high-caliber actresses like Issa Rae, Nicole Kidman, Merritt Wever and more, and zeroes in on issues and anxieties that women face in the world today and makes them literal. After childbirth, a career-woman is literally eaten alive by her many responsibilities and guilt; a student takes up a relationship with a duck she meets at the park after a string of failed relationships, only to find out that he’s not any better than his human counterparts. Each chapter examines the trauma that women often endure silently, finally holding space for females to unpack it. For many of the stories, the slip into the surreal is subtle. In the Rae-led episode, she plays an author whose book is being optioned for an on-screen adaptation. As she takes meeting after meeting with white male executives, she finds not only her ideas disappearing from the project but also her literal self, culminating in a party in which no one can see her. It’s a story about agency and how women often feel in the workplace: invisible and afraid to take a stand for fear of retaliation. While the show brings a lot of pertinent issues into focus through its absurdist premise, it’s not always actually saying something at the conclusion. There are some brief moments that hint at power shifts or peace of mind or the ability of the character to take solace in the relationships around her, but the series doesn’t really offer any answers to these existential questions or add anything more to the story beyond the metaphor come to life. So, while stylish and provocative, the series ultimately falls a little flat in its message. If a woman’s plight is to suffer, then Roar doesn’t end up giving its women a way out. —Radhika Menon



slow-horses-210.jpg
Apple TV+ Release Date: April 1, 2022
Creator: Mick Herron
Stars: Gary Oldman, Jack Lowden, Kristin Scott Thomas, Olivia Cooke
Genre: Thriller


Watch on Apple TV+


Slow Horses’s Jackson Lamb is an out-of-shape, slovenly, insulting cynic who runs the small fiefdom known as “Slough House,” an outpost of British foreign intelligence where the worst spies in MI5—the ones who have screwed up to an almost unforgivable degree—are put out to pasture in the hopes that they’ll never be heard from again (worst case) or simply quit in shame (best case). Slough House is itself a term of derision (it’s not actually in Slough, but so far from the main action that it might as well be), and the term “Slow Horses’’ is a perfect punny fit for the has-beens and screw-ups who populate its halls. Lamb is their cruel king, and as such, you might suspect, the worst offender—but also a complicated character and a tremendous one, portrayed by the man who once played LeCarre’s stand-out, George Smiley: Gary Oldman. To say it’s a pleasure to watch Oldman in this role is inadequate; if you’re a fan of spy fiction, you have to use words that make you feel almost corny, like, “it’s a gift.” Depending on the scene, he’s hilarious, odious, intimidating, and thrilling, and unlike the genius of his understated Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Here he has free emotional range to embody the almost repellent cynicism of Lamb. Much of it is deeply, darkly funny, and his treatment of his team is verbally abusive in ways reminiscent of the best Iannucci characters. If this show were simply a showcase for Oldman-as-Lamb, it would still be worth watching. Luckily, as adapted by Veep writer and producer Will Smith, it’s far more. A British student of Middle Eastern descent is taken hostage by a group of white nationalists calling themselves The Voice of Albion who apparently want to behead him in what they see as a poignant commentary on similar crimes across the globe. To say more would be to give too much away, but the show has just the perfect amount of twists and reversals to keep the characters, and the viewers, on their toes. Slow Horses manages the incredible task of being a human redemption story, a genuinely funny comedy, and above all, a terrific spy saga. Apple TV+ has a hit on its hands, and unlike the sad, exiled souls of Slough House, you won’t have to look very hard to see its merits. —Shane Ryan



pachinko.jpg
Apple TV+ Release Date: March 25, 2022
Creator: Soo Hugh
Stars: Soji Arai, Jin Ha, Jun-woo Han, In-ji Jeong, Eun-chae Jung, Min-ha Kim
Genre: Drama


Watch on Apple TV+

Apple TV+ has been on a hot streak recently, and with their new trilingual epic, Pachinko, they hit the jackpot. Pachinko takes place over three distinct periods in Korean history through the eyes of Sonja. Over the course of Sonja’s childhood (Jeon Yu-na), adolescence (Kim Min-ha), and senior years (Academy Award-winner Youn Yuh-Jung), the show reveals the hardships Koreans had while under Japanese rule. But before you start thinking this show is only interested in history, there’s an intriguing romance with a man connected to Japanese gangsters (Lee Min-ho) and an immigration story complete with heartbreak and longing. Although the series explores a very specific time period in the lives of a Korean family, the themes are universal to anyone connected to a diaspora or who has suffered unjust treatment. And, by the end of the first season, Pachinko has laid the groundwork for even more riveting stories from Sonja and her extended family. —Max CovillMax Covill



wecrashed.jpg
Apple TV+ Release Date: March 18, 2022
Creator: Drew Crevello, Lee Eisenberg
Stars: Jared Leto, Anne Hathaway, Kyle Marvin
Genre: Drama


Watch on Apple TV+

The real story of WeWork founder Adam Neumann is fascinating in the details, but a little mundane in the broad scope. Neumann, an Israeli businessman, was a “serial entrepreneur,” and had his really great idea with WeWork, a co-working model, after several flops. This wasn’t a new idea, but he was more enterprising and ambitious than anyone else in that corner of the market, and after founding the company in 2010, it wasn’t long before WeWork surpassed $2 billion in annual revenue, expanded across the globe, and became the darling of all start-ups. He was a classic modern magnate, right down to his talk of living forever, becoming a trillionaire, the Prime Minister of Israel, and on and on. Then the problems hit. It turned out that WeWork, despite revenues, had trouble turning a profit, and that Neumann was engaging in shady practices like borrowing against his own stock and leasing his own properties to the company. The prevalence of alcohol also created a toxic environment in which allegations of sexual assault were ignored, and both Neumann and Rebekah were impulsive decision-makers who would make moves like firing an employee minutes after meeting them because they didn’t like their energy. In the end, he was forced to resign his position, but floated off on a golden parachute worth $1.7 billion, and now buys up real estate. There is, frankly, no other way to turn that story into a season of television without going down the “attractive antihero” route. That’s exactly what Apple TV+ does, and they do it fairly well. Jared Leto is electric as Neumann, a force of nature with so much inner drive that he’s bound to succeed in a capitalistic world, and Anne Hathaway is somewhere beyond brilliant as Rebekah, effectively capturing a too-recognizable modern version of narcissism, aimlessness, and insecurity that is underscored by the cushion of extreme wealth. You know how this goes; these are extremely flawed people, a little bit despicable as viewed from afar, but the momentum of the show forces you to root for them. Leto and Hathaway are magnetic, and since nobody wants to spend an hour of television viewing listening to a lecture, we’re instead treated to the thrill of their escapades as they make their gravity-defying ascent. Every human being deserves sympathy on some level, but sometimes a viper is a viper, and though it may be a bit prudish to say out loud, maybe anti-heroes should be left to the realm of fiction or even history, where we can safely enjoy their reckless rush to the top and take or leave the lessons of the crash. Failing that, creators are too often lured into the trap of rehabilitating those who don’t deserve it. —Shane Ryan



ptolemy.jpg
Apple TV+ Release Date: March 11, 2022
Creator: Walter Mosley
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Dominique Fishback, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, Damon Gupton, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Walton Goggins
Genre: Drama


Watch on Apple TV+

Ptolemy Grey’s life is a disorganized mess. Suffering from dementia, the 91-year-old is a hoarder, with used pizza boxes, broken lawn chairs and stacks of old magazines strewn about his cramped apartment. He keeps a clock in his refrigerator, has to write instructions on his TV remote to remember how it works and sees people from his past that aren’t there. Despite being physically healthy for his age, Ptolemy’s cognitive function is rapidly deteriorating, leading to confusion. That’s also how viewers will feel while watching the six episode Apple TV+ series The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, based on the novel of the same name by Walter Mosley, who also serves as a writer and executive producer. What could have been an impactful and emotional drama, like its source material, is derailed by its own identity crisis when brought to the small screen. Ptolemy (played by Samuel L. Jackson) is a likable character, dishing out nuggets of wisdom along with dashes of humor. Jackson’s performance is transformative. He plays three different versions of the same character, with each one charismatic in their own way. And watching Jackson change his voice, demeanor and even his gait after he eventually regains his memories is incredible. Watching Ptolemy—an old, forgotten man—being neglected by his family is harsh. He subsists on pork and beans, urinates in a can and sleeps under a table. Seeing Ptolemy struggle is jarring for anyone who’s ever watched a loved one suffer from dementia, and flat out morose for someone who hasn’t. Ptolemy’s lone connection to the outside world is his nephew and caretaker, Reggie (Omar Benson Miller). Kind-hearted and generous, Reggie is killed under suspicious circumstances. Unaware of what happened, Ptolemy is picked up by a relative and taken to a wake. It’s there he realizes that Reggie has been murdered and his life falls into further disarray. But due to its meandering nature and stretched out plot, the novel would have been better served as a well-structured film than a rambling TV series. Despite first rate performances from its stars, this is a show you’re likely to soon forget. —Terry Terrones



severance.jpg
Apple TV+ Release Date: Jan. 28, 2022
Creator: Dan Erickson
Stars: Adam Scott, Zach Cherry, Britt Lowerm Tramell Tillman, Jen Tullock, Dichen Lachman, Michael Chernus, John Turturro, Christopher Walken, Patricia Arquette
Genre: Sci-fi, thriller


Watch on Apple TV+

In Severance, a group of people working for an evil company (Lumon Industries) have opted to go through the title procedure, severance, in order to mentally separate their work selves from their “real” selves. This involves needles going into brains, and the net effect is that it creates worker drones who literally only have the barest consciousness while at work. The minute they step out of the elevator to go home, they snap back to the real world, with everything that happened in the past nine hours totally forgotten. If you don’t think about it for more than two minutes, this might seem like an attractive idea. You—the “you” who lives outside work—get to just cut out the entire shitty workday, along with whatever stress and disappointment comes from it, and your entire life is now just the good parts. When you think about it for that third minute, though, the full horror dawns: You also create a secondary “”you”” living in a godforsaken work zoo, never sleeping, never going outside, literally living an entire life of stepping on and off elevators and sitting at a desk, ad nauseam, until the day your “”outie”” self decides to retire, at which point you just die. We watch as main character Mark (Adam Scott) marches through a series of blindingly white corridors, and is joined in his office by Irving (the always excellent John Turturro) and Dylan (Zach Cherry). But the real force behind the story comes from Helly (Brit Lower), a new employee with a mysterious background, and Petey (Yul Vazquez), Mark’s former co-worker who is attempting to bridge the divide between the innies and outies and uncover just what the hell Lumon Industries is up to. For now, Severance is dedicated to keeping that other side a mystery. —Shane Ryan



Source link