• Critics divided on major launch show Morning Wars, start it on 7 day trial
• On day 1 get one full series, plus multiple episodes from three others
After being announced earlier this year, Apple TV+ launches in Australia on Saturday November 2 with its major new series Morning Wars (called Morning Show in the US).
The service will cost you $7.99 monthly unless you are the proud new owner of an iPhone or another piece of Apple kit including Macs or iPads.
Trying to work out whether the series is any good from the critics is proving difficult.
Many in the US and the UK have panned the new series starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. But not everybody hates it.
(See below for critics’ highlights.)
• Morning Wars is written by Kerry Ehrin and directed by Mimi Leder, and explores the cutthroat world of morning news and the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning. Told through the lens of two complicated women working to navigate the minefield of high-octane jobs while facing crises in both their personal and professional lives, Morning Wars is an unapologetically candid drama that looks at the power dynamics between women and men, and women and women, in the workplace.
Apple CEO Tim Cook at The Morning Show premiere with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon
Beginning 2 November, the first three episodes of Morning Wars will be available to watch on Apple TV+. New episodes will continue to roll out weekly, every Friday.
To help make up your mind, Apple is offering a free 7-day trial period. However if you don’t want to be charged you need to make sure you cancel your subscription before the 7 days are up.
What else will the platform feature at launch?
• See was written and created by Steven Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence. The series is set in the distant future, after a deadly virus decimated humankind. Those who survived emerged blind. Jason Momoa stars as Baba Voss – the father of twins born centuries later with the mythic ability to see – who must protect his tribe against a powerful yet desperate queen who wants the twins destroyed. Alfre Woodard stars as Paris, Baba Voss’s spiritual leader.
See features an incredible cast and crew, many of whom are blind or have low vision, who helped bring this epic story to life.
Beginning 2 November, the first three episodes of See will be available to watch on Apple TV. New episodes will continue to roll out weekly, every Friday.
The cast of Dickinson celebrates the launch of the new show coming to Apple TV+ on 2 November. [L-R] Ell Hunt, Jane Krakowski, Anna Baryshnikov, Adrian Blake Enscoe, Hailee Steinfeld, Toby Huss
• Dickinson is a half-hour comedy series that explores the constraints of society, gender and family from the perspective of rebellious young poet Emily Dickinson. Written and created by Alena Smith, the series is a coming-of-age story, set in the 19th century, that finds Emily to be the unexpected hero for our millennial generation. Dickinson stars Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, Toby Huss, Adrian Blake Enscoe, Anna Baryshnikov and Ella Hunt.
Beginning 2 November, the complete season, including all 10 episodes, will be available to stream.
The cast of For All Mankind celebrate the launch of the new show coming to Apple TV+ on 2 November. [L-R] Jodi Balfour, Joel Kinnaman, Sarah Jones, Michael Dorman, Wrenn Schmidt, Shantel VanSanten.
• For All Mankind is a “what if” take on history from Golden Globe nominee and Emmy Award winner Ronald D. Moore. Told through the lives of astronauts, engineers and their families, For All Mankind imagines a world in which the global space race never ended and the space program remained the cultural centrepiece of America’s hopes and dreams.
The series stars Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Wrenn Schmidt and Jodi Balfour.
Beginning 2 November, the first three episodes of For All Mankind will be available to watch on Apple TV+. New episodes will continue to roll out weekly, every Friday.
Other programming at launch will be a number of children’s TV series:
Snoopy in Space
The Elephant Queen (documentary)
Later in November Apple TV+ will debut the psychological thriller Servant produced by M. Night Shyamalan.
In the first week of December, Truth Be Told from Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine launches. It will feature Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer in a story about a hit podcast series that reopens a murder case.
The critics on Morning Wars
Winlea Ma: The pilot borders on melodramatic and it seems like everyone is keen to get their Emmy reels locked and loaded ASAP because there’s some overplayed speechifying. But by the latter half of the second episode, it starts to settle into its paces.
Only three episodes were made available in advance for review and while it has its flaws, Morning Wars is an alluring series, and not only because of its irresistible A-list cast and a supporting crew that includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nestor Carbonell, Karen Pittman and Janina Gavankar.
It’s pacy, brash and compulsive – which all adds up to something worth sticking around for.
The Sydney Morning Herald & The Age
Brad Newsome: Apple TV+ hits the ground running with a timely, intelligent #MeToo drama that’s refreshingly unpredictable, provides food for thought and, crucially, maintains a sense of humour throughout. There’s catharsis, to be sure, but there’s also complexity of character, and also an uncommon examination of the complex emotions that can bubble up in the wake of betrayal.
At the centre of it all is the formidable yet vulnerable figure of Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston, in tremendous form). Alex is the much-loved co-host of America’s favourite breakfast TV show. The problem is that her on-air partner of 15 years, Mitch Kessler (Steve Carrell) has just been fired for sexual misconduct in the workplace.
Reese Witherspoon is every bit of the fun you’d expect as Bradley Jackson, a feisty news reporter from West Virginia whose appearance in a viral video earns her a flight to New York and a guest appearance on Alex’s show at this particularly pivotal juncture.
If there’s a certain inevitability to Alex and Bradley becoming an on-air odd couple, that’s perhaps the only predictable thing about it. Expect surprises, and some surprising laughs.
The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter‘s TV critic Daniel Feinberg says viewers needn’t be familiar with the show’s bumpy creative history – created by Jay Carson and later replaced by showrunner Kerry Ehrin — “to be aware of the series struggling and floundering to find its focus, tone and attitude toward its main characters,” calling the first episode “brutally dull,” the second “meandering” and not until the third does it become “more satisfying and confident,” asking, “[D]id the behemoths at Apple really get into the crowded original TV marketplace to become the latest perpetrator of ‘It eventually gets better!’ patience-testing?”
CNN’s Brian Lowry says that if The Morning Show is “Apple’s way of sounding the alarm for its new service, feel safe to hit the ‘snooze’ button.”
Jen Chaney points out the series’ try-hard energy, in that “it is a serious show that, in every frame and every performance, announces that it wants to be taken seriously,” but at the same time, it is also “a well-executed work of television that never lets you forget you’re watching a work of television.”
The AV Club
Alex McLevy calls The Morning Show “a hell of a lot of fun” and “funny, biting, and with just the right dose of trashy zing, this is high-gloss soap – Broadcast News meets L.A. Law.”
Kristen Baldwin cheers Aniston’s performance – her post-Friends return to TV – as well, saying that she “gives a forceful performance, literally – she pounds tables, rage-slams her phone onto counters, and yanks out hair extensions with such violent contempt, you’d think they owe her money.” As for the series itself, Baldwin contends that it’s “an intriguing, if imperfect, entry into the content wars” that she will keep watching, because “if we can all forgive the turgid early episodes of Succession – a primetime soap about aggrieved rich white men – surely we can power through some growing pains for this ambitious drama about aggrieved women who are putting their anger to work.”
Top Photo: The Morning Show premiere with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon