If there was any doubt we were in the middle of the streaming wars they are gone by now. Where before there were 3-4 major players in the streaming universe more and more big competitors are being announced with what seems like a new one popping up every week. This week saw the official launch of Apple TV+ including the launch of 4 original shows aimed at adults all greatly varying in genre and style. I decided to take a look at these first 4 shows and give my thoughts on their first episodes. Unlike my seasonal anime first impressions though I actually do plan to keep with each of these shows for their entire first seasons and give overall reviews once they finish. This is not something I will be doing for 100% of Apple TV+ shows in the future but I want to give these first 4 a chance and stick with them all the way through. Where those will be coming once the shows come to a close lets get into my first opinions of these shows from just their first episodes all of which are currently free to watch without an Apple TV+ subscription.
Out of all the shows debuting on Apple TV+ this week easily Dickinson has got the most positive attention and it is quite enjoyable. I always like seeing Hailee Steinfeld work considering she is one of the most underrated actors of our time but even past her performance which is really fun the show is just a blast to watch. It has a really wonderful charisma that helps it avoid some of the dullness that comes with a period piece like this and kept me engaged. The 30 minute runtime also helps keep the show fresh enough that it never really becomes dull. If there is one aspect of the show I am not overly sold on is the social commentary it is building around sexism. Especially with her father who refuses to let her publish her poetry which the show tries to pass off as a form of love but at the end of the day trying to create a thesis that sexism is a form of love is quite dangerous. I still had fun with this show and look forward to continuing it but I don't know if the deeper thoughts this show has will connect with me that much.
For All Mankind
Out of all 4 shows coming out on Apple TV+ this week For All Mankind was the one I knew the least about. I had 0 idea what this show was about so I went in with no expectations and I am still kinda feeling this one out. Taking place in an alternative world where the Soviet Union beat us to getting to the moon the show does have some solid emotions and interesting ideas in this first episode but it is pretty unclear what this show is actually going to end up being. It seems like they are building some plot points up that will come in to play after a time jump but then we are also getting invested in different characters here in 1969. I like what we are getting so far but it still is such an unknown what this show really will even end up being that I can't say I am fully behind it yet. Only time will tell but I am decently interested to continue from here.
The Morning Show
Going into this slate of shows The Morning Show was the show I was most anticipating with a solid cast that could do no wrong, or so I thought. This first episode felt incredibly messy as it tried to balance endless conversations and ideas with the Me Too Movement, social media, grief, and the politics of morning news all being aspects of the commentary this first episode had. Where it is clear this show is trying to engage the audience in deep dialogue and conversation it struggles to put any of it together into anything of real substance. I also hate to say it but the acting also didn't quite work for me though I am hesitant to blame the actors considering the talent involved. Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston both really struggled to engage me in these characters but the most disappointing of all for me would be Steve Carell. Carell is honestly one of my favorite working actors especially in recent years as he has showcased more and more of his range and depth as an actor giving some of the most compelling and emotional performances of the respected years in films like Last Flag Flying and Beautiful Boy but he is completely miscast here. He plays Mitch Kessler, a morning news host who has recently been fired due to allegations of sexual harassment and rape. This is a disgusting character but to be frank, Carell is just too likable. I never bought him as this horrible man and his performance kept taking me out of any scene he was apart of. If there is one decent emotion present in this first episode it is some of the grief that Mitch's on air partner Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) has to go through as that is a side effect of these situations that is rarely talked about but sadly the show around her is a complete mess at least in this first episode. I hope continuing on they can clean it up and get the ball rolling much better than they could in the first episode.
If there was one show that had me curious from this initial launch it would have to be See. Taking place in a futuristic world where a disease has left the entire population blind this looked to be Apple TV+'s attempt at launching a huge fantasy franchise like that of Game of Thrones and I didn't know what to expect. It wasn't overly surprising to me when the first reviews for the show came out ranging from mixed to hated and I sat down with no expectations just ready for whatever this show was going to end up doing. Yet to be honest it really surprised me, sure it is far from amazing but I found the show to be perfectly watchable and actually made me want to continue on to the next episode. The biggest thing that caught me off guard about the show was how much I enjoyed the concept of everyone being blind, after A Quiet Place so many different shows and movies got into the idea of a sense being taken away that it has become boring and stale. Yet seeing this society grow and evolve around this actually proved to be interesting. I also loved how it never really was a thing, they didn't point out a million times that everyone was blind. It has become a normal part of life and where it clearly will be a point of discussion in the future for getting us invested in this world I thought it worked shockingly well. The action was all pretty good and the actual production design of this show from the costumes to sets all were extremely high quality. The only thing that stood out as weaker was some of the cgi and added effects especially with the blood splatters which were pretty noticeably bad and unneeded but thats minor. Overall I was shockingly behind the first episode of See and actually am looking forward to continuing the story.