New Shows on Apple TV+

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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 75 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.

1. Shrinking

Release Date: January 27, 2022
Creator: Bill Lawrence, Jason Segel, Brett Goldstein
Stars: Jason Segel, Jessica Williams, Luke Tennie, Michael Urie, Lukita Maxwell, Christa Miller, Harrison Ford
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Paste Review Rating: 8.5

Watch on Apple TV+

For avid fans of the sitcoms Scrubs, Cougar Town, and most recently, Ted Lasso, Bill Lawrence’s name will be familiar. And his latest series, the 10-part Apple TV+ comedy Shrinking (co-created with Ted Lasso fan-favorite Brett Goldstein and comedy veteran Jason Segel), has every chance of blossoming into another crowd-pleasing success: it’s unapologetically witty, charmingly heartfelt, and features a set of quirky characters that are irresistibly likable. The plot follows Jimmy (Jason Segel), a therapist and a single father who’s been grieving his late wife for over a year. His apathetic mood has leaked into his professional life, turning him into a passive counselor without much progression to show for when it comes to his patients. Then one day, Jimmy snaps and loses his cool in an unprofessional outburst, but… it works. From that moment, he tells each one of his patients what he thinks their problems are and what they should do to get out of their own way, to varied success. What Shrinking does right from the start is be upfront about every character’s emotional baggage. Jimmy grieves, Gaby (Jessica Williams) has marital issues, and Paul (Harrison Ford) struggles to open up about his Parkinson’s diagnosis. They might be shrinks, but they’re also human beings dealing with the same personal problems as any of us (which they often ignore just like their patients do). Shrinking revels in the type of humor that’s uncomfortably honest and filled to the brim with sarcasm. But it never goes too far to feel insensitive or insulting. That’s a fine line, incredibly hard to walk, but the show does it with inherent confidence—even if the downside of that approach is that some jokes become cringey in various situations. But if you grow fond of these characters as fast as I did, you can easily pardon their occasionally embarrassing behavior. And undoubtedly, the cast does a tremendous job of making us fall in love with these flawed goofballs. The well-balanced dose of sarcastic and contagious humor (rooted in pain and heartache) is the kind of prescribed laughter we need to heal our souls after a long and hard day. —Akos Peterbencze

2. Echo 3

Release Date: November 23, 2022
Creator: Mark Boel
Stars: Michael Huisman, Luke Evans, Jessica Ann Collins, Elizabeth Anweis
Genre: Action, Thriller

Watch on Apple TV+

Among his other credits, the former journalist Mark Boal has written Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, and that alone probably tells you a lot of what you can expect from Echo 3, the new show he created for Apple TV+. First off, it’s edge-of-your-seat drama, with interest at every moment, and the kind of show that’s bound to succeed. Second, there will be plenty of people who don’t love its politics. This is a story about two Delta Force operatives trying to rescue a loved one in the jungles of Colombia, and while there is no overt hero worship here—they’re imperfect people outside of combat, and even within combat they sometimes make egregious errors—the tone is similar to Boal’s previous projects in that beneath the surface there is a sense that, for all their flaws, they are still demi-gods. We meet Amber Chesborough (Jessie Collins), a scientist who is in the Colombian jungles to conduct research into the medical benefits of rare psychedelics. She and her team are being held at gunpoint, though we don’t exactly know why. The action then jumps back to her wedding day, when she marries Prince (Michael Huisman), a delta force operative and the son of a Washington D.C. bigwig. She seeks reassurance from her brother Bambi (Luke Evans), another delta force operative and Prince’s friend. These three are the triangle at the heart of Echo 3, and they’re each tremendous in their own ways. It’s a rare show that manages to balance riveting action with an almost poetic rhythm, but the contrasts exist in concert here, and broadly, this is yet another show that proves how far Apple TV+ has gone beyond its competitors in greenlighting great television. —Shane Ryan

3. Shantaram

Release Date: October 14, 2022
Creator: Eric Warren Singer, Steve Lightfoot
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Fayssal Bazzi, Sujaya Dasgupta, Antonia Desplat, Elham Ehsas, David Field
Genre: Drama, Thriller

Watch on Apple TV+

Gregory David Roberts is one of the most interesting men you’ve never heard of. This is a man who was known in his younger days as “the gentleman bandit” for his polite demeanor when he robbed banks to support his heroin habit. When he finally got caught, he escaped from Australia’s Pentridge Prison and managed to flee to India, where he spent 10 years before he was captured trying to smuggle himself into Germany. Back in his home country, and back in prison, he began to write the novel Shantaram, which was apparently destroyed by guards twice before he was released six years later. If all of this sounds jumbled yet intriguing, congratulations, because you are in the right frame of mind to consume the Apple TV+ adaptation, also called Shantaram. Starring Charlie Hunnam as Lin, the fake name chosen by Roberts after his escape (and which, we’re told often, means “penis” in Hindi), it’s a little bit disorganized, a little bit confusing, and mostly fun. After 92 episodes as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy and a good deal of film work, Hunnam is back. He’s a little kinder and gentler here than in Sons, and has more of a sense of humor, but the quiet desperation and inventiveness that defined the biker prince is very much present: that strange and occasionally thrilling combination of both loathing and craving the state of being in a jam. The show will grip you, but the grip is fleeting. It’s one thing to have a rudderless main character, and in that capacity Lin is interesting, charming, and everything else you want from an escaped convict loose in a foreign land. It’s quite another to have a rudderless story. The splendor matters less than the creeping suspicion that you’re lost at sea. —Shane Ryan

4. Gutsy

Release Date: September 9, 2022
Creator: Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton
Stars: Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton
Genre: Docuseries

Watch on Apple TV+

As Hillary herself likes to say: “Holy moly!” Based on their 2019 book The Book of Gutsy Women, Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea travel the globe talking to women who inspire them. The women featured include Kim Kardashian, Megan Thee Stallion, Dr. Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson. The eight-episode series also provides insight into the mother daughter pair. The first episode looks at “the unexpected ways in which laughter can change the lives of women.” Chelsea Clinton confesses her relationship with comedy is strained because of her childhood. “I was made fun of so much as a child by people who were professional comics,” she says. —Amy Amatangelo

5. Bad Sisters

Release Date: August 19, 2022
Creator: Sharon Horgan
Stars: Anne-Marie Duff, Eva Birthistle, Sarah Greene, Eve Hewson, Claes Bang, Brian Gleeson, Daryl McCormack, Assaad Bouab, Saise Quinn
Genre: Comedy Thriller

Watch on Apple TV+

Sharon Horgan who turned a one night stand into poignant hilarity in Catastrophe is back with a 10-episode dark comedy about the Garvey sisters. When Grace’s (Anne-Marie Duff) husband John Paul (Claes Bing) suddenly dies in an accident, Ursula (Eva Birthistle), Bibi (Sarah Greene), Becka (Eva Hewson) and Eva (Horgan) must protect their sister especially when life insurance agents Thomas (Brian Gleeson) and Matthew (Daryl McCormack so fantastic recently in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande) start investigating John Paul’s untimely death. And how did the sisters feel about Grace’s husband? Well the first episode of the series is called “The Prick.” —Amy Amatangelo

6. Five Days at Memorial

Release Date: August 12, 2022
Creators: John Ridley, Carlton Cuse
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Cherry Jones, Cornelius Smith Jr., Robert Pine, Adepero Oduye, Julie Ann Emery, Michael Gaston, Molly Hager
Genre: Medical drama
Paste Review Rating: 6.9

Watch on Apple TV+

Written and directed by John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) and Carlton Cuse (Lost), and adapted from a book by Sheri Fink, Apple TV+’s Hurricane Katrina drama Five Days at Memorial feels emblematic of larger problems with the prestige TV format—sharpened contradictions made ever more apparent by the streaming system beginning to devour itself. The show could have been a 2-and-a-half-hour movie. But restraint is in as short supply as water rises and hope dwindles in a hospital hit by a hurricane. So we get eight episodes that should have been less: five on the tragedy (three that I can discuss per embargoes) and three about the ensuing investigation. Five Days at Memorial’s unearned length enables its tone and character focus to regrettably shift halfway through. It goes from being a survival drama with disaster and light horror elements to a police procedural. But to call it indulgent would be unsympathetic to the real-life victims of the tragedy it covers: 45 patients died at Memorial in the wake of the storm, and the show is concerned with whether these deaths were preventable or premeditated. The series is about the aftermath of a tragedy. Hurricane Katrina wrought devastation on the city of New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast, further compounded by state incompetence and, in the case of Memorial Hospital, corporate malfeasance which led to 45 people dying or being killed there. The show does an excellent job conveying the dire circumstances enabled by the levees breaking after the initial storm surge. It feels frightening before and during the storm, and exhausting afterward. It highlights the hard work of doctors and nurses to keep people alive amid being essentially abandoned by their corporate owners and three levels of government. Archival and documentary footage is spliced into the dramatization to ground the event. There’s a lean drama miniseries in here mixed with a disaster film, a superfluous love story, and a police investigation. But high-highs and low-lows make it come across confused when it should feel necessary. Five Days at Memorial is an important story that deserved better. —Kevin Fox, Jr.

7. Surface

Release Date: July 29, 2022
Creators: Sam Miller
Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Stephan James, Ari Graynor, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, François Arnaud, Millie Brady
Genre: Thriller
Paste Review Rating: 6.0

Watch on Apple TV+

The amnesia plot is nothing new. Watching Apple TV+’s eight-episode Surface, it almost feels that the writers also forgot the lack of novelty around memory loss. However, Surface’s stab to enliven this trope falters over the course of the season, as its protagonist Sophie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) makes an attempt to track down the forgotten shards of her life, piece them back together, and make sense of the past in context of her confusing present. The premiere of the series sets up very spare details of the cause of Sophie’s devastating accident. There was a boat, water, a fall, and then a great forgetting. With information spotty, both the audience and Sophie alike struggle with acceptance. Can this be all that we know? What can we trust from a baseline of knowing so little? From this generalized and totalizing anxiety, Surface constructs its thriller. Every other character in the show gets infused with both Sophie and the audience’s plausible mistrust. Who can we view as honest from the perspective of someone who has lost all foundational background knowledge of herself? What Surface fails to understand is that it isn’t clever in its lack of clarity. Sure, revelations about Sophie’s previous memories shouldn’t be abundant. But giving nearly nothing to viewers, Surface makes a poor case for itself as anything but fluff TV. As the viewers, we want to root for Sophie’s story. But with the story we got, the argument for another season is the same: I can’t recall one. —Katherine Smith

8. Black Bird

Release Date: July 8, 2022
Creators: Dennis Lehane
Stars: Taron Egerton, Paul Walter Hauser, Sepideh Moafi, Greg Kinnear, Ray Liotta
Genre: Crime drama
Paste Review Rating: 9.0

Watch on Apple TV+

A former high-school football star and son of a decorated police officer, Jimmy Keene is sentenced to 10 years in a minimum security prison for dealing drugs when he’s given an offer he can’t refuse. If he agrees to enter a maximum security prison for the criminally insane and gets vital information from a suspected serial killer, he can have his sentence erased. The influence of series developer Dennis Lehane’s previous work, most notably Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone, can clearly be felt in Black Bird, which is also carried by memorable performances from Paul Walter Hauser and Taron Egerton. Hauser is mesmerizingly disturbing while Egerton turns in an equally masterful performance as a drug dealer-turned-hero. —Terry Terrones

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