Last week, Disney+ announced every single movie and TV show that would be available at launch in one of the longest twitter threads in history. This was obviously a move meant to stress how extensive the library for Disney’s new streaming service was going to be as it hoped to go toe to toe with other content libraries like Netflix. However, Disney+ isn’t the only streaming service that’s hoping to make its mark next month. On November 1st, Apple TV+ will launch with Apple hoping to be a major player in the streaming market as well. But where Disney has filled up their content library with movies and shows from the company’s 80+ year history and other streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have purchased the streaming rights of other company’s shows and films, Apple is instead relying solely on their original programming to encourage people to subscribe.
One of the more highly publicized shows that Apple TV+ is debuting next month is the re-imagining of the early life of poet Emily Dickinsion. Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld has the title role of Dickenson in this retelling of her life with an intentionally modern tone. Think A Knight’s Tale or possibly even something like Shrek where the setting and costumes of the show are accurate to the period while the dialogue and characters would fit just fine in a modern setting. Does this type of show work to tell the life of a nineteenth century poet? It seems like the target audience for this show might be a narrow one, but the guest star list includes John Mulaney as Henry David Thoreau and Wiz Khalifa as Death which sounds strange enough that it needs to at least be checked out.
For All Mankind
This alternate history show asks the question “What if the Space Race never ended?” The catalyst in this show for America pursuing space exploration beyond the moon comes from the USSR succeeding in putting the first man on the moon in this version of history. The show used that change as a butterfly effect creating a world where the NASA of the 1970s was one still trying to achieve the impossible and is one of the more ambitious shows in the lineup of initial releases. Show creator Ron Moore already has a potential seven season storyline for the show assuming that Apple decided to greenlight it. As of right now, For All Mankind is one of the few shows that Apple has already greenlit for a second season.
Do you remember Ghostwriter? It was a PBS show where a group of kids befriend a ghost that would help them solve mysteries. The ghost could only communicate by rearranging letters that were available, either in books or on signs. Ghostwriter was also the soul of an escaped slave who was murdered during the civil war for teaching other slaves to read. That origin story was never brought up in the show, but according to the writer of the show, Kermit Frazier, that’s the backstory that answered where the word loving ghost came from. Anyway, Apple is rebooting the series with a new group of kids, new mysteries, and likely a new origin story for the supernatural entity that is the namesake of the show.
For those who don’t know, Sesame Street is now and HBO show, and new episodes of Sesame Street will soon be on the rival streaming service HBO Max when it launches some time next year. Helpsters is Apple’s answer to that, and is being created in partnership with Sesame Workshop, which means that all of the characters on the show are puppets being designed by the same minds that work on Sesame Street. Helpsters is aimed at a young childhood/preschool audience and will have a focus on the fundamentals of coding, and problem solving, promising to help kids solve problems both big and small.
The Morning Show
This is probably the biggest, headline grabbing show that Apple TV+ is debuting with starpower including Jennifer Aniston, Resse WItherspoon and Steve Carell headlining the show, most of the marketing surrounding Apple TV+ has been highlighting this show. Set amid a morning talk show where a host is fired as a result of sexual misconduct, the show switches focus between several of the parties involved, from the disgraced host (Steve Carell), to his co-host of fifteen years (Jennifer Aniston), to one of the people vying to take his place at the table (Resse Witherspoon) The Morning Show is a dramatic look at one of the most lighthearted formats of TV news. The trailers for this one look like a show that is clearly been inspired by Aaron Sorkin’s style of behind the scenes productions, though this one feels less West Wing and more Newsroom. We keep seeing big numbers describing how much money Apple is putting into content creation for their new service, and this show is a big reason why.
Snoopy in Space
Everybody knows the Peanuts gang. Even if your only real interaction with Charlie Brown and the rest is watching them celebrate Christmas every year, the comic strip by Charles Shultz is an undeniable part of American pop culture. Apple is betting on that familiarity getting you to tune into the new adventures of the group focusing on Snoopy’s desire to become an astronaut, and travel to outer space. For those who are concerned that this might not work due to Snoopy being a dog, don’t forget that Snoopy is perhaps most well known for battling the Red Baron in WWI so, some would say that outer space is just the next logical step for the character. Though there have been plenty of Peanuts TV specials from the famous Christmas one to one for just about every other holiday you can think of, they have always been standalone stories, starting and wrapping up usually in the span of an hour. This show is scheduled for twenty-six half hour episodes, so the serialized storytelling is something new for the franchise, in animated form at least. (It did originate as a comic strip after all.) Snoopy is the title character there’s plenty of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the kids in the trailer so this looks like it’s going to be a full blown Peanuts TV show, with everyone helping out to try and help Snoopy achieve his goal.
Every new streaming service wants their own version of Game of Thrones and this is Apple’s attempt and grabbing that high concept fantasy genre of television. Set in a post apocalyptic future where mankind has lost the ability to see, humans have developed a new society based on interactions focusing on the other four senses. Then when a warrior and his wife give birth to twin babies who can see, it causes an uproar. Throw in an evil queen trying to get her hands on the babies, and a group of small tribes banding together to challenge the evil ruler and you see the exact sort of event television that Apple is hoping this show ends up being. But if that’s not enough of a Game of Thrones comparison for you, See even cast Jason Mamoa, who played Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, to play the blind warrior Baba Voss.
Oprah’s Book Club
While most of the Apple TV+ shows have an episode count and a length announced for their episodes, Oprah’s Book Club has none of that. Still Oprah’s original book club was a massive launching point for dozens of books in the previous decade, even being called the “Oprah Effect,” so it’s likely this will be some version of the book club that Oprah had on her daytime talk show. We don’t know if this will be a weekly TV show or something closer to one off specials as Oprah finds books that she likes, but hopefully we’ll learn move when the service officially launches.
(The last two shows on the list won’t be available at launch date, but are the other two shows that Apple has announced the release dates for)
Not a lot is known about this show other than the fact that a very creepy looking baby is the central focus of the show’s teaser trailer. That and the fact that the series is being produced by M. Night Shyamalan. Despite Shyamalan being a bit of a punching bag with a long string of cinematic misfires, the past few years have brought critical acclaim for movies like The Visit and Split. Oh, and Rupert Grint who is famous for playing Ron in the Harry Potter movies is in this one as well. Servant will launch November 28th 2019.
Truth Be Told
With true crime podcasts being all the rage (think Serial and the dozens of podcasts that have been inspired by it) it’s no surprise that eventually we were going to get a true crime podcaster as the main character in a dramatic TV series. (Don’t forget, the new Halloween movie had a pair of true crime podcasters at least partially responsible for the return of Michael Myers.) This true crime podcaster is Poppy Parnell played by Octavia Spencer but the interesting casting announcement from this show is Aaron Paul, returning to dramatic television as the convicted serial killer who was the subject of Parnell’s podcast who may not have been guilty of the crime he was convicted of. Truth Be Told will launch December 6th, 2019.
These aren’t the only shows coming to Apple TV+. At least twenty more have been announced as premering as some point in the future including, among other things, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, and a reboot of Amazing Stories that’s being executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Apple has announced that they’re expecting to spend $4.2 billion on content for their streaming service by 2022, so despite the small size of their launch library, Apple is clearly hoping that this is going to be the tip of the iceberg.
Tags: apple, dickinson, for all mankind, movies, streaming, Streaming Content, Streaming Services, Television, the morning show, TV