Alibi V.28 No.39 • Sept 26-Oct 2, 2019 

Idiot Box

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far

Apple TV+ Debuts Soon

Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa wants you to see “See.”

Keeping abreast of the assorted video streaming services increasingly available on a variety of devices is becoming something of a losing battle. You certainly know Netflix and Amazon. You’re probably familiar with Hulu, even if you haven’t used it. Maybe you’ve heard of CBS All Access or DC Direct. Perhaps you’re excited for the Disney/Marvel/Pixar/Star Wars potential behind Disney+. But Sony Crackle, Shudder, Peacock, Philo, WarnerMedia and HBO Max are probably well beyond your scope right now. And what the hell is a Quibi anyway?

Now—inevitably, of course—Apple wants its own slice of that sweet streaming video service pie. Starting on Nov. 1, the computer giant is set to launch Apple TV+, an ad-free subscription service featuring on-demand online and offline content. Since this is Apple we’re talking about, and they have more money than God, the corporation has signed an awful lot of famous faces in front of and behind the camera. (The company is dumping a reported $6 billion into this venture.) Whether this will make viewers shell out another monthly fee for yet another movie/TV streaming service remains to be seen. But it’s an impressive start, based on everything we know so far.

So what kind of shows is Apple TV+ offering as an enticement? Let’s take a look.

Things start out big with no less than Steven Spielberg himself relaunching his old anthology series “Amazing Stories,” which ran from 1985 to 1987 on NBC. The original showcased some very fine directors (Spielberg, Peter Hyams, Clint Eastwood, Phil Joanou, Joe Dante, Martin Scorsese, Paul Bartel, Robert Zemeckis, Mick Garris, Brad Bird) but never really caught fire, lasting only two seasons. The new version was first slated to appear on NBC with Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daisies,” “Hannibal,” “American Gods”) as showrunner. But Fuller dropped out, and the reboot landed over at Apple several years later. According to press releases, the show promises to feature “today’s most imaginative filmmakers, directors and writers” (including, we’ll assume, Mr. Spielberg).

Ronald D. Moore (creator of SyFy’s “Battlestar Galactica” reboot) is the man behind the “alternate-history” drama “For All Mankind.” The sci-fi series posits a modern-day world in which the Soviets landed on the Moon first and America is still playing catch-up in the space race. Swedish-American actor Joel Kinnaman (“The Killing,” Suicide Squad) heads that cast.

Steve Carell (“The Office”) returns to TV alongside Jennifer Aniston (“Friends”) in “The Morning Show,” a behind-the-scenes dramedy about—yes—a morning news show. Reese Witherspoon, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Crudup and Mark Duplass round out the impressive cast. Apple is so confident in this one (and their service), they’ve already ordered two seasons.

Apple has also sunk some serious dough into the post-apocalyptic drama “See.” The series stars Jason Momoa (“Game of Thrones,” Aquaman) in a dual role—twin brothers/tribal warriors born with the ability to see in a world in which humans lost their ability to see generations ago thanks to a rampant virus. This series is written by Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises, Locke) and directed by Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay).

Also on the slate: The musical drama “Little Voice” produced by J.J. Abrams and musician Sarah Bareilles, a “crazy” half-hour sitcom starring Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) as poet Emily Dickinson, an evil nanny-centric psycho-thriller called “Servant” from M. Night Shyamalan, a reboot of the ’90s kids series “Ghostwriter” and a series version of the 1981 feature Time Bandits from filmmaker Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok).

Apple TV+ is set to launch at the perfectly reasonable-sounding price of $5 a month. It’s free for a year, though, if you buy an Apple gadget or two for the holiday season. A total of eight shows (and one documentary about an elephant) will be available at launch. So what are you waiting for, America? Buy an iPad and start watching more TV on demand!

Next week: What the hell is a Quibi anyway?