So how are we liking the marquee shows on Apple TV+? Since the rest of you have lives, I’ve sped through Jennifer Aniston-Reese Witherspoon-Steve Carell’s The Morning Show and Joel Kinnaman-Michael Dornan’s For All Mankind and I’m ready to submit my reports. You are welcome.
First note is for Apple TV+ in general. It does not like people who don’t have their iOs up to date so you’ll have to update before the Apple TV app icon will give you access to the new slate of original shows. Once you do, you’ll see that at least these two shows offer only three episodes, with new ones offered each following Friday. Binge-watching semi-thwarted. I’m OK with this. I am however not a fan of the streaming service’s not holding my place when I pause watching an episode, as is standard practice on Netflix, Amazon Prime et al, instead snapping me back to zero when i restart and forcing me to FF skim to remember where i left off. Upgrade please! If you have any thoughts on Apple TV+ in general or any of the new shows, please share in the comments or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Morning Show: Reviews have been weak, saying that this inside look at a big U.S. network TV show is too slow moving. I’m good with slow and I like the characters so far. I expected schmaltz but there’s little to be found. Aniston’s main anchor character goes a few degrees off expectations in terms of what my father would have called intestinal fortitude, with a few fluctuations in another nice direction. Witherspoon as the outsider with an unexpected ring-side seat has yet to be revealed but what she’s shown is decent. Carell as the Matt Lauer-esque fired and #metoo accused co-anchor shows the expected bone-headed sexist privileged boor, but there is a late preview that his character too might defy expectation. Overall, i’m looking forward to more, but then again I’m a journalist and this is an arena in which I’m very interested. If you miss the Jeff Daniels Newsroom, this might appeal.
For All Mankind: Reviews have said that there’s not enough alt in this alt-history of the U.S.’s participation in the international space race starting with the moon landing. I found it a bit slow in parts, but despite my spotty knowledge of the space race, I found my heart beating hard enough though some outcomes were predictable. The best alt — involving women — was the best of the three episodes offered so far.
Beyond Apple: Started in on Netflix’s Atypical — yay! — but didn’t get far. Enjoying so far Season 3 of this story about a family of four, including a trouble marriage, teen girl sexual-orientation problems and horny college student with autism. More later if you’re lucky (but you should watch all of it if you haven’t already; a lovely tonic though not nicey-nicey happy-happy). Now then, onward to some more new stuff.
Sunday Nov. 3
Tout le monde en parle (8pm Radio Canada) Guests include Maripier Morin, Fred Pellerin, Bleu Jeans Bleu, Ken Dryden, journalists Alexis De Lancer, Bouchra Ouatik and Jeff Yates, and Dre Amal Abdel-Baki and Dre Marie-Ève Morin on the subject of legal age for consuming cannabis.
The Affair (finally) wraps up its series run with Whitney’s wedding from 9-10:35 on Crave). I quite enjoyed last week’s lost-in-the-hills episode, offering a dual-perspective segment with Noah and Helen (Dominic West and Maura Tierney). I began watching this final season out of a ridiculous sense of completism, having hung in this long on a path along which characters and storylines wandered far too often. Occasional sharp moments were the reward (last season’s finale). This season had a bit of both. Last week’s episode was a fine moment of pre closure, the climate angle of the flash forward to grownup Joanie was more interesting than I expected, but her story has been, so far, too shambling. The Sasha Mann retaliation affair? Ridiculous. Anyway, I’ll watch. I’m an idiot like that. Go Joanie!
Monday Nov. 4
His Dark Materials (series premiere from 9-10pm on HBO) “Adapting Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, considered by many to be a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, HIS DARK MATERIALS follows Lyra (Dafne Keen, Logan), a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. Her search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. Other series regulars include: Ruth Wilson (THE AFFAIR) as Mrs. Coulter, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) as Lee Scoresby, James McAvoy (Atonement) as Lord Asriel, Clarke Peters (THE WIRE) as The Master of Jordan College, James Cosmo as Farder Coram, Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa, Will Keen as Father MacPhail, and Ariyon Bakare as Lord Boreal.”
Rat Park (documentary premiere 9-10pm on Crave) “Could the secret to solving the world’s drug crisis lie in a forgotten Canadian psychology experiment from the 1970s involving rats and heroin? Almost four decades later, this documentary shows how the experiment’s radical findings might be applied today and examines the impact of drug policy, both the criminalization and legalization, on the world’s war on drugs. Directed by Shawney Cohen and produced in association with Vice Studios, the film follows three stories worlds apart, examining the complex issues of drug laws and addiction and why the problem may not be the drugs themselves, but the environments and “cages” we live in. In Portugal, where drugs are legalized, a ceramics artist lives and struggles with a lifelong heroin problem. On the other side of the world in the Philippines, where drugs are criminalized, a grieving woman and a hardened photojournalist grapple with government sanctioned extrajudicial killings of drug users. In America, an outlaw recovery worker fights for drug users living in ground zero of America’s opioid crisis.”
Tuesday Nov. 5
The End of the F***ing World (Season 2 new on Netflix) “A budding teen psychopath and a rebel hungry for adventure embark on a star-crossed road trip in this darkly comic series based on a graphic novel.”
Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby (new comedy special on Netflix) “SNL alumnus and subversive master of late-night TV Seth Meyers comes out from behind the desk to share some lighthearted stories from his own life.”
Wednesday Nov. 6
The Apollo (new documentary HBO, 9pm) “chronicles the unique history and contemporary legacy of the New York City landmark, the Apollo Theater. The documentary weaves together archival footage, music, comedy and dance performances, and behind-the-scenes verité with the team that makes the theater run. The Apollo features interviews with artists including Patti LaBelle, Pharrell Williams, Smokey Robinson, and Jamie Foxx.”