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Apple TV+ Launches on Friday, But Their Original Shows Are Getting Mixed Reviews

Stephanie Sengwe

With the Apple TV+ launch now days away, reviews of some of its highly anticipated original shows have come out and they are quite mixed. The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell; See starring Jason Momoa; Dickinson starring Hailee Steinfeld and For All Mankind from writer Ronald D. Moore, have all been touted as the streaming service’s signature shows, debuting with the service when it launches on Nov. 1. However, early reviews show that Apple TV+ may not have wins across the board.

The Morning Show

This show has been touted as Apple TV+’s golden child, with reports that the company spent $300 million on the first two seasons alone. However, after viewing the first three episodes which were released to critics, none seem impressed by the newsroom drama.

“Taking on a number of provocative topics, including and especially gender issues emanating from the toxic swamp of the breakfast-hour television industry, “The Morning Show” is perpetually on the human side, punting on the questions it itself puts forward in favor of airily treating them as too complicated.”—Variety

“After a brutally dull pilot and a meandering second episode, there are distinct hints in the third hour of a more satisfying and confident The Morning Show, one that actually gets value out of leading ladies Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. But did the behemoths at Apple really get into the crowded original TV marketplace to become the latest perpetrator of “It eventually gets better!” patience-testing?”—The Hollywood Reporter.

“But the series is a well-polished snore, a prime example of how throwing money at a problem — in this case, Apple’s need to dive into the streaming wars now that Netflix and company have killed off the revenue stream from buying individual TV episodes — isn’t inherently the best way to solve it.”—Rolling Stone


With Jason Momoa as the face of the show giving us Khal Drogo vibes, it seems See was to be a treat for not only Game of Thrones fans, but fans of fantasy in general. However, critics feel differently as it turned out the show’s parallel’s to HBO’s hit served as a hindrance than an advantage.

“The $15-million-an-episode Jason Momoa-led post-apocalyptic fantasy series set in a future where a virus leaves survivors blind is Apple’s first swing at a Game of Thrones-style epic, but it misses the fact that scale was only the third-most important piece of Game of Thrones’ success, behind writing and acting. There’s no way around it: The writing and acting on See are bad. The mythology-heavy dialogue is dull, confusing, and unintentionally goofy, and over-enunciated by actors pitching their performances toward the back rows of the theater.”— TV Guide

See is a wild show, a Freeform premise given the budget and scope of Game of Thrones. The world begs a hundred questions and the show manages to answer a couple dozen, and stars Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard give it their all (their all includes singing, surprisingly?).”— Decider

“For as odd as creator and writer Steven Knight’s choices can be, they rarely evoke an intuitive consequence from his apocalyptic premise or a clever way to maximize the bold new world he’s trying to build.”—IndieWire


The show is poised to be Apple TV+’s breakout series. Critics seem to be enamored by Hailee Steifeld’s performance as Emily Dickinson and the combination of contemporary themes set in the 19th century is a hit.

“…Dickinson is feisty, youthful, queer, eccentric — a damn good time overall. It’s confident in its vision and the casting of Hailee Steinfeld as a young Emily Dickinson is one of the best calls I’ve been treated to in recent memory. If you’re looking for something refreshing to binge.”—Collider

“…Dickinson doesn’t really look or feel like any existing TV show, and doesn’t obviously fit in anyplace other than a service like Apple TV+. For those reasons, it has a chance to emerge as the signature show of the new Apple TV+ video streaming service.”—Apple Insider

“Creator Alena Smith has thought the world out well, and the show feels grounded in its own reality. It doesn’t overdo the ironic modernity, instead sprinkling a handful of mild swear words and slang terms into each episode in a way that doesn’t take the viewer out of the story.”—TV Guide.

For All Mankind

This space drama from “Star Trek” and “Battlestar Galactica” writer Ronald D. Moore is probably the most indefinite of the four. While critics appreciate the ambition and concept of the show, it seems the series falls short in executing all its ideas.

“The writing has some shaggy tendencies, as could probably be expected of a show this ambitious. It occasionally entertains a few wry winks to the strange new historical possibilities on this hypothetical timeline, and even indulges in some distracting fictional Nixon tapes revealing the depths to which he might have gone to save face. For the most part, though, it makes the smarter choice to keep the drama as grounded in character choices as possible, with some key overarching “what if?” scenarios that keep the season moving toward a bold new future.”—Variety

“…The final product is a bit dramatically inert: It tries to juggle too many characters at once, and doesn’t make any of them as compelling as its core concept. It’s a noble effort, and genuinely stirring at times, but I’m still waiting for it to really take flight.”—TV Line

“When you start thinking about what For All Mankind could have done with an alternative-history approach…it’s a little disappointing to see that, through seven of 10 episodes, there’s not much done with the concept. It’s ultimately just a narrative contrivance to put our country behind and make it angry with an inferiority complex…”—Hollywood Reporter.


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