In the world of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, and Disney+, there lives a dark horse. She’s smart, she’s feisty, and she’s ready for attention. Her name is Apple TV+.
“Why would I even need that?” you might ask yourself, as you roll your eyes at yet another streaming service. But friends, in life, when are options ever a bad thing? As someone who lists “watching TV” as a main hobby in her Bumble profile, I’d say never.
Now, even before I found out that I could get a free subscription to Apple TV+ for a year when I bought my new iPhone back in December (a phenomenal little deal worth checking out!), I was fully planning to succumb to falling victim to Apple’s sly marketing tactics. The second I read the words “Jennifer Aniston” in association with this new streaming channel, I knew all my willpower to refrain from it would be lost. Then they had the audacity to throw in the words “Reese Witherspoon,” and at that point, I was done for.
I might have come for The Morning Show, but I ended up staying for everything else. The quality of Apple TV+’s original content is beyond anything I’ve experienced. It’ll make your living room feel like a premium movie theater, and is created by (and stars) some of the biggest names in the industry. Still on the fence about giving into a subscription? These spectacular shows and movies are about to make that decision very easy.
Big Names: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell
After a famous morning talk show host is accused of sexual assault, chaos ensues as we see the strong effects of this on the people who work on the show, their families, and their audience. Bonus: Jennifer Aniston’s SAG Award-winning acting is chillingly superb.
Big Names: Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski
This show takes place in the 1850s, but is written for a millennial audience. It showcases the life of a young, ambitious Emily Dickinson, and how she has to navigate gender stereotypes in order to find success in her passions. Its execution is perfectly witty and the costumes are to die for.
Big Names: Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery
If you’re into murder mystery thrillers, this miniseries is perfect for you. An assistant DA’s 14-year-old son gets accused of murdering his classmate, causing a media storm that disrupts the lives of everyone living in this small town. You’ll start questioning everyone and everything in this show to try and figure out the truth.
Big Names: written/produced by Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Gordon (The Big Sick); produced by Alan Yang (Master of None)
This anthology series observes the everyday lives of immigrants in America. Rather than coming across as heavy, these stories help us truly connect with the characters through humor, inspiration, and romance.
Big Names: Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard
See tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world in which a devastating disease has wiped out the majority of the human race, leaving the few survivors to permanently be struck blind. Centuries later, it is considered a legend that people ever had a sense of sight—that is, until a rare set of twins is born with vision (dun dun DUN).
Big Names: Octavia Spencer, Aaron Paul
A true-crime podcast host finds new evidence that leads her to reopen the murder case that had made her famous in the first place. She is called to investigate if the man that she had previously found to be guilty was, in fact, possibly framed. It’ll keep you on your toes!
Big Names: starring Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project); directed by John M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians)
Inspired by an actual report from a 9-year-old journalist, this mystery follows a young girl and her family moving to a small lakeside town, in which she finds clues to an unsolved, long-buried cold case.
Big Names: produced by Steven Spielberg
Based on the old sci-fi literary magazine, this anthology plays out various visionary short tales involving space, time, science, and magic. Each episode is bound to make your mind rethink everything about the impossible.
Big Names: starring Rupert Grint, Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell; several episodes directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Those of you who have ever come across the name “M. Night Shyamalan” know that it entails some real dark and real twisty stuff. It’s a psychological horror about a couple mourning the loss of their baby, who then hires a young nanny to move in and take care of their doll, Jericho, who they feel their baby was reborn into.
Big Names: written/created by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica)
“Imagine a world where the global space race never ended. This ‘what if’ take on history spotlights the lives of NASA astronauts,” showing us an alternative timeline to what actually happened in the past.
Big Names: Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Nicholas Hoult
In the 1960s, two African-American entrepreneurs scheme to hire a white man to pose as the head of their business. With this, they plan to buy real estate that they can rent/sell to Black families and fight for housing integration. You’ll love the chemistry among the three leads.
Big Names: produced by Jada Pinkett Smith
This film tells the coming-of-age story about Hala, a Pakistani-American teenager who struggles to balance what she wants out of life with what her family, culture, and religion expect of her.
Big Names: well… Oprah
Featuring books hand-picked by Oprah herself, each episode of this series takes us along on insanely insightful conversations with some of the world’s best authors.
Big Names: appearances by Neil Patrick Harris, Lena Waithe, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Billy Porter, Rachel Maddow, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and many more
This docuseries explores the history of the American LGBTQ+ movement, and the way it has shaped and been represented in pop culture. Notable celebs discuss topics like homophobia, stereotypes, and coming out in the TV world. It’s truly eye-opening.
Big Names: narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor
This film will make you feel like you’re watching the most epic nature documentary on a big fancy museum screen (you know, the kinds that make your jaws drop with all the vivid cinematography that bring tears to your eyes?). You’ll literally be transported to the African landscape with this one.
Big Names: produced by Matt Tyrnauer, Corey Reeser
OK—so this docuseries is my personal favorite of this group, since I eat up everything related to interior design, architecture, and exotic settings. Each episode takes you to a different location and showcases the most innovative dwellings, and lets you learn about the visionaries behind them.
Big Names: starring the Beastie Boys; directed by Spike Jonze
This film by the legendary Spike Jonze tells the tale of the iconic ’80s rap group—and its 40 years of friendship, history, and legacy. Get ready to nod your head to some very nostalgic bops.