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: Jason Sudeikis
If you haven’t jumped on the Ted Lasso train yet, we have one simple question for you: What are you waiting for? If you’ve ever heard anyone mention anything about this show, you’ve likely heard good things. In this humorous, heartfelt, and at-times-cringe comfort show, Ted, a small-town Kansas football coach who has no business in the soccer world, is tasked with the uphill battle of coaching a Premier League soccer team overseas. We love Ted Lasso an above-average amount and our managing editor simply can’t stop talking about it.
Big Names: created by and starring Rob McElhenney
Hot take: Mythic Quest might just be one of the most underrated shows on Apple TV. In this comedy series, the team behind the biggest multiplayer video game of all time works to build worlds, mold heroes, and create legends. But despite the challenges that come with creating a mythical world, nothing quite compares to the humorous battles that they face within their own workplace. You’ll laugh, you’ll enjoy the wit, and it’ll easily be a comfort show that you’ll return to time after time.
Big Names: starring Ayelet Zurer, Lihi Kornowski, Gal Toren, Yossi Marshek and directed by Tamar Mozes-Borovitz and Nadav Palti
If you’re into erotic psychological thrillers, then Losing Alice has your name written all over it. When, Alice, a middle-aged film director crosses paths with Sophie, a femme-fatale screenwriter, her attraction for success snowballs into obsession. With superior acting and a unique script, you won’t be able to watch just one episode.
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: Nick Jonas, Lily Collins, Aubrey Plaza
If you’re in the mood for a thriller that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, look no further than Calls, a one-season series starring Nick Jonas, Lily Collins, Aubrey Plaza, and more. In this groundbreaking series told entirely through 12-minute phone conversations and minimalistic, abstract visuals, you’ll be introduced to a group of strangers who are in disarray leading up to an apocalyptic event. It’s a series unlike any you’ve ever experienced before and one that you’d regret sleeping on.
Big Names: Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski
We love period pieces almost as much as we love a good comedy series so, when the two join forces, we know it’s going to be a good time. Dickinson highlights the life of a young, ambitious Emily Dickinson, and how she has to navigate gender stereotypes in order to find success in her passions. It’s witty, it’s inspiring, and the costumes are to die for.
Big Names: Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery
Drama-mystery fans, unite and add this miniseries to the top of your “to watch” list. We’re enamored by just about everything that Chris Evans does and Defending Jacob is no exception. In this only-need-the-edge-of-your-seat series, 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. Come for the plot and stay for the top-notch performances you won’t be able to look away from.
Big Names: written/produced by Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Gordon (The Big Sick); produced by Alan Yang (Master of None)
After one episode of this comedy meets anthology series, you’ll fall head over heels in love. From the creators of The Big Sick and Master of None comes Little America, a heartfelt series that shines a light on the real-life, present-day stories of immigrants in America. This eight-episode series is inspiring, empathetic, and one of the best installments that Apple TV has to offer. Even just one re-watch of the trailer had me smiling from ear to ear.
Big Names: Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard
Jason Momoa, we love your work! If you haven’t hopped on the hype behind See, this is your sign to get on it. See tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic world in which the few survivors are permanently 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. The plot of this series is so unique, you have to See it for yourself. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist.
Big Names: Octavia Spencer, Aaron Paul
If a gripping tale of true-crime redemption sounds like your idea of a good time, look no further than Truth Be Told. In this thriller series, a true-crime podcast host finds new evidence that leads her to reopen the murder case that once made her famous. In her investigation, she finds herself buried in a web of lies, deceit, uncertainty, guilt, and the sobering possibility that she may have incriminated an innocent person. The twists, turns, and chilling acting will be sure to keep you on your toes.
Big Names: starring Rupert Grint, Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell; several episodes directed by M. Night Shyamalan
At this point, M. Night Shyamalan is basically synonymous with dark and twisty and one of his newest creations, Servant, is no exception. This psychological horror tells the spine-chilling tale of a couple who loses their child and subsequently hires a young nanny to move in and take care of their doll who they believe their baby was reborn into. Totally normal, not freaky at all! Nothing to see here! If you’re into creepy mysteries and a great deal of suspense, this one is for you.
Big Names: written/created by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica)
This two-season series has it all—drama, sci-fi, action, history, and romance, so if you’re in the mood for a little bit of everything, look no further than For All Mankind, a drama that tells the tale of a parallel world where the space race never ended. This high-stakes series that highlights the lives of astronauts and their families comes with a complimentary round-trip ticket that will send you to the moon and back.
Big Names: Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, Eugenio Derbez
CODA is a profound movie that will make you giggle, feel all of the feels, and undoubtedly reach for a nearby box of tissues. Meet Ruby, the only hearing person of her family (hence the term CODA, which stands for “child of deaf adult”) and a 17-year-old who discovers a newfound passion for singing. As she joins the choir club at her school and falls in love with music, Ruby must make an impossible choice between meeting family obligations and chasing her dreams. This award-winning film is heartfelt, warm, and a hidden gem that should be next on your to-watch list.
Big Names: Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Nicholas Hoult
Our love for inspirational true stories knows no bounds so when we were turned on The Banker, a financial drama film that tells the tale of two of the first Black bankers in America, we were hooked from the start. It’s a story of intelligence, grit, and determination with well-placed humor that will make you feel warm, fuzzy, and a bit more educated. 10/10 recommend.
Big Names: produced by Jada Pinkett Smith
This film tells the coming-of-age story of Hala, a Pakistani-American teenager who struggles to balance what she wants out of life with her familial, cultural, and religious expectations. Hala is humanistic, powerful, emotional, moving, and will make you feel things. If you’re in the market for a powerful drama, this one has your name on it.
Big Names: Billie Eilish, Finneas
Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry is one of Apple TV’s newest documentaries and one that highlights the rise of one of today’s most influential young musicians, Billie Eilish, as she tours and records the album that stole the hearts of so many. The film is raw, intimate, and enlightening and will give you an inside look into the life of one of our generation’s most authentic talents.
Big Names: executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry with appearances by Lady Gaga and Glenn Close
In this six-part docuseries, Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry team up to guide honest discussions and create a space to de-stigmatize mental health. By highlighting accounts from both well-known and not-as-well-known humans across the globe, this documentary gives us the opportunity to reevaluate our own health, explore new perspectives, and find hope for the future. As far as we’re concerned, this heartfelt, inspiring series should be considered required viewing for just about everyone.
Big Names: by Amy director Asif Kapadia with tributes to Marvin Gaye, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, and Carole King
In this eight-part docuseries, director Asif Kapadia helps us explore a year of musical innovation and rebirth. With a suffocating and influential backdrop of political and cultural turmoil, fresh talent exploded into the music scene, boundaries were pushed, and artists reached new heights. With never-before-seen footage of music industry icons, this documentary will keep you entertained and wanting more.
Big Names: appearances by Neil Patrick Harris, Lena Waithe, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Billy Porter, Rachel Maddow, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Visible: Out on Television is a five-part docuseries that you simply don’t want to miss. This one-season documentary highlights representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the media and how TV has influenced the movement. With tons of archived media in partnership with a star-studded cast, this documentary covers issues on homophobia, stereotypes, coming out, and beyond. Visible: Out on Television is equal parts fabulous, entertaining, educational, sobering, hopeful, and more than worth the watch.
Big Names: narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor
This Apple Original is the equivalent of a one-way ticket to the African savannah and will give you an intimate, first-hand look into the heart of an elephant family. With unbelievable footage and an epic journey of a mother on a mission to protect and lead her herd, The Elephant Queen will leave you with your jaw on the floor and with a new appreciation for our wildlife.
Big Names: starring the Beastie Boys; directed by Spike Jonze
Beastie Boys Story, a documentary film by the legendary Spike Jonze, covers the 40 years of friendship, history, and legacy of the iconic ’80s rap group. Beyond the nostalgic bops, we get to see The Beastie Boys in a new light and one where they find their voice, navigate their friendship both on and off stage, and inspire each other for decades.