For many of us, television had been a lifesaver during those long lockdown months. Around the globe, increased time in front of the TV has almost doubled with many of us finding comfort in chess-based dramas (The Queen’s Gambit), reality TV (Selling Sunset) and repeated viewings of favorite films (Thelma & Louise). If, however, you’re panicking that you’ve finished bingeing all there is to watch, fear not — there are still more shows and films to be found on Apple TV+.
The ad-free streaming platform is Apple’s version of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu — you can access it via a monthly subscription, or you can get it free for a year when you buy an Apple device — and it features some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.
Since launching in November 2019, the service has announced partnerships with Oprah Winfrey, directors JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg and Alfonso Cuarón (who won the best director Oscar in 2019 for Gravity). Other major names involved with Apple TV+ include Sir David Attenborough, Tom Hanks, Sofia Coppola and Billie Eilish, whose captivating new documentary, The World’s a Little Blurry, was released in February. This means that there are at least two months of great TV to explore — and for that, we are truly grateful.
Here are six of the best films, TV shows and documentaries to watch on Apple TV+ right now.
1. Ted Lasso (2020)
Gaining more notoriety after its recent Golden Globe win, this transatlantic offering from comedian and actor Jason Sudeikis and Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence is utterly charming and infinitely watchable. Set in a leafy London suburb, the divorced owner of a failing football club (Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca Welton) hires an American college football coach (Sudeikis as Ted Lasso) as the team’s new manager.
You don’t need to be a football (or “soccer”) fan to enjoy this series. Across 10 episodes, Sudeikis and the cast, which includes Juno Temple and the show’s co-writer Brendan Hunt, deliver a genuinely funny comedy that has heart, soul and skill. Focusing on personal growth rather than wealth and winning, this is a show that is very much of, and for, our times.
2. Palmer (2021)
Justin Timberlake plays monosyllabic former inmate Eddie Palmer returning home after 12 years in prison for attempted murder. His intense, brooding manner is slowly broken down by Sam, a gender-nonconforming kid who Palmer unexpectedly finds in his care. The film takes its time to unravel both the characters’ backstories and its message, and it’s this that makes it successful.
What could err on the side of cliche and predictability instead manages to be thoughtful and engaging. Their relationship is a slow burn and Palmer is far from a perfect role model, yet the film suggests that absolution can be found in the most unexpected of places.
3. On The Rocks (2020)
Director Sofia Coppola reunites for the third time with the marvelous Bill Murray in this New York-set comedy-drama film, co-starring Rashida Jones and Marlon Wayans.
Murray plays wealthy lothario Felix who is intent on bonding with his daughter, Laura (Jones), a stressed-out mother-of-two and author suffering from writer’s block. Felix decides to become a well-meaning but misguided spiritual adviser to his wearied child, who suspects her husband (Wayans) of having an affair. As the title suggests, there’s both drink and divorce at play during this lightly philosophical movie that ponders relationships, power and parenthood.
4. Oprah Talks Covid-19, The Oprah Conversation and Oprah’s Book Club (2020)
There are no less than three separate series from entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey on Apple TV+. For her Covid-19 series, she is joined by guests including Holocaust survivor Dr Edith Eva Eger and mindfulness expert Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn to discuss the virus and how the human race is learning to adapt and respond to its impact.
Winfrey pulls out the seriously big guns for The Oprah Conversation, where Dolly Parton, Barack Obama and Mariah Carey get candid, alongside activists such as Ibram X Kendi and Emmanuel Acho. A spin-off from her long-running chat show, Oprah’s Book Club spotlights authors and their best works: Ta-Nehisi Coates dissects The Water Dancer while Jeanine Cummins reflects on American Dirt. As perfectly polished and in-depth as you’d expect from one of TV’s most accomplished broadcasters.
5. The Morning Show (2020)
While season two of Apple TV+’s original launch show might be delayed because of you-know-what, get acquainted with the first season of this fast-paced 10-episode series starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell.
Aniston plays Alex Levy, a popular morning-show host whose co-anchor Mitch Kessler (Carell) is fired after a sexual misconduct scandal. Enter ambitious novice Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon) whose fresh take on news reporting threatens to derail her more famous on-air anchor. Overall though, it’s Aniston who shines particularly bright in this acerbic, timely and glossy look at the dark and dirty world of morning TV.
6. Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry (2021)
At nearly 2.5 hours, this incredibly intimate access-all-areas documentary from director RJ Cutler delivers an in-depth examination of the 19-year-old’s creative and emotional evolution during the making of her five-time Grammy-winning debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
We follow Eilish from making the record in her brother Finneas’s tiny bedroom to playing sold-out shows around the world. We see her falling in love and dealing with heartbreak, pushing back against pressure to conform, and learning to live with Tourette’s syndrome. A tale about purity of vision, the struggle with self-doubt, and the glorious realization of dreams and redemption. Eilish is the perfect pop star, long may she reign.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk