Apple TV+ has released shows to critical acclaim and word-of-mouth buzz after stumbling at launch

ted lasso
“Ted Lasso”

  • When Apple TV+ debuted in November 2019, its flagship launch shows like “See” and “The Morning Show” were received poorly by critics.
  • But Apple’s streaming component gained buzz for its second wave of original shows, thanks to word-of-mouth hits like “Ted Lasso” and “Defending Jacob.”
  • Some launch shows like “For All Mankind” and “Dickinson” also released their second seasons this year to critical acclaim, with both receiving 100% Rotten Tomatoes critic scores in their sophomore installments.
  • The Apple streaming service still doesn’t have anywhere near the quantity of content that others like Netflix have, but its small collection of recent critical favorites may give it a chance to reel in potential subscribers when the extended free trial ends in July.
  • Insider ranked every Apple original scripted series (we excluded docuseries) by their Rotten Tomatoes critic scores, and broke ties with audience scores.
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19. “Truth Be Told” – one season (December 2019-present)

truth be told
Octavia Spencer in “Truth Be Told.”

Description: “When new evidence compels podcaster Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer) to reopen the murder case that made her a national sensation, she comes face to face with Warren Cave (Aaron Paul), the man she may have mistakenly helped to put behind bars. Her investigation navigates urgent concerns about privacy, media and race.”

Critic score: 31%

What critics said: “With a stacked cast and a premise that gives way to a wealth of ideas, Truth Be Told could have been a solid story about many things. However, Truth Be Told doesn’t work and instead it’s the rare crime mystery where I don’t care about getting to the end.” — Observer (season one)

18. “Amazing Stories” – one season (March 2020-present)

amazing stories
“Amazing Stories”

Description: “From visionary executive producers Steven Spielberg and Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, this reimagining of the classic anthology series transports everyday characters into worlds of wonder, possibility, and imagination.”

Critic score: 40%

What critics said: “Maybe the show will get better; I hope it does. But with so many shows on so many different platforms right now, it seems like Amazing Stories blew its one chance to make a good first impression.” — IGN (season one)

17. “See” – one season (November 2019-present)

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Jason Momoa in “See.”

Description: “In the far future, a virus has decimated humankind. Those who survived emerged blind. Jason Momoa stars as Baba Voss, the father of twins born centuries later with the mythic ability to see — who must protect his tribe against a powerful yet desperate queen who believes it’s witchcraft and wants them destroyed. Alfre Woodard also stars as Paris, Baba Voss’ spiritual leader.”

Critic score: 43%

What critics said: “As the show leans heavily on gore and predictable plot points, it proves that, at the very least, Apple has figured out the dirty truth of making TV: Even the strongest story pitches can blindly wander into a puddle of mediocrity.” — Washington Post (season one)

16. “The Mosquito Coast” – one season (April 2021-present)

the mosquito coast apple
Justin Theroux in “The Mosquito Coast.”

Description: “A brilliant rebel (Justin Theroux) and his wife (Melissa George) take their family on the run to protect them, but end up exposing them to more danger than ever. At every turn of their adventure, they encounter increasing threats and intensifying moral choices from which there’s no turning back.”

Critic score: 60%

What critics said: “The Mosquito Coast works best when you just follow along with the running and don’t think too hard about the rest, but the running itself becomes tedious after awhile. Not everything makes perfect sense, or seems remotely plausible.” — Los Angeles Times (season one)

15. “The Morning Show” – one season (November 2019-present)

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Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in “The Morning Show.”

Description: “What happens when the people you trust to tell the truth prove themselves to be dishonest? The Morning Show follows the free fall of an early morning newscast in the wake of a scandal, and its struggle to survive in an era when news arrives in the palm of your hand. The Morning Show stars Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon, Emmy winner Jennifer Aniston and Golden Globe winner Steve Carell in a high-stakes drama that pulls back the curtain on the morning news.”

Critic score: 61%

What critics said: “Sadly, by its finale, The Morning Show is less addictive train wreck than glum clunker, symptomatic of peak TV: it’s yet another lacquered, poorly structured ten-episode story, whose sparks are dampened as it becomes more earnest.” — New Yorker (season one)

14. “Defending Jacob” – limited series (April 2020)

defending jacob
Chris Evans in “Defending Jacob.”

Description: “In this gripping, character-driven thriller, a shocking crime rocks a small Massachusetts town and one family in particular, forcing an assistant district attorney to choose between his sworn duty to uphold justice and his unconditional love for his son.”

Critic score: 72%

What critics said: “You’ve seen it before, perhaps, but don’t let that stop you. ‘Defending Jacob’ is gripping enough in its own way, despite some of the familiar moves, and the acting is consistently fine.” — Boston Globe

13. “Losing Alice” – one season (January 2021-present)

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Description: “In this internationally acclaimed psychological thriller, Alice is a middle-aged film director who feels lost since raising her family. But a chance meeting with Sophie, a femme-fatale screenwriter, takes Alice on an obsessive journey toward success at any cost.”

Critic score: 76%

Audience score: 78%

What critics said: “An immensely compelling drama, if an overlong one, and a heroine who is, title notwithstanding, anything but lost.” — Wall Street Journal

12. “Little Voice” – one season (July 2020-present)

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Description: “From Emmy Award-winner J.J. Abrams, Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-nominee Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson, Little Voice is a new coming-of-age drama series featuring original music from Sara Bareilles. A love letter to the diverse musicality of New York starring Brittany O’Grady, Sean Teale, Colton Ryan, Shalini Bathina, Kevin Valdez, Phillip Johnson Richardson and Chuck Cooper, Little Voice follows Bess King, a uniquely talented performer struggling to fulfill her dreams while navigating rejection, love, and complicated family issues.”

Critic score: 76%

Audience score: 82%

What critics said: “While it often crosses the line into saccharine, Little Voice is an engine of joy, driven by great music and even catchier, unforgettable characters.” — (season one)

11. “Home Before Dark” – one season (April 2020-present)

home before dark
Brooklynn Prince in “Home Before Dark.”

Description: “A mystery inspired by the reporting of a real nine-year-old journalist. When a young girl and her family move back to the small town her father left behind, her pursuit of the truth leads to the unearthing of a long-buried cold case.”

Critic score: 81%

What critics said: “The main attraction, from start to finish, is the insouciance and conviction that Prince brings to her portrayal of a child who suffers for being an outsider but refuses to give into pressure from family, schoolmates, teachers and police to just go along.” — New York Times (season one)

10. “Servant” – two seasons (November 2019-present)

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Description: “From M. Night Shyamalan, Servant follows a Philadelphia couple in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home.”

Critic score: 85%

What critics said: “Rupert Grint still impresses as Dorothy’s wine-swilling, foul-mouthed brother, Julian (wash your mouth out, Ron Weasley!). And Ambrose releases the throttle fully for a performance of even more delicious derangement.” — Empire Magazine (season two)

9. “For All Mankind” – two seasons (November 2019-present)

for all mankind
Joel Kinnaman in “For All Mankind.”

Description: “For All Mankind is created by Emmy Award winner Ronald D. Moore (Outlander, Battlestar Galactica), Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi. Told through the lives of NASA astronauts, engineers and their families, For All Mankind presents an aspirational world where NASA and the space program remained a priority and a focal point of our hopes and dreams.”

Critic score: 86%

What critics said: “Its bona fides stem from many corners — terrific production design, visual effects that might be TV’s best, stellar performances from a beautifully chosen ensemble cast — but its overall quality can also be traced back to its showrunner Ronald D. Moore.” — Vox (season two)

8. “Dickinson” – two seasons (November 2019-present)

Hailee Steinfeld in “Dickinson.”

Description: “Dickinson is a half-hour comedy series starring Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld. Created by Alena Smith, Dickinson audaciously explores the constraints of society, gender and family from the perspective of rebellious young poet Emily Dickinson.”

Critic score: 87%

Audience score: 86%

What critics said: “It is imperfect and strange and easy to love. Sometimes the ride is bumpy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth taking the trip.” — Indiewire (season two)

7. “Trying” – one season (May 2020-present)

trying apple tv

Description: “All Nikki (Esther Smith) and Jason (Rafe Spall) want is a baby—but it’s the one thing they just can’t have. How are they going to fill the next 50 years if they can’t start a family? They already went through The Sopranos in a weekend. After ruling out every other option, Nikki and Jason decide to adopt and are confronted by a world of bewildering new challenges. With their dysfunctional friends, screwball family, and chaotic lives, will the adoption panel agree that they’re ready to be parents?”

Critic score: 87%

Audience score: 92%

What critics said: “At its best, Trying candidly lays bare the emotional filigree of failing to conceive a child and choosing to devote your life to a tiny stranger. At its worst, it yokes us to two unlikeable people who grind you down with their endless neuroses.” — Hollywood Reporter (season one)

6. “Ted Lasso” – one season (August 2020-present)

ted lasso apple

Description: “Jason Sudeikis plays Ted Lasso, a small-time college football coach from Kansas hired to coach a professional soccer team in England, despite having no experience coaching soccer.”

Critic score: 91%

What critics said: “On Ted Lasso, American innocence, humility, and heroism are all alive and well-and you don’t have to consciously notice any of that for it to bring you comfort.” — Slate (season one)

5. “Calls” – one season (March 2021-present)

calls apple

Description: “Based on the buzzy French series of the same name, Calls is a groundbreaking immersive television experience that masterfully uses only audio and minimal abstract visuals to tell bone-chilling snackable stories. Launching in a binge model worldwide, all nine 12-minute episodes are told through a series of phone calls that use sharp writing, compelling voice talent and graphics to aid in transcribing the darkly dramatic conversations onto the screen. These relatable scenarios transport the audience into familiar situations that quickly become surreal with thrilling and frightening moments. Featuring Lily Collins, Rosario Dawson, Mark Duplass & more, Calls proves that the real terror lies in one’s interpretation of what they cannot see on the screen and the unsettling places one’s imagination can take them.”

Critic score: 93%

What critics said: “While the audio is the focus of the production, what’s intriguing about this otherwise good-but-not-great story is that it has some of the charm and simplicity of audio-only storytelling, with some of the advantages of visual cues.” — NPR (season one)

4. “Central Park” – one season (July 2020-present)

central park apple tv

Description: “Central Park is an animated musical comedy from Emmy Award-winner Loren Bouchard (Bob’s Burgers) that follows the exploits of a family living in the world’s most famous park. The series voice cast includes Josh Gad, Leslie Odom, Jr., Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs, and Stanley Tucci.”

Critic score: 94%

Audience score: 71%

What critics said: “Public parks are the pressure valves of any major metropolis … That sense of civic pride suffuses Central Park, a delightful animated comedy created by Bob’s Burgers team Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith with Josh Gad.” — Time (season one)

3. “Tehran” – one season (September 2020-present)

tehran apple

Description: “A new espionage thriller from Fauda writer Moshe Zonder that tells the thrilling story of a Mossad agent who goes deep undercover on a dangerous mission in Tehran that places her and everyone around her in dire jeopardy.” 

Critic score: 94%

Audience score: 77%

What critics said: “While it would’ve benefited from sharper storytelling and editing, Tehran still manages to pull off the daunting task of telling personal stories while looking at the long history of political tensions between two nations.” — AV Club

2. “Little America” – one season (January 2020-present)

little america
Conphidance in “Little America.”

Description: “Inspired by the true stories featured in Epic Magazine, Little America goes beyond the headlines to bring to life the funny, romantic, heartfelt and surprising stories of immigrants in America. The first season consists of eight half-hour episodes, each with its own unique story from different parts of the world.”

Critic score: 95%

What critics said: “Its ambitions aren’t flashy, but Little America leads with a clear investment in the kinds of people often relegated to the background of other shows. It’s a smart, empathetic choice.” — The Atlantic (season one)

1. “Mythic Quest” – two seasons (February 2020-present)

mythic quest apple

Description: “With the quarantine finally over, the new season of Mythic Quest finds everyone back in the office (well, almost everyone), attempting to build upon the success of Raven’s Banquet by launching an epic new expansion, but Ian (Rob McElhenney) and the newly promoted co-creative director, Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao), struggle with the game’s direction. Meanwhile, C.W. (F. Murray Abraham) reconciles some unresolved issues from his past, the testers (Ashly Burch and Imani Hakim) test the bounds of an office romance, and David (David Hornsby) loses yet another woman in his life as Jo (Jessie Ennis) leaves him to assist Brad (Danny Pudi).”

Critic score: 97%

What critics said: “Mythic Quest continues to level up in Season Two, even with the characters all back in the office together. It’s now a consistently funny show, on top of an emotionally effective one.” — Rolling Stone (season two)

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Oprah and Prince Harry’s new docuseries, ‘The Me You Can’t See,’ explores mental health issues – here’s how to watch on Apple TV Plus

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  • Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry have teamed up to produce a docuseries called “The Me You Can’t See.”
  • The show focuses on topics related to emotional well-being and mental health.
  • “The Me You Can’t See” debuts May 21 on Apple TV Plus ($5/month).

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One year after leaving his royal duties behind, Prince Harry is taking on a producer role in a new docuseries called “The Me You Can’t See.” You can stream the show via Apple TV Plus starting May 21.

“The Me You Can’t See” is co-created and executive produced by Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey. The series will explore stories centered around emotional well-being and mental health, according to an Apple TV Plus press release.

Oprah and Prince Harry will steer discussions about mental health with guests from varied backgrounds, including music icon Lady Gaga, NBA players DeMar DeRozan and Langston Galloway, popular chef Rashad Armstead, and more. Emmy nominee Dawn Porter and Academy Award-winner Asif Kapadia serve as directors for the series.

How to watch ‘The Me You Can’t See’ with Oprah and Prince Harry

“The Me You Can’t See” premieres May 21 on Apple TV Plus. It’s unclear if the multi-part series will debut all at once or if episodes will be added weekly.

Apple TV Plus costs $5 a month and new members get a free a seven-day trial. Apple is also offering a promotion that gives anyone who’s recently purchased a new Apple device a free one-year subscription to Apple TV Plus. The deal is only good if you redeem your free subscription within 90 days of your device purchase.

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You can also try out Apple TV Plus as part of an Apple One plan. Apple One is Apple’s bundle of services with Apple Music, iCloud, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV Plus.

Apple One‘s base plan costs $15 a month and includes 50GB of iCloud storage. Other plans include more iCloud storage. For $30 a month, you can get Apple News Plus and Apple Fitness Plus, too.

Any Apple TV Plus plan will let you watch the series alongside other Oprah-centric shows including “The Oprah Conversation,” “Oprah’s Book Club,” and “Oprah Talks COVID-19.”

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How to cancel an Apple One subscription once you’re done with the bundled subscription service

Apple One on Apple Devices
Though Apple One is a great option for bundling your subscriptions, it can easily be cancelled.

  • You can cancel an Apple One subscription through your Apple ID’s “Subscriptions” page.
  • When you cancel Apple One, you can choose whether to cancel everything or keep certain subscriptions.
  • Apple One can be cancelled from your Mac, iPhone, or iPad – you just need to be logged into your Apple ID.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

The Apple One bundle can combine up to six of its services into one subscription, and give you a discounted price on all of them. This allows you to subscribe to Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, and iCloud, plus you can get Apple News Plus and Apple Fitness Plus with the Premier plan. Apple also offers a free month to try the bundle.

If you want to cancel Apple One during the free trial, or after the full subscription has begun, you need to know how. Fortunately, you can cancel through any device that lets you access your Apple ID Subscriptions page.

How to sign up for Apple One, Apple’s bundled subscription service for music, TV, and moreWhat is Apple One? Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s subscription service bundle‘Why is Apple Music not playing?’: 4 ways to fix your Apple Music app if it won’t play musicHow to listen to audio news stories on your iPhone’s Apple News+ service

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‘Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry’ focuses on the pop star’s rise to fame – here’s how to watch the documentary on Apple TV Plus

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Billie Eilish
  • “The World’s a Little Blurry” is a new documentary that examines the life of pop star Billie Eilish.
  • You can stream the movie with an Apple TV Plus subscription starting February 26.
  • To celebrate the release, a live event will stream for free via Apple TV and YouTube on February 25.

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Before she rose to stardom, Billie Eilish began her career by releasing songs with her brother on the internet. Just a few short years later, she’s become one of the music industry’s biggest stars, and even took home the 2020 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. 

The World’s a Little Blurry,” a new documentary airing on Apple TV Plus, will cover the musician’s path to becoming a pop star. Fans will get a look at Eilish’s family life and her preparation for her debut LP “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

Leading up to the movie’s premiere on Friday, fans can catch a live streaming event hosted by DJ Zane Lowe on February 25, complete with a performance and interview with Eilish. Here’s how you can tune in to learn more about the life and career of Billie Eilish.

How to watch ‘Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry’

“Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry” will debut on Apple TV Plus on February 26. Prior to the premiere, a live performance and interview will be streamed at 9 p.m. ET on February 25. You can watch the live event for free on Apple TV, Billie Eilish’s YouTube channel, and Apple Music. All of the streaming services offer free versions of their respective apps for iOS, Android, and smart devices.

After the live event wraps up, the documentary will become available to Apple TV Plus subscribers to watch on demand.

How to sign up for Apple TV Plus

Apple TV Plus costs $5 a month, and new members can receive a free seven-day trial. The Apple TV Plus app is available on Apple devices, most smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV devices, Roku devices, Chromecast, Xbox, and Playstation. 

If you have recently bought a new iPhone or Macbook, or plan to buy a new Apple device, Apple is giving away one year of Apple TV Plus for free with qualified purchases. Aside from the new Billie Eilish documentary, Apple TV Plus features a growing selection of original programs, such as “The Morning Show,” “Central Park,” and “Beastie Boys Story.” 

Students can save even more on Apple TV Plus if they sign up for an account with Apple Music. If you go to a college or university, you’re able to score the music streaming service for $5 per month. In addition to Apple Music, Apple will toss in access to Apple TV Plus for free.

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What is Apple One? Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s subscription service bundle

exercise at home tv fitness
Apple One bundles all your Apple subscriptions, like Apple Fitness Plus, into one package.

Apple One is a single monthly subscription bundle of the company’s popular services.

If you sign up for Apple One, you’ll get Apple Music and Apple TV Plus for streaming, Apple Arcade for gaming, and iCloud for storage. If you opt for the Premier plan, you’ll also get Apple Fitness Plus and Apple News Plus.

The idea is that subscribing to Apple One gives you more for less money. For example, an Apple Music plan is $9.99 a month on its own, but the lowest tier of Apple One (with Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade and 50 GB of iCloud storage) is $14.95 a month. If it’ll save you money, the company’s devices will recommend an Apple One plan when signing up for a second individual service.

You can sign up for Apple One on your iPhone, Mac computer, or iPad, but once you sign up, you’ll be able to access them across your devices. There are several plans depending on what you need.

What to know about Apple One plans

Apple One offers three plans:

  • Individual plan ($14.95 per month): You’ll have Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, and 50 GB of iCloud storage. As its name implies, the plan is suited for a single person.
  • Family plan ($19.95 per month): You’ll have all the same services as the individual plan, 200 GB of iCloud Storage, and the ability to share your plan with up to five other people. That’s enough for you, your spouse, kids, and grandma, too.
  • Premier plan ($29.95 per month): The top-tier plan gives you the same services as the family and individual plans, 2 TB of iCloud Storage, Apple Fitness Plus and Apple News Plus. You can share this plan with up to five other people. If you’re an avid runner, have a family and thousands of files, this plan will suit you.

Pick a plan based on whatever your needs are – you can always upgrade or downgrade your plan later if those needs change. 

Remember, any services you aren’t paying for are free the first month of your Apple One plan.

Ways to sign up for Apple One plans

You can sign up for Apple One on your Mac computer, iPhone, or iPad. To get started, you’ll likely need to update your software. On your desktop, go to “System Preferences” and then “Software Update.” Mobile device users can find “Software Update” under Settings.

You can search for Apple One on your iPad or iPhone, or go to your device’s settings. Tap “Account” and then “Manage Subscriptions.” 

See our step-by-step guide on how to sign up for Apple One for more information.

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