Netflix, Stan, HBO, Foxtel, Hayu, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Kayo – surely that’s enough? But no, the fight for top dog in the world of streaming is only just starting to heat up, as Apple finally announce that their streaming service ‘Apple TV+’ will be launching on November 1 in over 100 countries, although Aussies will have to tune in on November 2 due to time zones. But for the extra wait, Apple come with $6 billion worth of original content.
We can’t blame ‘em – television streaming is one of the most competitive and money-driven industries in the world, and it’s no secret that original content is a key ingredient in enticing subscribers from other platforms to jump ship. In fact, Originals are what put Netflix on the map –Orange is the New Black has been watched by over 105 million Netflix users and is undoubtedly responsible for the services’ first surge in subscribers.
Despite Netflix’s immense popularity over the past seven-plus years, sharks have been slowly circling – and one of the most powerful is about to attack. As Apple gears up to launch Apple TV+ at the start of November 2019, reports have emerged that the company has spent $6 billion on original content for the service. Most shockingly is Jason Momoa’s new show See, which is costing Apple an estimated $15 million per 60-minute episode, the same as Game of Throne’s budget in Season 8.
However, it’s different for Apple than it is for other first-time streaming platforms. The company certainly isn’t stretched for cash – they carry a net worth of over $210 billion, and as of July 2019, became the first company to be valued at $1 trillion in market capitalization. With money like this, Apple can afford to take gambles with their content, as well as rope in some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
So what original content is going to be on Apple TV+?
So far five official trailers have been released for Apple TV+’s Originals, with all expected right from the get-go on November 2. These include:
For All Mankind
For All Mankind is a science-fiction miniseries created and written by Ronald D. Moore (Star Trek), Matt Wolpert (American Crime Story) and Ben Nedivi (Entourage) set in an alternative history in which the Russians reached the moon before the Americans. The synopsis on Apple reads: “Told through the lives of the 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.”
The Morning Show
Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon co-star and produce The Morning Show (or Morning Wars as it is named in Australia), a 10-epsiode drama which follows the behind-the-scene antics of the cutthroat world of New York breakfast television. The show also stars Steve Carell as Anniston’s co-anchor, who is publically shamed and fired after sexual abuse allegations.
Dubbed by some as “the next Game of Thrones” (questionable, we know) See is a drama series written and produced by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) and stars Jason Momoa. The show follows Earth centuries from now, after a virus wiped out the majority of human life. The people that survived were all stripped of their sight and now live in a world where “vision is a myth”. That is, until Momoa’s character Baba Voss becomes a father to a set of twins – born with sight. Baba must do everything in his power to protect his children and his tribe against a powerful Queen of the land who wants the twins dead.
Dickinson is fresh take on the life of the iconic poet Emily Dickinson, starring Hailee Steinfield. The show has been referred to as a ‘comedy’ and the trailer shows Steinfield playing Dickinson as rebellious, defiant and cheeky – all whilst dealing with social and family pressures and gender equality. Steinfield is shown in the trailer [referring to men] “Maybe they’re scared that if they teach us how the world works, we’ll figure out how to take over.” While the author was known as shy in the 18th century, Dickinson shows her as everything but.
Snoopy in Space
We can’t forget this gem – Snoopy in Space. The much-loved cartoon is back and better than ever as we follow Snoopy the dog and his dreams to become an astronaut. Looking like they’re never going to come true, Snoopy hits the big time when he and Woodstock tag along with the gang on a field trip to NASA and are chosen for a mission into space. This show alone is worth a subscription.
Apple has given the green light to ‘Ted Lasso’, a comedy written, produced and starring funny man and Saturday Night Live alumni Jason Sudeikis. In 2013, Sudeikis’ created the character Ted Lasso for a NBC promotional video for the American network’s coverage of the English Premier League. The four and a half minute video now has over 13 million views on YouTube, and with hundreds of thousands of positive comments from both Americans and the English, it’s easy to see why Apple gave Ted Lasso the go ahead. The show, which was also written by Bill Lawrence (Scrubs), follows Sudeikis as an American football coach who is given the head coach role at an English footie team (in the original promo it was Tottenham Hotspur) despite a complete lack of knowledge on anything bar American football. It seems that Ted will need a lot of help if he wants to see his EPL team succeed. “Ties and no playoffs. Why do you even do this?”
Another show to hit the upcoming catalogue is Ghostwriter, a reboot of the PBS 90’s children show of the same name. However, this time around, instead of Brooklyn kids solving mysteries with their ghost friend, the show is about a haunted bookstore that releases fictional characters into the children’s neighbourhood. The kids have to work with the ‘ghostwriter’ who remains anonymous (for now) to put the characters back inside the book. It’s a bit like Night at the Museum, but all the responsibility falls on the kids, and the ghostwriter.
The Elephant Queen
In a sea of scripted dramas ordered by Apple for its upcoming launch, The Elephant Queen, a nature documentary starring one matriarchal Elephant, Athena, stands out from the herd. The doco was filmed over four years in Kenya, Africa, and is directed by Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone who spent 25 years living in the East African bush. And if you’re thinking that the narrator sounded familiar – yes, that is Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, The Lion King). Throughout the delight that is The Elephant Queen, we follow Athena on her journey leading her family across an “unforgiving, yet cinematic natural landscape made up of grasslands and woodlands, dotted with seasonal waterholes” as they search for food and water in a dry season.
Truth Be Told
At the height of true crime, podcasts and the glorious crossover of the two, comes Truth Be Told starring Octavia Spencer (The Help) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). The series follows Spencer as podcaster Poppy Parnell, who, after new evidence surfaces, is forced to reopen the murder case that she helped solve (and made her a media sensation) 18 years ago. Paul stars as Warren Cave, the convicted murderer of Chuck Buhrman (father of twin girls played both by Lizzie Caplan) who has been sitting in a jail cell for over 18 years, but claims he is innocent. Based on the novel ‘Are You Sleeping’ by Kathleen Barber, Truth Be Told dives into the world of true crime podcasting and the impact of the media in modern day murder cases.
It’s no secret that Apple are pretty passionate about technology. So passionate, in fact, that even their Sesame Street spin-off is about teaching pre-schoolers about computer coding. Yes, you heard us right – The Helpsters follows Cody and his bunch of monster friends (the Helpsters) who love to solve problems (with code). The official Apple description reads, “Whether it’s planning a party, climbing a mountain, or mastering a magic trick, the Helpsters can figure anything out – because everything starts with a plan.” We’re eager to see how this one is received by audiences.
Servant is a psychological thriller created and written by Tony Basgallop who will also executive produce alongside by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Split). The show follows a young couple who recently lost a child and try to replace their pain with a ‘reborn doll’ (aka, the ridiculously lifelike dolls that will cost you anywhere in the region of $6,000 – $10,000 each). Things start to get out of control when the mum returns to work and hires a nanny to look after her ‘baby’ and a “mystery force enters their home”.
Other original shows on their way…
With some great content lined up for November, there is also a large chunk of originals in production for the streaming site. These include:
- The Banker
- Little America
- Little Voice
- Amazing Stories
- Home Before Dark
- Mythic Quest
- A Christmas Carol
- Masters of the Air
- The Sky is Everywhere
- The Mosquito Coast
- Lisey’s Story
How much does Apple TV+ cost?
The streaming site is going to cost you $7.99 per month (which, yes, is cheaper than most). Additionally, any consumer who purchases a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch as of September 10 will receive one year of free Apple TV. If you’ve been saving for a new Apple device – now is the time to buy!