Apple TV+ burst onto our screens and into the streaming wars in late 2019, with an array of original content. They’ve been met with mixed reviews – some have been nominated for Golden Globe’s (The Morning Show) and some have definitely not (Jason Momoa’s See). But nonetheless, the tech giant has delivered a stack of new original content ($6 billion worth, in fact) for our viewing pleasure, and there’s bound to be something for everyone. Canstar Blue has rounded up some of the best shows currently on offer to take away the difficulty of Friday night decision-making.
Best original shows on Apple TV+
Here is a list of the best original shows streaming on Apple TV+ (in our opinion, anyway):
- Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet
- Amazing Stories
- Defending Jacob
- Little America
- Visible: Out On Television
British comedy is coming to Apple TV + (honestly, thank god), and it’s looking like a good one. Trying follows the story of a 30-something couple, Nikki (Esther Smith) and Jason (Rafe Spall) who both want a baby but must pursue adoption after finding out they are infertile. The two have always attracted chaos, but they’re forced to grow up (and hide their dysfunctional friends and family) when they need to win over the adoption agency. The series, which is written by comedian Andy Wolton, is the first original series from the UK to debut on Apple TV+, and is a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet
Fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia listen up. Funny boys Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day are back, alongside Sunny writer Megan Ganz, as co-creators of a new comedy for Apple TV+, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet. If that title has you scratching your head, you’re not alone. McElhenney stars as Ian, the owner of a successful video game company, who hits it big time with the success of his video game ‘Mythic Quest’. Ian and his strange team of staff had one goal: to make Mythic Quest the most popular game in the world. But as it turns out, staying on top is harder than getting there.
If you remember the 1985 Amazing Stories from Steven Spielberg, you’ll be pleased to hear that a remake has arrived on Apple TV+. The anthology series features new characters and actors each episode, from Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf) to Victoria Pedretti (You) and has some massive names in the form of producers attached to the project, including Lost and Once Upon a Time duo Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, as well as Spielberg himself. Worth checking out, especially if you were a fan of the OG.
If I was on trial for murder, having Chris Evans/Captain America helping to clear my name would probably be the only thing keeping me sane. And that is pretty much what’s going on in Defending Jacob, the new legal thriller that may just be Apple TV +’s breakout show. Based on the novel by William Landay of the same name, Defending Jacob stars Evans and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery as parents to 14-year-old Jacob. He’s just an ordinary kid — except he’s been accused of murdering his classmate, and Evans will stop at nothing to clear his name.
If you’re ready to feel all the feels, Apple TV+’s surprise hit Little America is for you. The eight-episode anthology series documents the lives of immigrants in the United States – all of which are inspired by the true stories featured in Epic Magazine. Each episode is a different story, but all ‘characters’ are bound by the same thing – they know what it’s like to live in the U.S. looking, sounding and feeling different to the majority around them.
From executive producers Lee Eisenburg (The Office), Alan Yang (Master of None) and power couple and Academy Award nominees for The Big Sick Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the show was bound to be a success from the start. But, despite this, Little America almost didn’t get made – producer Nanjiani stated that a lot of services turned the show down. “I think people are still nervous to make shows that star people who aren’t mainstream celebrities in America,” he said. Luckily Apple TV+ picked it up – because it’s one of the best.
Visible: Out on Television
It has taken years of fight and struggle to achieve even the level of LGBTQ+ representation on television that we have today – so it’s easy to forget that the road to visibility has been windy, and very recent. To put it in perspective, it’s only been 22 years since Ellen DeGeneres’s character in Ellen came out as gay – becoming one of the first shows in the U.S. with a main character to do so. Events like these and more are explored in Visible: Out on Television, a five-part documentary series which follows the milestones and breakthrough for LGBTQ+ visibility both on and off screen in the film and television industry.
The five-part series features an array of recognisable narrators, all of whom are members of the LGBTQ+ community, such as Janet Mock (POSE), Margaret Cho, Asia Kate Dillon (portrayed the first non-binary character on mainstream American television in Billions), Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Waithe. From Emmy-nominated filmmakers Ryan White and Jessica Hargrave, and executive producers Wanda Sykes and Wilson Cruz, the series intertwines never-before-seen interviews with DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Billy Porter, Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, Sara Ramirez, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and more.
Emily Dickinson’s life has been well documented throughout Hollywood, but none as weird, wild and queer as Apple TV+’s Hailee Steinfeld version – and the people are loving it. Dickinson follows Emily Dickinson in her teenage years (Steinfeld) as she struggles to follow her dream of becoming a poet in a world (1850s Massachusetts, to be exact) that frowns upon female writers. She also has no intention of marrying – she’s Jo March of Little Women, made millennial. And actually, that’s pretty much the whole vibe they take and use throughout the entire series. Dickinson is a strange blend of old and new – people are dying early from lack of medicine and there’s no electricity, but the teenagers are twerking to trap music at parties and calling each other “dude”. It’s bizarre, but surprisingly, it works.
Night Shyamalan is known for his creepy movies, and his television show Servant which he produced alongside Tony Basgallop (who also wrote the script), is no different. The show follows a successful and wealthy couple, Dorothy and Sean, who are mourning the loss of their baby Jericho, who died at 13 weeks. As part of Dorothy’s therapy, and to help her heal from her psychotic breakdown, the couple replaces Jericho with a doll – and Dorothy continues to act as if he is real (Sean, on the other hand, is seen picking the ‘baby’ up by its feet and flinging it into the cot).
Dorothy hires a nanny for ‘Jericho’, the 18-year-old Leanne, who picks up the duties almost too suspiciously. Other things start going wrong too – like splinters appearing all over Sean’s little body after he wrongs her, children she crosses going into anaphylactic shock, oh and, the baby comes back to life?! We’re going to leave you with that, because that’s enough to take in for one day.
Apple TV+ is still finding its footing, so here’s hoping there’ll be more fantastic shows making their way to our screens soon! Don’t have Apple TV+? Sign up for a seven day free trial to see if the above shows take your fancy.
Offer: Free Apple TV+ with new iPhones
Apple is clearly keen to get new customers hooked on Apple TV+ with its generous offer to new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV or Mac owners — you’ll get one year of Apple TV+ free with a new eligible device. You don’t have to buy through Apple either, with any device bought from authorised reseller also eligible for this offer.
The following table shows a selection of 24-month 64GB Apple iPhone 11 Pro plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wide range of telco providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.
Photo credit: Denys Prykhodov/shutterstock.com, Apple TV+