This is the time of year when I’m ready to settle in front of the telly and catch up with all the series and movies that I’ve missed over the busy summer Awards season. I love my job and see as much live entertainment as I can manage, but I relish the opportunity to take up residence on the sofa for several hours at a time and binge-watch my favourite television programmes. So, when something appears to take its place alongside my favourite reruns of Fleabag, Killing Eve (series one) and the upcoming season three of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, it’s time to get properly excited.
I was lucky enough to be invited by WFTV to a special screening of The Morning Show and see (not meet – their appearance was fleeting) executive producers and co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Reece Witherspoon in all their Hollywood glory on a stage just a few feet in front of me. Part of me wanted not to be annoyingly starstruck or impressed by their new television series, but the clever team who have used it to spearhead the launch of the new Apple TV+ service have nailed it.
I loved it. We were shown episode one and then treated to a brilliant Q&A with The Morning Show’s executive producers Mimi Leder, (ER, Nashville, The West Wing, LA Law) and Michael Ellenberg (The Leftovers, Prometheus, Robin Hood). They both readily cited their influences as being other iconic shows and movies set in the broadcast world such as The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998), Network (1976) and Broadcast News (1987) all of which I had mentally referenced. I’m already hooked and three episodes in.
The Morning Show is an expose of the crazy twilight world of early morning television news starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carrell. Alex Levy (Aniston) anchors a popular American breakfast show and wakes up one morning to discover that her television husband and co-host of 15 years Mitch Kessler (Carell) has been fired.
News of a secret internal sexual misconduct investigation implicating Mitch has leaked to the New York Times, and suddenly Alex finds herself vulnerable and dangerously close to being replaced. She has to fight to keep her position as the network bosses circle like sharks and an ambitious new journalist, Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon), challenges her position.
The show is well written, slickly produced and utterly compelling. There’s more than a whiff of the #metoo reality about the plot and, Mimi Leder, who directed the first two episodes, has allowed the horror of the revelation to unfold deftly using the comedic talent of its three leading actors. In the Q&A Leder was quick to point out that “you can’t have tragedy without humour”.
It’s a clever starting point for the tech giant’s new TV subscription service Apple TV+. Featuring original TV series available to stream or download, as well as access to a host of other broadcasters and platforms, the new service costs £4.99 a month, and Apple is offering a year-long free trial to anyone who purchases an Apple device, or a seven-day free trial for anyone who wants to try the service. If you want to watch Apple TV+ and don’t currently have a compatible device or TV, you can buy the Apple TV HD box for £149.00.
All sounds pretty good to me! I’m off to buy that new iPhone I’ve been procrastinating about for the last few weeks and my sofa is looking even more inviting!