Apple TV+

Travel time? Settle for kinda-good

When you’re traveling, ii seems, you might settle for sorta-good.
Things are rarely perfect. In his second season of “The Reluctant Traveler” (which starts March 8 on Apple TV+), Eugene Levy found:
— An island hotel at the northern edge of Germany. The setting was “absolutely gorgeous,”he told the Television Critics Association, but there was a wellness theme. “You couldn’t get a cup of coffee there. You couldn’t get a glass of wine. You have to fast for three days.”
— A Swedish town (shown here), filled with cute buildings, sweet people and “mosquitoes – like a lot of mosquitoes. Like, it was a very thick season for mosquitoes.” Read more…

It’s a fresh burst of British eccentricity

When it comes to comedy, Americans have mastered the middle ground.
We’re the land of Jerry Seinfeld, Neil Simon and Carol Burnett, of “Friends” and “Big Bang” and all the late-night comics. Our huor is quick, slick and consistent.
And what about our former overlords? “In England, there is definitely a distinct sense of humor,” Noel Fielding (shown here) said. “And it’s quite eccentric.”
The latest example is his “The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin,” which debuts Friday (March 1) on Apple TV+. Most people will agree that it’s eccentric; some will feel it’s also funny, in a bizarre, British kind of way. Read more…

Apple — the new HBO? — offers size and spectacle

An old tradition – the Television Critics Association tour – has returned, with a surprise:
For now, it seems, Apple TV+ — with “The New Look” (shown here) and other large mini-series — has become the new HBO.
Certainly, the old HBO is still around and sometimes thriving. “Successiion” has gobbled up all those Emmys and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has returned.
But in the past, HBO led the semi-annual TCA sessions. It delivered the biggest stars (Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, Garth Brooks, Briitney Spears, etc.) and shows (“Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones”). This time? Under new ownership (as part of Warner Bros. Discovery), it didn’t show up. Read more…

For Apple, it’s a double-triumph day

In baseball terms, this is like having Ruth and Gehrig together in the batting order. Or Mantle and Martis. Or Matthews and Aaron.
It’s going from strength to strength. Today (Wednesday, Nov. 8), Apple TV+ has:
— The season-finale of “The Morning Show,” filled with schemes and obstacles.
— The debut of “Buccaneers” (shown here) filled with giddy possibilities. Read more…

“City on Fire” blazes with New York’s newcomers

Blazing through the “City on Fire” mini-series (ahown here) is an eternal notion: Move to New York City; transform your career, your life, your self.
That’s what Mercer, a key characters, tried. He’s from Texas; so is Xavier Clyde, who plays him.
He’s “the dreamer,” Clyde told the Television Critics Association. “He wants to be the next great American novelist and go to New York and make a difference. And I just wanted to live my dream of just doing this (acting) for a living. And to do that in one of the greatest cities in the world.”
Except dreams can evaporate. “City on Fire” opens (Friday, May 12, on Apple TV+) with a shooting; it later peaks with a citywide black-out. Read more…

Reluctantly, he discovered fresh vistas

This is the sort of job many sane folks would cherish.
It’s a travel show to Italy, Costa Rica, Maldeves and more. It “visits some of the world’s most beautiful and intriguing destinations,” said Rita Cooper Lee of Apple TV+.
And it centers on Eugene Levy (shown here) … who says he really didn’t want to go.
“I’m not a great traveler,” Levy told the Television Critics Association. “I don’t have a great sense of adventure. I’m not curious by nature. I’m not proud of any of this, but it’s just a fact.” Which fits “The Reluctant Traveler,” an eight-week debuting Friday (Feb. 24) on Apple. Read more…

Apple’s less-is-more approach brings quality

As Apple TV+ sets its line-up, one thing is clear: The less-is-more approach sort of works.
Other streamers are into more-is-more, the scheme that propelled Netflix. They spend billions and run up huge deficitts, to assemble lots of subscribers worldwide. Various reports put Netflix at 223 million subscribers, Amazon Prime at 200 million, Disney+ at 164 million and HBO Max at 77 million.
By comparison, Apple has fewer viewers (34 million last year) and fewer shows. But many of those shows have made an impact; they’re led by the Emmy-winning “Ted Lasso” and the much-praised “Schmigadoon” (shown here), “Severance” and “The Morning Show.”
Now Apple has announced that “Schmigadoon” will return April 7 and “Lasso” will be back sometime this spring. Meeting with the Television Critics Association, it set these dates: Read more…

It’s handy to have a superstar neighbor

Being nice to your neighbors is always important, we’re told.
But it’s especially important if your neighbor is Hollywood’s all-time box-office champion. That sort of explains why Harrison Ford has a supporting role (ahown here)n in “Shrinking,” the witty new Apple TV+ show.
“Harrison’s my neighbor and so I knew him a little bit …. He’s a good dude,” Bill Lawrence told the Television Critics Association, sounding fairly casual about living near Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Read more…

A “silly” actor conquers a deep, disturbing role

By now, we know Samuel L. Jackosn as a fun guy.
He’s does all those commercials, alone and with Spike Lee and Charles Barkley. He’s Nick Fury in Marvel shows; he hosts award shows for movies, sports and videogames. He does the cartoon voices of a dog, a dinosaur a superhero and more.
So it’s a detour to see him in “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” (shown here), which arrives Friday (March 11) on Apple TV+. Here is Jackson, 73, as a 93-year-old man, clinging to tiny shards of his memory. Was he able to retain his fun side?
“Yeah, I’m not a method actor,” he said. Between scenes, colleagues saw “how silly I can be.” Read more…

Magic’s life will become a streaming series

Magic Johnson’s life is now being turned into a four-part documentary series for Apple TV+.
The announcement was made Thursday, three days before the anniversary of a key day: On Nov. 7, 1991, Johnson (shown here) announced that he had tested positive for HIV.
That was at a time when AIDS was considered a death sentence. Johnson, now 62, threw himself into the newest medical protocols and has thrived for 30 years. Read more…