The best shows to watch on Apple TV+
Over the past decade, the TV landscape has been revolutionised by streaming. Where once everyone was limited to a handful of channels and had to put up with endless repeats of Last of the Summer Wine, viewers are now faced with a glut of potential streaming services – making it harder than ever to know what to switch on.
Throughout most of the 2010s, Netflix was all but synonymous with the idea of original streaming content. But the past few years have given rise to a number of compelling alternatives, including Disney+, Prime Video, and Apple TV+.
Since its launch in 2019, Apple TV+ has established itself as one of the most reliable emergent streaming services, when it comes to original content. From dramas such as For All Mankind and Pachinko to lighter comic fare like Ted Lasso and Mythic Quest, the streamer has proved that it can more than hold its own against the competition. In 2019, Apple TV+ even became the first streaming service to produce an Oscar Best Picture winner, in the sentimental drama Coda.
And with its television output, Apple has worked with a number of esteemed creatives such as Pablo Larrain and Clio Barnard, as well as some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway and Harrison Ford.
With dozens of past and ongoing TV series in its catalogue, and many more in the pipeline, Apple TV+’s range of options may still be intimidating for new subscribers.
To help you out, The Independent has assembled a list of the very best shows Apple TV+ has to offer.
Here are 15 of our favourite TV series to watch now on Apple TV+...
This chilling corporate satire about work/life balance sees staff at a mysterious company, Lumon, get “severed” – slicing their work selves apart from their home selves so that one part of their consciousness never leaves the office and the other part never goes in. Starring Adam Scott and Patricia Arquette, it’s surreal, blackly comic, beautiful and profound. And the season finale was a nailbiting masterpiece. The first series made it onto our list of the best shows of 2022, which you can read in full here. EH
Jason Sudeikis’s Yank-out-of-water comedy about a belligerently good-natured NFL manager who tries his hand at Premier League football is probably Apple TV+’s most talked about original series. The increasingly indulgent second and third seasons have proved divisive – as have the show’s constant Americanisms and spurious butchering of the beautiful game – but its first season in particular remains a charming, light-hearted endeavour. LC
An ambitious historical epic detailing the lives of four generations of Korean immigrants, Pachinko launched on Apple TV+ in 2021 to universal acclaim. There’s some real talent both behind and in front of the camera: The Terror’s Soo Hugh served as showrunner, while Columbus and After Yang filmmaker Kogonada split directing duties with Justin Chon (Blue Bayou). A second season, currently in development, is likely to be a source of feverish anticipation among fans. LC
Where Sharon Horgan goes, razor-sharp comedy can usually be found. She was already pretty universally adored for her writing on Catastrophe and Motherland, and then the Garvey girls tore onto the scene in Bad Sisters. It follows four Dublin sisters who are conspiring to murder the horrible husband of the remaining, fifth, sister. Horgan, who also stars in it, is terrific, and Eve Hewson is a revelation as plucky youngest sibling Becka. EH
For All Mankind
Everyone knows the USA was the first country to send people to the moon. What this series presupposes is… what if it wasn’t? For All Mankind takes the Space Race as a jumping-off point for a whole alternative history timeline, as a Soviet PR victory causes a butterfly effect that ripples throughout the rest of the century. Solid writing and strong performances from a cast that includes Joel Kinnaman, Jodi Balfour and Wrenn Schmidt make For All Mankind arresting and unusual television. LC
This adaptation of Mick Herron’s Jackson Lamb spy books stars Gary Oldman as the gloriously grumpy intelligence officer. He’s part of the dysfunctional team of British agents who serve in a dumping ground department of MI5 known as Slough House. The show, from Veep and The Thick of It writer Will Smith, is cerebral and full of pitch-black comedy, and for its forthcoming fourth season will welcome Joanna Scanlan to the cast. EH
This half-hour series, set in the offices of a World of Warcraft-esque video game studio, is a robustly enjoyable sitcom created by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia alumni Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Megan Ganz. While it never really comes close to matching Always Sunny’s lightning-in-a-bottle comic brilliance, Mythic Quest shines thanks to Charlotte Nicdao’s turn as the talented but flawed Poppy, whose bristly relationship with the egomaniacal Ian (McElhenney) forms the show’s narrative core. LC
The Morning Show
One of the starriest shows on the platform – and that’s saying something – is this comedy drama that pulls back the curtain on early morning US TV. Massively in its favour are the fizzing performances from Jennifer Aniston, Reece Witherspoon, Steve Carrell and Billy Crudup. The first season was fantastic; the second slightly descended into chaos (plus, it introduced Covid into the storyline, which is always painful). But it was still compulsively watchable. EH
One of Apple TV+’s earliest series is also one of their best: a revisionist comedy-drama about the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson, starring pop musician and True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld. There are plenty of liberties taken with historical fact – here, the young artist is shown to be in love with Sue Gilbert (Ella Hunt), her best friend, who is also engaged to marry Emily’s brother. But Dickinson is an intelligent, imaginative series that seeks to capture its subject in spirit rather than likeness. LC
In this lovely British sitcom, Esther Smith’s Nikki and Rafe Spall’s Jason are “trying” to adopt a child. They’ve attempted to conceive for years, including through IVF, and it hasn’t worked out. While infertility struggles might not exactly sound like ripe territory for comedy, writer Andy Wolton is masterful at unearthing the absurdities within. Worth your time. EH
The Problem with Jon Stewart
Ex-Daily Show comedian Stewart more than proves his chops as a formidable political interviewer in this topical non-fiction series. Every so often, a clip from The Problem will go viral, featuring Stewart holding a politican to account on issues like gun reform, but episodes are worth watching in their entirety: Stewart is a likeable and articulate host, attacking his subjects with a good balance of accessibility and rigour. LC
In Apple’s sunny dramedy Shrinking, Jason Segel plays a therapist whose – to borrow an expression from the writer Georgia Pritchett – mess is a bit of a life. The series co-stars a growling Harrison Ford and a mesmerising Jessica Williams, and it arrived on the platform just weeks before Segel’s best mate Chris O’Dowd’s own midlife crisis show (see next pick) came along, so it certainly seems as though there’s something in the water. EH
The Big Door Prize
Chris O’Dowd is as leggy and affable as ever in this show adapted from the novel by MO Walsh. It’s set in a small town that turns upside down after a strange “Morpho” machine appears in the local store. For the same price as a cup of coffee, the glowing blue object promises to tell people their “true life potential”. Of course, it pretty instantly sends everyone, including O’Dowd’s Dusty, into an existential spiral. EH
There’s not really anything else on television quite like Schmigadoon!. A musical tribute to 1940s and 1950s Hollywood musicals (and a direct parody of Brigadoon), this effervescent show sees Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key stumble upon a town where everyone is all-singin’ and all dancin’... but won’t let them leave. Barry Sonnenfeld, erstwhile Coen brothers cinematographer and director of 1993’s Addams Family Values, directs the entirety of season one. LC
Based on Lauren Beukes’s 2013 novel, this dark mystery sees Mad Men favourite Elisabeth Moss play Kirby, a newspaper researcher who, six years before the series kicks off, survives a viscious attack by a man who was never captured. Determined to find the culprit, she discovers a murder that has a striking resemblance to her own attack, and begins her investigation. As our writer Amanda Whiting put it: “There’s hardly a scene in Shining Girls that doesn’t feature Elisabeth Moss doing something stunning.” EH