The star-studded Apple TV show lineup is starting to look like it could become a legitimate contender to Netflix and HBO. After going on a Hollywood spending spree in the last eight months, Apple appears poised to make a huge push into original content.
Thanks to its new worldwide video executive team, many of the Apple TV series in development actually look really promising and diverse. From Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories to mysterious new sci-fi series See, Apple’s working on some shows everyone could enjoy.
Check out all the full list of TV series Apple is working on:
Update: We’ve added all the shows we know about heading into Apple’s big March 25 event where it’s expected to finally unveil its TV streaming service.
The TV Shows
One of Apple’s first major projects is rebooting Steven Spielberg’s 1980s TV show Amazing Stories. The sci-fi, fantasy and horror series has been in the works since 2015 at NBC, with Apple purchasing it last year.
Apple’s show will be similar to the original, in that each episode will consist of a self-contained plot and characters. Original showrunner Bryan Fuller reportedly wanted to make the Amazing Stories reboot similar in tone to bleak sci-fi series Black Mirror. Apple wanted a more family-friendly show, so the two sides parted ways. After that, Hart Hanson took over the showrunner role before he left as well.
Spielberg still serves as executive producer on the project. The show promises to bring viewers “worlds of wonder through the lens of today’s most imaginative filmmakers, directors and writers.”
Morning Talk Show
Sounds like: The Office mixed with Anchorman.
Apple is making a big investment in Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine. The iPhone-maker has three shows in the works that are being produced by Witherspoon. First up: A comedy starring Witherspoon and Jennifer Anniston that sounds kind of like The Office or Parks and Rec — except it takes place at a morning TV talk show.
Apple already purchased two seasons (with a total of 20 episodes). However, the production is off to a rocky start. Creator and showrunner Jay Carson recently departed the project over creative differences. A search for his replacement is still underway.
You Think It, I’ll Say It
Sounds like: Master of None, only take out the cooking part and add a female lead.
Kristen Wiig is coming back to TV thanks to Apple. In her first TV show since leaving Saturday Night Live, Wiig is set to star in a new comedy series created by Reese Witherspoon’s production company.
The show is based on Curtis Sittenfeld’s short story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It. Even though the show will be a comedy, it sounds like it will tackle some series issues. The book is described as one that “upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided.” The first season will consist of 10 half-hour episodes.
Update: Wiig has reportedly dropped out of the comedy due to scheduling conflicts with her filming for Wonder Woman 1984. A replacement for the lead role hasn’t been revealed yet but Wiig will stay on as an executive producer.
Are You Sleeping
Sounds like: The Good Wife with a podcasting murder-mystery twist.
Reese Witherspoon’s third show in development with Apple will star Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer in an adaptation of the true crime best-selling book “Are You Sleeping” by Kathleen Barber.
We don’t know a lot about it, except that the adaptation is being written by Nichelle D. Tramble, whose credits include The Good Wife and Justified. The show will be about a podcast team that reopens a long-closed murder case that affects the staffers’ lives, too. It sounds a lot like a TV version of NPR’s Serial podcast, only with more drama.
Sounds like: Fresh Off the Boat mixed with some Atlanta style.
Immigration will take center stage in one of Apple’s most original comedies called Little America. It’s being written by Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani and his partner, Emily V. Gordon. The duo wrote the 2017 indie hit Big Sick together.
Little America is described as “a small, collective portrait of America’s immigrants — and thereby a portrait of America itself.” Considering Nanjiani and Gordon’s previous work, the series probably will deliver lots of laughs as well as touching dramatic moments.
Lee Eisenberg will serve as showrunner and will help write the show with Godron and Najiani. Master of None co-creator/executive producer Alan Yang is set to join the project as executive producer with Universal Television.
Sounds like: A bad ass sci-fi space opera.
Apple tapped Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight to create one of its most ambitious shows. We know the series name — See — but details beyond that remain slim. See is described as an epic world-building drama set in the future. That’s pretty much all we know for now, other than that it’s being directed by Francis Lawrence of The Hunger Games fame.
Game of Thrones and current Aquaman actor Jason Momoa is set to play the lead role of Baba Voss, described by trade magazine Variety as, “a fearless warrior, leader and guardian.” So a totally different type of role for Momoa, then!
Sounds like: Game of Thrones only it’s in space and the scale is even bigger.
Isaac Asimov’s sci-fi trilogy Foundation is finally getting the TV series it deserves. Apple media boss Eddy Cue previously said the company wants a show as big as Game of Thrones — this could be it.
The trilogy centers on a galactic empire of humans living on multiple planets across the galaxy. If the concept of Foundation sounds a bit like Star Wars to you, that’s because it was one of the biggest inspirations behind George Lucas’ sci-fi fairy tale set in a galaxy far far away.
The story’s protagonist possesses the ability to see the future and the empire’s upcoming demise. He sets out to save all of mankind’s knowledge from being wiped out. The Dark Knight writer David S. Goyer is set to lead the project.
This isn’t the first time someone’s tried to turn Foundation into a TV show, so don’t get your hopes up too high. Jonathan Nolan wanted to make it into an HBO series back in 2014, but created the cable network’s Westworld reboot instead.
Sounds like: It won’t be as good as Rick and Morty.
New York City’s Central Park provides the setting of Apple’s first animated music comedy. Central Park is being produced by Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard and actor Josh Gad.
Apple describes the show as “a family of caretakers, who live and work in Central Park, end up saving the park, and basically the world.”
Cupertino already ordered two seasons consisting of 13 episodes each. Central Park will bring some A-list voice actors to the cast. Gad, Kristen Bell, Titus Burgess, Stanley Tucci, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs and Kathryn Hahn all signed on to the project.
Sounds like: Friday Night Lights focused on basketball.
The early life of NBA star Kevin Durant provides the inspiration for Apple’s first sports-focused show. Swagger will explore the world of Amateur Athletic Union basketball and the players, coaches and family members involved with it.
The series sounds similar to Friday Night Lights, only with basketball as the lens to view its characters’ lives through. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer — the same producers that made Friday Night Lights a hit — will produce the series.
For All Mankind
Genre: Sci-fi drama
Sounds like: The Man in the High Castle, only U.S.A and Russia won WWII but never ended the space race.
A futuristic world where the space race between the United States and Russia never ended will serve as the setting for an Apple sci-fi epic created by Ronald D. Moore.
Moore, who helped create the amazing Battlestar Galactica reboot, created the series, titled For All Mankind, and served as lead writer. Apple brought on Fargo co-executive producers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi to help produce the show, too.
Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman and Sarah Jones will star in lead roles. Kinnaman, who previously appeared in the RoboCop reboot and Netflix’s Altered Carbon, will play Edward Baldwin, one of NASA’s top astronauts. Dorman (who starred in Amazon’s Patriots) and Jones (USA Network’s Western drama Damnation) will play Gordo and Tracy Stevens, a prominent NASA couple.
Update: Filming on the first episode of the project has reportedly finished. For All Mankind will likely be among the first few shows that Apple releases.
Untitled M. Night Shyamalan series
Sounds like: Something strange.
Shyamalan inked a deal to executive-produce a new TV show for Apple that’s being described as a psychological thriller. All other details remain tightly under wraps. The show is being written by Tony Basgallop, with Shyamalan set to direct the first episode. So far, Apple ordered one season of 10 episodes, each about a half-hour in length.
Untitled Damien Chazelle series
Sounds like: A total mystery.
Academy Award-winning writer/director Damien Chazelle has also been tapped by Apple to create a mysterious new original TV show. Chazelle’s deal with Apple came a year after his film La La Land scored six Oscars, including Best Director and Best Screenplay for Chazelle.
Each episode will be written and directed by Chazelle, who is also listed as an executive producer on the project. No actors have signed to star in the series yet, but we’re sure to hear more about the cast as the project develops.
Genre: Family reality show
Sounds like: The Apple edition of Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous
The most extravagant homes in the world will be on display for Apple’s first lifestyle TV show. The new docuseries, called Homes, will explore some of the most fabulous abodes in the world, along with the minds that made them. Think Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous only with more of a focus on design. Hopefully, they get Jony Ive to narrate.
Sounds like: Glee only not as lame
J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareilles teamed up to executive-produce this musical dramedy. With Jessie Nelson of I Am Sam fame serving as showrunner, the series is described as a love letter to the diverse musicality of New York. It will explore the universal journey of finding your authentic voice in your early 20s.
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends
Sounds like: A modern TV show version of Steel Magnolias
Jennifer Garner and J.J. Abrams are finally getting back together to create an all-new TV show. The new TV show will be based off the memoir “My Glory Was I Had Such Friends,” written by Amy Silverstein. Garner will play a woman supported by her group of friends as she awaits a second life-saving heart transplant.
Abram’s production company Bad Robot signed a deal with Apple for a straight-to-order series that will have Garner in the lead role. The two haven’t partnered together on a TV show or movie since Alias came to an end in 2006.
Sounds like: 21st-century feminist comedy with 19th-century flair.
American poet Emily Dickinson and the constraints of society on gender and family in the 19th century will serve as the inspiration behind this Apple comedy series. The half-hour show stars Hailee Steinfeld as Dickinson, a writer who examines her out-of-place role in society with modern sensibilities.
David Gordon Green of Pineapple Express and Vice Principals is set to direct and executive-produce along with Michael Sugar and Ashley Zalta from Sugar23 Productions. Alex Goldstone and Darlene Hunt produce for Anonymous Content.
Sounds like: Slumdog Millionaire without the game show.
Shantaram will be based on the best-selling novel of the same name that has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide. It tells the story of an Australian prisoner on the run named Lin who tries to get lost in the city of Bombay. He then finds a new life in the slums and underworld of India.
American Hustle writer Eric Warren Singer will write and executive-produce the series. (Singer also wrote the screenplay for the upcoming Top Gun sequel.)
Jonny Depp bought the rights to the novel, with Warner Bros. developing it as a movie. Joel Edgerton was attached to star but the project got canceled. Currently, no actors have signed on to the project that we’re aware of.
Sounds Like: Fievel Goes West only with humans and its set in Korea.
Apple secured the rights to create a TV series based on Pachinko, a best-selling book about a Korean family written by Min Jin Lee.
The iBooks review of Pachinko says the novels follow one family for over half a century, “tracking their winding course from a seaside village in occupied Korea to gambling halls in Japan.”
Min Jin Lee will serve as one of the executive producers with Soo Hugh, serving as showrunner. She previously was showrunner for the first season of The Terror,and created The Whisperers.
Genre: Dark Comedy
Sounds Like: A TV version of the 80’s movie Time Bandits
Terry Gilliam’s fantasy film Time Bandits is set to be turned into a TV series by Apple.
Written and directed by Terry Gilliam, Time Bandits is a follows a young boy who accidentally joins a band of time-traveling dwarves that jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal. They travel to the Napoleonic times, Middle Ages, the early 1900s, the time of Legends and the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness where they confront Evil.
The series will be developed as a co-production between Anonymous Content, Paramount Television and Media Rights Capital. While Gilliam won’t write for the series, he will serve as an executive producer.
Video Game Developer Comedy
Sounds Like: The Office mixed with a little It’s Always Sunny In Philedelphia.
From the minds of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, one of Apple’s most ambitious comedies is set to take place at a video game development studio.
The show — currently unnamed — will star Rob McElhenney, who will also co-write along with Charlie Day. Insiders have described the comedy as “cutting edge” saying that it will “explore the intricacies of the human condition through hilarious and innovative ways.” Game-developer Ubisoft is serving as one of the producers. McElhenney and Day won’t have to submit a pilot episode. Apple has reportedly approved the show to go straight into production.
Sounds Like: Twilight Zone meets Black Mirror only weirder.
One of Apple’s most curious TV projects is English language adaptation of Calls, a highly experimental French short-form series that tells short stories through real-life audio sources and minimal visuals.
Calls will be co-produced by Canal+, making this Apple’s first international co-production. Frankly, we have no idea what this will be about, but it certainly shows that Apple is willing to experiment. On IMDB, the original French series is described as being a mystery horror series.
Hilde Cracks the Case
Sounds Like: Nancy Drew set in 2018.
Even though still a pre-teen, Hilde Lysiak wanted to be a reporter, and started her own newspaper in Selinsgrove, PA, the Orange Street News. She was serious enough about it to dig into a cold-case murder and ended up solving the crime.
Apple has subsequently bought the TV rights to her story and plans to turn it into a 10 episode TV series. The TV show is being created by Dana Fox and Dara Resnik, best known for Daredevil. The director will be Jon M. Chu. Apple didn’t require a pilot for the show, signing off on just the proposal.
Coming of Age in the CIA
Sounds like: Alias without the gimmicks.
Brie Larson will both star and executive produce the spy drama series that’s based on the novel “Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA,” by Amaryllis Fox. The memoir is based on Fox’s real-life experiences as an undercover operative. Using the prism of the agents closest relationships, the series will give an inside look at the young woman’s journey through the CIA.
Peanuts TV shows
Sounds like: The Peanuts gang are coming to Apple TV.
DHX Media will develop and produce original programs, including new series, specials and shorts based on the beloved characters created by Charles M. Schultz. Among the projects in development is an original short-form STEM content featuring Snoopy as an astronaut.
Sounds like: ????
Chris Evans will star in and executive-produce Defending Jacob, a limited series based on the best-selling novel from 2012. It follows the story of a father whose teenage son is accused of murder. This will be Evans’ first non-movie role since he starred in the Opposite Sex miniseries way back in 2000. It is being directed by Morten Tyldum, who previously directed The Imitation Game and the sci-fi movie Passengers.
Oprah TV shows
Sounds like: Oprah
Apple signed media superstar Oprah Winfrey to a multi-year deal that will allow the “Queen of All Media” to whip up her own original shows. Winfrey’s deal “includes everything from film, TV, applications, books and other content that could easily be distributed on Apple’s all-encompassing platform. The deal does not include podcasts, as Winfrey has her own platform for that.
Sounds like: The nightmare version of Planet Earth
The TV series will be based on Nathaniel Rich’s New York Times Sunday Magazine story entitled “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change.” The company Anonymous Content will produce the series about a group of scientists, activist, and politicians who try to stop climate change over a 10-year-period, according to a story published today by The Hollywood Reporter.
Rich has expanded the story into a book set to publish this year. His story takes place between 1979 and 1989, a decade when climate science gave humanity a clear picture of the damages of global warming.
Simon Kinberg sci-fi series
Sounds like: Game of Thrones meets X-Men.
Apple approved a 10-episode sci-fi series co-created by Simon Kinberg, who has written many of the X-Men movies going back to 2006. Not much is known about Kinberg’s latest creation yet, though it’s scheduled to start filming this summer.
Deadline described it as “a large large budget, ambitious, character-driven genre show.” In addition to writing 2008’s Sherlock Holmes, Kinberg wrote or co-wrote X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, and the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix.The as-yet-unnamed project for Apple is being co-written with David Weil, who also created The Hunt for Amazon.
Sesame Workshop shows
Sounds like: Not Sesame Street but pretty much Sesame Street
Sesame Workshop and Apple inked a deal that will bring a slate of new kids’ programming to the company’s worldwide video project. But don’t expect to see Big Bird and the Sesame Street gang. Sesame Workshop’s deal with Apple doesn’t include Sesame Street content because HBO and PBS already have a deal with Sesame for that show. Instead, the two will develop multiple series that borrow from Sesame Street‘s most successful elements. Apple and Sesame Workshop plan to create live-action and animated series. They also plan to make a puppet series too.
On the Rocks
Sounds like: Arthur only with a daddy-daughter twist.
Phil Murray and Sofia Coppola are reuniting to make Apple’s first movie. Murray will co-star alongside Rashida Jones in the movie currently titled On the Rocks. The film follows a young mother who reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York. The role sounds like a perfect fit for Murray who has a knack for playing in both comedies and dramas.
On the Rocks is the first film created under Apple’s partnership with A24. It will be directed by Sofia Coppola who also wrote the script and will produce the movie with Youree Henley. Coppola and Murray last teamed up for the critically acclaimed film Lost in Translation.
Sounds like: Kind of like Brave only with more grit.
Wolfwakers is an animated movie made by two-time Oscar-nominee Tomm Moore. The teaser (posted above) came out before Apple purchased it but it’s still unknown when it will be released.
“In a time of superstition and magic, when wolves are seen as demonic and nature an evil to be tamed, a young apprentice hunter, Robyn, comes to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last pack. But when Robyn saves a wild native girl, Mebh, their friendship leads her to discover the world of the Wolfwalkers and transform her into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy.”
The Elephant Queen of Athena
Sounds like: March of the Penguins only with elephants.
Apple acquired the rights to a feature documentary, titled The Elephant Queen of Athena during the European Film Market in Berlin, Germany. The film follows the journey of an elephant matriarch who leads her family on a journey across Africa after their watering hole dries up. It is narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor. A release date hasn’t been set yet.
Sounds like: An empowering coming-of-age saga.
Hala, a film about a Muslim teenager’s struggles growing up in America, was one of the most talked about films at Sundance this year, so Apple bought the worldwide rights. It was written and directed by Minhal Baig and produced by actress Jada Pinkett Smith. It’s not known how much Apple paid for the rights.
In the film, Hala is a 17-year-old who likes poetry and skateboarding. She also likes a boy who enjoys the same things, but her father wants to arrange a marriage for her in the traditional Muslim manner.