Episode one of Steven Spielberg’s anthology series Amazing Stories debuted on Apple TV+ Friday.
The first episode of the five-episode season is about a person who discovers a portal back to 1919 in the storm cellar of a house they are restoring. The show promises to “transport the audience to worlds of wonder through the lens of today’s most imaginative filmmakers, directors and writers.”
Amazing Stories is executive produced by Spielberg, alongside Once Upon a Time co-creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. The latter joined the project after Apple removed original showrunner Bryan Fuller.
Fuller reportedly wanted a darker tone for the show, which is a reboot of a 1980s series created by Spielberg. The original Amazing Stories (which, in turn, was named after the world’s first dedicated science fiction magazine, created by Hugo Gernsback in the 1920s) ran from 1985 through 1987. It won five Emmy Awards, but was not a ratings hit.
Initial reviews for Apple’s Amazing Stories have not been kind. The first reviews came out yesterday and slammed the show as being obvious and unremarkable. However, similar criticisms have been made against other Apple TV+ shows, which have gone on to become hits with audiences. Could the same thing happen here? We’ll have to wait and see.
A controversial installment of Oprah’s Book Club
The first episode of Amazing Stories isn’t the only new content to land on Apple TV+ this Friday. Two new episodes of Oprah’s Book Club also debuted.
Titled “Jeanine Cummins: American Dirt,” the first part of the two-parter features Oprah and author Jeanine Cummins joined by authors Reyna Grande, Julissa Arce, and Esther Cepeda. The second features Latinx people who “saw themselves reflected in the book share insights into real-life migrant experiences.”
The coverage of the book by Oprah has proven controversial. American Dirt has been criticized for for its allegedly stereotypical portrayal of Mexico and Mexicans. Cummin’s book tour was canceled in January, with publisher Flatiron Books citing safety fears.
A statement made that Winfrey to the Guardian noted that: “If you read the book there is no doubt you heard about the controversy around it … I heard and understand the concerns and wanted to bring together many voices to lean into this conversation because for 25 years on The Oprah Show I learned that is the only way I think we can actually gain a better understanding of one another.”