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Truth Be Told goes deeper into our crime-fighter’s crusade [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★☆

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Haneefah Wood, Octavia Spencer and Tracie Thoms in ★★★★☆
This case isn't getting any easier.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewThere’s a funeral this week on true-crime-inflected Apple TV+ show Truth Be Told. Drea is dead, and everyone’s guilty — whether they pulled the trigger or not.

The more Poppy, Eva and Markus pull up rocks looking for clues, the more insects they find running around in the darkness. “Her, Armed With Sorrow Sore” stands out as a strongly performed and nicely paced episode of the show about a podcaster’s crusade to help her city.

Servant shakes things up with a séance [Apple TV+ recap]

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Leanne (played by Nell Tiger Free) in a seance scene from Apple TV+ chiller
Just light the candles and let 'er rip!
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewWe’re having a séance this week on Apple TV+ chiller Servant, the wonderfully cracked show about a magical nanny who uses murder and mayhem to maintain her grip on the Philadelphia family who summoned her.

Leanne hates the two new nurses Dorothy hired to look after her during her recovery, but she’s losing her favor with Sean and Julian by acting so suspicious. Sean desperately wants Dorothy to go back to her old self, and is realizing Leanne might be the problem.

It’s a tense and sharply directed episode of the best show on Apple TV+.

New comedy Shrinking can’t kick the ‘straight talk’ [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆☆

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Jason Segel in a still from new Apple TV+ comedy ★★☆☆☆
Jason Segel plays James, a therapist who's got his own problems to deal with.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewNew Apple TV+ series Shrinking centers on a man who loses everything and finally decides to start doing something about it. The comedy stars Jason Segel and Harrison Ford (in his first major TV role). And, with the creative team behind Ted Lasso and the star of How I Met Your Mother, Apple TV+ execs are clearly hoping for success on a par with the streamer’s biggest moneymakers.

They might have it. However, Shrinking will need to overcome its major flaws to become something truly worth watching.

Eva the Owlet and Frog and Toad lead slate of fresh Apple TV+ kids shows

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Take off with 'Eva the Owlet' on Apple TV+
Eva the Owlet is part of a wave of fresh children's programming headed for Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ has a trio of new children’s shows coming this spring. There’s Eva the Owlet and Frog and Toad, plus Jane, inspired by the work of primatologist Jane Goodall.

And that’s not all. Apple’s streaming service already has many shows for children, and several of these will get new seasons soon. Apple is also bringing back A Charlie Brown Valentine in February.

Emancipation denied: Apple TV+ Oscar bait flops (but Mole gets a nom)

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'Emancipation' on Apple TV+ stars will Smith
"Emancipation" will not be the second Apple TV+ film to win a Best Picture Oscar.
Graphic: Apple TV+

The Apple TV+ Christmas special The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse earned an Oscar nomination Tuesday in the Animated Short Film category. And Brian Tyree Henry picked up a best supporting actor nom for his role in Causeway, the indie film starring Jennifer Lawrence as a wounded Afghanistan vet returning to her hometown.

However, Apple’s streaming service will not be earning back-to-back Best Picture Oscars. It’s big Oscar bait release — Emancipation, the Civil War-era movie starring Will Smith as a slave fighting for his freedom — was completely shut out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Wine-obsessed Japanese manga Drops of God spills onto Apple TV+

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Turns out wine keeps across comic novels and live-action TV series.
Turns out wine keeps across comic novels and live-action TV series.
Photo: Legendary Entertainment

Into Japanese comics (manga) or fine wine (boozy grape juice)? Then you may know Drops of God in its bestselling comic-novel form. Soon you can watch it as a live-action, multilingual dramatic series on Apple TV+, the streaming service said Wednesday.

In a somewhat unusual move, Apple TV+ licensed the French-Japanese dramatic series adapted from manga form rather than producing it. It did not set an air date, however. It said only that the series will premiere in 2023.

Servant unleashes a bed bug blitz [Apple TV+ recap]

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Servant cast members in hazmat suits and gas masks.
Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse ... bed bugs!
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewDorothy is back in the bizarre Turner household this week on Apple TV+ thriller Servant — and she’s not happy to be home. Leanne insists on normalcy, but considering the things that have happened, that’s asking a lot.

To make matters worse, Tobe and Julian are stuck in the house together. Plus, the Turners have a big bug problem, Sean can’t stand up for either Leanne or Dorothy, and Dorothy keeps throwing a monkey wrench in Leanne’s plans.

In Truth Be Told season 3, podcaster Poppy tackles sex trafficking [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★

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Podcaster Poppy Scoville-Parnell (played by Olivia Spencer, left) jumps on a kidnapping case in season three of Truth Be Told on Apple TV+.★★★
Podcaster Poppy Scoville-Parnell (played by Olivia Spencer, left) jumps on a kidnapping case in season three of Truth Be Told.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewTruth Be Told, the Apple TV+ drama created by Nichelle D. Tramble about a true crime podcaster, returns for its third season this week. This season, Poppy Scoville-Parnell — the intrepid reporter played by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer — must blow the lid off a sex-trafficking ring that resulted in at least one kidnapping, maybe more.

Politics, tech money, school board in-fighting, and police reform are all tied up in this case — and our podcasting hero Poppy is at the center of the swirl, as usual.

Shape Island squares the circle: It’s stop-motion perfection for kids and parents [Apple TV+ review] ★★★★★

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Circle, Square and Triangle from stop-motion animation show ★★★★★
Minor problems deliver major entertainment in excellent new stop-motion animation series Shape Island. on Apple TV+.
Image: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewShape Island arrives on Apple TV+ today to teach kids about social interactions and to help them ward off the anxiety inherent in such things. Based on the critically acclaimed books by illustrator Jon Klassen and author Mac Barnett, this charming stop-motion show is as cute as it is thoughtful — a good way to make kids laugh while slyly making them learn.

This is one of the first Apple TV+ kids’ shows with enough joyous anarchy for parents as well as children.

Ted Lasso’s final season isn’t all Apple TV+ has in store for spring

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Ted Lasso Season 3 Teaser Image
Nick Mohammed and Jason Sudeikis will return for a third season in Ted Lasso, premiering spring 2023 on Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ promised on Wednesday that its comedy sensation Ted Lasso will finally return for its highly anticipated third season in spring 2023.

Plus, Apple’s streaming service released trailers for five upcoming comedies, dramas and a travel show. Plus, it named premier dates for other shows.

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