You’ll want to open Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You again and again [Apple TV+ review]

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Bruce Springsteen's Letter To You review: Upcoming Apple TV+ documentary offers a moving look at the songwriter's life and music.
The upcoming Apple TV+ documentary offers a moving look at Bruce Springsteen's life and music.
Photo: Apple TV+

Just in time for election day, America’s real president makes a stump speech that’s part biography and part self-mythologizing letter to an equally mythic version of the state he calls home. Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You, like a lot of the Boss’ later albums, isn’t exactly groundbreaking or inventive. However, there’s a good reason his homespun coastal Americana never goes out of fashion. Nobody gets America like Springsteen.

Upcoming Apple TV+ documentary Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You showcases the songs on his 20th album. While it won’t tell you anything you didn’t already suspect, you will find an incalculable kind of value in the songwriter’s company.

Helpsters returns for more of the adorable same [Apple TV+ review]

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John Lutz and the Helpsters
Shut up, Lutz! The Helpsters are back for a second season.
Photo: Apple TV+

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” has long been The Jim Henson Company’s modus operandi, and the second season of Apple TV+ kids show Helpsters is living proof that the strategy works.

The educational show, created by Odd Squad and Adventure Time writer Timothy McKeon, with music by longtime collaborator Paul Buckley, is long on charm and star power and short on filler.

Season two of Helpsters, which arrived on Apple TV+ Friday, is likely exactly what your kids need while you finally get around to doing the laundry. And you’ll laugh, too, at the litany of guest stars and the occasional elegant joke.

Ghostwriter stays totally chill in sleepy second season [Apple TV+ review]

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The gang gets back together for Ghostwriter's sleepy second season.
The Ghostwriter gang gets back together.
Photo: Apple TV+

One of the first Apple TV+ shows for a younger audience, Ghostwriter was both a reboot of a ’90s cult hit and a shoo-in to get renewed. With precious little to choose from, the streaming service’s execs had little choice but to put their muscle behind a show with cheap production costs and limitless potential for story ideas.

Like Apple TV+’s initial batch of Ghostwriter episodes, the second season is in no hurry to go anywhere or say much. However, it’s agreeable company — and its heart is in the right place.

Tiny World amazes with an Ant-Man view of nature [Apple TV+ review]

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Apple TV+ enters the world of nature docs with the charming 'Tiny World.'
Apple TV+ enters the world of nature docs with the charming Tiny World.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ invites you to take a look at the things beneath your feet in its new documentary series Tiny World. Narrated by Paul Rudd, this show is charming, if maybe too cute for its own good.

Tiny World, which premieres on October 2, is the first of three new docuseries coming to the streaming service this fall. It’s a shrewd and promising start, as Apple TV+ positions itself as a provider of episodic nonfiction content to match its high-profile dramas and films.

Exciting spy series Tehran takes Apple TV+ in dramatic new direction [Review]

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Arash Marandi in Tehran
Tehran is the most gripping Apple TV+ series to date.
Photo: Apple TV+

In order for any streaming service to keep up with the competition, it must serve up serialized shows that people can’t wait to finish. Until now, Apple TV+ did not offer one of those. Not even the star-studded and fairly engrossing Defending Jacob proved so compelling you couldn’t turn it off.

That all changes this Friday, when Israeli spy thriller Tehran premieres on Apple TV+. The streaming service’s best dramatic show by a mile, it delivers stunning displays of intrigue and backstabbing.

Long Way Up proves Ewan McGregor is still handsome and rich [Apple TV+ review]

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Charley Boorman and Ewan Mcgregor in Long Way Up
Charley Boorman and Ewan Mcgregor take the Long Way Up
Photo: Apple TV+

Way back in 2004, Ewan McGregor and his friend Charley Boorman decided to ride their motorcycles around the world from London to New York — the long way. That 19,000-mile trek produced British TV series Long Way Round.

A few years later, they and their team rode from Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa, and produced a sequel series, Long Way Down. Neither of these shows have much in the way of social value or a point beyond “this is certainly possible.”

Well, they’re back, with a new Apple TV+ documentary series called Long Way Up, which premieres on Sept. 18. This one recounts yet another epic motorcycle trip, starting at the southern tip of Argentina and covering “13,000 miles over 100 days through 16 border crossings and 13 countries.”

If you’re one of the several people who’s been waiting for the third installment of McGregor and Boorman’s Long Way series, boy are you in luck.

Boys State is a timely and terrifying political documentary [Apple TV+ review]

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Ben Feinstein appears in the terrifying Apple TV+ documentary Boys State
Ben Feinstein appears in the terrifying Apple TV+ documentary Boys State.
Photo: Apple TV+

If you looked at the crowds of white nationalists bearing tiki torches at the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and wondered what took them from innocent children to gimlet-eyed monsters of borrowed ideology, Boys State is a harrowing but necessary research tool.

The new Apple TV+ documentary by Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss delivers a frightening look at a time-honored tradition that appears to have actively made the world a worse place.

Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner Boys State, which premieres Friday on Apple TV+, may nauseate you. But you’ll be glad you saw it, if only because it’s a shocking and sobering reminder that the next generation of conservatives is ready to step in and replace the one about to die — and they’re no less efficacious.

Ted Lasso’s heart is too big to bench [Apple TV+ review]

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Jason Sudeikis is the titular Ted Lasso
Jason Sudeikis is the titular Ted Lasso in the mostly winning comedy series.
Photo: Apple TV

Created for a diverting if not particularly funny web short, Jason Sudeikis‘ clueless coach Ted Lasso now has his own Apple TV+ series. The question is: Is there enough meat on the bones of the premise to support a comedy series?

Like the NBC Sports promos that spawned the character, Ted Lasso is about an American coaching football in England — and being sorta kinda unfit for the demands. Fish-out-of-water, culture-clash comedies are as old as film comedy itself. And there’s certainly potential in the idea of an old-fashioned Southern gentleman dropped into tough-as-nails, hyper-masculine soccer culture. But ultimately, the high-concept stuff isn’t what works in Ted Lasso’s favor. You must get past the show’s premise to get to the good part.

Greatness Code proves Apple TV+ is in the relationship business [Apple TV+ review]

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Greatness Code
What is the code for greatness? No one in the documentary series Greatness Code is going to tell you.
Photo: Apple TV+

There’s a reason this review only has one image in it: Apple TV+ doesn’t have any more press pictures for this show. Why? Because why should it? This paper-thin passel of hagiographies isn’t worth promoting.

Greatness Code, which debuts July 10, isn’t a show so much as it’s an investment in the big star athletes being interviewed. To say no to the project would have meant scuttling potential relationships with some of the biggest names in sports. But to admit it’s worth your time seems a bridge too far.

Greyhound is a totally Tom Hanks war movie [Apple TV+ review]

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Greyhound review Apple TV+: Tom Hanks World War II movie: Tom Hanks wrote this nuts-and-bolts movie about naval warfare.
Tom Hanks wrote this nuts-and-bolts movie about naval warfare.
Photo: Apple TV+

Tom Hanks is here to rescue a cargo convoy from the Nazis — and presumably you from your free time. His new movie, Greyhound, is being released straight to Apple TV+ this Friday after COVID-19 scuttled the film’s theatrical release. This means there’s nothing between you and some old-school, flag-waving thrills.

In fact, Greyhound is the very definition of old school. There’s no fuss, no muss: just a man, his crew and some German U-boats hiding out in the gray fog of World War II, ready to pounce on American soldiers.