With The Tragedy of Macbeth, something wickedly inventive this way comes [Apple TV+ review]

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The Tragedy of Macbeth review: Kathryn Hunter casts a spell over The Tragedy of Macbeth.
Kathryn Hunter casts a spell over The Tragedy of Macbeth.
Photo: Apple TV+

The Tragedy of Macbeth is probably the most experimental thing to stream on Apple TV+ so far.

On its face, the film doesn’t seem all that odd. It’s an adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most well-regarded and most frequently performed plays, starring the biggest male lead on earth. It’s directed by a multiple-Oscar-winner and features his similarly lauded (and extremely popular and talented) wife in a lead role.

So, while Apple TV+’s most exciting feature film since Wolfwalkers might not sound like much of an experiment, the devil’s in the details. This adaptation is both expected and unexpected — in frequently thrilling ways.

The Tragedy of Macbeth hits Apple TV+ today after a theatrical run. Here’s why you should add it to your Up Next queue.

Stream El Deafo and take a sensory journey to empathyville [Apple TV+ review]

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Enter the magically ordinary world of El Deafo
Enter the magically ordinary world of El Deafo.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s newest animated kids show is all about accessibility. El Deafo, based on the book by Cece Bell, focuses on a little girl who loses her hearing just before the start of school. She goes on misadventures as she learns to navigate the world with the help of her imaginary superhero alter ego. And she learns to love herself in the process.

The show is, if anything, a little too effective at making you feel for this young girl’s struggles. El Deafo is at times too affecting and sad for words — much to the credit of the writer, performers and animators. But it’s an open question whether kids are ready to feel so much on top of everything they’re already dealing with.

Dickinson finale is pure poetry [Apple TV+ recap]

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Dickinson finale: After an extremely strong third season, the show makes a graceful exit.
After an extremely strong third season, the show makes a graceful exit.
Photo: Apple TV+

Dickinson bids us farewell this week — too soon, but beautifully. What lies in store for Emily and her family in their final outing? Can she overcome history to find a happy ending denied her by fact and legacy?

The Apple TV+ alt-history show says goodbye on a sweet, lightly ambiguous note — and finds its strength in invention. Emily Dickinson we hardly knew ye.

Swagger’s stirring season finale goes down to the wire [Apple TV+ recap]

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Swagger season finale recap: What a way to end a season!
What a way to end a season!
Photo: Apple TV+

Team Swagger goes to the nationals in the stunning finale of Apple TV+’s incredible show about a basketball team and its players and satellites. Reggie Rock Bythewood and the incredible team of Swagger writers are prepared to send Ike, Jace, Jenna, Crystal and the rest of the team out with a bang.

A season’s worth of innuendo and tension is about to be unearthed and made real.

The verdict is in at last on The Shrink Next Door [Apple TV+ recap]

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The Shrink Next Door recap: Dr. Ike finally gets what he's got coming.
Dr. Ike (played by Paul Rudd) never really gets what he deserves.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s The Shrink Next Door, starring Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd, mercifully comes to a close this week after eight very long episodes. Marty goes looking for the missing pieces of his life after 30 years under Ike’s care, and finds a lot of dead ends.

Can he repair his life after so long messing everything up? It’s an open question whether he, or anyone around him, will be willing to forgive him. This series finally parts ways with its central pair and lets them both off with a warning, in the grand scheme of things.

The kids are alright as Dickinson approaches its poetic finale [Apple TV+ recap]

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Dickinson recap: The kids are alright.
The Dickinson siblings work things out.
Photo: Apple TV+

Reconciliations abound and new beginnings rear their heads on the penultimate episode of Dickinson, the alt-history Apple TV+ series about the great poet and her family and friends. And the show prepares to say goodbye in fine, fine form.

Dickinson finally answers its loose-end questions about Emily Dickinson’s place in history (and, indeed, the place of art and poetry in a more general sense). The show finally explores what it means to want to create during a destructive time — and it’s a shame the showrunners won’t be able to do more after landing in such a beautiful place. There’s still some sitcom business, but that’s less important.

Swan Song is smart sci-fi done right [Apple TV+ review]

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Mahershala Ali in Swan Song
Mahershala Ali in Swan Song
Photo: Apple TV+

Just before the end of the year, Apple TV+ has one more prestige item to push. New sci-fi movie Swan Song stars multiple Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali and multiple Academy Award nominee Glenn Close.

Swan Song, which premieres Friday on Apple TV+, is a number of things: an inspirational disease drama, a sleek sci-fi parable, a clone movie, and the feature debut of an Academy Award-winning short film director, Benjamin Cleary.

Arriving so soon after Tom Hanks’ ho-hum Finch, viewers could be forgiven for preparing for the worst. Thankfully, there’s no need.

Swagger plays a high-stakes emotional game [Apple TV+ recap]

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Swagger recap: The team faces new challenges this week.
The team faces new challenges this week.
Photo: Apple TV+

Team Swagger goes to the nationals this week on the Apple TV+ show about the star players of Baltimore’s youth basketball league. Trust is put to the test. Bodies and minds are injured. And, at the center of it all, Jace flails around when he should be flourishing.

This show heads into its final matches with a strong dramatic game.

Dr. Brain season finale serves up the ultimate brain sync [Apple TV+ recap]

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Dr. Brain season finale recap: Brain scientist Sewon braces for the most important brain sync yet.
Scientist Sewon braces for the most important brain sync yet.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s exciting new South Korean sci-fi series Dr. Brain draws its first season to a thrilling close this week. Sewon has one last brain sync to perform — and it’s the most important operation he’s ever conducted.

He needs to get everything right in order to save his son (and redeem himself in his own heart for the job he’s done as a father and a husband). The race is on to find out if he and his cohorts can stop Myung from stealing his son’s body.

Dickinson finally faces its essential truth [Apple TV+ recap]

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Dickinson recap: Emily and a dead man peer into the abyss this week.
Emily and a dead man peer into the abyss this week.
Photo: Apple TV+

Dickinson, Apple TV+’s soon-to-be-missed show about the great poet, arrives at its moment of truth this week. The episode, titled “My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun -,” is the one the entire show has been building toward — and there are still two left to go before this final season concludes.

Will Emily Dickinson become who history understands her to be, or is there some greater truth for this version of the poet? Strong performances and fearless writing guide the show into uncharted territory this week.