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

By

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]

By

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]

By

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]

By

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]

By

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]

By

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]

By

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.

Little Voice has a mechanical heart and an auto-tuned soul [Apple TV+ review]

By

Sean Teale and Brittany O'Grady star in the contrived musical romance Little Voice.
Sean Teale and Brittany O'Grady star in musical romance Little Voice.
Photo: Apple TV+

The latest lightweight Apple TV+ crowdpleaser comes from producer J.J. Abrams, songwriter Sara Bareilles and writer Jessie Nelson. Little Voice, which debuts on Apple’s streaming service on July 10, hits every single beat you expect — and none you don’t.

There’s little chance you won’t experience precisely the emotional journey and reaction you’re anticipating just from looking at the show’s promotional materials.

If you wanna watch a scrappy, model-beautiful singer finally find her voice with help from a supportive and kooky family of zany outsiders, and then live her dream of being a star, then yeah, come on in.

Dear… is a timely reminder that we can do better [Apple TV+ review]

By

Oprah Winfrey reads a letter from a fan in Apple TV+ show Dear...
One episode of Dear... focuses on Oprah Winfrey.
Photo: Apple TV+

So far, the Apple TV+ shows affiliated with Oprah Winfrey (or approved by her) represent some of the streaming service’s safest offerings. And her spirit, to say nothing of her face, is all over the inspiring series Dear…

Each episode focuses on a single celebrity and the moving fan letters they receive highlighting the star’s impact on regular people. A such, it takes the form of part-biography, part-tribute to its famous subjects.

Dear… certainly does not stand out as one of the most hard-hitting journalistic exercises you’ll see. But as puff pieces go, the episodes prove both persuasive and reasonably inspiring. The show plays like a MasterClass with lessons about community building and standing up for yourself.

Who on earth is Dads for? [Apple TV+ review]

By

Dads review: Glen Henry and his daughter, one of many subjects in the enthusiastically weightless Apple TV+ documentary Dads.
Glen Henry and his daughter, one of many subjects in the enthusiastically weightless Dads.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ secured another handsomely produced, blandly pleasant, absolute mediocrity when it purchased Bryce Dallas Howard’s feature documentary debut, Dads. What’s Dads about, you ask? Why dads, of course. Next question.

Up until now, Apple TV+ hasn’t been the most cautious content provider. Apple execs lavished money on a lot of utter nonsense with enormous price tags because they seemed to aesthetically fit in with the rest of the company’s design scheme. HomeCentral Park, See — none of them are good television, but they’d look good testing TVs on a showroom floor, which seems to be the prevailing ethos for a lot of the Apple TV+ purchases.

Dads, released Friday just in time to remind you to forget Father’s Day, is much the same and quite a bit less.