Amazing Stories ends with a bang, should have settled for a whimper [Review]

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Kerry Bishé in Amazing Stories
Kerry Bishé closes out the first season of the new Amazing Stories
Photo: Apple TV+

Amazing Stories’ season finale “The Rift” serves as a case study into the rebooted show’s highs and lows. With its five-episode run complete, the ways in which the Apple TV+ anthology series succeeded — and the ways it failed to cohere — become more obvious than ever.

“The Rift” was directed by Mark Mylod and written by Don Handfield and Richard Rayner (co-creators of History Channel’s Knightfall). However, the episode takes more cues from executive producer Steven Spielberg than nearly any of the preceding entries, to both its detriment and its occasional benefit. The real MVP of the piece, however, is the perpetually underrated Kerry Bishé.

Home Before Dark gives us a tiny hero for uncertain times [Review]

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Home Before Dark review: Jibrail Nantambu, Brooklynn Prince and Deric McCabe solve crime adorably.
Jibrail Nantambu, Brooklynn Prince and Deric McCabe solve crime adorably in Home Before Dark .
Photo: Apple TV+

Based on the real-life exploits of preteen reporter Hilde Kate Lysiak, who was a published journalist before she had all her teeth, Apple TV+’s new series Home Before Dark is an exciting and endearing new offering.

The streaming service released all 10 episodes of the show’s first season Friday. The first three brisk episodes build a strong case for the show’s quick renewal.  And they also reveal Home Before Dark’s tiny hero, Brooklynn Prince, as a certified star.

Amazing Stories delivers solid shot of escapism with ‘Signs of Life’ [Review]

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Michelle Wilson in Amazing Stories
Michelle Wilson anchors a solid outing of the new Amazing Stories.
Photo: Apple TV+

After a bumpy start, the Apple TV+ reboot of Amazing Stories headed off in an agreeable direction. Between its heart-on-the-sleeve emotional core and the very modern, depressive look at the deflation of the American dream, this is a show that understands why people need to believe in the impossible today.

Episode 4, titled “Signs of Life,” might not be a perfect hour of television. However, it’s got its heart in the right place. And a host of excellent elements make its story beats hit with extra force.

The Banker proves too safe an investment for Apple TV+ [Review]

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Anthony Mackie, left, and Samuel L. Jackson star in The Banker, out now on Apple TV+.
Anthony Mackie, left, and Samuel L. Jackson star in The Banker, out now on Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple TV+

Mired in scandal and plagued by delays, the debut fiction film purchased by Apple TV+ is finally here to stream, just in time for everyone in America to be trapped with little else but their TVs.

The Banker, starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, likely won’t top many best-of lists this year. It’s too slight, though neither does it embarrass itself in the telling of a compelling true story about overcoming discrimination in a racist world.

Amazing Stories continues its hot streak with ‘Dynoman and the Volt’ [Review]

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Robert Forster, left, and Tyler Crumley appear in Amazing Stories episode
Robert Forster, left, and Tyler Crumley appear in Amazing Stories, the veteran character actor's last work.
Photo: Apple TV+

The Apple TV+ reboot of Amazing Stories started with a warning most viewers likely heeded: The show is going to be maudlin, and it will broadcast its emotional and dramatic beats from a mile away. Thankfully, having thrown down that gauntlet, the threat turned into a promise worth keeping. Each episode has been an improvement on the pilot.

“Dynoman and the Volt,” the third episode of the series, has quite a lot to recommend it. Enough, in fact, that it becomes easy to overlook its obvious storytelling and only half-earned poignancy.

Binge time: Best Apple TV+ shows to stream during self-isolation [Review]

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F. Murray Abraham & Rob McElhenney in Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet
F. Murray Abraham & Rob McElhenney as the squabbling idiot architects of wildly popular MMORPG Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet
Photo: Apple TV+

Trapped indoors with nothing to watch during the COVID-19 quarantine, or just sick of your usual streaming options? Apple TV+ harbors a day’s worth of exciting and compelling programming to finally dig into.

For anyone looking for an excuse to finally give the streaming service a try, here’s a guide to some standout shows. Not every Apple TV+ series is a slam dunk, but there are hidden gems waiting to be binged during these uncertain times.

Amazing Stories finds surer footing in second episode, ‘The Heat’ [Review]

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E’myri Crutchfield & Hailey Kilgore in the Apple TV+ show Amazing Stories
E’myri Crutchfield and Hailey Kilgore enliven the newest episode of Amazing Stories.
Photo: Apple

The second episode of the redesigned Amazing Stories finds its legs with a story of a track star caught between life and death.

If showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have anything even a fraction as good as this up their sleeves for the rest of the season, Amazing Stories might prove the strongest of Apple TV+ shows, considering its short episode order.

Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories gets a new coat of paint, but it needs an engine [Review]

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Amazing Stories review: Victoria Pedretti does her best in the Apple TV+ show but the material doesn't give her much to work with.
Victoria Pedretti does her best in Amazing Stories but the material doesn't give her much to work with.
Photo: Apple

Amazing Stories, the Apple TV+ reboot of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s show about all things fantastical, bafflingly kicks off with a limp romantic fantasia. One can only hope that the dull opening episode, a rote time-travel story titled “The Cellar,” does not prove representative of what will follow.

Spielberg created the anthology series Amazing Stories in 1985. It was one of a handful of shrewd moves that, calculated to do so or not, turned his crowd-pleasing style into a brand. Cupertino clearly wanted to capitalize on Spielberg’s reputation as a storyteller. Regrettably, the reboot’s first episode does little but remind us that we’d rather be watching one of his movies instead.