| Cult of Mac

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


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.

Apple TV outage means no stream for you! [Updated]


Problems with the Apple TV app and/or the Apple TV+ made streaming impossible for some users Wednesday.
Problems with the Apple TV app and/or the Apple TV+ made streaming impossible for some users Wednesday.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

UPDATE: Apple’s System Status page now lists the problems with Apple TV and Apple TV+ as a “resolved issue.” 

An Apple TV outage late Thursday afternoon left viewers wondering why they couldn’t watch their favorite shows.

Around 5 p.m. PST, a message in the Apple TV app read: “Content Unavailable. There’s a problem loading this content. If this continues, check your Internet connection.” The ongoing problem apparently affects the Apple TV app, as well as the Apple TV+ streaming service and the channels subscribed to through the Apple TV app. On Macs, the message appeared in the Watch Now, Apple TV+ and Store tabs of Apple’s TV app.

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


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.

Super League: The War for Football details a sordid cash grab [Apple TV+ review] ★★☆☆


Aleksander Čeferin, president of the Union of European Football Associations, in a still from four-part Apple TV+ docuseries ★★☆☆
Aleksander Čeferin, president of the Union of European Football Associations, faces a major battle in Super League: The War for Football.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewNew Apple TV+ documentary series Super League: The War for Football examines a dark and very recent chapter in the beloved sport’s history when the bubble threatened to burst.

Capitalism’s slowly tightening stranglehold over the sport meant that some owners saw the potential for growth that meant cutting off not just more than half of the European teams, but the thousands of fans of those teams. This is the story of the people who saved football … for now.

Echo 3 comes to a miserable, maddening end [Apple TV+ recap] ☆☆☆☆


Jessica Ann Collins as Amber in a still from Apple TV+ series Echo 3.☆☆☆☆
At least Amber (played by Jessica Ann Collins) made it out alive.

TV+ ReviewEnervating Apple TV+ series Echo 3 comes to a close this week. The show finally springs kidnapped CIA plant Amber from her prison, but there’s a lot more to freedom than no longer seeing the same four walls.

This bizarro, jingoistic wife-guy fantasy comes to a screeching halt with a conclusion preordained from its first incredibly strange seconds. Come for the last gunfight, stay for the most risible attitude toward human life I’ve yet encountered on scripted television.

Servant returns with one hell of a season 4 opener [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★


The Turners' witchy nanny Leanne (played by Nell Tiger Free) in a still from Apple TV+ psychological thriller ★★★★
It's time for a homecoming as Servant begins its final season.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewServant, the most joyous and unhinged show on Apple TV+, returns for its fourth and final season this week. The saga of the Turner family and their live-in nanny can’t help but disappoint, just because it’s going away. Never mind whether it wraps up its plot threads or not.

A show unbound from ordinary televisual constraints, both dramatically and visually, Servant serves as a vivid representation of its creators’ raging id. As such, its first three seasons became one of the most wonderful pleasures on television. Let’s see how M. Night Shyamalan and Co. are set to send off this family of arch-weirdos.

Apple Music and Apple TV apps launch for Windows 11


Apple Music and Apple TV apps launch for Windows 11
Apple Music is ready to be downloaded from the Windows Store.
Screenshot: Apple/Microsoft

Windows 11 users can now download preview versions of the Apple Music and Apple TV applications.
In late 2022, Microsoft committed to getting them into the Windows Store this year.

And a new Apple Devices app is a significant move toward phasing out iTunes for Windows.

Apple TV+ Sharper trailer spins a web of secrets and lies


Veteran actors John Lithgow and Julianne Moore star in the new film.
Veteran actors John Lithgow and Julianne Moore star in the new film.
Photo: Apple

“Sharper” is old slang for a con artist or swindler. And in the trailer Apple TV+ dropped Thursday for its first film of 2023, a “neo-noir thriller” that shares the slang term as a title, it’s not easy to tell the con artist from the conned.

But it looks like it’ll be fun guessing which rich Manhattan people will lose their shirts in the film, starring Julianne Moore and John Lithgow.

It comes out in theaters February 10 and streams February 17, Apple TV+ said.

Black Bird’s prime directive: Giving serial killers the finger


Paul Walter Hauser playing serial killer Larry Hall in Black Bird on Apple TV+.
Paul Walter Hauser lit up Black Bird with his depiction of suspected serial killer Larry Hall.
Photo: Apple TV+

BOSTON — Before he put pen to paper and gave us violent sagas of lowlife P.I.s and desperate criminals, Dennis Lehane used to deliver flowers to a hospital next door to the Liberty Hotel. Now the novelist, who acted as writer and showrunner for the brilliant Apple TV+ miniseries Black Bird, is sitting here in the Liberty, so named because of its former vocation: a prison.

It’s an appropriate setting. Black Bird tells the true story of Jimmy Keene, a prison informant who risked his life to nail a serial killer. (The series is based on Keene’s autobiographical novel, In With the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption.)

Lehane and his chilling Black Bird star Paul Walter Hauser sat down with Cult of Mac and other journalists recently to discuss their critically acclaimed Apple TV+ show, which is racking up nominations as awards season gets underway. If Black Bird’s outstanding cast and crew receive the recognition they deserve, the show stands a good chance of picking up a handful of awards — and adding to the growing glow of prestige programming on Apple TV+. (Update: Hauser won the Golden Globe on Tuesday night for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.)

In the group interview, Lehane and Hauser talked motivation, working conditions and seeing into the mind of a psychopath, among other things.

Mythic Quest makes all the right moves in uproarious season three finale [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★


Poppy (played by actress Charlotte Nicdao) gets a big surprise in the Mythic Quest season three finale.★★★★
Poppy (played by Charlotte Nicdao) gets a big surprise in the Mythic Quest season three finale.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewApple TV+ comedy Mythic Quest hits the end of season three this week with a bittersweet and very funny episode. Ian must fix the rift between himself and Poppy. David must regroup from a loss, and Jo’s got just the ticket (though maybe so do Ian and Poppy). Plus, Dana, Brad and Jo need a new challenge.

I cannot stress how much I need this show’s creative team to crank out new seasons more quickly. I do not want to go another two years without checking back in with the Mystic Quest crew. A fine season comes to a very lovely ending.