| Cult of Mac

Ted Lasso, Shrinking and Bad Sisters earn Emmy nominations for Apple TV+


Ted Lasso scores a record 21 nods as the most Emmy Award-nominated comedy for the third year in a row.
You don’t win an Emmy if you don’t believe.
Photo: Apple

Apple TV+ earned dozens of 2023 Emmy nominations, with the Ted Lasso juggernaut racking up no fewer than 21 on its own.

Also gaining recognition for TV’s highest honor are comedies Shrinking and Bad Sisters, jailhouse drama Black Bird, musical spoof Schmigadoon! and current-affairs series The Problem With Jon Stewart. Plus more.

Here are the most popular Apple TV+ shows that aren’t Ted Lasso


With 51 nominations, Apple TV+ stands to do well at the primetime Emmy Awards.
These 10 Apple TV+ shows reached the peak of popularity on the streaming video service.
Photo: Apple TV+

Although Ted Lasso is amazing and wildly popular, it’s not the only hit show on Apple TV+. A search engine focused on movies and TV released a top 10 list of everything on Apple’s streaming service, revealing which other series also draw plenty of viewers.

Subscribers to the streaming service might use it to find additional shows worth watching.

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.

Apple TV+ nabs 10 Critics Choice Award nominations


Severance nabbed nominations for Best Drama Series and for Adam Scott's acting.
Photo: Apple TV+

The Critics Choice Association showered Apple TV+ Tuesday with 10 nominations for the upcoming 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards. They include Best Drama Series nods for workplace psycho-drama Severance and dark comedy-drama Bad Sisters, plus Best Foreign Language Series noms for Pachinko and Tehran.

Nominations honored six series in total. The other two nominations covered acting in prison suspense thriller Black Bird and family drama The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. See more specifics below.

Black Bird will break your heart with its riveting conclusion [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★


Black Bird finale recap: Time's running out for Jimmy Keene (played by Taron Egerton).★★★★
Time's running out for Jimmy Keene (played by Taron Egerton).
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ murder mystery Black Bird draws to a pulse-pounding close as jailhouse informer Jimmy Keene’s last-ditch efforts to stay alive are being threatened at every turn.

Serial killer Larry Hall is inches from confessing, Jimmy’s about to get shanked — and nobody’s coming to help either of them. Plus, Jimmy’s dad Big Jim is dying in a hurry outside prison walls.

The limited series saves its best mechanics for last as the clock runs out on all of our heroes.  Black Bird concludes on a high note indeed.

Apple TV+ prison drama Black Bird soars to top of charts


Black Bird recap: Once again, Ray Liotta steals the show.
The limited series features a compelling performance by the late, great Ray Liotta.
Photo: Apple TV+

Black Bird is the latest hit for Apple TV+. The prison drama has been one of the top 10 most watched streaming shows for three weeks straight now, according to a company that tracks viewership.

The series is not only popular, it’s getting rave reviews from critics.

Things heat up for our jailhouse informer in Black Bird [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★


Black Bird recap: Things are not going well for prison informer Jimmy Keene (played by Taron Egerton).★★★★
Things are not going well for prison informer Jimmy Keene (played by Taron Egerton).
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ miniseries Black Bird finally reveals the killer this week, along with the evidence that might hang him … or might not be enough to do anything but frustrate the people working to expose him.

Superlative work from actors Paul Walter Hauser, Ray Liotta and Laney Stiebing in the episode, titled “The Place I Lie,” pulls the show into greatness just before its final installment.

Black Bird covered a lot of ground in a little time — and now it’s time to bring it home.

It’s time to come clean on Black Bird [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★☆


Black Bird recap: Cleanup duty leads to compelling revelations.★★★★☆
Cleanup duty leads to compelling revelations.
Photo: Apple TV+

Black Bird, the Apple TV+ drama about a bad guy sent to ferret out a worse guy in the rottenest jail in America, takes a turn for the confessional this week. Probable serial killer Larry Hall and police informer Jimmy Keene tell each other some truths and some lies as they clean up the mess after a prison riot.

Larry starts to see the hidden side of Jimmy. And Jimmy starts to recognize the worst parts of himself — the ones that remind him of Larry. Black Bird’s been in a good place for two and a half episodes, and this latest one finds the show indulging in its strengths for an extended conversation between the two leads.

Ray Liotta delivers the goods in this week’s gripping episode of Black Bird [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★


Black Bird recap: Veteran actor Ray Liotta, left, turns in a compelling performance in this week's episode.★★★
Veteran actor Ray Liotta, left, turns in a compelling performance in this week's episode.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s newest limited series Black Bird hits its stride in a strong third installment.

Prison guards and inmates hound undercover informer Jimmy Keene as he tries to get close to suspected serial killer Larry Hall. McCauley and Miller search for harder evidence as time slips away from them. And outside prison walls, Big Jim is in a bind that affects little Jim.

Black Bird still has a little ways to go to be truly great, but so far this is a promising look at guys at the end of their ropes looking for a way out of very bad circumstances that they brought on themselves.