| Cult of Mac

Surface finds solid ground with straight-up storytelling [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★

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★★★
Will Sophie (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) get to the bottom of things?
Photo: Apple TV+

Surface, the new Apple TV+ mystery series about a woman who can’t remember her life or lies, keeps up the erotic intrigue this week. The show avoids all of its worst tendencies for a basically good fourth episode.

Amnesiac Sophie and her lover Thomas clandestinely chase leads as they try to solve the mystery of who almost killed her. Sophie’s husband, James, desperately runs around trying to hide his crimes, and Caroline gets pulled back into his orbit once again.

The investigation and the cover-up proceed apace. It’s just a matter of who’s smarter, more thorough and more careful.

Shallow new mystery Surface puts style over substance [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆☆

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Surface recap: Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Sophie, a woman plagued by confusing flashbacks, in Surface.★★☆☆☆
Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Sophie, a woman plagued by confusing flashbacks, in Surface, which premieres today.
Photo: Apple TV+

Glossy mystery series Surface gets off to a bumpy, soapy start this week on Apple TV+. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who you might know from The Morning Show) stars as Sophie, a woman who lost her memory after what could have been an accident or a suicide attempt.

Like Truth Be Told, another Apple TV+ series from producer Reese Witherspoon, this one is a prestige look at a woman undergoing a lot of changes in her life as the result of crime … or is it?

Apple TV+ Surfside Girls trailer plumbs a pirate mystery

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Miya Cech, Spencer Hermes-Rebello and YaYa Gosselin in “Surfside Girls,” premiering August 19, 2022 on Apple TV+.
Miya Cech, Spencer Hermes-Rebello and YaYa Gosselin in “Surfside Girls,” premiering August 19, 2022 on Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple TV+

A new supernatural series for kids and families is coming to Apple TV+. The streaming service dropped a trailer for Surfside Girls Monday showing best surfer-girl friends solving supernatural mysteries in their sleepy California beach town.

And did we mention: pirates! They fit into this. There’s some sort of cave-portal and a pirate ship and a friendly boy who is, somehow, a pirate, apparently.

The adventurous mystery series debuts August 19 on Apple TV+.

First full Shining Girls Apple TV+ trailer messes with time and reality

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Elisabeth Moss stars in the series and serves as executive producer.
Elisabeth Moss stars in the series and serves as executive producer.
Photo: Apple TV+

When Apple TV+ put out its first, brief trailer in February for its upcoming metaphysical-horror-thiller Shining Girls, it looked disturbing and disorienting. Now the streaming service has put out the first full trailer for the show, which stars Elisabeth Moss and premieres April 29.

If anything, Shining Girls looks even more unsettling — but almost to the point of absurdity.

The Afterparty just can’t land a killer genre jab [Apple TV+ recap]

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The Afterparty review: Xavier (played by Dave Franco) is still dead, and this show isn't doing much better.
Xavier (played by Dave Franco) is still dead, and this show isn't doing much better.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s murder mystery/comedy The Afterparty soldiers on this week, investigating drunken party girl (and former valedictorian) Chelsea.

The genre-hopping show, which made a fitful start with last week’s first three mirthless episodes, has no better luck with this week’s half-hearted, half-remembered crime story than it did as a poorly thought-out musical or rom-com.

At this point, it’s a genuine question whether the writers and producers knew what they were doing when The Afterparty snagged a full-season order. Not even the ordinarily reliable Tiffany Haddish seems to be having any fun in this blinkered affair.