It is almost certainly committing a cardinal sin to say this on TechRadar, a website that’s driven by its mission to recommend the finest bits of technology out there to our readers, but it took my phone literally losing the ability to hold a charge for me to finally bite the bullet and get an upgrade.
There’s no particular reason why I’ve avoided taking on Apple TV+. I’ve nothing against Tim Cook or Apple in general, it’s just that I’ve ended up being part of a household without any Apple tech in it. I’ve largely had Samsung phones and my wife is a devotee of Google’s Pixel offerings. For music, we’re longtime Spotify subscribers and it seems like a nuisance to change it. And, when Apple TV+ came along, we already had Netflix, Prime Video and NOW on the go. It seemed impossible to justify another subscription, however good everybody said Ted Lasso was.
But now, with six months worth of Apple TV+ for zero pence, I’m excited to get stuck in and do some discovery.
It feels like a good time to try out the service too. With no back catalog of bought-in content to lean on when it launched, Apple TV+’s offering was always going to be leaner than the other streaming platforms. Now, almost two and a half years after it first debuted, it feels like there’s a healthy amount of content to get stuck into.
So, with six months locked in, I’ve earmarked six shows that I can’t wait to devour. Some of them are ready and waiting, and others will be out before my cost-free trial is up. If I love it, maybe I’ll stick around - but come on Apple, you better impress...
This feels like a no-brainer to start with. I’ve heard so many good things about Ted Lasso, both from friends who love soccer and those with no interest in it at all, which means it’s probably pretty good.
Starting out as a sketch for NBC Sports' coverage of the English Premier League, Jason Sudeikis plays Lasso, an American college football coach who is hired to coach a London-based soccer team in an attempt by its owner to spite her ex-husband (the previous owner).
I remember enjoying the sketch, but witnessing the award-winning phenomenon the show has grown into has taken me by surprise. I'm excited to dive in and experience the warm, upbeat comedy for myself. There are two seasons to get stuck into and another on the way later in the year.
I know a few people who have taken to making a Lasso sandwich, where you play an episode of the comedy on each side of something horrifying to balance it out, something like…
Like most people, I’ve gone up and down with M. Night Shyamalan’s work over the years. When he’s good, as he was with The Sixth Sense, he’s very good, and when he’s not on form, as with The Happening or The Last Airbender, he’s bloody awful.
Servant, which has already had three seasons and will get a fourth and final one, seems like it fits firmly in the former category.
Set in Shyamalan’s hometown of Philadelphia, the story revolves around Dorothy and Sean Turner, a middle-class couple who are devastated after the death of their 13-week-old son, Jericho. To try to heal some of the terrible pain, the couple undergoes transitory object therapy using a lifelike reborn doll. The doll, which Dorothy now believes is her real child, was the only thing that brought her out of a catatonic state following Jericho's death.
To continue this pretense, six weeks after his death, they hire a young nanny, Leanne Grayson, to move in and take care of Jericho, the reborn doll.
Sadly, as if they hadn’t suffered enough, Leanne’s arrival opens their home to a supernatural force, with terrible consequences.
Grim and gripping; it looks like I’ll need the comforts of Ted Lasso on either side to make it through this one.
This is one I’m particularly excited about. I’ve devoured all of Mick Herron’s books and always thought they’d make for great TV – with the right cast, of course. It looks like that’s in place.
Slow Horses isn’t your typical spy drama with globe-trotting superagents chasing bad guys across rooftops and desperately trying to prevent catastrophe. Herron’s team are the bottom of the barrel.
The Slow Horses are all MI5 agents who have ended up making serious mistakes, and, rather than be fired, have been moved to a back office named Slough House. There they are overseen by a grubby, flatulent and abrasive man named Jackson Lamb and push paper around until, in theory, they get so demoralized they quit the service.
At the start of the series, their newest recruit, River Cartwright, has found himself there after bungling a training operation. Cartwright, who is from MI5 royalty, has plans to turn his career around, but that’s not something Lamb is going to encourage…
Gary Oldman will play Lamb, with Dunkirk’s Jack Lowden playing Cartwright. They will be joined by Olivia Cooke, Jonathan Pryce, Kristin Scott Thomas and Antonio Aakeel in a starry cast.
The novels aren’t straightforward reads. They aren’t buzzy thrillers you can easily transpose onto screens. Heron’s influences are the classic spy novels of John Le Carré, dense prose where nudges and implications are key to everything. Heron’s books are thrilling in their own unique way, especially Lamb, who is a wonderful character and looks tailor-made for Oldman. If done properly, this could be great. It’s due out at the start of April and I’ve got my fingers crossed for a long-running show.
I’ve read some, though by no means all, of Isaac Asimov’s books, and have always been impressed by the towering ambition and grand scale of his work. The Foundation series looks like it gives the work the stage, time and the budget to really do it justice.
Jared Harris stars as Hari Seldon, the mathematical genius who created the Foundation – a group of the greatest living scientists, engineers, and historians – with the aim of stopping an empire from falling into 30,000 years of turmoil.
He takes his newly assembled team to a planet named Terminus, where they are tasked with preserving an anthology of humanity’s knowledge – the Encyclopedia Galactica – so that, at the end of the dark age, a second Empire may begin. Naturally, with any room full of clever people, there are alot of disagreements.
Foundation looks lavish, full of grand spectacle and daring design, and the first season got very good reviews. So, with a second season of the show due to land in the coming months, I hope it arrives before my trial runs out…
The story of WeWork, the flashy real-estate agency that grew exponentially for almost 10 years, before losing $37 billion from its sky-high value in 2019, is a fascinating one. I really enjoyed Hulu's documentary on the subject, WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn.
WeWork’s story is bound up with its founder Adam Neumann, a man with a messiah complex so profound, it’s almost impossible to believe. His persona is a gift for a dramatist and an actor. It’ll make for great TV.
Jared Leto, fresh from delivering a seriously over-the-top performance in House of Gucci, can channel all that in WeCrashed, which will retell the events of WeWork’s rise and fall. Leto will be joined by O. T. Fagbenle, Anne Hathaway, Kyle Marvin and Anne Hathaway for what is sure to be a wild, wild ride.
This looks like it’ll be right up my street.
An eight-parter taken from Lauren Beukes’ novel, the always very-watchable Elisabeth Moss tops the bill here as Kirby Mazrachi, a Chicago newspaper archivist. She wanted to be a journalist, but that had to be shelved after surviving a brutal attack that has left her in a constantly shifting reality.
Then, one day, she learns that a recent murder is linked to her assault. On the hunt for answers, she teams up with veteran reporter Dan Velazquez (played by Narcos’ main man Wagner Moura) to understand her ever-changing present and confront her past.
It looks trippy and gripping and has a great supporting cast too, including Jamie Bell and Amy Brenneman. I’m excited to see it at the end of April.
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Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…