Apple TV Plus has touted its line-up of original TV shows for the rest of the year – and it's pretty impressive. The reveals are mostly stuff we already knew about, but the busy release calendar shows that the streaming service is getting serious about being a real competitor for the likes of Netflix this year.
And, frankly, it has to be.
The timing of this push seems pointed. Apple just cut its bundled-in free subscription to the service that comes with every new device purchase from one year to three months. Meanwhile, some account holders who have had free trials since the service's launch in 2019 now have to pay for the service, as Apple's generous extensions on the trial come to an end this month.
In short, it's now reducing the service's dependency on users who have been enjoying the streamer because they bought a new Apple device – and is instead hoping consumers will pay off of the strength of the content.
Here, then, is a schedule of what's coming up on the TV and movie side over the next few months, and below we'll explain what each one is if you're unfamiliar:
- July 16: Schmigadoon!
- July 23: Ted Lasso season 2
- August 13: CODA
- August 20: Truth Be Told season 2
- August 27: See season 2
- September 17: The Morning Show season 2
- September 24: Foundation
- October 22: Invasion
- November 12: The Shrink Next Door
Schmigadoon! is a comedy that's also a parody of musicals, and it stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jane Krakowski among its familiar faces. Ted Lasso season 2 is the follow-up year to the heartwarming soccer-centric comedy – timed pretty well around the Euro 2020 tournament wrapping up.
CODA – which stands for 'child of deaf adults' – is a movie about the only child who can hear out of an otherwise deaf family. Apple reportedly paid around $25 million for the rights to the film earlier this year.
Truth Be Told is returning for a second season. In case you missed the first, it's about a true crime podcaster turned detective, and it stars Octavia Spencer with Kate Hudson. See is the second season of the Jason Momoa sci-fi drama, which is about the last surviving humans who have lost their sense of sight. The Morning Show is Apple's flagship news-themed drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, and this second season has been a long time coming.
Foundation is something we've covered before – it's a big-budget sci-fi drama from producer David S Goyer (Batman Begins), based on the works of Isaac Asimov. Invasion stars Jurassic Park movie dad Sam Neill, and it's about an alien invasion from the perspective of different people around the world.
Finally, there's The Shrink Next Door, which reunites Anchorman stars Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd, in this dark comedy series that adapts a podcast.
That should be plenty to watch, then. But will people want to pay for it?
Will people pay for Apple TV Plus?
Ted Lasso's release timing, as many of the extended trial subscriptions lapse, is a clever move by Apple. Several of the service's series have drawn acclaim, like The Morning Show or detailed alternate space drama For All Mankind, but it feels like Ted Lasso reached the next level of cultural impact.
It's probably the closest the service has to a Stranger Things or The Mandalorian right now – and it's exactly the sort of series people are likely to pay to access.
According to research firm MoffettNathan (via Variety) in a January report, 62% of the service's subscribers were watching it via the extended free trial. Still, the very reasonable price of the service – $4.99 / £4.99 / AU$7.99 – means you won't have to break the bank to check out the tastier shows above. It's all about accumulative cost with streaming services, though, and the price of keeping up with everything.
If you're getting Netflix, HBO Max and Disney Plus, for example, will you really want to add another $5 a month onto that? Time will tell.
Apple, at least, has the deep pockets to keep competing in a crowded marketplace.