They make iPhones, and sometimes really great TV.
Since it launched in November 2019, Apple TV+ has slowly developed a strong slate of original TV shows that make it worth the $4.99 per month. Unlike Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and many of the other major streaming services, Apple has no library of legacy shows like “The Office” or “Friends” to draw subscribers. But over the past three years, the service has developed solid prestigious and entertaining original series and films. Where Netflix has a glut of programming that one could never completely get through, Apple is more curated. Sometimes, it’s easier to find something good in a smaller pool.
Among the series that Apple has debuted, 20 stand out as worth your time, including (of course) “Ted Lasso,” a shining light of positivity, as well as some gems you might not have heard of, including space drama “For All Mankind,” anthology series “Little America” and star-studded comedy whodunnit “The Afterparty.” (Some notable Apple releases, like “The Morning Show,” are left off this list, not at all accidentally.)
Here are the best Apple shows to watch as of July 2022 (in alphabetical order.)
1. “The After Party”
From “The Last Man on Earth” and “LEGO Movie” creators Phil Lord and Chris Miller, this silly whodunnit is oodles of fun. A homicide detective (Tiffany Haddish) tries to piece together what happened at a 20-year high school reunion and after-party that led to the death of pop star Xavier (Dave Franco). Each episode shows the night from a new character’s point of view, changing genres and forms (including an animated episode).
2. “Central Park”
This surprisingly sweet animated musical comedy from Loren Bouchard (“Bob’s Burgers”) is about a group of New Yorkers connected to the celebrated park, including a caretaker and a wealthy woman who hates it. The series has great music and a fabulous voice cast: Josh Gad; Titus Burgess; Stanley Tucci; Kathryn Hahn; and two “Hamilton” stars, Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr.
The story of renowned poet Emily Dickinson as a rebellious 19th-century teen is told with modern music and sensibility in this irreverent and charming comedy. Its dreamy aesthetics and swoonworthy romances have earned it a cult following over its three seasons.
4. “For All Mankind”
Apple’s alternate history of the space race, which posits what might have happened had the Soviet Union beaten the US to the moon – and the competition for the final frontier never ended – has rocketed to the list of TV’s all-time great dramas. That’s thanks to a sprawling, effortlessly talented cast led by Joel Kinnaman, a plausible alternate reality, superb writing and riveting action set pieces.
This docuseries about some of the most extraordinary homes around the world is full of gorgeous architecture. Apple’s cameras go to far-flung locations to see homes that incorporate thought-provoking design and challenge preconceived notions about how we should live.
6. “Home Before Dark”
Brooklynn Prince (“The Florida Project”) plays a role few young actors are precocious enough to pull off: kid journalist Hilde Lysiak, who investigated a murder in her small town. The series, also starring Jim Sturgess as Hilde’s father, has vibes of Nickelodeon’s movie “Harriet the Spy,” and the can-do attitude of the kids in “Stranger Things.”
7. “Little America”
This episodic anthology series from Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the husband and wife duo behind “The Big Sick,” follows the lives of American immigrants. Each episode tells a different immigrant story based on real people featured in Epic magazine. The series paints deeper portraits of its subjects’ lives, which include the worlds of competitive squash, baking chocolate-chip cookies and taking an Alaskan cruise.
Maya Rudolph leads the cast of this workplace comedy from “Master of None” producer Alan Yang. She plays a billionaire who goes through a midlife crisis and decides to dedicate herself to her charity foundation, much to the chagrin of the people who already work there. The cast, which also includes Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Joel Kim Booster, Nat Faxon and Ron Funches, is wonderfully appealing.
More:Joel Kim Booster is done trying to be a role model: ‘My job isn’t to represent all of you’
9. “Mythic Quest”
The peppy workplace sitcom set at the offices of a fantasy video-game company is a spiritual successor to comedies like “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office,” full of positivity (even amid black comedy), interoffice dynamics and a cast that’s fabulously in sync. From the creators of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” it’s more comedy than the cringe of that long-running FXX series.
“Pachinko” is Apple’s first trilingual TV show, with dialogue in English, Japanese and Korean. The series tells a time- and continent-spanning story about multiple generations of one Korean family. Set in 1920s Japanese-occupied Korea and 1980s America and Japan, “Pachinko” examines generational trauma and ambition. The stunning drama stars Min-ha Kim, Lee Min-ho and Youn Yuh-jung, who won an Oscar last year for her performance in “Minari.”
11. “Prehistoric Planet”
Britain’s national treasure David Attenborough lends his voice and scientific acumen to this series that imagines what the planet looked like when it was inhabited by dinosaurs. Full of eye-popping CGI beasts and some truly terrifying scenes of predator versus prey, it’s the science’ nerd’s “Jurassic Park.”
A charming musical comedy stars Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key as a couple stuck in a town where life is a 1950s musical. With a cast of Broadway legends including Ariana DeBose, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming and Aaron Tveit, it’s a treat of a series for musical nerds and newbies alike.
The dystopian drama, directed by Ben Stiller, became one of the most apt and biting critiques of corporate culture and capitalism just as many companies demanded workers return to the office after two years of working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Severance” takes place in a world in which people can “sever” their work and personal lives so that their work self never remembers their real life and their real self never remembers working.
14. “The Shrink Next Door”
Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd bring their collective comedic talents to a far more serious story based on the true-crime podcast. Rudd plays a psychiatrist who develops an abusive and predatory relationship with his patient, Ferrell’s Marty, who cuts off his sister (Kathryn Hanh) and cedes his home to his shrink. The series is gripping and tragic, showing new sides of both actors.
15. “Slow Horses”
When spies mess up in the British intelligence services, they get sent to Slough House, the setting of this misanthropic drama starring Gary Oldman. The series follows the group of washed-up spies who work at a lesser MI-5 bureau, stuck with grunt work. The series has a great sense of British cynicism and wit, and allows Oldman to chew scenery as the big bad boss.
16. “The Snoopy Show”
Apple has a number of children’s programs, but this preschool take on the cunning canine of “Peanuts” fame is one of the best. The show is sweet and funny for the tyke (and the parents forced to watch the episodes a dozen or so times).
17. “Ted Lasso”
The Emmy-winning comedy, about an American football coach drafted to lead a British soccer team, was a warm light of positivity in 2020, a deeply funny and meaningful show with lovable characters. In its second season last year, the tone turned serious as the writers explored a deeper story about mental health and trauma. But in spite of Ted’s journey, the ethos was never lost, and a smart finale set up what is sure to be a terrific third season.
More:Where to stream 50 of the best TV comedies of all time, from ‘I Love Lucy’ to ‘Atlanta’
18. “They Call Me Magic”
Michael Jordan had “The Last Dance,” and now another NBA great, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, has his own documentary series. The series, with cooperation from Johnson, tells the former player’s story with the speed and verve of a quick pickup basketball game.
Honest, sweet and hilarious, this British comedy is about a couple trying desperately for a baby. Things aren’t ever easy or simple for Nikki (Esther Smith) and Jason (Rafe Spall), but they’re always lighthearted and humorous. Season 3 Premieres J
20. “We Crashed”
Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway bring their combined Oscar-winning talents to “WeCrashed,” a chronicle of the rise and fall of commercial real estate startup WeWork, based on the Wondery podcast. WeWork had a high valuation, a magnetic CEO and not much else going for it before the worth of the company, well, crashed, in 2019. Leto plays that oddball CEO, Adam Neumann, a role seemingly tailor-made for the notoriously committed actor .
Have a different streaming service? Here are the shows worth checking out: