The Morning Show

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The Morning Show

So I get Apple TV+ for free, because I buy their computers and phones. Thus I decided to watch the best they had to offer (the premier show), called The Morning Show. Basically, it's a fictionalized story of Matt Lauer / Mitch Kessler (played by Steve Carell) getting caught in a MeToo scandal, and how his cohost Alex Levy (Jennifer Anniston) and the rest of the cast handles it. I figured with such a snowflaky topic, that Apple might go full snowflake and make complete SJW tripe. They didn't. For the most part, it was a fairly mature take on a fairly complex subject, and they didn't play Matt, er Steve Carell, as the caricature character they might have, and it brought up some reasonable discussions and was somewhat entertaining. So it was worth watching, even if it wasn't the best thing on TV.

There was a surprisingly large Reviewer/Viewer split on this (63/94 -- or 31 point spread). And the reviewers that hated it, seem to have hated it because it was too adult and grey. It lacked "a singular ambition" or had nothing particular thing to say. Which to me reads that they wanted it to be more clear cut Social Activist Propaganda masquerading as a TV show. But I think the audience responded more because it was surprisingly grey.

Some of the characters were a little cliché, and the dialog oozed self-importance and taking themselves way too seriously. (Everyone had a view and was going to share it with you). But the monologues were often interesting (if slightly preachy), it was well acted, and while I didn't really "like" most of the characters (of each being a little too one-dimensional and predictable), the characters were true to their roles and all came with some warts and questionable judgement (and few clear saints or demons). OK, I kind of liked Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup), his character was the most interesting and sort of least explored. So there was a little superficiality... but far less than I usually expect from Hollywood, or even Apple -- and the delicious complexity of bad choices without it having to be bad people making them.

So while they hit a few predictable notes, it generally threaded the needle on a complex social issue, with enough moral ambiguity that it trusts the viewers to discuss and decide, instead of beating you over the head with their view. And it was rewarded with 3 Golden Globe nominations because of it. At worst, it gave my wife and I a show we both watched together, and could discuss nuances of.

🗒️ NOTE:
The Season Finale did go a bit snowflakey and was more what I was expecting from Apple/the Series. I don't want to get into it, and spoilers... but even that wasn't enough to ruin it for me (and it did have enough ambiguity that I was OK with it). It leaves open a few directions, has a bit of a cliff hanger (while wrapping some threads up), and to me might have been the payoff to the SJW's, or might have just been a trite way to end the Series on the happiest note they could -- not knowing if they would be renewed. So it could be taken a couple of ways -- and leaves open some complexity in Season 2. Either way, I'll have to watch some of Season 2 to know, and there's enough invested that I'm looking forward to it.
Apple TV+
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Apple TV+ is an subscription video on demand service of Apple, that debuted on November 1, 2019 (announced on March 25th at a Special Event). It is accessible in about 100 countries (fewer than competitors), includes custom programming, but so far is proprietary to Apple devices (no native Android/Windows players). more...


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