Apple surely brought out the major guns for its very first main Television supplying, with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell all starring in the daytime Television-set drama The Morning Show, debuting this Friday, Nov. 1 along with the Apple Television+ streaming service. (I’ve observed the very first 3 episodes.) How could any show starring these 3 actors possibly be something but excellent, you could possibly ask? Well… it could, truly. Sadly, The Morning Show is overly talky, tonally confused, badly miscast in locations — and, offered the talent involved, a main disappointment.
Set behind the scenes of a Nowadays-like daytime speak show, the premiere opens with a bombshell, with Carell’s beloved anchor Mitch Kessler obtaining fired right after a quantity of sexual misconduct accusations come to light. And that is exactly where the troubles commence: Carell is the incorrect decision to play Mitch, a smug jerk who plays the victim in ugly tirades against the #MeToo movement. He can not definitely shake the Michael Scott associations, and his presence adds an unfortunate comic tone to a extremely significant topic. The show insists on following Mitch’s fumbling attempts at post-scandal rehabilitation… but just about every time he appeared on screen, I cringed.
The scandal leaves Mitch’s co-anchor Alex Levy (Aniston) to navigate the fallout as executives attempt to shake up the show about her. One particular possibility is West Virginia Television reporter Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon), whose on-air run-in with a protestor goes viral and leads to a contentious Morning Show interview with Alex… and a feasible host slot sitting subsequent to her. But Witherspoon does not really feel very suitable to play Bradley, either she’s supposed to be a straight-shooting breath of fresh air, but Witherspoon is also close to Aniston’s age to play the unconventional upstart who’s a threat to unseat her. And the dynamic involving Alex and Bradley is strange and difficult to pin down their major Television showdown turns into a philosophical debate that is not half as revelatory as the show appears to feel it is.
It is all a bit The Newsroom-y, if you try to remember Aaron Sorkin’s hate-watchable HBO series from a handful of years back, with the hustle and bustle of reside Television production and the continual stress from executives up on higher. (It even has a number of Sorkin-esque stroll-and-talks!) But Sorkin himself couldn’t make The Newsroom operate, and the writing right here is a considerable step under that, with characters creating lots of bold statements about who they are and what they stand for. These folks do not just speak. They proclaim! They declare! They espouse! “America is ____!” “The news is _____!” “Women these days are _____!” I wanted to see extra of the nuts and bolts of truly making a reside Television news show, but the series is substantially extra interested in displaying us scene right after scene of this type of speechifying… and it is exhausting.
The Morning Show also appears to be set in a fairy-tale planet of journalistic integrity, with starry-eyed reporters battling with coldhearted network executives, like it is encased in amber from two decades ago. It tends to make half-hearted attempts to incorporate modern day broadcast trends, but just feels hopelessly out of step with the way folks consume news now. (Side note: The show’s fictional Television network is named UBA, which is a terrible network name. Just awful.) The general tone is deeply confused: Initial, it is light and bouncy, nearly comedic, and then turns gravely significant, like a daytime Television host creating a specifically clumsy segue.
It does boast an certainly stacked cast in reality, if something, it is also stacked. Excellent performers like Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Adina Porter and Ian Gomez are shoved into the background and barely get a handful of lines combined in the very first 3 episodes. There’s definitely far also substantially going on right here: Alex also has a college-age daughter she’s struggling to connect with, and Bradley has a brother at residence who’s a drug addict, but neither of these storylines carry any genuine resonance, at least at very first. They just serve to clutter up an currently cluttered series.
Aniston fares the very best amongst the cast, although. She does get a bit also Rachel Green-y at occasions in the course of the comedic bits, but Alex has far and away the strongest narrative arc on the show. She has wildly mixed feelings about replacing Mitch, who was a close buddy of hers, and she also faces an uphill battle attempting to cling to relevance as a lady increasing older on tv. Aniston infuses Alex’s story with genuine emotion, and reminds us what a gifted dramatic actor she is. But the rest of the show lets her down. It is a strong efficiency lost in a sea of jumbled tips and missed possibilities.
A final warning: If you stick about lengthy sufficient to watch the second episode, it ends with a bizarre “twist” that tends to make certainly no sense, from either a Television production viewpoint or an emotional character one particular. If I had any need to stick with The Morning Show at that point — which I did not — that would have just obliterated it absolutely. Apple was clearly hoping to make a major splash with this star-studded series… but it ends up becoming extra of a painful belly flop.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Apple’s very first major Television supplying The Morning Show is an overly talky, tonally confused misfire that squanders a extremely very good cast.