After months of anticipation, Apple entered the streaming television landscape with Apple TV+ on November 1. That includes the first three episodes of its highest profile program, “The Morning Show,” a behind-the-scenes look at a fictional morning news show not unlike “Today” or “Good Morning America” rocked by a #MeToo scandal involving one of its anchors. It features heavy-hitters in front of the camera (Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, among others) and behind it (showrunner Kerry Ehrin, director Mimi Leder), but what do critics think?
Reviewers received the first three episodes of the 10-episode first season — the rest of the episodes were made available on the eve of the show’s premiere — and as of this writing that initial sampling has earned a MetaCritic rating of 58 based on 24 reviews counted thus far: 9 positive, 14 mixed, 1 negative. It has a comparable rating of 59% freshness on the pass/faile aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 49 reviews counted: 29 classified as positive, 20 as negative. The RT critics’ consensus reflects the mixed nature of the reviews: “Flashy, but somewhat frivolous, ‘The Morning Show’ often feels more like a vanity project than the hard-hitting drama it aspires to be — but there is pleasure to be had in watching Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon give it their all.”
Indeed, the performances are getting the lion’s share of the praise. Aniston, in particular, has been described as “the standout,” in her portrayal of Alex Levy, whose career is thrown into turmoil when her co-anchor (Carell) is fared amid sexual misconduct allegations. It’s an “exquisite showcase” for the erstwhile “Friends” star. The show is “smart” and “showy,” with “a strong sense of momentum and controlled chaos.” However, the show is also being described as “sometimes strained” and has been compared to Aaron Sorkin‘s dramas “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and “The Newsroom,” which also tackled the TV business and divided critics.
But now that Apple TV+ has launched you can decide for yourself. Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow TV fans in our forums.
Jen Chaney (Vulture): “This glossy, largely compelling new series possesses major star power … and a penchant for leaning as hard as it can into moments of high-stakes drama … There’s a strong sense of momentum and controlled chaos in ‘The Morning Show’ that engages from the jump … The standout is Aniston, who, like Carell, fully displays the flawed, petty sides of Alex’s personality while projecting a front-facing, inviting confidence that explains why she’s so beloved to her audience.”
Kristen Baldwin (Entertainment Weekly): “It’s a real ‘You go, girl!’ moment (if people still said ‘You go, girl!’), and an exquisite showcase for Aniston, who channels Alex’s fury with gusto. It also typifies ‘The Morning Show’ itself: The big-budget drama from Apple TV+ is a smart, showy, and sometimes strained drama about women and control, men and #MeToo, and the evaporating line between news and entertainment.”
Amy Amatangelo (Paste): “The most damning thing I can say about ‘The Morning Show,’ the star-studded drama that is part of Apple TV+’s big launch this Friday, is that it’s fine. Reminiscent of ‘Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’ with its frenetic take on putting on live television, the show is like an old-school network drama — which again is perfectly fine, but not exactly what one would hope for when discussing the crown jewel of the streaming launch.”
Willa Paskin (Slate): “It’s not good, but it’s bad in an extremely satisfying (to me) way. Like ‘The Newsroom’ and ‘Smash’ before it, it is an earnest, mediocre, insider-y look at an insular entertainment world of extreme interest to New York media types … Still, a TV show doesn’t have to be good to hit the spot. I am here for an Aniston and Witherspoon show that contains two to three cockamamie speeches about the state of media per episode.”
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