Apple finally announced the official launch date of the Apple TV+ streaming service this week. It will debut on November 1 with a monthly subscription of $4.99, you'll get… four major dramas at launch, two kids shows, a nature documentary about elephants, and Oprah's new show.
You see where I am about to go with this… right?
The only problem is, the trailers/previews for the four shows – and granted, these are only the trailers/previews – look like they suck.
"The Morning News" Nobody Asked For
So let me get this straight. They got Steve Carell, Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon, three movie stars who are best known and loved for being funny – and they make them not funny?
Carell plays a morning show host who's sad because he's been fired for sexual misconduct. Anniston is his co-host who's sad because she misses him. Witherspoon is a field reporter who's being groomed to replace her.
Why should we care about these people? Why do we want to watch this show? There were reports that Apple pushed back against the original satirical comedy tone of the scripts, so now the show is completely self-serious and not funny at all. The trailer certainly shows that. Why do they think we should care about these privileged, overpaid TV people?
Emily Dickinson's Teenage Apocalypse
Emily Dickinson? Didn't she hack up her folks with an axe? No, wait, that was Lizzie Borden. Emily Dickinson wrote poetry. And this show wants us to think she was a rock star. Teenage rebellion expressed… with 21st Century gesture? Emily Dickinson does not get violent. She writes poetry. Her mother looks miffed. That's the extent of the conflict in this trailer. Huh?
Is this show for teenagers? What's in it for them? Apple reportedly do not want any drugs, sex, bad language or violence in their shows – so what's left? Basically, they're looking for Euphoria by way of the Disney Channel.
Of the four trailers, this is the only one that shows any quirk or personality, but what personality is it? This is the most baffling trailer for a show I've seen this season.
Who Really Wants to See "See"?
On the surface, See looks like an expensive dystopian future epic with good actors. It stars Jason Mamoa and has a Game of Thrones vibe about it. Looks interesting… until you hear what the story is. It seems to be "Blind Khal Drogo". So the human race in the future is blind and civilization devolves into medieval hunter-gatherer tribes. Until new babies with sight are born and everyone wants to fight over them. Huh? The world-building here doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. It feels contrived and weak in the way that bad TV Science Fiction of the 1970s and 1980s were. And they want us to watch this?
Who is "For All Mankind" Really For??
So this is an alternate history where Soviet Russia got to the moon because the US did. Why should we care? In our history, the Soviets failed and the US got to the moon first. End of story. I fail to see what could be interesting or insightful about this story that never happened? Really, so what?
More shows will be added in the first year and beyond… but if they're all as exciting as these four, what's the attraction to subscribing?
It's a Traaaaaaaap!
You'd think that a streaming service would put out trailers that made you want to watch the shows. So far, Apple TV+ has been four-for-four in trailers that made you not want to watch the shows, let alone subscribe. Apple also announced that starting September 10, anyone who buys a new Apple device (whether an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac computer) will get a free year of Apple TV+.
That's very sneaky. It could mean over that a few hundred million people in 100 countries will redeem their free coupon code by November 1st. Apple TV+ can then claim they have that many subscribers and look good on the spreadsheets. They might also be depending on people forgetting that they have a subscription when their free year expires and the autocharge kicks in. Maybe people will just shrug that they're being charged a low $4.99 a month and keep it going.
Apple TV+ also feels like another ploy by Apple to keep you in their walled garden. If you have an iPhone, you might have gotten the Apple Card. You could pay for the Apple TV+ subscription with it and get a 3% cashback. It's all about keeping you locked in Apple's ecosystem until all things are Apple in your life. What they want is to sell more iPhones.
This makes me not want to buy any Apple products.
Because if the only scripted show that looks any good on your streaming service is Snoopy in Space, you might have a big problem…