Apple presented a number of shows to the Television Critics Association today, highlighting their slate of scripted and unscripted originals including current hits, returns and new original series joining the multi-award winning streaming service later this year.
For the third year in a row Apple showcased a stellar lineup of original series with sessions for ‘The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,' ‘The Afterparty,’ ‘They Call Me Magic,’ ‘WeCrashed,’ ‘Shining Girls' and ‘Severance,’ and If that wasn’t enough, the day began with announcements including first-looks for espionage thriller ‘Slow Horses,’ dark comedy anthology series ‘Roar,’ and the welcome return of R.J. Cutler’s biographical profile docuseries ‘Dear…’
The main surprise of the day however, wasn't the amount of quality originals on offer, but instead how little they represented the overall lineup for 2022. Today's presentation was a far cry from last years, with that day ending on a showcase reel covering the remainder of the year, in comparison today has left me equally as surprised as it has left me intrigued for the year ahead.
Refusing to follow the trend of a verging on disrespectful flash-bang that we've seen from others in the space in recent times, Apple are doing something different. By giving space to their roster of storytellers and a focused message to their subscribers, Apple are demonstrating the importance of the stories being told on their platform. That's what you'd expect from a space curated for stories that are needing to be heard, its just rare today for a company to truly mean what they say, and by doing so Apple's presentation offers just enough quiet and focus for those stories to be truly heard.
Here's a roundup of everything Apple confirmed today coming to Apple TV+ over the next few months:
Based on the 2010 novel of the same name, 'The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey' is a moving tale of family, memory and legacy. The limited drama series is Apple Studios inaugural release and follows Ptolemy Grey (Samuel L Jackson) an ailing man forgotten by his family, by his friends, and even by himself. Suddenly left without his trusted caretaker and on the brink of sinking even deeper into a lonely dementia, Ptolemy is assigned to the care of orphaned teenager Robyn (Dominique Fishback). When they learn about a treatment that can temporarily restore Ptolemy’s dementia-addled memories, it begins a journey toward shocking truths about the past, present and future.
Having spent ten years working on the adaptation together - their first foray into TV - executive producer Samuel L. Jackson and author and executive producer Walter Mosley explained how important it was to bring such a story to screen whilst reflecting on family battles with the disease:
Jackson - “I was in a family where I was surrounded by everyone with Alzheimers. My grandfather, uncle, aunt, mom, people on my father's side have Alzheimer's...I've watched them become different people over the years.” Mosley - “I don’t know many shows like this one. Concentrating on a whole experience about a person with dementia, and on top of that black characters who have a whole different experience. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is a streaming ocean you embark upon.”
'The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey' will premiere March 11th on Apple TV+.
They Call Me Magic
Documentary Series | 4 Episodes | NOT YET RATED
Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s journey from being the face of the Los Angeles Lakers and cementing himself as an all-time NBA legend, to changing the conversation around HIV and transforming into a successful entrepreneur and community activist is nothing short of remarkable.
With unprecedented access, the docuseries explores Magic's humble beginnings in Lansing, Michigan to the change his powerful personality manifested over many important years. Featuring intimate interviews with Magic, his family, and an all-star lineup, the docuseries charts the cinematic life of one of the biggest cultural icons of our era.
Magic Johnson who looks forward to sharing his "amazing" journey - from learning he was HIV positive to being the first Black MLB owner -spoke of his journey and of his personal pride:
"I asked my doctors what do I have to do to live for a long time. I also had to be comfortable with my diagnoses. I’m still here because of my support system. It's been an amazing journey. It's been 30 years since I announced my HIV status... "Well, you always look at things differently when you look back…it brought back some incredible memories for me…I always get back up…I want to look back and feel proud."
'They Call Me Magic' will make its global premiere, April 22nd on Apple TV+.
A depression-era Chicago drifter named Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times, but all that comes at a cost as he has to kill the shining girls: bright young women who burn with potential. Stalking them through their lives across different eras, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back. Adapted from Lauren Beukes 2013 novel, the upcoming series stars Emmy Award-winning actress Elisabeth Moss, who also executive produces whats described as a mind-bending tour-de-force.
Also starring Wagna Moura, Phillipa Soo, Amy Brenneman and Jamie Bell, the high-concept series adaptation adopts a few changes from the novel but stays true to what the book was trying to say. Elisabeth Moss compared her previous characters to Kirby, saying:
"I can look back on Peggy from Mad Men & absolutely see things of myself that were found in that character, & same with June Osbourne, but as for Kirby, well, the jury's still out"
'Shining Girls' will make its global premiere, April 29th on Apple TV+.
Dear... returns to celebrate the lost-art of letter writing. From Emmy-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler (‘Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry’) and inspired by Apple’s ‘Dear Apple’ spots, the series takes a cinematic approach to biographical storytelling, connecting iconic figures with their fans through letters of admiration from the very people whose lives have been touched by their heroes actions.
This season looks set to extend beyond its ten-episode debut featuring a long list of icons including; Academy, Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and producer Viola Davis, women’s rights activist, youngest-ever Nobel laureate and producer Malala Yousafzai, two-time Academy Award-winning actor, producer, New York Times bestselling author and activist Jane Fonda, Academy Award-nominated and Emmy, BAFTA and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay, Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor and singer Billy Porter, SAG Award winner and Emmy Award-nominated actress Sandra Oh, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, renowned waterman Laird Hamilton and the late André Leon Talley, the former Vogue creative director and journalist, who previously collaborated with Cutler on the acclaimed documentary “The September Issue.”
Apple TV+ press released a brief description and teaser for the upcoming season:
The second season of “Dear…” will spotlight internationally recognized leaders, entertainers and athletes, and how they have shaped culture and society through a collection of intimate letters from their fans. By reading these letters, each influential figure learns how they have unknowingly impacted others and gains new insight into how their work has made a unique contribution to the global community.
'Dear...' returns for season 2, premiering March 4th on Apple TV+.
Comedy | 8 Episodes | NOT YET RATED
Cecelia Ahern's comedic collection of short stories is the subject of a highly anticipated female-driven anthology series created by Carly Mensch and Liz Flahive’s (“GLOW”) as part of their overall deal with Apple TV+ and starring Nicole Kidman, Cynthia ErivoMerritt Wever, Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Meera Syal, Fivel Stewart and Kara Hayward. The highly amusing book focused on matters ranging from marriage and childrearing to politics and career, with the heroines of those thought-provoking stories confronting problems both mysterious and mundane: with surreal and highly amusing sensibility.
Apple TV+ press release follows:
“Roar” offers an insightful, poignant and sometimes hilarious portrait of what it means to be a woman today. Featuring a unique blend of magical realism, familiar domestic and professional scenarios, and futuristic worlds, these eight stories mirror the dilemmas of ordinary women in accessible yet surprising ways. How they emerge from their respective journeys speaks to the resiliency that exists within themselves, and with all women.
In addition to starring, Kidman executive produces alongside Per Saari and their Emmy Award-wining Blossom Films. Emmy Award-winning producer Bruna Papandrea, Steve Hutensky and Allie Goss executive produce on behalf of Made Up Stories. Creators Flahive and Mensch serve as executive producers and co-showrunners. Author Ahern executive produces through Greenlight Go. and Theresa Park executive produces for her Per Capita Productions. “Roar” is produced for Apple by Endeavor Content.
'Roar' will make its global premiere, April 15th on Apple TV+.
'Slow Horses,' based on the Slough House series of books by Mick Herron, tells the story of a dumping ground for members of the intelligence service who've screwed up: left a service file on a train, say, blown a surveillance, or become drunkenly unreliable. Adapted for television by Will Smith ('Veep') the limited series stars Academy Award Winner Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb, the brilliant but irascible leader of the spies who end up in Slough House due to their career-ending mistakes. Joining Oldman is a decorated ensemble cast including Academy Award nominee Kristin Scott Thomas, Academy Award nominee Jonathan Pryce, BAFTA Scotland Award winner Jack Lowden, and Olivia Cooke.
The series is produced for Apple by See-Saw Films and adapted for television by Will Smith (“Veep”). Graham Yost executive produces alongside Smith. Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gail Mutrux and Douglas Urbanski also serve as executive producers on the series. James Hawes directs all six episodes and executive produces.
'Slow Horses' will make its global premiere, April 1st on Apple TV+.
What did you think of todays announcements? And what are you most excited to see in the next few months? Let us know via twitter @screentimesnet
Sigmund is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of ScreenTimes where he began his Apple TV coverage in 2016. With an unwavering passion for Apple, storytelling and storytellers alike, he writes about Apple TV with a focus on the arts, development, tvOS, home theatre and accessibility. Sigmund also co-host’s Magic Rays of Light, a weekly podcast exploring the world of Apple TV and the many talents bringing our screens to life.