When Apple TV+ launched in the fall of 2019, Apple really tried to generate a breakout hit for its streaming TV service. It loaded up the premiere with big-budget shows featuring big-name talent. The opening slate was solid, but nothing really caught fire with the public.
Then along came Ted.
Ted Lasso, which seemed like a “second-tier” show, is headlined by Jason Sudeikis (not exactly a huge star). It’s all about a popular midwestern football coach who goes to the U.K. to serve as head coach for a Premiere League soccer team. You know, the other kind of football. The one Coach Lasso knows nothing at all about.
It’s a pretty standard fish-out-of-water concept that had plenty going against it. “American in Britain” tropes are old and stale. Feel-good sports dramas are sort of hackneyed. And nobody in the U.S. knows or cares about soccer. Oh, and the show is relentlessly optimistic and positive. Ew!
So it caught everyone by surprise when it turned out to be good. Really good. “I dare you not to like this show” good. “You don’t have to care about sports” good. Suddenly Apple TV+ has its first real breakout hit, and the second season of it just premiered on July 23.
At only $4.99 a month, you may have signed up for Apple TV+ just to watch this Ted Lasso show everyone keeps mentioning. Or maybe you let your trial lapse and are coming back for Coach Lasso and the boys of AFC Richmond. Whether you’re done with Ted Lasso or are just looking for other things to watch while you wait for the next episode to drop, we have some suggestions for Apple TV+ content worth your time (in alphabetical order).
This film, based on a true story, tells the tale of Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris, who hatched a plan to circumvent redlining in the 1960s by hiring a white man to pose as the face of their real-estate and banking empire, so that they could help African Americans get loans and own property.
It’s a little timid with its subject matter, but the performances by Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Nicholas Hoult are strong enough to make the movie shine. It’s also beautifully shot and briskly paced, the very definition of “an easy watch.” This is film about a practice in recent American history that more people should know about, and a very entertaining way to do that.
The concept is simple and compelling: In 1969, the Soviet Union successfully lands a cosmonaut on the moon, before the United States does. This bolsters the U.S.S.R. space program and puts the U.S. on its back foot, resulting in a continued space race that runs for decades and greatly impacts world history. The first season of For All Mankind follows NASA throughout the 1970s, and ends with the establishment of a permanent base on the moon. The second season picks up a decade later in the 80s, and is even better than the first.
This series has great special effects and high-stakes drama, with a top notch ensemble cast. It’s the kind of thing you don’t have to be a space buff to appreciate, but fans of space, alternate history, and hard sci-fi will love it.
This was the marquee show for the launch of Apple TV+: a hard-hitting drama about a morning news show and the seismic changes it undergoes when its beloved anchor gets caught up in a sexual misconduct scandal and is replaced by an impulsive reporter.
It has the most star power of any Apple TV+ show, by far. Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carrell all deliver fantastic performances, and Billy Crudup won an Emmy for his supporting role.
The Morning Show is gripping, smart, fast-paced, and very timely. Production of the second season was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now its premiere is just around the corner on September 17.
A workplace comedy about a game development studio? Sounds like it’s the kind of thing you have to be a bit of a nerd to appreciate. And while it helps to at least have a passing familiarity with video games or gamer culture, it’s definitely not required. At its heart, Mythic Quest is what all good workplace comedies are: a group of extreme personalities under pressure to work together.
The series starts off pretty good, but gets very good around episode 5 of the first season. The second season can’t quite keep up the quality of the first, but is still worth watching.
Ted Lasso is a half-hour comedy with heart, one where you can root for almost everyone. Mythic Quest isn’t quite on Ted Lasso’s level, but it fills that same role. It also deserves mention as the only TV show we’ve ever seen make a good remote-shot pandemic episode.
Ted Lasso is an upbeat comedy about an American in the U.K. If you prefer your comedy a little bit darker and down-to-earth, and your British series a little more British, check out Trying. In it, Nikki and Jason decide to give up on a long-shot IVF treatment and adopt. They have to navigate the complex and difficult adoption process, and their lives are sometimes a bit of a mess.
It’s another “comedy with heart” that, while completely different than Ted Lasso, can easily scratch that itch until another season arrives. There are two seasons of Trying already, with a third on the way.
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I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life - over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.