LOS ANGELES: Apple TV+, the iPhone-maker’s entry into the crowded streaming TV market, debuted Friday as the first “all-original” subscription video service. All of the programming is original because, unlike Netflix Inc. and the forthcoming Disney+ from Walt Disney Co., Apple does not have rights to a back catalogue of TV shows and movies. So Apple’s offering is relatively slim compared to other online video services. It’s also cheaper than competitors, and anyone who has purchased an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV device, iPod touch or Mac after Sept. 10 can get a free subscription for one year.
In an interview with Reuters, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said he welcomed the wide range of competition in streaming video because he believed it would encourage more people to drop cable television and seek digital entertainment options.
“That really advantages not only Apple,” Cook said, “but everyone in the streaming field.’
Launching in more than 100 countries and territories, Apple TV+ debuts with four TV series for adults, an episode of “Oprah’s Book Club,” a nature documentary, and three children’s series.
Additional programming will be added each month.
Here is what’s on.
‘The Morning Show’One of Apple’s most heavily promoted programs, the drama series stars Jennifer Aniston in her first TV role since “Friends,” alongside Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. Set behind the scenes of a morning news show, the series explores power dynamics between men and women in the workplace, ethics in the news business and ageism.
Reaction from critics has been mixed, with a prelaunch 59 percent positive rating on the review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg said the show started with “a brutally dull pilot and a meandering second episode” before picking up steam in later episodes. Judy Berman of Time magazine called the series “a sophisticated drama with A-list stars that capitalizes on hot topics and hot gossip.”
‘For All Mankind’This 10-episode science-fiction drama series imagines a world where the Soviet Union wins the space race. That sets the stage for an alternate history with sweeping ripple effects on everything from women’s rights and the environment to the Vietnam War. Among Rotten Tomatoes’ predebut reviews, 73 percent were positive.
“The sprawling, yet precisely calibrated alt history is Tim Cook and Apple’s first total touchdown,” Dominic Patten of Deadline Hollywood wrote.
‘Dickinson’Set in the 19th Century, the series is a half-hour dark comedy that reimagines poet Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld) as a rebellious teenager. Prelaunch it had a 76 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. All 10 episodes launched Friday.
‘See’Starring “Aquaman” and “Game of Thrones” actor Jason Momoa, the epic drama takes place 600 years in the future after a virus has decimated most of humankind. Those who have survived are blind and must adapt, while fighting to protect themselves from a powerful queen. Alfre Woodard co-stars.
“See” scored a 43 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest. “Although the show creates a ruthless world - the action is brutal and visceral, and the story advances quickly - it’s not inventive enough to overcome the stilted dialogue and stock characters,” Brian Lowry of CNN.com wrote.‘Oprah’s Book Club’In the first episode, Oprah Winfrey discusses “The Water Dancer” with author Ta-Nehisi Coates. The book tells the story of a young man who was born into slavery and later joins the abolitionist movement and the underground railroad.