Apple TV+ debut overshadowed by the lackluster drama “The Morning Show”

Jocelyn Sandusky, Reporter

The highly anticipated launch of Apple’s new subscription service, Apple TV+, was extremely disappointing. Much of the buzz surrounding the new streaming service was attributed to the debut of their original drama series, “The Morning Show.” But despite major star power and a socially relevant premise, the first episode of “The Morning Show” is dull, and Apple should be paying its customers for taking on the chore of watching it.

“The Morning Show” tries too hard to make a statement. Everything is meticulous and has an underlying meaning and message. While a show needs to be multi-faceted, the subjects they focus on the need to be well thought out and purposeful. “The Morning Show” touches on a variety of subjects like women’s empowerment, ageism, journalistic integrity, sexism, power dynamics, and sexual harassment but fails to delve into them enough to make discussing them worthwhile.

The series also comes across as a little over-dramatized, boarding on a soap opera. The score, cinematography, lighting, and direction make it look and sound like a disaster is always imminent. Scenes that include minor hiccups are portrayed like someone is going to die within seconds. The cheesiness of parts of the show cheapens the scenes that deal with important issues like the Me Too movement.

The only redeeming quality about “The Morning Show” is the performances given by its powerhouse cast. In her return to television, Jennifer Aniston gives it her all to make audiences like and sympathize with her character Alex Levy. To juxtapose the glitz and glamour of Levy’s (Aniston) life and job, Reese Witherspoon is as feisty as ever to expose the nitty-gritty of the journalism world. Even if her character, Bradley Jackson, isn’t the most likable, Witherspoon’s charm makes her relatable.

Though he isn’t in the show much, Steve Carrell perfectly captured what Matt Lauer’s meltdown probably looked like when he was fired from the Today show for sexual harassment.

Just like Lauer has in the past, Mitch Kessler blames everyone but himself for his inappropriate actions.

If the show were a character study instead of a socially charged drama, the hour-long runtime might have been worth it. But even then, the characters aren’t interesting or likable enough to follow around for over an hour. On paper, the characters are dull and one-dimensional. At the end of the first episode, it is doubtful anyone was on the edge of their seats to find out what would happen to such boring and horrible people.

With a production value of $15 million an episode, audiences deserved something more structured and far less sloppy. They deserved something interesting and well-written.

“The Morning Show” is a shell of an idea that tries much too hard. Apple needs to go back to the storyboards and refine what could have been important social commentary.