The Apple TV+ content streamer has Amazing Stories, The Morning Show and more

Flipping through literally thousands of films on Netflix my other half sighs: "There's nothing to watch."

Sometimes less is more, and so I thought I'd give the slimmer and more curated offering on Apple's relatively new entry to the original content streaming market, Apple TV+, a shot.

Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston star in The Morning Show on Apple TV +. Picture: Apple

Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston star in The Morning Show on Apple TV +. Picture: Apple

It's that + that is important. Those with iPhones already have the little Apple TV icon somewhere on their screen, whether they use it or not.

Now, for about $8 a month, a scattering of previously unavailable content has been unlocked.

Among this includes a new series of Amazing Stories, the anthology television series Steven Spielberg produced in the mid-1980s. The original series gave the 1980s Twilight Zone reboot a run for its money, being similarly a collection of single episode sci-fi/fantasy tales.

At the time of writing there are three episodes online, the first of which is The Cellar. The episode stars Dylan O'Brien, whom young adults will recognise from the Maze Runner series of films, and I recognise from the outstanding action film American Assassin.

O'Brien plays Sam, a young man yet to find his place in life, listlessly helping out in his brother's construction business. This is a time travel story of star-crossed lovers. A superstorm somehow throws Sam back to the 1920s version of the house he is renovating, and he meets Evelyn (Victoria Pedretti from You). Has he found somewhere he fits in?

This is a warm and charming introduction to the anthology series, with the 10 episodes of this first season dropping over the coming year.

Apple is selling its plus service with some big names and with The Morning Show that includes Jennifer Aniston, Reece Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup.

With a story drawn from the Weinstein-era #MeToo take-down of formerly powerful television figures, and with notes of the disgraced departure of Matt Lauer of America's Today show, Aniston and Carell play the charismatic hosts of a big-network morning news show.

As the series begins, Carell's character is walked from the network under a cloud, finally called out for many years taking sexual advantage of female employees. Witherspoon's character is brought in to cynically give the show some narrative-changing empowering dynamic.

The series is an embarrassing cash-splash by Apple, but it works. It is well written, well produced, and as a viewer, you're keen for more but wishing it wouldn't end. I gasped out loud twice, and particularly impressive is the depth of performance from Aniston. You already expect something amazing from Witherspoon, and you get that too.

I wasn't sold on the gamer-nerd series Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet, which is a pity because I've followed It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia from the same creative team. It's an office-based comedy set in the studio of a savant video game producer (Rob McElhenney),the ensemble cast includes Aussie actress Charlotte Nicdao (Jenny from Please Like Me) and F. Murray Abraham.

I'm hoping its next season carries on the same slow-burn approach, because it took all nine episode to warm to the characters.

Among the original content selections is Oprah's Book Club which I couldn't bring myself to watch. Not because of Oprah. Because of books. Who has the time? I have a job to try to save in this COVID zombie apocalypse.

Another of Apple's big-name investments is the one-time white-hot writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, responsible for the wildly overused "I see dead people" from his 1999 film The Sixth Sense. He spends his Apple cash on the elegant horror-lite Servant.

This is gripping viewing, with Lauren Ambrose from Six Feet Under as a TV news presenter with a seriously morbid case of post-natal issues that find both a panacea and a problem in the new nanny (Nell Tiger Free from Game of Thrones).

How many streaming services do we need to be paying in our monthly bills? In the coming weeks and months that might become a seriously challenging question.

For now though, that eight dollars is less than the price I'd pay for an undersized plastic cup of wine while out watching a single film at the cinema. Back when they were open.

This story I'm taking a juicy bite of Apple TV+ first appeared on The Canberra Times.