Apple's first major foray into prestige television is far from a home run, according to critics.
Reviews began coming in Monday for The Morning Show, the new Apple TV+ drama series that takes viewers behind the scenes of a fictional Today-style program and stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell. It's debuting Nov. 1 when Apple's streaming service officially launches, and although the platform also features other original content like See and Dickinson, The Morning Show is the big ticket item; its budget is reportedly on par with Game of Thrones.
But the show's garnering some brutal critical reactions, with Rolling Stone describing it as a "well-polished snore," TV Line calling it "tonally confused" and a "major disappointment," IndieWire writing that there's "very little to just enjoy" in the three episodes shown to critics, CNN declaring it "generally unimpressive," and Time calling it "rarely as thought-provoking as you'd hope."
The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, panned the first episode as "brutally dull" and the second as "meandering," although it says the third is an improvement. Variety wasn't much kinder, saying it's an "underwhelming" show where viewers can see "the exhaustion that bleeds out of the writers' room onto the screen."
A common complaint was that although The Morning Show tackles hot-button issues like the #MeToo movement, its message is muddled, with IndieWire writing that it "trusts its story without knowing what it's trying to say," while Variety points to a storyline involving a Matt Lauer analogue who insists he has done nothing wrong in a sexual misconduct scandal that "seems less purposeful than confused."
The Morning Show did earn some positive reviews as well, including from Entertainment Weekly and The AV Club, although many still came with caveats describing it as imperfect or uneven. We'll soon find out whether audiences agree and whether The Morning Show may turn itself around, but either way, Apple has already committed to a second season.