The Morning Show

Apple TV+


FLUFF and nonsense. That was what some expected when two of Hollywood’s sunniest stars headlined a drama exploring the heart of darkness that is the television news business. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon proved the doubters wrong with the first series of The Morning Show, and now they are back for more.

The Morning Show is to Apple TV+ what The Crown is to Netflix: a high-end, award-winning showcase product that makes swithering subscribers stick around.

The new 10-episode series, which starts today on Apple TV+ and continues weekly, opens where the first season ended (SPOILERS FOR SERIES ONE AHEAD). Morning Show anchors Alex Levy and Bradley Jackson (Aniston and Witherspoon) have delivered a live on air, #MeToo expose of the goings on at their station, UBA. Heads must roll but which ones, and who will be left queen, or king, of the castle when everything shakes out?

Aniston and Witherspoon are executive producers of The Morning Show, the showrunner is Kerry Ehrin (Moonlighting, The Wonder Years, Friday Night Lights), and Mimi Leder, known for her work on action titles such as Deep Impact, directs several episodes. The result is a drama that is slick, blisteringly paced (think the tape scene in Broadcast News), and, yes, it features a lot of Aniston and Witherspoon. (No Piers Morgan, though, just in case you were wondering.) You can almost smell the money spent in some of the more lavishly staged scenes. In one, the camera goes on a bird’s eye tour through Manhattan, the city looking fairy tale wonderful as Dean Martin sings Return to Me.

Witherspoon’s character is not a million miles from other straight-talking women she has played of late. Aniston, though, is a standout as Alex, the alpha female of the station. Tough, savvy, glamorous, seemingly has-it-all Alex is a bundle of neuroses and secrets. Even though she stuck her neck out for the MeToo cause, the younger women on the staff question how deep her commitment to the sisterhood really goes.

It’s not all about the women. Also returning are Steve Carell as disgraced anchor Mitch, and Billy Crudup, playing station boss Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup). His is a high wire character, much given to making grand, Network-influenced speeches that worked well in the first series. Whether the same can be said for the second, we’ll have to see. “This is a battle for the soul of the universe,” declares Cory in the opening episode. Really? There was us thinking it was just TV.

The Morning Show works on many levels: as a look at an industry struggling to keep up with the fast-changing times; as a dive into sexual politics in the 21st century workplace; and as a good old fashioned soapy tale of power and its pursuit. Whatever, it works.