Station Streaming

By Benjamin Carr

The November kickoff of two major new streaming services, Disney + and AppleTV +, signals another shift in this era of Peak TV. Now, with more choices and quality programming than ever before - and with more streaming services to come, like HBO Max, it feels as though nothing will ever be the same. The series used to launch Apple TV + and Disney + are glossy, big-name affairs. And most of them are worth seeing.

(Apple TV+)

The service kicked off its first day with a full lineup of shows, including new programming from Oprah Winfrey and Jason Momoa, but the biggest names of the bunch were Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, who star in The Morning Show.The series follows the behind-the-scenes chaos of a network morning news program after one of its wholesome hosts, played by Carell, gets #metoo'd like Matt Lauer. Our protagonists are Alex, the old cohost played with verve by Aniston, and Bradley, an upstart and righteous journalist thrown into the fray. It's a delightful, twisty and entertaining series, filled with lots of drama and moments of very funny comedy.
And the cast beyond the leads is incredible. Billy Crudup deserves so many prizes for the wacky, devilish charmer of a network exec he embodies. Mark Duplass plays the frazzled doormat showrunner. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nestor Carbonel, Jack Davenport and Marcia Gay Harden co-star.

(Disney +)

We finally have a Star Wars live-action TV series, and its effects are cinematic and incredible. It's great fun. The show stars Pedro Pascal as a masked bounty hunter charged with killing a 50-year-old target on a desert planet, only to realize that the target is a baby Yoda. It co-stars Werner Herzog and Carl Weathers.

The series is a bit like a Western, its episodes brief and its rollicking fight scenes well-executed. It's difficult, though, to connect with Pascal, whose face is always obscured. Thus, he keeps getting upstaged by the baby, which is a delight.

(Disney +)

Another new series on Disney + is this wickedly funny, surprisingly twisted new take on their hokey, sweet franchise from the early 2000s. The premise of the new show is wacky. A drama teacher at the real high school where the original High School Musical with Zac Efron was filmed tries to stage the stage version of the musical there for the first time, casting a mix of weirdos - and a couple that just broke up - as its leads.

Filmed in the same mockumentary style as The Office and Parks and Recreation, the show subverts the original material's sickly sweetness, giving us flawed characters and an edgy humor instead. And the new music is good. It's like a demented version of Glee. Try it.



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