Of all the shows previewed on Apple TV+, The Morning Show was the one I was looking forward to the most. It tells the story of an early-morning news show, and what happens when one anchor, played by Steve Carell, is kicked off following allegations of sexual misconduct.
Brilliant Jennifer Aniston
The first thing to comment on is just how good Jennifer Aniston, in the role of longterm host Alex Levy, is. She certainly isn’t Rachel Green anymore. Ms. Aniston has spoken about her passion for The Morning Show project, and that comes through in her performance. She shines in every scene she is in, and that’s even with excellent performances from Reese Witherspoon and the aforementioned Mr. Carell. The development relationship between of the two women is particularly strong.
The Morning Show – The Newsroom Without the Subtlety
There are some funny moments, even some inspiring moments, in the first episodes of The Morning Show. However, amongst these good passages of dialogue, a lot of it lacks the subtlety of The Newsroom – the show that is the most obvious with which to compare it. There are some really clunky moments too. I personally really disliked that the first sequence of the first episode involved a lot of people on iPhones, for instance. Yes, everyone in the New York media world has an iPhone, but does Apple really need that in the first sequence in the first episode of one of the first shows? It just screams of unsubtle product placement. (Bryan Chaffin and John Marterello disagree. You can hear our discussion on Daily Observations.)
This does not mean there is not attention to detail though. I noted that CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Chaffin was a Consultant Producer on the show. For example, in one scene a producer presses a button that closes the door to disgraced ex-anchor Mitch Kessler’s dressing room, under his dressing table. Matt Lauer, on whom the character is clearly based, had just such a button, as revealed in Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill.
Improving With Every Episode
After a slow start, The Morning Show improves. The third episode is the best of them all. I’m genuinely hooked and interested in what happens to the characters. It also tackles some serious issues, including a number of powerful sequences discussing feminism, power, and #metoo. All-in-all, Apple may have found itself a hit.