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Best Apple TV shows: great series worth binge-watching on Apple TV Plus

Best Apple TV shows
(Image credit: Apple)

Whether you're looking for your next must-watch show, or weighing up whether to invest in an Apple TV Plus subscription, there's enough exciting original series available to watch now on the fledgling streaming service to demand your attention. In this guide, we'll round up the best Apple TV shows so far, to help you figure out which series are actually worth a look.  

If you buy a new Apple device, too, you'll get a year of the Apple TV Plus service for free, at the time of writing – meaning you can enjoy a host of extra shows and movies without adding the service to your growing pile of subscription fee bills. 

Apple TV’s exclusive shows are particularly star-studded. The platform includes award-winning prestige dramas featuring A-listers like Jennifer Anniston, Chris Evans and Octavia Spencer, as well as equally big filmmakers behind the scenes, like Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan.

Apple TV Plus (so far) mostly offers exclusive Apple shows, rather than a back catalogue of syndicated content, so while the streaming service doesn’t have as huge an archive as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, the focus here is currently on quality over quantity.

While Apple TV Plus may lack a flagship show like The Mandalorian that's an enormous crossover smash hit, collectively the service is well worth a look – especially now it's easier to get than ever, with the Apple TV app being available on PlayStation and Xbox as well as Apple tablets, phones, smart TVs and other devices.

While these glossy shows have been available to watch in ultra high-definition on the fifth-generation Apple TV 4K for some time, a more state-of-the-art sixth generation set top box is rumored to arrive in 2021 – and with it, likely a better way to screen these great series at home. 

Here are our picks of the very best exclusive Apple TV Plus shows to watch right now.

Ted Lasso

Best Apple TV shows - Ted Lasso

(Image credit: Apple)

It’s the comedy everyone can’t get enough of – and for good reason. Jason Sudeikis stars in the title role, as a big-deal Kansas American football coach, who gets hired to coach the struggling fictional English Premier League team AFC Richmond despite having no football (or, soccer) experience at all. The whole thing, it turns out, is a scheme by the club's new owner, Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), to sink the club that meant so much to her ex-husband.

Part workplace comedy, part romantic drama and all charm, Sudeikis makes for an endlessly likeable lead in the series which has turned out to be a big, heartwarming hit for Apple. Season 2 is filming now, and season 3 has already been confirmed. 

The Morning Show

Best Apple TV shows - the morning show

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When we say that Apple TV Plus boasts star-studded A-list lineups in its exclusive series, this is what we mean: American TV news-based drama The Morning Show stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell in its lead roles. The drama, reportedly Apple’s second most watched original after Ted Lasso, follows the anchors of a popular US breakfast news show, The Morning Show, which is plunged into chaos when one of its long-time hosts, played by Carrell, is fired amid a #MeToo misconduct scandal.

The show’s remaining anchor, played by Aniston, is now joined by a spunky Southern co-host, played by Witherspoon. The former Friends actress won the 2020 SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series for the show, while Billy Crudup won the Best Supporting Actor Emmy last year for his efforts as a news executive in the show. Apple made a big deal out of The Morning Show at launch, but it really is worth a watch, splashy names aside. 

Servant

Best Apple TV shows - servant

(Image credit: Apple)

M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller series follows a Philadelphia couple who hire a nanny to look after their baby son, Jericho – as you might expect from the director of The Sixth Sense, however, all is not what it seems. Not with the baby, not with the nanny, not with any of it

The less you know about it going in to Servant, the better, so we’ll leave it at that and let you discover all its creepy kid horror for yourself. Now’s the perfect time to get hooked on this dark drama, as the second season recently premiered, and a third is also confirmed, while Shyamalan has said that he envisions there to be four seasons in total – so expect plenty of twists to come. 

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet 

Best Apple TV shows

(Image credit: Apple)

An all-new comedy series created by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, Mythic Quest showed that Apple means business when it comes to sitcoms – it's truly terrific, and our only complaint is that this first season contained just nine short episodes (with a pandemic special releasing later). 

Set in a fictional video game studio which produces a huge World of Warcraft-style MMORPG called Mythic Quest, the show stars McElhenney as the game’s creator, Ian Grimm, while the 'Raven’s Banquet' from the title is the name of the long-awaited expansion to the game, which launches in the first episode of the show. This is a hilarious workplace comedy, mixed with a fairly solid lampooning of games industry from the minds behind Paddy’s Pub. Season 2 is on the way.

If you only watch one episode, check out episode 5 – 'A Dark Quiet Death'. It's almost like an episode of Black Mirror...

Defending Jacob 

Best Apple TV shows - Defending Jacob

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This limited-series thriller is based on the 2012 best-selling page turner – and the Apple TV Plus adaptation is just as gripping as its source material. Chris Evans (Avengers: Endgame), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), and rising star Jaeden Martell (It) take the leads in the crime drama, which tells the story of a seemingly-perfect family that's upended when their well-behaved 14-year-old son is accused of murdering a fellow student. The emotional, unfolding murder mystery ensures you will keep you guessing until the shocking series finale.  

Long Way Up 

Best Apple TV shows

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Calling all bikers: the follow-up to biking documentaries Long Way Round (2004) and Long Way Down (2007) released on Apple TV Plus in 2020, and it’s just as great as its predecessors. Long Way Up again documents the motorbike-based road trip of Ewan McGregor and friend Charley Boorman, this time as they ride electric Harley Davidson bikes 13,000 miles from Ushuaia in Argentina, through 13 countries across South and Central America, ending in Los Angeles in the US. 

Whether you’re looking to quench a thirst for hanging with friends or travel wanderlust, this fun adventure delivers both with full throttle.

Truth Be Told

Best Apple TV shows

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Continuing Apple’s dominance when it comes to landing big-name stars for its original shows is Truth Be Told, a drama led by the Academy Award-winning Octavia Spencer. An exciting binge-watch for true crime fans, this gives us a new spin on the wildly popular genre: Spencer plays an investigative reporter with a hit true crime podcast who is called to investigate the case of a convicted killer who she had previously painted as a murderer on her show (played by Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul). Fans of these kinds of podcasts will love this twisty drama, which is filming its second season now.  

Dickinson

Best Apple TV shows

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Apple’s comedy series about the titular 19th century poet is much more fun than its concept suggests. Its second season is ongoing at the time of writing, with Bumblebee’s Hailee Steinfeld again taking the eponymous fictionalized role of Emily Dickinson, an aspiring writer coming of age in 19th century Massachusetts, but whose sensibilities are rather more millennial than the contemporary period she finds herself in.

Tackling topics of society, gender, love and family in a way that's charming, quirky and inclusive, the series may not exactly be historically accurate, but Emily is a lead more thoroughly modern than most present day-set heroines.

Central Park 

Best Apple TV shows

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple TV Plus isn’t all about high-concept, glossy drama or splashy comedies from guys you've seen in other sitcoms. From the mind of Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard as well as Josh Gad and Nora Smith comes Central Park: an animated sitcom for grown ups, about a family who live in Central Park, New York City, and are fighting to save it from a greedy land developer. 

Though it may be animated, that doesn’t mean the show’s cast is any less starry, with an awesome ensemble comprising Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Tituss Burgess, Leslie Odom Jr. and Josh Gad as a fourth-wall breaking park busker who also happens to the show's narrator. The show is a musical, too, with its jingles only adding to its joy.