Apple’s canceling of Richard Gere Apple TV+ series might be bad omen

Luke Dormehl for Cult of Mac:

Cupertino’s costly decision to cancel an Apple TV+ series starring Richard Gere due to the show’s darker tone is the latest bit of evidence that Apple wants only family-friendly fare for its upcoming streaming video service.

A diet of uplifting, positive messages is certainly laudable. But that sort of high-minded approach could pose a major challenge for Apple. Should fans be worried?

Last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Tim Cook made the call to cancel a semi-autobiographical drama about Dr. Dre. Called Vital Signs, the show included scenes with “characters doing lines of cocaine, an extended orgy in a mansion, and drawn guns.”

That probably shouldn’t be too surprising if you’re making a show about Dr. Dre. But while “extended orgy” scenes might seem off-limits, Apple’s objection to TV staples like “drawn guns” raised serious questions.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ll soon see if Apple TV+ is “Expensive NBC” or something more. We’re hoping for the latter while dreading the former.

Regardless, people will vote with their dollars and if Apple decides they need to recalibrate, they will, as they’ve done many times in the past.

20 Comments

    1. Not all the top series on Netflix have sex and violence. Stranger Things is very popular. Some creepy violence of a sort, but no sex, unless you count a couple of 13 year old kids making out. There’s a lot of space for excellent television between “sex and violence” and “Puritan bullshit.”

    1. Thank you. Apple’s objection wasn’t to guns or violence per se, but to a sympathetic portrayal of domestic terrorists on a shooting spree. Most of the other posters seem to have ignored that. Other studios have recently cancelled projects for the same reason.

  1. Actually, I’m very excited about this and it is very Apple to do so.

    Let me explain. There are plenty of networks that already does dark TV well, plenty of perversion, plenty of violence.

    Apple only enters a market when they think that they can actually contribute something meaningfully new and different. Doing dark stuff, trashy TV, when all networks do so, is not something meaningfully new. Apple is not a copycat.

  2. So…. the premise in this article seems to be: If you can’t smut and violence it up, the service is not worthy?…

    Sorry, but if you want that go get HBO or Stars and be done with it.

    I am happy Cook is putting – apparently – some form or moral compass on the upcoming network, something tens of millions of parents like me would applaud and subscribe to.

    1. no question the violence drugs and smut on television turns off many people. Even series with great promise turn quickly into pathetic formulaic garbage in short order. Game of Thrones to me will always be a prime example of brilliant production bringing forth fame and fortune, which got quickly to the producers heads, at which point any attempts at plot or character development or meaning fell apart. I’d watch a well written series like Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth a dozen times again before reviewing an old GOT episode.

      that said, who trusts Tim Cook or his successors to be the arbiters of good taste? what does Apple plan to be, the SJW network? a Boring Disney? Hallmark for alphabet soup non-straight people?

      I liked it a lot better when Apple made user friendly hardware and software that enabled users to create their own DVDs and stuff. in the future, people may look at Tim Cook and correctly identify him as the guy who steered Apple into becoming a fat unfocused corporation with many unrelated divisions making mostly unremarkable stuff. it will pat itself on the back for being so innovative for many years before any one realizes the cabinets at GE … er, Apple … are bare.

  3. Ultimately, it matters not whether the show contains (or lacks) sex and violence. What matters is that the content is good and entertaining. You don’t need sex and violence for that; OTOH, having sex and violence does not mean the show won’t be entertaining.

    Of course, Apple may have canceled the show because it wasn’t very good to begin with and the “darker tone” part simply pushed it over the ledge.

  4. While I am somewhat skeptical of Apple’s ability to be successful in this market, I would not underestimate their decision to go clean. Remember how people ridiculed Tim Cook, specifically, for standing up for privacy? Where are those critics, now?

    Apple has a better moral compass than most companies. That’s not just a slogan or marketing hype. It’s part of their culture to have the integrity to do the right thing, even though its not popular.

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