Apple TV+ makes a star-studded original drama debut with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon playing news anchor rivals, but the series struggles out of the gate, according to one of the first reviews.
One needn’t know the show’s bumpy creative history — rare separate “created by” (Jay Carson) and “developed by” (eventual showrunner Kerry Ehrin) credits give some indication — to be aware of the series struggling and floundering to find its focus, tone and attitude toward its main characters.
After a brutally dull pilot and a meandering second episode, there are distinct hints in the third hour of a more satisfying and confident The Morning Show, one that actually gets value out of leading ladies Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. But did the behemoths at Apple really get into the crowded original TV marketplace to become the latest perpetrator of “It eventually gets better!” patience-testing?
…The Morning Show begins to find its footing in the second episode, tied to growing recognition that most of its male characters are just bad people, whether by intent or apathy… The third episode then steers into the desired soapy goodness and gives both Aniston and Witherspoon the sort of juicy monologues you sense attracted the two stars. That said, even the third episode remains sparing in how frequently it brings them together — and they’re mostly exceptional as individuals when what audiences will surely be wanting is to see them being exceptional together.
MacDailyNews Take: Nearly every television series ever made – surely there are exceptions, but none spring immediately to mind — starts out as “brutally dull” as the exercise of introducing the characters and the concept are chores that both the creators and audiences simply have to endure. This is, of course, why Apple smartly offered reviewers the first three episodes instead of just the first expository episode.
As Fienberg writes, “The third episode points to a series in which Aniston, Witherspoon and Crudup could make this backdrop fun to watch.”
Bottom line: You have to give every TV series the chance to establish their footing before deciding if they’re worth your time.