Apple TV Plus: Best Shows And Movies To Watch


Since launching back in November 2019, Apple TV Plus has gone from strength to strength, adopting a quality over quantity approach to deliver some of the best films, show, and documentaries streaming has to offer. Theirs is a library filled with lavish productions and auteur filmmakers, moreish weekly-drop shows and movies made with the world’s biggest stars aboard. And it’s thanks to this method that even though the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+ continue to boast the largest catalogues of content in the land, Apple TV Plus has become many a discerning viewer’s streamer of choice. (Gary Oldman’s weaponised flatulence in Slow Horses alone is worth the cost of subscription!) Now, with the platform going from strength to strength, building a veritable constellation of talent both behind and in front of the cameras, we bet you wish there were some sort of nifty, hand-curated guide to the best the streamer has to offer?

Well, whaddaya know? Here at Empire we’ve decided to give you just that – a comprehensive guide to the best shows and movies to watch on Apple TV+ right now. So whether you’re after handsomely mounted period pieces, compelling crime dramas, tricksy thrillers, indie darlings, daring documentaries, or some wackadoodle meta musical madness, you’ve come to the right place. This list is presented in no particular order, by the way (otherwise Silo would’ve been first, obvs).

While you’re here, if you’re after more recommendations to help you really get the biggest bang for your streaming subscription buck, then check out our lists of what to watch on Disney+, and the best movies and TV shows on Netflix UK.

Killers Of The Flower Moon

Telling the horrifying true story of the Osage murders in 1920s Oklahoma during ‘The Reign Of Terror’, Martin Scorsese’s latest sees the American auteur wrestling with his nation’s bloody history – and his own cinematic legacy. The film follows Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), a morally invertebrate war veteran who marries Osage woman Mollie (Lily Gladstone), half-wittingly making them both pawns in his uncle William ‘King’ Hale’s (Robert De Niro) plans to murder and plunder the Osage people. It’s a sickening chapter in American history which Scorsese tackles with real care and a great sense of responsibility. Moments of extreme violence are punctuated by silence; the Osage people’s customs and culture are represented in minute detail; and Marty depicts escalating acts of inhumanity with a clinical precision that emphasises the banality of evil. Yes, it is over three hours long, but Scorsese makes every last second count.

Read the Empire review here.

Slow Horses

It’s sometimes seen as the anti-le Carré, but this show, adapted from Mick Herron’s novel series, is more a natural descendant, blending dark, very British comedy with spy craft. Le Carré-on, then. Anchored by Gary Oldman playing every burping, farting note of chief agent Jackson Lamb, Slow Horses follows a group of MI5 types who’ve all screwed up in their careers and are banished to “Slough House”: a scummy satellite office that sits far from the agency’s top stars in their shiny Regent’s Park base. And yet, this team gets things done, solving a tricky kidnapping case. A stacked cast (Jack LowdenSaskia ReevesOlivia CookeKristin Scott Thomas and many more) ensure the performances match the sly scripts. Following a fantastic Season 2 and a frankly astounding Season 3, we’re unsurprised a fourth and fifth season with Lamb and co has already been greenlit. Don’t you just love the smell of musty storage rooms in the morning?

Read the Empire review here.

Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters

Combining blockbuster scale (and budget) with longform storytelling, Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters – a TV take on the cinematic MonsterVerse – decentres its kaiju star attractions to dig a little deeper into the origins of the cryptozoological cabal who investigate them. Headlined by the inspired casting of Kurt and Wyatt Russell as older and younger versions of Monarch man Lieutenant Lee Shaw, the show – set in the aftermath of 2014’s Godzilla – tells an ambitious, character-driven story, delving into the human cost of citywide beastie brawls whilst gradually unspooling Monarch’s many secrets. It also just so happens to be an insanely lavish, timeline- and globe-trotting series featuring breathtaking location work across Japan, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Alaska, Utah, and San Francisco. The human factor adds an interesting new wrinkle to the MonsterVerse’s scaly tapestry, whilst the big bois – when they do eventually appear – do not disappoint. GOJIRAAAAAA!!!

Read the Empire review here.

Lessons In Chemistry

Having beaten Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, and joined the faaaamily to take on Jason Momoa’s Dante in Fast X, Brie Larson faces her greatest foe yet in Lessons In Chemistry – the patriarchy! Adapted from Bonnie Garmus’ eponymous bestselling novel, the series centres around Elizabeth Zott (Larson), a brilliant chemist and talented cook living in the male-dominated world of 1950s America. Forced out of her PhD and languishing as a lab-tech in a workplace filled with mediocre men, an unexpected chain of events propels Elizabeth into the limelight as the host of a TV cooking show, where she educates America on a fair bit more than merely the fine art of julienning carrots. Buoyed by a brilliant, winning lead performance from Larson and its jaw-slackeningly luscious period detailing – not to mention the serotonin summoning cooking scenes – this is pure televisual comfort food.

Read the Empire review here.

Flora And Son

Nobody makes musical movies quite like John Carney, the man behind OnceSing Street, and Begin Again. His films are grounded in reality and immersed in the musical world, celebrations of the way song allows us to express our innermost truths and connect with one another in ways words alone simply cannot. His latest, Flora And Son, sees fretful Irish mother Flora (Eve Hewson) taking guitar lessons from fretting American Jeff (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in a vain attempt to piss off/bond with her wayward teen son (Orén Kinlan), an aspiring musician himself. Though textbook Carney in structure and sentiment (hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!), where Flora And Son excels is in the calibration of its love story. Yes, sparks indubitably fly whenever Hewson and Gordon-Levitt share the screen, but it’s Carney’s sensitive exploration of a mother and son’s bone-deep bond that really strikes a chord.

Read the Empire review here.

The Pigeon Tunnel

Better known to the world as master spy fiction writer John Le Carré, actual former MI5 (and 6!) spook David Corrnwell makes for a fascinating interview subject in documentarian Errol Morris’ The Pigeon Tunnel. Shot like its own espionage epic – complete with ingeniously caught close-ups and dynamic, evocative camerawork – Morris and Cornwell engage in their own game of cat-and-mouse as the two infamously cagey masters of their respective craft get candid. As much an interrogation of the lines between art and artist as a soup-to-nuts doc about the man behind Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, Le Carré’s final interview is every bit as gripping and enigmatic as any of the author’s works. A real must-see, whether you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Carré fan or you think Smiley is one of Snow White’s seven dwarves.

Read the Empire review here.


A cerebral puzzle-box mystery wrapped in a stunningly realised post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller, Silo is a masterfully handled screen translation of Hugh Howey’s best-selling book series. Set in a near-future where an apocalyptic event has seemingly driven the remnants of humanity to an underground bunker known only as the Silo, the elliptically structured series follows a sheriff (David Oyelowo) and an engineer (Rebecca Ferguson) as they seek to unearth the truth of the who, what, where, when, and why that led to the Sillo’s creation. Over its ten episodes, the series nimbly weaves political, philosophical, and procedural elements into its impressive narrative tapestry, all whilst sustaining a central mystery that genuinely keeps you guessing to the last. And the result? Easily one of the most absorbing viewing experiences of 2023.

Read the Empire review here.


Forget snakes, it’s Idris On A Plane we’re here for – and that’s exactly what we get in real-time thriller HijackIdris Elba takes to the skies here as businessman Sam Nelson, a cool-as-you-like businessman who becomes an impromptu negotiator when a Neil Maskell-led band of ne’er-do-wells turn a Blighty-bound flight from Dubai into a full-blown hostage situation. As ground control scramble to figure out exactly what’s going on and Sam tries to get a handle on things in the air, the entire event plays out minute by unbearably tense minute before our very eyes, 24 style. Despite some frankly insane logical leaps as the show races towards its bonkers climax, uniformly great performances and a propulsive script make this real edge-of-your-seat stuff from start to finish.

Read the Empire review here



Bad Neighbours co-stars Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star as two former best friends who reconnect in their mid-life in charisma-driven comedy Platonic. Right from their initial awkward coffee shop reunion, it’s all too clear that stay-at-home mum Sylvia (Byrne) and L.A. based bartender Will (Rogen) have fallen back into each other’s lives at just the right time, leading the duo to BFF it up in a series of silly comic capers that largely serve to distract from their own middle-aged hang-ups. The joy of the series is two-fold: firstly, it’s refreshingly low-stakes and greatly leavened by the lack of any real overarching themes or messages to deliver; and secondly, Rogen and Byrne just have fantastic on-screen chemistry, their merciless ribbing of – and riffing off – one another making them a real pleasure to hang out with.

The Crowded Room

Inspired by a best-selling Daniel Keyes book, The Crowded Room – written and created by Akiva Goldsman (Star Trek: PicardStrange New Worlds) – is a psychological mystery-cum-character-study set in ’70s New York. Tom Holland stars here as Danny, a troubled young man who we first meet during an attempted shooting at the Rockefeller Center. Later, we rejoin him as Amanda Seyfried’s empathetic interrogator Rya questions him about the incident, shining a light on Danny’s turbulent childhood in the process. It’s a handsomely mounted, slickly stylised production, and Holland gives a career-best performance as he really digs into the many layers of Danny’s fractured psyche. Forgiving its occasional sensationalist flourishes, the show also offers an incredibly timely commentary on the way society stigmatises mental health issues, starting a conversation that more than justifies your investment.

Read the Empire review here.

Black Bird

The ‘trafficking drugs and disappointing your policeman father as you stare down the barrel of 10 years in the slammer to cutting a deal with the FBI to enter a maximum security joint and befriend a serial killer’ pipeline is a niche one, we’ll concede. But it is the one crook Jimmy Keene – whose explosive memoir is the basis for Dennis Lehane’s lacerating police procedural-cum-prison drama Black Bird – took. Rocketman’s Taron Egerton brings abundant natural charisma to the role of Keene as we follow the career criminal on his crooked path to freedom, which involves several uneasy encounters with “creepy as all fuck” serial killer Larry, played by a skin-crawlingly creepy, wispy-voiced Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell). Whilst the performances across the board are exceptional however, a special mention has to be given to the late, great Ray Liotta, whose richly textured turn as Jimmy’s regret-filled father is a real stand-out.

Read the Empire review here.


Having successfully disguised a weekly therapy session as a football sit-com with Ted LassoBill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein lose the illusion for Shrinking, which puts therapists – namely grieving shrink Jimmy (co-creator Jason Segel) – front and centre. Mourning the loss of his wife, the series sees Jimmy throw off his training and ethical obligations as he tells his clients straight-up what he thinks about their struggles, ultimately changing their lives – and his own – for the better. It’s a killer hook to hang what we’re dubbing a ‘melancomedy’ on, creating the perfect space for moments of catharsis and carnage to sit side-by-side. The real revelation of the show though is surely Harrison Ford, who brilliantly flexes both his comic and dramatic chops as Jimmy’s curmudgeonly colleague and mentor Paul. Trust us, you ain’t seen nothing til you’ve seen Indiana Jones singing Sugar Ray’s ‘Every Morning’.

Read the Empire review here.


Perhaps one of Apple TV’s most outré offerings, Schmigadoon! Is an inspired musical theatre satire that, season by season, simultaneously sends up and celebrates different eras in musical history. Keegan-Michael Key (Wendell & Wild) and Cecily Strong star as married couple Josh and Mel, whose backpacking trip to save their relationship unexpectedly leads them to Schmigadoon, a thespian dreamland torn straight from the Golden Age. Boasting a stacked cast of stage and screen musical stars – Kristin ChenowethAriana DeBoseAlan CummingAaron Tveit to name just a few – and a banger-filled soundtrack with a surprising amount of genre-critical bite, whether you love or hate musicals you can enjoy this. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, what if we also told you the second series – Schmicago – pushes the needle forward to the 60s and 70s and is a Fosse-inspired noirish delight, complete with its own Cell Block Tango homage? Schmimply Schmincredible.

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

Despite his already well-documented battle with Parkinson’s disease, Michael J. Fox remains the consummate movie star through and through, a man of infinite charisma and magnetic charm. Davis Guggenheim’s playfully titled Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, a documentary about a man who’s always been making moves one way or another, channels that star power spectacularly. Head-spinningly well edited and ingeniously put together, Guggenheim’s account of Fox’s rise to prominence and journey with Parkinson’s, largely related by the man himself, is characterised by a rich vein of humour and a mean self-effacing streak that takes the bitter sting out of a sobering tale without reducing its emotional punch. Like the Back To The Future star at its centre, Still is a real crowd pleaser that’ll make you laugh, make you cry, and leave you begging for more.

Read the Empire review here.

Drops Of God

Oenolegical one-upmanship is the order of the day in Drops Of God, an unlikely adaptation of an even unlikelier smash-hit manga series about, err, wine. Unfolding as a sort of sensorily stimulating sommelier Succession (try saying that after a few red Burgundys), this Franco-Japanese co-production concerns the decision of who will be the beneficiary of renowned wine critic Alexandre Léger’s $148 million hoard. Vying for the treasure are Léger’s estranged daughter Camille (Fleur Geffrier), whose upbringing has given her a visceral aversion to the grapey good stuff, and his Japanese apprentice, Issei (Tomohisa Yamashita), a world-class oenologist with his own baggage. As the pair are put through their wine-tasting paces in a series of tests to determine the recipient of Léger’s riches, compelling familial drama and striking surrealist flourishes swirl around, giving the series a flamboyant, full-bodied international flavour. Santé! Kanpai!


Lila Neugebauer’s Causeway, a character study centred on the bond that forms between a medically discharged US soldier (Jennifer Lawrence) and a local mechanic (Brian Tyree Henry) – both struggling with PTSD – is a small film in many ways. Its runtime barely crests 90 minutes as a small cast tell a small story filled with small moments that happen in small spaces and small places. Even the two performances on which the whole thing hinges are small, Lawrence and Henry going granular as they disappear into the lives of two people frightened to be free from the cages they’ve built for themselves, their chemistry crystallised in infinitesimal moments of human connection rather than grand gestures or displays. However, the cumulative effect of the piece, of watching as two same-but-differently broken people find themselves by fate or pure instinct helping to fix one another, is anything but small at all.

Read the Empire review here.

Bad Sisters

The first episode of Bad Sisters begins with the, err, stiff corpse of Claes Bang’s odious bully John Paul providing the backdrop to a title card that simply reads “The Prick”. It’s an opening gambit that instantly sets the tone for a blacker than black dramedy with co-creator and star Sharon Horgan’s inimitable stamp upon it. Part-murder mystery, part-farce, the series fluidly flits between past and present as five sisters – Eva (Horgan), Becka (Eve Hewson), Bibi (Sarah Greene), Ursula (Eva Birthistle), and John Paul’s downtrodden widow Grace (Anne-Marie Duff) – find themselves at the heart of a life insurance investigation. With an absolutely killer cast and a perfectly pitched sense of precision-engineered chaos both in the plotting and the characterwork, this is an engrossing mystery that’s just as concerned with the why and how as the whodunnit. Roll on Season 2 – the wait is killing us (pun very much intended!).

Read the Empire review here.

Beastie Boys Story

Directed by renowned filmmaker and music videographer Spike Jonze (HerJackass Forever), Beastie Boys Story is exactly what its title suggests, the soup to nuts story of how Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “MCA” Yauch, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz – three white dorks from New York City – changed hip-hop forever. Filmed at Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, Mike D and Ad-Rock’s two-man show combines a tongue-in-cheek TED Talk presentational style with carefully selected archive footage, surprising needledrops, and abundant moments of humour, introspection, and emotional rawness – especially as Diamond and Horovitz talk candidly and share stories about their much-missed friend MCA. The closest thing to the definitive article on the band we’ve seen on screen yet, Jonze’s camera lets the guys to tell their own story, on their own terms, and set the record straight (with the odd scratch for shits and giggles). It’s simply delivered yet incredibly effective – cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce.

Read the Empire review here.


Bare white walls, endless maze-like hallways and awkward social interactions make up the curious world of Severance – one where office workers like Mark (Adam Scott), Irving (John Turturro) and newcomer Helly (Britt Lower) consent to a procedure that completely severs their work self from their personal one. It’s a high-concept premise, delivered in a surreal, high-concept way. It might seem a little cold at first, but as the mystery of Lumon Industries unravels and we understand the implications of this most drastic approach to achieving work/life balance, Severance becomes an incredibly intriguing, unbearably tense ride, fleshed out with endlessly compelling characters. Plus, its final episode will leave you gasping for air, safe in the knowledge that a second season is well on its way.

Read the Empire review here.


AKA The Little Movie That Could. Picked up by Apple for a record $25 million at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Siân Heder‘s CODA — which stands for Child Of Deaf Adults – catalogues the charm-filled story of Ruby Rossi (the excellent Emilia Jones), the lone hearing member of a deaf family who work on a fishing boat off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Ruby, though, has musical ambitions and a beautiful voice, and is encouraged by her music teacher, Mr. Villalobos (Eugenio Derbez). Soon, family commitments clash with choir practice, but the drama is never about petty issues. Adapted from French film La Famille BelierCODA‘s secret weapon is Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin as Ruby’s parents; passionate, funny, rude and never less than engaging. It went on to win three Oscars, including Best Picture.

Read the Empire review here.

The Essex Serpent

With a megawatt cast, lavish production values, and British filmmaking great Clio Barnard in the director’s chair, The Essex Serpent is a prime example of how Apple TV+ is making its mark in the streaming world – going big with the budget, bringing in top-tier talent, and trusting its audience with slow-burn storytelling. Based on Sarah Perry’s award-winning historical novel, the series stars Claire Danes as Cora, a newly-widowed naturalist drawn to Essex by rumours of a dangerous sea creature; Tom Hiddleston is William, a pastor who refuses to believe in the mythical titular serpent. Together they form an unlikely but deep bond, their romance eked out irresistibly against the backdrop of clashing morals, social panic and era-specific struggles. A gorgeous, Gothic delight that brought the genius of Barnard to the small screen.

Read the Empire review here.

Ted Lasso

Apple’s surprise jewel in the crown came out of seemingly nowhere, and proved something of a lifeline during the pandemic – momentarily keeping the doom scrolling at bay with its earnest portrayal of a bunch of people trying to do their best. Jason Sudeikis deserved (and got) all the awards as the moustachioed American football (or, ‘soccer’) coach tasked with shaking AFC Richmond into shape while wrestling with a messy divorce. With football serving as more of a peripheral theme, Ted Lasso instead spotlights its band of charming, imperfect characters, from Brett Goldstein’s foul-mouthed old-soul-with-a-heart-of-gold, Roy, to Juno Temple‘s peppy entrepreneurial model Keeley, to Nathan “Nate The Great” Shelley, brought beautifully to life over the course of the show’s three seasons by Nick Mohammed. If the Lasso way is wrong, it’s hard to imagine being right!

Read the Empire review here.

For All Mankind

Originally sparked by the compelling alt-history concept of Russia beating America to the Moon in the 1960s space race, For All Mankind spins its timeline in an ever-expanding arc away from ours as the world’s boosted interest in space tech sparks societal change. Created by Star Trekand Battlestar Galactica veteran Ronald D. Moore – plus former Fargo writers Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert – the show mixes riveting, scientifically-accurate space action with layered characters who age through the seasons and deal with their various dramas on Earth, which also leak into their work. It jumps ahead roughly a decade each season and in the most recent fourth instalment, the show deals with the aftermath of humanity’s race to Mars. This is superior sci-fi – hailed by its devoted fans as the greatest show on right now that far too few people are watching.

Read the Empire review here.

The Tragedy Of Macbeth

It only boasts a single Coen Brother behind the camera (Joel Coen, making his solo directorial debut), but this take on Shakespeare’s king-killing classic is as deeply cinematic as you’d expect from one half of the all-time-great directing duo. The Tragedy Of Macbeth is stark, monochromatic Shakespeare – Coen really drawing out the horror in the Bard’s tale of witchy prophecies and bloody betrayals with unsettling imagery and a doomy Carter Burwell score. Denzel Washington is masterful as ever as the monarch who murders his way to the top and soon begins to unravel, egged on by Frances McDormand‘s scheming Lady Macbeth. Elsewhere, the stacked cast includes the likes of Brendan Gleeson, Bertie Carvel, Corey Hawkins and Obi-Wan Kenobi’Moses Ingram – but the real standout is RSC veteran Kathryn Hunter, the theatrical contortionist who plays all three witches in a bravura performance of otherworldly, body-bending brilliance.

Read the Empire review here.

The Afterparty

Murder mysteries are enjoying something of a renaissance of late, and much like Rian Johnson‘s Poker FaceChristopher Miller‘s The Afterparty is a fun, fresh, highly entertaining take on the genre. Set during a school reunion that sees one of their classmates dead (the unbearable, Bieber-esque popstar Xavier, played impeccably by Dave Franco), a number of suspects including Aniq (Sam Richardson), Zoë (Zoë Chao), Yasper (Ben Schwartz), Chelsea (Ilana Glazer) and Brett (Ike Barinholtz) are questioned by Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish) as she zeroes in on the culprit. The twist? Each person recounts their evening in a different genre – romcom, musical, animated, psychological thriller – giving every episode its own unique flavour, as well as playing out the whodunnit through-line. Haddish is having a whale of a time, Richardson marks himself as a wonderful leading man, and Jamie Demetriou is a scene-stealer as permanent outsider Walt. Don’t be late to the (after)party – Season 2 is already here and it’s a real killer!

Read the Empire review here.


TV truly does not get more epic, emotional, or beautifully made than Pachinko. Adapted from Min Jin Lee’s best-selling book, it tells the story of one family across several generations; in one thread, young Sunja (Kim Min-ha) uproots her life in rural Korea and moves to the urban, unwelcoming Japan; in another, she’s much older (played by Oscar-winning Minari standout Youn Yuh-jung) and is visited by her ambitious banker grandson Salomon (Jin Ha), who’s beginning to form a deeper connection with his family’s past lives. As well as delivering an authentic depiction of the Korean immigrant experience during the Japanese occupation and its after-effects, Pachinko is a sweeping romance, an intense drama, and a simply stunning piece of filmmaking. Plus, it gives Peacemaker a run for its money for 2022’s most fun title sequence.

Read the Empire review here.

Defending Jacob

In one of his first roles post-Captain America, Chris Evans keeps the Infinity War-era beard (yay!) but puts in a very different turn – this time as a father having to defend his teen son Jacob (Jaeden Martell, perhaps best known for both chapters of IT) who’s been accused of murdering schoolmate Ben. While Evans’ Andy and his wife Laurie (Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery) prepare to protect their family from the intense scrutiny of the media, the townsfolk, and the murder trial, they’re left wrestling with the ultimate question: What if he did do it? Adapted from Williams Landay’s novel into a standalone miniseries, Defending Jacob is a slick, star-studded thriller with all the twists and turns you’d expect given its page-turner origins, bolstered by an excellent supporting cast (JK SimmonsCherry JonesGet Out‘s Betty Gabriel!) and icy direction from Headhunters’ Morten Tyldum.

Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry

Documentaries about musicians aren’t new, but recent years have seen an influx of films where some of the world’s biggest popstars share their rawness and vulnerability in a more up-close-and-personal way than we’ve ever seen before – Lady Gaga‘s Five Foot Two, Taylor Swift‘s Miss Americana and Katy Perry‘s Part Of Me, to name a few. With Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, this closeness feels intensified. Director RJ Cutler followed the teenage pop phenomenon for almost two and a half years, charting the making and release of her album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ and her propulsion into superstardom, climaxing in her 2020 Grammy awards sweep. Juxtaposing sold-out concerts with the small childhood bedroom in which Billie and brother Finneas make their magic, The World’s A Little Blurry is especially potent given it is, perhaps, the first film of its kind to focus on a star so familiar with living their life through a camera, with the lens of social media such an ingrained presence.

Read the Empire review here.

Swan Song

If you like your sci-fi with a heavy side-portion of sobbing, writer-director Benjamin Cleary‘s feature debut Swan Song is as big on emotional weight as it is weighty ideas. Set in the not-too-distant future, Mahershala Ali plays terminally-ill man Cameron, who secretly takes himself away to a cloning facility where he can be replaced by an exact replica of himself without his family knowing, to save his wife (Naomie Harris) and young son the grief of losing him. But while he’s there, he wrestles with what it’ll truly mean to die, to be replaced, and to deny his loved ones the chance of knowing he’s really gone (or will he actually be gone?). Ali is astonishing in a double performance, while Glenn Close and Awkwafina bring heft in supporting roles as the director of the cloning facility and a fellow patient respectively. Beautifully done – but bring tissues.

Read the Empire review here.

Prehistoric Planet

If Jurassic World Dominion didn’t quite give you the dinosaurs-in-the-wild rush that you hoped for, then Prehistoric Planet will delight you. Anyone who fondly remembers BBC favourites Walking With Dinosaurs and Walking With Beasts will get a huge kick out of this series, which takes the same dino-doc premise and ups the ante with contemporary science (feathered dinosaurs!), photo-real visual effects, and the likes of Jon Favreau, David Attenborough, and Hans Zimmer (as executive producer, narrator, and composer respectively) on board. Across five episodes, the series portrays slices of dino-life in a documentary style – depicting turkey-like Velociraptors prowling for prey on cliffs, broody Quetzalcoatlus’ protecting their nests, and T-rexes swimming to find a new home. Yes, swimming. The science is mind-blowing, the presentation utterly believable, the effect entirely enchanting.

Losing Alice

48-year-old film director Alice (Ayelet Zurer), hit by professional ennui, is lured out of retirement by young screenwriter Sophie (Lihi Kornowski), who by chance has written a script that will star Alice’s husband (Gal Toren). On paper, this premise for Losing Alice sounds like we are deep in Nicole Holofcener country but, when Alice agrees to take the reigns after the initial director has mysteriously disappeared, it sets in motion a nexus of intrigue, distrust and the blurring of every kind of boundary (witness Alice directing her husband in a sex scene with Sophie). Writer-director Sigal Avin’s eight-part Israeli series injects class into the psychological thriller genre, spinning twist and turns without any of the cheese of Netflix. At once beautifully shot yet slightly off-kilter, the whole thing is perfectly anchored by Zurer (MunichAngels & Demons, Superman’s mum in Man Of Steel), who can spin suspicion, over-sensitivity and cunning on a dime.


One can only imagine the meeting in which Steven Knight pitched this post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama in which everyone in the world is blind and a mad queen wank-prays furiously before sending out witchfinders in search of sighted folk. However, despite its gonzo premise, the Peaky Blinders creator struck gold with See, with its rich world-building, inspired blind-fighting and engaging generational character drama. Shot on location in the Canadian wilds, every frame is stunning and Jason Momoa has created a hero for the ages in lethal paterfamilias Baba Voss. Watch it for the masturbatory piety; watch it for an epic Season 2 face off with Dave Bautista; watch it for the chance to witness a blind Momoa punch a grizzly bear. But watch it you must.

Read the Empire review here.


We’re glad that Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart and Cartoon Saloon’s animated treasure got the chance to reach a decent audience, even if it perhaps deserved a delay until it could have a cinematic release. The studio’s conclusion to its Irish Folklore Trilogy, Wolfwalkers is another hand-crafted delight, with this one set in the 17th century days of England’s encroaching on Ireland’s forests. A young hunter’s daughter, the rebellious Robyn Goodfellowe (voiced by Honor Kneafsey), meets one of the Wolfwalkers of the title, a troublemaker named Mebh (Eva Whittaker) whose spirit becomes a wolf when she sleeps. It’s a touching coming-of-age tale blended with a trenchant look at colonialism and adventure, but mostly this is just a gloriously animated fairytale with bags of imagination and style to spare.

Read the Empire review here.


Astonishing actor, chart-topping singer, Oscar-nominated at just 15 – to say Hailee Steinfeld is an overachiever is one hell of an understatement. With Dickinson, she embodies revered American poet Emily Dickinson in her youth. A genius who was underappreciated in her own time, the series charts her grappling with her talents, her identity, and the kind of legacy she wishes to leave behind, expanding in scope in the final season by exploring her relationship to the Civil War raging around her. Surreal sequences that take us inside Emily’s imagination and a modern approach to the dialogue keep the period setting feeling fresh, as does the queer romantic longing between Emily and her sister-in-law Sue, played by Ella Hunt. It’s a remarkable vehicle for one of the greatest young actors of her generation, which also features rapper Wiz Khalifa as the personification of Death. Sold.

Read the Empire review here.


Isaac Asimov‘s Foundation books are mind-blowing, boundary-pushing, and overflowing with radical ideas. They are not, however, packed with compelling character drama. David Goyer’s adaptation changes all that, finding ingenious ways to keep a constant cast of characters in a galaxy-spanning saga set over a thousand years. Lavishly-staged, with effects, set, and costume design your average blockbuster would kill for, it depicts a future in which mankind has become decadent and corrupt, with a vast galactic empire ruled by a triumvirate of revolving clones (Lee Pace‘s Brother Day being the MVP). Then, Jared Harris‘ scientist predicts the fall of the Empire, the dynasty, and civilisation as they know it with his mathematical algorithm. The basic premise barely scratches the surface of what Foundation truly is (Goyer is planning eight seasons to fully explore it – and the second, here already, is a dizzying doozy), the decade-spanning time jumps can be discombobulating, and there’s a whole plot thread that hinges on someone being secretly colourblind – but this is television writ large, as epic and ambitious as anything you’ve ever seen.

Read the Empire review here.

Lisey’s Story

Possibly the most Stephen King of all Stephen King TV or film adaptations, this complex eight-parter is entirely written by King himself, based on his own 2006 novel, dealing with the death of a hugely successful author (Clive Owen) and how the subsequent fallout affects his wife, Lisey (Julianne Moore), and their extended family. The main Misery-esque plot concerns a psychopathic obsessive fan (Dane DeHaan) who stalks Lisey, but the fractured narrative also goes down wild paths, including a bewildering mind palace called “Boo’ya Moon”. It’s not quite as great as a series directed by Pablo Larraín (Spencer) and shot by the legendary Darius Khondji should be, but it’s full of extraordinary moments.

Read the Empire review here.

Mythic Quest

Creator, writer, actor, and Wrexham AFC co-owner Rob McElhenney leaves the drunken debauchery of It’s Always Sunny… back in Philly for Mythic Quest, a very different, significantly sweeter workplace comedy. As Ian Grimm, Creative Director of a wildly popular video game studio, he channels the same all-front hyper-masculine energy as Mac, his Always Sunny character, but is balanced out by a melange of delightful, passionate oddballs. It’s hard to pick a standout from the gang, which includes F. Murray Abraham as the eccentric head writer C.W. Longbottom or Community‘s Danny Pudi as the company’s ruthless head of monetization. But as Poppy, Ian’s lead engineer, Charlotte Nicdao soars above this talented ensemble as a peppy, snack-snaffling nerd on a constant mission to prove herself (mostly to herself).


The history of Greyhound might sound a tad dry (a group of US Naval ships attempt to cross a U-boat-strewn stretch of the Atlantic during World War II), but Aaron Schneider‘s film is actually a pulse-pounding 90-minute action movie, avoiding getting bogged down in unnecessary detail and instead plumping for a slick and streamlined get-from-A-to-B survival thriller. At the centre of it all is the ever-calming presence of Tom Hanks (who, as a major war history buff, also wrote the screenplay here) playing Commander Ernest Krause, the Naval officer tasked with getting a convoy of Allied ships through treacherous waters with no air support, while enemy submersibles prowl under the surface ready to blow them to smithereens. His commanding performance and the clean staging of the aquatic action makes for a surprisingly gripping watch – hence Apple Studios pursuing a sequel.

Read the Empire review here.


From the people who brought you Netflix’s wonderful, gone-too-soon wrestling series GLOWRoar is an anthology series of short, surreal stories, each exploring a facet of the female experience – including Nicole Kidman playing a woman who eats photographs, Alison Brie solving her own brutal murder, and Cynthia Erivo trying to ‘have it all’ and finding bite marks on her skin in the process. The feminist allegory underlying each episode is hardly subtle, but the stellar cast, variety in setup, sleek filmmaking, and pacy writing make each instalment extremely enjoyable – and no matter how on-the-nose the execution, there’s always a certain satisfaction in seeing woman-led projects writ large, especially ones as experimental and interesting as this.

The Morning Show

Morning TV in the States is a curious beast – a giant televisual industry that throws even the likes of the legendary Lorraine Kelly into shadow, like a Star Destroyer pulling alongside a rebel blockade runner. How much you enjoy The Morning Show then – whose Jon Hamm starring third season has just landed on the streamer – might depend on whether you can tune in to its blend of occasional loopiness and serious issues. It doesn’t always land, but when it does, it’s a whole lot of fun. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon are naturally great, though keep an eye out for the likes of Bel Powley and Mark Duplass in supporting roles. Plus, there’s Billy Crudup as the scene-stealing executive Cory Ellison. Tackling real-world themes and creating characters you either love or hate, it’s always an intensely entertaining watch.

Read the Empire review here.

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Cooper Raiff’s Sundance hit sees wayward graduate Andrew (Raiff) return home with no idea what to do with himself. When a serendipitous trip to a bar mitzvah introduces him to Domino (Dakota Johnson) and her autistic daughter Lola (Vanessa Burghardt), Andrew finds a new lease on life, plus a new job as a “hype man” for the community party circuit. Raiff’s astute observations of everyday life, paired with deeper emotional insight, make Cha Cha Real Smooth a sweet and tender watch, and marks the 25-year-old writer, director and actor as a rising star.

Read the Empire review here.

The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey

Starring and produced by the mighty Samuel L Jackson and adapted from Walter Mosley‘s novel by the writer himself, this powerful six-part limited series has a deliberately off-kilter edge to the storytelling, dramatising the mental state of 91-year-old main character Ptolemy Grey (Jackson), who has dementia. When he’s suddenly left without his nephew and trusted carer, orphaned teenager Robyn (Dominique Fishback) takes over the job, and Ptolemy signs up for an experimental treatment to restore his confused memories. Together they embark on a disturbing investigation into his nephew’s death. Jackson is as brilliant as you’d expect, but Fishback is a revelation.

Read the Empire review here.

The Velvet Underground

Todd Haynes is no by-the-numbers filmmaker, and The Velvet Underground is no by-the-numbers rock doc. Rather than a standard soup-to-nuts story of Lou Reed and John Cale’s avant-garde experimentalists, the Carol director mounts an impressionistic tour de force, using ever-present split screen to contrast interviews with adverts, newsreel, photographs and archive footage of the band. The approach is surprisingly cogent in giving you the history of the band — the formation, Warhol’s Factory, the fights, the break-up — but also doubles as a compelling snapshot of a cultural moment. For, taken together with Haynes’ glam-fest Velvet Goldmine and oddball Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not ThereThe Velvet Underground remembers a time when music, film and art came together, allowing the iconoclasts to become kings. The result is much more fun than any ‘radical documentary’ has the right to be.

Read the Empire review here.

Shining Girls

Based on the novel by Lauren Beukes, Shining Girls once again stars Elisabeth Moss as a woman haunted by trauma, giving as staggering a performance as you’d expect. But there’s a timey-wimey twist here – Kirby’s (Moss) entire world can change at a moment’s notice, connected to a brutal attack she experienced by a serial killer still on the loose, seemingly murdering women in a non-chronological order. Not one to watch whilst simultaneously scrolling on your phone, this is a complex, carefully-plotted show that demands your attention. Wagner Moura and Chris Chalk provide excellent supporting performances as a reporter helping Kirby crack the case and her photographer-slash-husband respectively, and Jamie Bell is on top form as a looming, dangerous antagonist.

Read the Empire review here.


Whereas Slow Horses is about spies ousted to the fringes of their organisation thanks to past mistakes, Apple TV+’s other espionage series, Tehran, is about intelligence agents at the top of their game. The first season sees Israeli Mossad agent Tamar (Niv Sultan) infiltrate the titular Iranian city, only to find herself stuck there when the mission goes sideways. In the second series, she’s still trying to extract herself – and the addition of the iconic Glenn Close to the cast as the mysterious Marjan gives a menacing, mega-star sheen to this already incredibly tense, anxiety-inducing, twisty-turny thriller. One for Homeland fans looking for their next fast-paced secret-agent fix.

On The Rocks

Taking a break from the director’s trademark dream-y-weam-y ness, Sofia Coppola‘s On The Rocks is as fizzy and intoxicating as a glass of champagne. It’s basically a two-hander, as Rashida Jones‘ writer Laura teams up with her ageing Lothario father Felix (Coppola’s Lost In Translation cohort Bill Murray) to spy on her seemingly perfect husband Dean (Marlon Wayans), whom Laura suspects is cheating on her. Perhaps it’s the Manhattan setting, but there is something of old-school Woody Allen (without the ick factor) about Coppola’s caper, tenderly etching a dad-daughter relationship within the more overtly comedic shenanigans (it’s fun to read the film as a thinly veiled portrait of Sofia’s relationship with father Francis). It’s a slight picture but beautifully shot and played, Jones engaging as a woman trying to retain her sense of self within marriage and kids, and Murray completely winning as a man out of time but still with some moves; a scene where Felix charms cops into letting him off a speeding ticket is as delightful as movies get.

Read the Empire review here.


Amid all the glitzy epic series made by world-renowned creatives, this a very different kind of gem in Apple TV+’s slate of originals. It’s a returning comedy starring Rafe Spall and Esther Smith as a North London couple increasingly desperate to have a child. After exhausting all the other options, they decide to go down the adoption route, and it proves to be a long, challenging journey. Expertly written by Andy Wolton (though it’s his first ever scripted series), it’s a joy to watch a show about regular, messy human beings with unglamorous jobs who are also deeply engaging and very funny, much like the show itself. And, in an increasingly rare display of authorial conviction, this one ends with its lovely third series on its own terms, neither outstaying its welcome nor finishing too soon.


One of Apple’s very first original shows, M. Night Shyamalan‘s Servant remains one of its most daring. Following a couple, Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) and Sean (Toby Kebbell) with an unusual baby, and their even more unusual live-in nanny Leanne (Nell Tiger Free), this is a dark, horror-inflected, supernatural-tinged mystery box which, even after its horrifying reveal near the end of Season One, continues to escalate to new levels of creepiness and chaos. The fourth and final season does not disappoint either, so prepare yourself to be gripped by this one all the way to the end of the line.

Read the Empire review here.


Like GreyhoundFinch is a result of Apple picking up a Sony project starring Tom Hanks. But unlike the World War II drama thriller, this is cockle-warming sci-fi that plays more like a dystopian take on Cast Away. Ten years after a solar flare roasted much of the Earth’s surface and made it highly dangerous (not to mention flammable) to be out during the day, robotics engineer Finch Weinberg (Hanks, bringing all his considerable empathy to bear) looks to survive, but knows his days are limited. He throws himself into building a robot to take care of his dog, Goodyear, when he’s gone. The resulting three-hander (two-hand-one-pawer?) – boasting a wonderfully eccentric performance from Caleb Landry Jones as the robot, Jeff – is a sad, funny, weird story brought amiably to life by director Miguel Sapochnik and writers Craig Luck and Ivor Powell.

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