Following the launch of Apple TV+ last Friday, the new streaming service now seems to be falling into a comfortable routine of weekly releases for its new flagship shows, but with such a limited set of content we’re finding ourselves asking what’s next for the streaming service.
By all accounts, Apple has been “thrilled” with the initial reception of its Apple TV+ lineup, including The Morning Show, See, For All Mankind, and Dickinson, which collectively attracted millions of viewers over the launch weekend, according to sources speaking with The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.
Those same sources also reveal that Apple is very happy with the performance of all four shows, with the average viewer spending well over an hour on Apple TV+, and viewership growing in the “triple digits” from Friday to Saturday to Sunday.
Apple released the first three episodes of each of its headline shows — The Morning Show, For All Mankind, and See — with the initial Apple TV+ launch, which allowed users the opportunity to get into the shows properly, since some of them took two or three episodes before they hit their stride. The notable exception was its half-hour comedic biopic Dickinson, which saw the entire series released in one fell swoop.
Apple’s lineup of kids shows, which include Snoopy in Space, Ghost Writer, and Helpsters, also saw larger collections of episodes released right away, but it’s less clear if these are the complete seasons or if there are still more to come.
For the big three, however, Apple plans to release subsequent episodes each Friday on a weekly schedule, with episode four of each arriving early this morning. Additional episodes will continue to be released weekly into December, which means each will have wrapped up its first season by the end of 2019.
Like most modern premium TV shows, Apple’s new shows feature a relatively small number of episodes per season. The Morning Show and For All Mankind get 10 episodes, while See will only feature eight. This means that the last episode of See will “air” on Dec. 6, while the other two will see their season finales on Dec. 20. In other words, Apple’s launch shows aren’t going to continue into 2020 unless the service decides to take a break or spread them out, which it doesn’t appear to be doing.
Apple picked up The Morning Show for a two-season run right from the start, and this morning it formally confirmed the reports from last month that it had also renewed See, For All Mankind, and Dickinson for a second season.
This means that we’ll be seeing more of all of these shows, but what’s less certain is when Apple plans to release them. The Hollywood Reporter previously reported that the second season of Dickinson has already been under production in New York for several months, while second-season production for See and For All Mankind has also reportedly begun in recent weeks. It’s also fair to say that with a second-season order from the outset, The Morning Show may be the closest of all of them to having its second run ready.
Still, it’s unclear when Apple may actually choose to air these second seasons. A traditional schedule would see them delayed until at least the spring, and more likely next fall, but Apple could also do something different and launch some of its second seasons sooner in order to maintain momentum. Either way, with such a limited collection of content, Apple is going to have to strike a careful balance between maintaining interest — and viewership — and playing all of its cards too early in the game, especially since its second seasons may be critical in converting free trials into paying subscribers next year.
More Upcoming Shows
Of course, Apple is at work on a lot of other new shows too, and we already know that M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant is coming on Nov. 28, and Octavia Spencer’s Truth Be Told will land a week later on Dec. 6.
Again, though, both of these are standard ten-episode seasons, which means that if Apple continues a weekly release schedule — which we think they’ll have to — both shows will be over by the end of January.
Apple is also working on several movie projects, and it’s already launched The Elephant Queen and is expected to bring two more, Hala and The Banker to the service by January, once they’ve both debuted in theatres. However, movies are even less likely to hold viewers’ attention long-term unless there’s a far more steady stream of them.
There’s also Oprah’s Book Club, which debuted last week, but only promises one episode every couple of months. The debut episode featured an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of The Water Dancer, and Apple has announced that Oprah’s next pick will be Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout, with the upcoming interview premiering on January 17th.
So What’s Next?
As much attention as Apple’s current shows have gotten, the reality is that they’re all going to be over by early next year, which means that there has to be a lot more coming. We already know that Apple has a lot of other projects on the go, but what’s most surprising is how little we’ve heard about them in recent weeks.
Of course, Apple’s current shows have taken the spotlight, and with all of the hype around them it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there’s a lot more in the pipeline.
Apple’s Little America comedic anthology of immigrant stories has also been quietly announced and is expected to be right around the corner, along with the J.J. Abrams and Sara Bareille romantic series Little Voice. These are in fact likely the next shows that will debut, possibly along with another young detective story, Home Before Dark — a title that we’ve so little about that it makes us wonder what other undisclosed projects Apple may surprise us with.
We also know that Apple is actively working on its Amazing Stories reboot, and in fact many expected that to debut when the service launched on Nov. 1, but reports suggest that the production schedule was set back due to creative differences.
While it’s gotten a bit lost in the big Apple TV+ launch, there’s also the upcoming comedy that was already announced by Ubisoft last spring: Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, written by and starring Rob McElhenney of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There’s been nothing said about when we’ll see it, but Ubisoft’s choice to unveil it months ago to a worldwide audience at E3 suggests that it won’t be long.
There are also other shows that could still be in the works, including Central Park, an adult comedy series from the creator of Bob’s Burgers, the HGTV-style documentary series Home, and a Damien Chazelle scripted TV drama.
However, some of these projects may also have been left on the cutting room floor, like the scripted comedy series that was supposed to star Kristen Wiig, but ended up being put on the back burner after the lead actress pulled out to pursue a role in the new Wonder Woman film. It’s unclear if Apple plans to move ahead with casting actress or if the show has suffered a fate similar to the gritty Richard Gere drama that was deemed too dark for Apple.
Apple has also landed Masters of the Air, the next instalment in the World War II series that began with Band of Brothers and continued with Pacific, although it’s unlikely we’ll see that one before next fall, that may be an ideal time for Apple to launch it anyway, since that will be the time to convince all of the users taking advantage of the free trial to actually begin paying for the streaming service.
Apple also announced another new show this morning — Severance, a workplace thriller series that will be directed and produced by Ben Stiller and star Adam Scott of Big Little Lies and Parks and Recreation. The series will tell the story of Lumen Industries, a fictitious company that’s looking to take work-life balance to a new level, with Scott playing the role of an employee struggling to overcome his dark past. As the deal has just been signed, however, this is another one that we shouldn’t expect to arrive until next fall.
One thing that seems certain, however, is that as much as we’re enjoying The Morning Show, See, and For All Mankind right now, by early next year we’ll be moving onto something else that’s completely new.